Workout of the Day
3 x 1,000m + 3 x (400m, 600m)
1000m — 3:16, 3:16, 3:15
400m / 600m — 71.8/ 1:52, 74.2 / 1:50, 72.3/ 1:48
Recovery: 200m jog between each rep. 600m jog between 400m/600m sets.
Karlee Coffey — May 30th, 2013
Context & Details
Karlee might be the strongest person I know. Life has thrown a lot at her and she has handled herself with class and grace every step. She is a mother, dreamer, fighter, and champion. In the early 2010s she claimed several NAIA National Championships titles on the track and podium finishes in cross country. Her story is moving and inspiring, but it is for another time and place.
I had the privilege of working with Karlee for a handful of years, and she is what is commonly called a "grinder" or "aerobic monster." Her forte on the track was the 10,000m, but she was competitive from 5,000m to 1/2 Marathon as well as cross country.
This workout came 2 weeks before her lifetime best in the 10,000m (33:26). It offered a mixture of 5K, 3K, and 1500m pace work. The recovery intervals were on the shorter side, only 200m, upping the global intensity by compacting the density of work.
When I write programming, the two most important variables which I first consider are relative intensity and density of the work. This is nothing revolutionary, but it is a foundational pillar of coaching. I work on getting better at this daily, as five years ago I shifted much of my attention to refine my aptitude in this area, thinking doing so would offer the greatest magnitude of correctness of anything I could improve upon as a coach.
This session saw 5K work prefacing alternations between 1500m followed by 3,000m speeds for Karlee. Since 1500m pace was difficult for her, placing a 400m at that crisp rhythm before 3K effort exponentially increased the burden of the 600m rep, much like the internal conditions she'd face the final 3K of the upcoming 10,000m.
It was a benchmark session to help educate both her and I about her readiness to handle the challenging final stages of a 10,000m. If she slowed sharply on the 2nd and/or 3rd 600m rep, it would have been a signal that we'd be wise for her to have adopted a less aggressive race model.
Thankfully, she flourished.
And that was echoed on race day when she ran each successive 200m of her final 600m in 39" - 38" - 37" for 1:54 total and a 30-second improvement on her prior personal best.