Speed Workouts from the Time of Coronavirus (archived)

These are the workouts from COVID lockdown. They are also a perfectly good place to shop for workouts for your post-lockdown plans, so I’m leaving them visible in case anyone is interested.

Week 66 June 28-July 4). NOTE: NEXT WEEK WE BEGIN GROUP TUESDAY WORKOUTS at Fernhill Park, on the grass. For now: Tuesday: 12s and 2s. Heat adaptation functions in many ways like altitude training. Let’s see how it went. 3 x 1200 @ 5K pace or a touch faster. 6 x 200 (200) @ 1500m pace or a touch faster. High volume folks can do more. Friday. Time Trial. Find your training paces for the summer. You can run 2 miles, 3K, or 12 minutes, whichever you like. Your average pace for this is roughly your “L” pace (long interval pace) for training.

Week 65 (June 21-27). Tuesday: speedy and short. 8-10 x 400 (400) @ 1500m pace. Use this as an opportunity to heat acclimate. We’re already really hot for June. We’re likely to see 3 more months of this. You can do this by means other than running. After sitting in Eugene at 94 degrees today, I ran walked on Pre’s Trail, then drove back to Portland without using the a/c in the car. All of that contributes to heat acclimation. Friday. 3-5 x 2000m, run as alternations. 600@ tempo to 10K effort, 400 at marathon effort. Take a decent set break to cool off. There’s heat acclimatization, and there’s too much of a good thing.

Week 64 (June 14-20). Tuesday: speedy descending ladder. This one’s simpler, for those who worried about needing a cheat sheet last week. But it’s got multiple parts; what can I say? 2 x 800, 3 x 600, 2 x 400, 2-3 x 200. Do the 800s and 600s at 3K effort, the 400s at 1500m effort, and the 200s at 800m effort. Recoveries are 400s except for the 200s, for which 200m (very slow) is enough. If you can’t recall the exact number of reps for the 800s and 600s, don’t worry: the goal is about 3400m, and you can do any combination that gets you there. Higher volume runners can add more reps. Friday: 2-3 x 1.5 to 2 miles @ T (800m jog). Low mileage runners should keep the total distance to 3 miles. Higher volume runners can add reps or do 2-mile reps, to a max of 6 miles.

Week 64 (June 7-13). Tuesday, 1000m breakdown. The idea is simple: start with a 1000, then do a descending ladder, each one 100m shorter than the one before, speeding up as you go. If you take it all the way to 200m it will total 5400m, which may be a bit long for some folks. If so, delete one of the ones in the middle. (I usually have folks delete the 500). Start at 5K pace and finish at 1500m pace or faster. Recoveries are trickier. They get proportionally longer as you go, because you are going faster and need proportionally more recovery. That’s all you really need to know, but if you are doing this on a track, it’s also nice not to get scrambled up and lost. So I always make the recoveries bring you either to the starting line or 200m away at the other side of the track. I.e., each interval+ recovery totals an even number. (OK, some grammarian is going to point out that 100 is an even number, but you get the idea.) If you want numbers, that means the recoveries for the compete ladder are 400, 300, 200 or 400 as needed, 300, 400, 300, 400, 300, and done. But don’t overthink it. As long as you end each recovery at either the 400m start or the 200m start, they’re going to be pretty intuitive. Friday. 22 min tempo plus 4 x 150. Or run the Goose as tempo on Thursday, since that run is now back in business. Track soon!

Week 63 (May 31-June 6). Hang tight; the end is in sight. Team Red Lizard is starting trail runs this week. Speed workouts will resume in “Saturday on the Grass” mode later this month. Meanwhile… Tuesday: 12-16 x 400 (200) @ 5K pace. And, Friday, 20-40 min, pure fartlek. I.e., hit at least 5 of the following paces: fast (1500m to 800m), 3K, 5K, 10K, tempo, marathon, brisk recovery. Vary them at will, and make it a game. Total duration will depend on your weekly base and whether you skew it toward the fast end of the range or the slow end. That said, I realize that the Garmin addicts don’t like these workouts. But they work. That said, many of you will probably be doing the Iron Gauntlet later this week, so that’s the “Friday” workout, regardless of when you do it.

