Workout of the Day
2 x (600m, 400m, 300m, 200m)
Set #1 — 1:48, 64, 47, 28
Set #2 — 1:49, 63, 44, 28
Recovery: 400m jog in 3' - 4' after each rep and between sets.
Anna Connor — May 31st, 2015
Context & Details
The 2015 outdoor season proved to be a breakthrough year for Anna as she set personal best marks in every event from 800m (2:06.57) up to 5,000m (16:39.17) on the track, including her favorite event the 1500m (4:14.85).
She performed this session roughly two weeks before her PR race that spring, dropping to 4:14 at the Portland Track Festival, which was seven seconds in the event better than her prior lifetime standard.
This classic middle distance workout, which we've seen before on several previous WOTDs, is one on which can be manipulated and tailored for each athlete. For Anna, the 600m reps were at slightly slower than mile pace, the 400m reps at 800m effort, the 300m at 600m pace, and the 200m at 400m pace.
It is important to note the structure of the session can be manipulated a variety of ways. A coach has an entire spectrum to choose from, as they can choose to make it a highly intense session or simply a maintenance workout. It may be why this workout template is a classic, it allows the coach a wide tolerance to individualize the session to an athlete as is appropriate. How ones chooses to set up the speed of the reps and rest between the reps/sets significantly alters the stimulus for the athlete.
In short, the versatility is the quality which makes this session a staple of so many middle distance coaches, from the professional ranks to youth clubs.
Personally, I've prescribed from one set (at very high intensity, starting at 800m pace or faster) all the way up to 4 to 5 sets (at moderate intensities, between 10K pace cutting down to 3K pace for the 200m) to different athlete's preparatory benefit.
The one heuristic I'll offer is to holdfast to quickening the speed as the reps shorten. I've tried varying this in my early coaching years, but it muted the response and athlete's enjoyment of the session when I veered off course and got too fancy.
Like most things worth doing, it is best to stick to the basics and be concerned with doing the task well.