Workout of the Day
4 x (4 x 300m)
Set #1 — 46.0, 44.5, 43.6, 40.5
Set #2 — 45.0, 43.7, 42.1, 40.1
Set #3 — 44.7, 43.3, 41.6, 40.1
Set #4 — 45.6, 42.8, 40.7, 38.0
Recovery: Progressing from 60", 90", to 120" between each rep in a set. Progressing from 4', 5', to 6' between each set.
Alan Webb — April 20th, 2012
Context & Details
This workout comes from Alan's final Olympic trials build up in 2012. At the time, he was training with Robby Andrews under the discerning eye of (now Princeton men's distance coach) Jason Vigilante in Virginia. Ten days after this session Alan ran a 3:38 and 13:49 1500m/5K double at the Payton Jordan invite.
I like this workout a lot for a miler during mid-season. It is smart, sophisticated, and well designed.
The session looks like it emphasizes a theme of descending intensity of speeds from mile to 400m pace in each set. I'd classify it as an almost speed endurance workout. What gives it the "almost" tag is the first two reps only being at Alan's mile and 800m pace. For the middle distance runner, I think legitimate speed work is any speed within the spectrum of 400m race pace to maximum velocity sprinting (or roughly 50" to 5" of essentially all out running), anything outside the continuum is technically race pace work in my book.
Regardless, it is a difficult session.
To exercise the degree of composure and systematic quickening of pace Alan and Robby managed demonstrates their skill of craft. Their command of speed as shown here is one facet why they've both enjoyed long, storied careers as professionals.
Knowing Alan, he'd be the first to tell you he is "hurting" on rep 4 of each set of this type of workout. The shallow rest is a mirage. On the final reps of each set the illusionary comfort of semi-recovered muscles and lungs are quickly replaced by the sting of crescendoing acidosis permeating the athlete's tissues with every successive 300m.
But like the classy professional he was, Alan still showed up, produced, and get the job done this day — as he did more often than not during his storied career.