Week 62 (May 24-30). In-person workouts may be coming soon. If you are unsure about the vaccine, talk to your friends who’ve taken it, and, if nothing else, consider doing it for me and your teammates. (End vaccine promo; I know that’s hyper-political, and some won’t take a vaccine for love or money.) Anyway, we are for the moment still doing virtual workouts. Tuesday: “Patched-together miles.” The idea is this: 600-400-600-. That’s 1600m…plus the floats. So these are a step up from last week. Total distance is 1900m, so take a 500m recovery to get you back to the normal start. Do 3-5 of these. (Three will be enough for most folks.) As before, add 2-4 x 150m fast at the end (after suitable recovery) if you are “feeling it.” Friday: 3-5 x 2000m @ Tempo (no faster than 10K pace) on 90-sec recoveries. Again with 2-4 x 150 at the end, if you’re feeling it.

Week 61 (May 17-23). The end of everything being virtual may be closing in. Meanwhile, we need to stay the course, a bit more. Let’s keep doing floats. Tuesday: 3-5 x 500-500-500- (400 easy) @ 5K pace or a bit faster. Add 2-4 x 150, fast, at the end if you’re feeling it. Otherwise, call it enough. Friday 4-6 x 1 mile @ tempo (60-75 sec recovery. Again with 2-4 x 150 at the end, if you’re feeling it.

Week 60 (May 10-16). Oops. The week slipped up on me. Tuesday: more floats. Let’s do 3-6 x 400-400-400- (500) this week @ 5K pace or a bit faster. Can add 4 x 200 at 1500m effort at the end, if you save energy. Friday: tempo alternations. Find a nice course or track and alternate 800m tempo and 800m at marathon pace for 3-6 miles, depending on your weekly volume, and how fast you go. Distances don’t need to be precise.

Week 59 (May 3-9). I write “week 59” with a bit of shock. But the light may be much closer as more and more people get vaccinated and track meets, etc., cautiously test the waters on group gatherings. Right now, if we followed their lead, everyone would have to have a COVID test 48 hours before a group run, but that will relax as case rates lower and vaccines make the consequences less severe even for the unfortunate few who remain. I hope. Meanwhile, two more workouts. Tuesday. I gave you an exotic one last week, so let’s be not-so-exotic this week. And, whether you noticed it or not, there was a theme to the last three weeks. So, changing the theme: floats, because it’s been a while. 4-5 x 500-500- (400) @ 5K pace for the 500s. Remember, the hyphens represent 100m at about marathon pace. A short, pseudo recovery. If you have the legs and the inclination, tack on up to 4 x 150 hard at the end. Friday. I do like tempos. Nobody told me whether they liked last week’s idea, but it should have been fun. Let’s do it again. Different trail, different distance, same basic idea. Try to make the loop a little longer this time and do one less loop, but keep the total volume about the same as last week.

Week 58 (April 26-May 2). Tuesday: 7-11 Sevens. What’s that you ask? Something new. Do 7-11 x 700 (300) at 5K pace or a bit faster. Why? Because variety is fun, and you have no benchmarks against which to compare this workout, so anything you do is a personal best. Just run and don’t over-think. Calculate your paces later. Friday: trail -loop tempos. Find a trail you like (or paved loop if you prefer). Anything with decent footing about 2 miles around (1.5 miles ok). Any of the parks we used for the virtual Stumptown last fall would be perfect, or whatever you like that’s close at hand. Do 2-4 loops (depending on your weekly mileage and the length of the loop) at tempo effort. Take a 3 min jog recovery.

