Workout of the Day

Sarah Dean competes in cross country for Portland State University in 2014.

Sarah Dean competes in cross country for Portland State University in 2014.

3 x 2 Miles @ Threshold 


2M #1 — 5:46 + 5:43 11:29
2M #2 — 5:30 + 5:27 10:57
2M #3 — 5:29 + 5:24 10:53

Recovery: 800m jog 

Sarah Dean — Jan. 7th, 2015


Context & Details

I coached Sarah Dean at Portland State University for 2 years. She might have been the most talented athlete I've coached to date. She had an amazing competitive range. During her time as a PSU Viking, she set school records in 1 Mile indoors and 1500m record outdoors, as well placing herself in the top 3 all-time of the 800m, 3,000m, 5,000m, and 10,000m events. 

After graduating in 2014, she stuck around the Portland area with her then-husband as she applied to graduate schools, waiting on word of her acceptance. She was still training and wanted to make a run at qualifying for the USA Indoor championships in the 3,000m.

Without having to race the collegiate competitive calendar, she was free to take her time with her preparations. This workout is a classic aerobic strength session, designed to stimulate her aerobic stamina and strengthen her global running capacity by asking her to handle 6 miles of quality while cutting down the pace.

I often use this session with milers early in their season program. I don't fancy straight tempo runs without breaks, instead, I prefer the athlete run faster, take small breaks, and do more volume of intensity. More quality is extracted from out of the session with this approach, which I think matters most.

The true test of this session is if the athlete can run their final mile in the final rep the fastest without having to overly strain. If that is the case, it is a good indicator that the athlete's stamina and strength is in good shape. If not, then that means this area needs to be addressed and improved.

Not every workout need be over the top. Most times all training needs to be is a session of simple, stout, honest work which leaves the athlete a little better for their toil. As you can see, Sarah handled the session well, progressing throughout. It wasn't easy, she had to focus and apply herself to make it happen, especially on the final 2 Mile rep. But she was able to control her effort and got better. And that is what counts. 

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

Jonathan Marcus