Workout of the Day

Katie Mackey (center) competes at in the Women's 5,000m final at he 2016 US Olympic Trials. 

Katie Mackey (center) competes at in the Women's 5,000m final at he 2016 US Olympic Trials. 

3 x (600m, 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m) + 400m Very Fast


Set #1 — 1:52.48 / 1:29.35 / 69.78 / 47.32 / 30.07
Set #2 — 1:47.78 / 1:26.29 / 66.07/ 47.29 / 29.57
Set #3 — 1:43.35 / 1:23.07 / 62.90 / 46.03 / 29.93
Fast 400m — 58.63 

Recovery: 2' rest between reps, 5' recovery jog between sets

Katie Mackey — Jan. 5th, 2018


Context & Details 

I went up to Seattle recently to observe a Brooks Beasts practice. I think it is important for coaches to learn from each other, so I was curious to see what Danny Mackey and his athletes could teach me. Little did I know I would be handed a stopwatch and asked to help coach the first big session for the Beasts middle distance women of 2018. 

Danny asked me which gender I wanted to guest coach that practice. I chose the women because I already had a degree of rapport and trust with them. The Beasts men have a lot of new faces this year, and I don't know them all yet, so the trust isn't yet established. Plus it was wiser for Danny to watch them as he is still familiarizing himself a few of them. And the women's group included Katie Mackey (Danny's wife). She is a dear friend and one of my all-time favorite people. It was a no-brainer.

Katie has been a buddy for nearly a decade. And she happens to be one of America's best female middle distance runners. She is a worthy role model for any apprising runner. Her path is something to study and emulate. I think these next 2 - 3 years will be her time for her star to shine. 

I have two rules when I proxy coach. 
1) Obey God Watch, my stopwatch, is always right.
2) Focus only on nailing the rep at hand, worry not about anything else. 

Katie is an apt pupil who accepted my rules that day and what I saw next left me in awe. 

Danny composed this 600m breakdown session to subject Katie & Co. to a situation of increasing lactate dynamic demands. His physiological aim was to raise their lactate threshold tolerance. The 600s started off at 5K pace and progressed to good and fast for the 200m reps. Up and coming Beasts, Jessica Tonn and Savannah Camacho joined for the first 2 sets of the workouts, each taking turns with Katie to lead alternating reps. However, the last set and the very fast 400m was all Katie. Solo. 

 Before her final set we chatted a little to get her into the right mindset. This was the first important and taxing workout of 2018 for her and she had bombed a workout the week prior so her confidence was shaky. I reminded her of her pedigree and to trust herself to do what she was made for: running fast, and to enjoy it!

She was fired up. And she blasted the 600m rep on the 3rd set, her time the equivalent to 8:34 3,000m speed. The effort barely registered. The 500m at 66/400m pace was nonchalant. We checked in. She said she felt great! I encouraged her to go for it. She crushed the remainder of the breakdown. Running far faster than Danny had anticipated. 

Originally, she had a final 600m hard on the training table. Seeing as she was already rolling, Danny wanted to be cautious and not get too greedy, but allow Katie to walk away from the session with her confidence sky high. He called an audible and asked for a final fast 400m. I upped the ante by asking Katie to remove her watch. She gave me an unpleased look. I told her it would set her free. She begrudgingly obliged. 

Danny and I took bets on Katie's time for the final 400m. I said 60.1, he said 58.5. She set off, focused on the task at hand. I could see her zoom in, completely engaged in what was about to occur. With no watch, she dropped her hand to start the interval. She blitzed the first 200m in 29.6. I didn't think she could keep it up. I looked over to Danny, who gave me an affirmative nod. Over the final 30 seconds, I gave many encouraging remarks as she sprinted home toward the finish line. She crossed the line; I clicked the watch. 58.63. Drat, Danny knew it all along. 

Any questions? I'm happy to answer. You can send me a Direct Message on Twitter or email me at
Thx //  jm

Jonathan Marcus