Week 57 (April 19-25). Sorry about the delay. I had the Mars helicopter beat the last couple of days, and that put me on a weird mix of Mars time and Australian time (for the Adelaide-based publication for which I was writing). If you want to see the result, it’s here. Re training, here are the suggestions: Tuesday: Twelves and threes. To wit: 3 x 1200 (400) @ 5K effort, 4 x 300 (300) @ 1500m pace or a touch faster. High mileage runners can add more. Friday: 3-2-1 drill (scaled). What does this mean? The full 3-2-1 drill is 3 miles at tempo (3 min), 2 miles at tempo (2 min), 1 mile at tempo. Total, six miles. If you are running at least 50 miles a week, that’s enough. If you are running fewer miles, scale back. Thus, a 30 mpw runner might do 2 miles (2 min), 2K (75 sec).

Week 56 (April 12-18). Horrors. 56 weeks. But the end may be coming. Races are returning. Meanwhile, let’s try two things, one very standard, one new. Tuesday. Tens and 2s. 4 x 1000 (400) @ 5K effort, 5 x 200 (200) @ 1500m pace or a touch faster. High mileage runners can, as always, add a bit. Friday. This one’s new. Rat-a-tat 400s. Please post comments here, or email me your reactions to this (I have an assignment to write about it). I’ve played with this a bit and find it very interesting, and possibly useful. The description is simple: 16 x 400 @ T to 10K on 15-sec recoveries. Pace control is crucial. Sprint these things and you’ll never make it. If needed, break them into sets. But if you get the pace right, you probably won’t need to.

Week 55 (April 5-11). Tuesday: 5 x 1000 (400) @ 5K to 3K pace. As always, high-volume runners can add more. Friday: Aussies, plus 4 x 150, hard. Duniway runners will remember this. Aussies are 400/200 alternations. Run the 400s at 5K to 3K pace, the 200s at marathon pace or a touch slower. Continue for 3 miles. The 150s at the end are optional.

Week 54 (March 29 – April 4). Tuesday. Inverted speed pyramid. Most of you haven’t done this, though I’ve used variants of it for 3000m, mile/1500m, and 800m. Here’s the basic workout: 1 x 800 (200) @ 5K pace. 1 x 600 (200) @ 5K pace. 2 x 400 (400) @ 1500m pace. 2 x 200 (SLOW 200…walk OK) @ 800m pace. 2 x 400 (400) @ 1500m pace. 1 x 600 (200) @ 5K pace. 1 x 800 @ 5K pace. Higher and lower volume runners can adjust the total volume by running 800s instead of the 600s, or 600s instead of the 800s, or even deleting the last 800 entirely. Friday. 22-minute tempo. Higher volume runners can take a break and do another tempo repeat of up to 22 min.

Week 53 (March 22-28). Ok, sorry for the delay. I had work due in Australia on Sunday, and afterward, kept getting interrupted. But I’m still ahead of Tuesday. Let’s go for a couple of tried and true workouts. Tuesday: 5 x 500 (100) @ L. 5 min easy. Then 4 x 800 (30 sec) @ T. High mileage runners can add extras, of either, or both distances. Friday. 3-4 sets of 400 (400), 300 (300), 200 (200) @ S.

Week 52 (March 15-21). So here we are, about to be 1 year into virtual workouts. Slightly more since the state of Oregon shut down. But the light at the end of the tunnel is looking more and more real. I am now fully vaccinated. And increasing number of others also are. Oregon, last I looked, is significantly ahead of the national average on this, and the vaccine center I visited was impressive. Kind of like Disneyland for vaccines. With an amazing number of cheerful, supportive workers, directing traffic, administering shots, and checking up on you ever few minutes afterward. Giving Disneyland a run for its money as the happiest place on Earth. And for those of you not yet eligible, your turn is coming…soon. The one-dose J&J vaccine is a game changer. Anyway, enough of that. What you really want are workouts. Here are the suggestions: Tuesday: 6 x 800 (200) @L + 0-4 x 150, hard (full recovery). Kinda classic. L is long-interval pace–somewhere between 5K and 3K pace. As always, higher volume runners (more than 50 mpw) can do more. Friday: 600/200 alternations. Kind of like two weeks ago, in the 600/400s, but a quicker rhythm, shorter floats–a progression toward tougher. Total volume, 3-5 miles. Can be divided into sets on easy 400m recoveries.

