Workout of the Day

McKayla Fricker competes in the 2016 Prefontaine Classic Women's 800m National race. 

McKayla Fricker competes in the 2016 Prefontaine Classic Women's 800m National race. 

2 x 250m /  3 x 150m / 3 x 80m


250m — 33.76 / 33.93
150m — 19.47 / 18.85 19.92
80m — 10.08 / 9.75 / 9.50

Recovery: Full. 4' - 5' between each rep

McKayla Fricker — May. 9th, 2016


Context & Details 

Coaching McKayla has made me a better coach in many ways. Working with an athlete of 2:00 800m ability has forced me to develop a deeper appreciation and a better understanding regarding sprint work. Often, sprinting is an area we distance coaches have little familiarity with. Because such work is foreign to us, there is a tendency to shy away from it -- at least that was my experience as a young coach. However, as my coaching practice has evolved, I've changed my mind. Now, sprint work is a necessity for athletes I coach. 

This sprint descending ladder can be best thought of in time. The first set of work takes roughly 35 seconds, the next about 20 seconds, and finally 10 seconds. Even though the duration of distance run and time elapsed is short, this is a potent body of work. On the track, the athlete who does more work is rarely the winner. Rather, it is the athlete who runs their allotted work quickest that becomes the victor. I try not to forget this truth. And coaching 800m runners is a stark reminder of it. They hold me accountable to prescribe the minimal required dosage of work which will yield the desired response so they athlete can get better. It is a fun game to play as a coach, one which I am refining my skills at daily. 

This critical speed work is paramount to building not only the physiological tolerance in the organism, but also mental fortitude.  Sprinting at maximum velocity and maintaining one's rhythm is a difficult skill. These types of sessions are critical to teach and reinforce useful habits which will be an asset to the athlete come race day. There is no goal time for these type of sessions. Sprinting implies a maximum effort. To set the tone, I have athletes accelerate to a cone placed at the first 50m interval of each rep. It is a good landmark and provides them a point of orientation, especially when off-distance reps are ran, such as 250m, 150m, and 80m. 

McKayla's times are quick. She had worked herself into a special fitness by this point in May of 2016. The workout did not exhaust her. She felt powerful and strong, and showed no signs of substantial deceleration on any of the reps. About a week later she ran a lifetime best of 54point for an open 400m in a local track meet. It was a positive indicator that she had responded well to the training blocks which prefaced this session as well as the session itself. 



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Thx //  jm  

Jonathan Marcus