Workout of the Day


2 x (4 x 400m)


Set #1 — 59.9, 59.6, 58.2, 59.2
Set #2— 58.9, 60.5, 59.1, 59.5

Recovery: 100m jog in 35" - 40" between reps & 500m jog in 4' between sets

Diriba Degefa — May 9th, 2013


Context & Details

This session came roughly a week after Diriba took Rupp & Ritz to the wire in an epic 3,000m at Hayward Field, which far too few saw. A retelling of that race is for another time and place. 

Diriba was a classic 1500m/5,000m type. He had good range, could grind well, and had a threatening kick. 

At this time Diriba was running the West Coast U.S. middle distance Spring circuit of Oregon Twilight, the OXY High Performance meeting, Pre Classic and Portland Track Festival. A 1500m at the now-defunct West Coast Invite was next on his calendar, 2 days away on May 11th, so this session was more of maintenance in design. 

The tolerance asked was 59 - 60 seconds per 400m, which was roughly his mile pace at the time. The short recoveries allowed for the session to be potent on only 8 x 400m worth of volume. 

When an athlete is in the heart of a competition block I am more concerned with the quality of their workout than quantity. By keeping the quality high and quantity light (for Diriba he was conditioned to 5 - 8 miles of workout volume for sessions by this point), the athlete is provided with a signal that speed of play, rather than duration of work, is what matters most. 

Diriba went on to run 3:42 at West Coast Invite 1500m for the win. Ten minutes later he hoped in the 5,000m and ran 14:10, in trainers — because he forgot his flats at home - to add another victory on the day. 

As I've said before, coaching Diribia was a lot of fun. He loved to compete. And was always up to race. Even if it was in trainers a few minutes after a season's best effort in the 1500m.


Any questions? I'm happy to answer. You can send me a Direct Message on Twitter or email me at
Thx //  jm

Jonathan Marcus