1K Breakdowns for 3,000m

Eleanor Fulton (#77) winning the 2019 UW Indoor Preview 3,000m in 9:02.

Eleanor Fulton (#77) winning the 2019 UW Indoor Preview 3,000m in 9:02.

2 x 1,000m, 500m/300m/200m, 1 x 1,000m, 500m/300m/200m


  • 2 x 1,000m — 2:59, 2:59

  • 500m/300m/200m — 1:22 / 46.0 / 28.8

  • 1 x 1,000m — 2:58

  • 500m/300m/200m — 1:21 /45.7 / 28.9

Recovery: 3’ - 4’ walk/jog between each rep

Performed by Eleanor Fulton — Dec.13.2018


Context & Details 

When Eleanor completed this workout I was certain she was hovering around 9-flat 3,000m fitness. About a month later I my assessment was proven correct when she ran 9:02 in a new PR to win the 3,000m at the UW Preview in Seattle, Washington.

How did I know? 

First, she did this workout alone on a brisk winter morning. 

Running it by herself increased the degree of perceived difficulty and, upon completion, heightened her confidence levels. I think at times there can be more gained from solo workouts than group sessions. You can’t hide when its just you out there — much like on race day. 

Second, she was rounding out the most impressive block of training of her running career. 

In late July, we discovered her health wasn’t 100%. She could have continued to compete that season, but her efforts would have been comprised. So she made the hard decision to forgo the remainder of that year's competitive calendar. At the time it was a tough decision. Once her health was fully restored, she was rewarded with 16 weeks of uninterrupted training to prepare for her 2019 indoor campaign.

Below is a 3 week overview of her training leading into this session:

Screen Shot Fulton Training Dec 2018.png

This is a classic breakdown session which I learned about and stole from Vin Lananna. The 1K reps are ran at 3,000m race speed and the 500/300/200 “breakdown” of the 1,000m distance performed at 1500/800/400 speeds, respectively.

The lactate accumulation during this session is significant. The acidosis increase happens much quicker than the athlete would like — we must remember 3,000m speed (and faster) is a very potent stimulus and should be highly respected when employed in training. The second visit of the 1K rep and 500/300/200 breakdown are abrasive and with the difficultly having exponentially increased. Only a very fit athlete can nail the target speeds in the second half of the workout as Eleanor did. The recovery times may look long to some, but trust me, they are grossly inadequate. Every athlete would welcome an extra 2-3 minutes recovery if offered.

Typically, I schedule this type of session once every 3 weeks starting roughly 9 weeks out from a target 3,000m or 5,000m race. First ,I look to establish the target speeds over a single 1K rep and 1-2 sets of the 500/300/200 breakdown, for no more than 3,000m of volume total. Then as the athlete’s fitness improvement allows, shorten the recovery time between reps upon future revisits of the session. Only if the athlete is demonstrating exponential fitness gains do I increase the volume, first by adding another 1K to the opening set and then to the middle and finally closing phases of the session, but never going beyond 8,000m in total volume. 

When a seasoned athlete can perform the following a session:

  • 2 x 1K

  • 2 x 500/300/200

  • 1 x 1K

  • 1-2 x 500/300/200

  • 1-2 x 1K

with each rep at the target speeds in about a 1:1 work to rest ratio between each rep, they are, as Jerry Schumacher likes to say, “Turbo Fit.” That is potent constitution of intensity, density and volume at 3,000m speed or faster. 

It’s warming to report that Eleanor’s hard earned “Turbo Fitness” signaled in practice that winter translated into the best season (to date) of her career. She clocked indoor PRs of 9:02 for 3,000m and 4:33 for 1 Mile and placed 7th at USATF Indoor Championships in both 1 Mile and 2 Mile in a 24-hour period. It was breakthrough season for her.

One I’ll never forget and will remember fondly now that our time working together has concluded.


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Jonathan Marcus