Workout of the Day
3 x 800m + (3 x 400m, 300m, 200m)
800m — 2:16 / 2:10 / 2:08
Set #1 — 59.3 / 44.8 / 28.4
Set #2 — 57.3 / 43.8 / 28.1
Set #3 — 55.5 / 41.7 / 28.2
Recovery: 75" rec after each 800m rep. 60" rec after 400m, 30" after 300m. 4' between sets
Diriba Degefa — July 7th, 2013
Context & Details
At the time of this workout, Diriba was in-between summer racing opportunities. If anything, this was more a maintenance session as he awaited confirmation of his next races.
The thing about Diriba is, he never got hurt. Never. It was amazing. He was always ready to run hard.
He'd run 3 - 5 hard sessions a week (his own workouts, sometimes pacing gigs for local pros, or 12 mile steady runs at 5:00/mile clip, and, of course, as many races - with prize money - as he could find) and he never complained once of being tired, sore, or rundown. In fact, he would always tell me, "Coach Jon. I must go harder, please. OK?" Nine times out of 10, he'd do his workouts faster than I prescribed. But he never was worse for the wear, in fact, running fast energized him. Coaching Diriba taught me a lot and has profoundly influenced my practice today.
My apprenticeships under Jerry Schumacher and Rob Conner gave me a healthy exposure to the undeniable effectiveness of the "School of Aerobic Strength" training paradigm. But coaching Diriba gave me a real-time education of the inarguable potency of intensity and running fast.
When an athlete is matured, motivated, and so moved, running fast — very fast — frequently works. Many athletes whom I've coached after Diriba have him to thank for the year-round exposure of short and long sprint reps that has become a staple in my coaching catalog. He can also be credited as the source of permission to employ the back-to-back days of intense complimentary sessions which pop up in the not-so-medium "medium dig cycles" of work blocks in heavy training phases.
Like all career altering athletes, Diriba somehow showed up at the perfect time. I was young and excited to apply all that I had freshly learned from my mentors but still open to further my education and growth. And as a result, thankfully, we both got better.