Week 51 (March 8-14). Tuesday: 1000m breakdown. This may take some fiddling with if you don’t have access to a track. Distances can be approximate. One way to do it is to set your Garmin in metric mode and have it beep every 100m. Then when you get to the shorter repeats, count beeps. Working in metric mode would be useful, regardless, though you might have to calculate your paces in advance. Here’s the drill: 1 x 1000 (400), 1 x 900 (300), 1 x 800 (200 or 400), 1 x 700 (300), 1 x 600 (400), 1 x 500* (300), 1 x 400 (400), 1 x 300* (300), 1 x 200. The asterisk on the 500 and 300 means they are optional, and lower-volume runners should skip one or both. As for paces, start at 5K pace and speed up as you descend the ladder, reaching 1500m pace for the 400. The recoveries are set for convenience on the track; they have you always be starting at the 400m or 200m start. If you remember that, you don’t need to memorize the numbers. On the roads, the recoveries aren’t as crucial; go when you are ready. Friday: tempo plus twos. 2 x 2000m (90 sec) at tempo. 6 x 200 (200) fast (but not insane). These will come in a little faster than 1500m effort. On the roads, pick something that looks to be about 200m and call it good enough; recovery then is back to the start. High volume runners can add an extra 2000.

Week 50 (March 1-7). Tuesday: 2 x 600 (400), 3 x 800 (400), 2 x 600 (400), all at 3K pace. High volume runners can add an extra 800 or two (up to three if you are more than 60 mpw). Friday: 600/400 alternations. Do the 600 at between tempo and 10K pace, and the 400 as a brisk extended “float” at marathon pace or a bit slower. Total volume is 6K-7K for most people, but high volume runners can go up to 10 percent of their weekly volume. (Not the word “can”–you don’t have to.) Do in sets of at least 2K, with 400m set breaks. A good way to do this is in a pyramid: 2K, 3K, 2K. Or you can do it in two larger sets or, if you’re training for a half or a marathon, one long set.

Week 49 (Feb 22-28). Wow, 50 degrees, a bit of scattered sun, and it feels like spring! Here are workouts: Tuesday: Billats. I said last week that a block of these would be good. So let’s stay the course. But this time, its 30-30s. This will be a longer workout, because it has a higher fraction of recovery. Do the first 30 sec at about 3K effort, or maybe a touch faster. You’re looking for your “maximum aerobic speed,” whatever that might be for you. The second 30 sec is a recovery. Then repeat. Billat’s formula is “until you decide enough is enough,” but if you’re already in pretty good shape, you might be able to do that for long enough to get bored. So if you get past 15-20 min total, start shortening the recoveries or speeding them up. Don’t carry this to a race-like extreme. It’s early season. Friday: longer tempo intervals. Last week was miles. This week, try 2Ks. Specifically 3 x 2K @ T (75-90 sec). High mileage runners can do up to five repeats.

Week 48 (Feb 15-21). If you’re in Portland, this week will probably be dominated by waiting for snow to melt. I can suggest workouts, but you probably won’t be able to find a safe place to do them. That said, maybe Tuesday’s workout can be done on Weds. With that in mind “Tuesday”: more Billats. Repeat last week’s 60-30s. It’s good to do a block of these, and a lot of you probably didn’t get much for four or five days, so there’s no point progressing to something more difficult yet. Friday. Tempo intervals. Let’s do miles this time. By this point you should have some fairly decent surfaces on which to run. 4 x 1 mile @ T (60-75 sec). Alternatively, go to the mountain and do some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Those are good aerobic workouts, too. Next week should be back to normal…unless we get a big flood, which isn’t impossible after this.

Week 47 (Feb 8-14). Winter, it appears, isn’t done with us. As I write, six of the next 10 days on my app are filling with snowflakes, temperatures down to the teens, east wind, and possible freezing rain. Not that I have a strong faith in 10-day forecasts, at least not in Portland, but I know that east wind, and this is looking like east wind conditions setting up. Luckily, Tuesday should be ahead of it. Let’s do Billat-style repeats again, but this time make them 60-30s. Sixty seconds hard; 30 easy. Break them into 6- to 9-minute sets with an easy 400 between sets. That would give you 4, 5 or 6 reps per set. Total volume 30 minutes, so pace accordingly. (I.e., these are introductory Billats, not the 30-30s we run as peaking workouts.) Friday. Tempo intervals. 5 x 1200 this time, on 60 sec recoveries. Can finish with 4 x 150 (or 25-30 sec) hard. Don’t try a speed workout, though, if it’s slippery.

