Workout of the Day
3 x (600m, 2 x 400m) + 2 x (3 x 300m)
600m/400m Set #1: 1:49.5 / 76.3 / 77.4
600m/400m Set #2: 1:48.0 / 78.1 / 76.7
600m/400m Set #3: 1:48.1 / 77.7 / 75.5
300m Set #1: 52.1 / 52.0 / 50.9
300m Set #2: 52.4 / 51.3 / 51.9
Recovery: 200m jog after 600m reps, 100m walk after 400m & 300m reps. 400m jog between each work set.
Julia Webb — Feb. 10th, 2016
Context & Details
Julia was coming off a competitive fall campaign after the birth of her and Alan's second child, their wonderful daughter Paula. She was just starting back to focused training after the cross country season and was gearing up for the local spring road races. She also had a potential eye on the Olympic Trials that year in the steeplechase. With a newborn, she couldn't commit 100% to making a full-fledged run at the Olympic Trials, but she wanted to begin preparations as if she would.
I've coached Julia on and off for the better part of 5 - 6 years at this point. Plus we had been friends for longer than that. Our relationship is candid, honest, sincere, and enjoyable. As some know, I coach my wife, but I also coach my friends. And coaching friends is a little more tricky in my opinion. But, in all honesty, it is not that hard, since coaching is about relationships. Provided you had a strong and stable friendship, then coaching friends, as was the case with Julia and I, is a boon for all. Trust is already established. Familiarity is in place. And a mutual respect for the other is there as well.
This session was an early outdoor season exposure to change of pace work for Julia. The first 600m was designed to be at 1500m effort pace, then she settled into 3K pace on the 400m reps, with short rest. The 300m reps were controlled and fast, the pace being around 800m speeds. Often I like to employ a speedier session on the track as one of the first workouts for the outdoor season. I believe speed is a skill and should be practiced early and often. Speed is a relative term from athlete to athlete, but I count 800m pace as the beginning of the speed work spectrum. Thus for Julia, the 300m reps counted as speed work. She is a grinder by trade, not a fast twitch speedster, so for her to knock off 52 - 50 seconds was impressive. She finished the workout feeling excited, tired, but positive about her efforts.
The final part is critical, often overlooked, element to good training sessions — the athlete's outlook. Our sport is so demanding and competitive that sometimes one can lose enthusiasm to put in the needed work. Julia, thankfully, was typically excited to workout and get better. Her positive energy could be infectious to others. Uplifting the mood of even the most trying, difficult practices. And this is a big reason why she thrives as a runner when while raising two children: she looks on the bright side more often than not.