Workout of the Day
2 x 150m, 2 x 400m, 2 x 150m
150m — Fast
400m — 50.1, 49.5
Recovery: 8' rest after each 400m rep. No specifics given after 150m reps.
Nick Symmonds — Feb. 26th, 2012
Context & Details
Here are Symmonds' comments on this session:
This was a brutal workout. This is what we could call a "speed endurance" session. Essentially, it's trying to run two 400s as fast as possible. 49s are OK for this time of year, but come summer I would want to be running faster.
It is worth noting Nick did not race any indoor meets in 2012, but he did run a 1:47.44 at the Sydney Track Classic as an 800m season opener on February 18th, about a week before this session. From what I can gather by reviewing his training log, it doesn't look like that race was of the highest importance, with the London Olympics on the horizon. In the training week that followed, Symmonds ran three workouts: one on Tuesday 2/12, another on Thursday 2/23, and then this session on Sunday 2/26. He performed 3 workouts plus an 800m race in an 8 day period, which may have contributed to his experience as this session being brutal — he was clearly running on tired legs.
Nick was readying to be in top form at the Olympic Trials in early July and then in August at London. But in late February he was performing speed endurance work. As I said before, I learned a lot from reading his training log and this helped changed my mind about speed work. Symmonds is performing intense speed endurance work nearly 5 months out from his target race. It prompts thought and challenges methods which only start to integrate speed work mid or late season.
Speed work doesn't get athletes hurt; rather, not enough consistent speed work can. Due to the high-intensity nature of speed work, the organism is best off being conditioned to it via intelligent and progressive thresholds throughout a season. For a deeper dive into speed work you can check out my quick Speed Week mini-series (post #1, #2, #3, #4, #5). If speed work is introduced mid or end of season, it is such a harsh new stimulus that the coach runs a high risk of inadvertently setting up an athlete for minor aches/pains or even an ill-timed injury. Thus, I think it is best to follow Nick's lead and do speed work early and often.