Week 46 (Feb 1-7). We are now in February. Time for early season speed. Some of you may already have gotten a head start on it, but here are this week’s suggestions: Tuesday: 60-60s. This is a new one, but it’s basically Billats. Alternate 60 sec hard, 60 sec recovery. If you’re starting up, the recovery should be a true recovery. If you’ve been doing speed in January, you can make it a float. Or, if you prefer, make some of them floats, and some of them recoveries, thereby creating sets. The Billat version of this is to go until you’ve had enough, but don’t slay yourself on it, especially early season. Figure that 36 minutes is good (less if you are doing floats). That gives you 18 minutes of speed and 18 of recovery. Target pace is maybe 3K effort for the “on” minutes. Friday. Tempo intervals. Let’s make them 1000s. 6 x 1000 @ T, on 45 sec recovery. You can do this on track or roads.

Week 45 (Jan 25-31). One more week, before the return to faster speed in February. If you want a head start on that, here are two workouts. Tuesday: 3 to 4 x 300-300-300-300-. These are “floats.” Do the 300 at 5K effort or a touch faster, and the “hyphen” as a 100 m “float” at about marathon pace/effort. After each set, take a 400m recovery. You can, obviously, do this on the road, based on estimated time. Friday: Run the minutes. We’ve done this before. The idea is to run 5 minutes at 85 percent effort, then 5 min at 65 percent effort. Do the same for 4 minutes, 3, 2, and 1. You can speed up, if you wish, as the distances get shorter. If you want, you can repeat some, or part of it, for “double minutes.” Save energy to finish with 4×25 sec, hard (on at least 2-min recoveries).

Week 44 (Jan 18-24). At risk of sounding like a broken record, I suggest another week of base. We can get more intense and structured in a couple weeks. If you want speed, again, keep it low key. Tuesday: 3-5 miles of true fartlek as in Week 42, below. Don’t do exactly what you did then. In fact, there is never any reason to do this workout the same way twice, ever. Invent speed games to play with yourself. Friday: 22 min tempo run. Tempo is really, really good for what I think of as “speed-base.” Don’t do the same route as before, and vary the terrain. That way you don’t turn it into a race against last week’s time. That is neither necessary nor useful.

Week 43 (Jan 11-17). First, apologies for being a bit late with this. My job is boom and bust, and this week in January is always one of the big boom ones. Anyway, my general suggestion is to remain in base. But, if you want speed, keep it fairly low key. Tuesday: 11 x 600 @ 10K (20-25 sec). If you ran at Duniway, you know this workout. It’s one of my favorites. You don’t have to do it on a track. Any distance of approximately 600m works. I developed this in Tucson, Arizona, running on the warning track of the major leagues’ training diamonds. It was a great surface for training, but at about 600m I hit home base and the dugout and had to stop and turn around. Was it 600m? Who knows. It might have been 570. Or 630. But it was in that league, and the workout was one I liked. Hence this. Don’t get obsessive about precision. Friday: 22 min tempo run. I know, I’ve suggested lots of these, and I realize it might sound repetitive. But they are good, especially in the off season.

Week 42 (Jan 4-10, 2021). Welcome to 2021! If you are looking for a base season, now continues to be a good time to do it (with strides 2-3 days a week). In an “ordinary” year, track attendance tends to be down in January and starts to pick up in February, in anticipation of Shamrock. Much of the attendance we do have is oriented toward indoor track, which I’m sure isn’t happening this year. (I’ve not checked, but I can’t imagine it.) So, that seems like a good seasonal plan: think in terms of prepping for Shamrock as the season opener. So, with that in mind, if you do speed….Tuesday: run the minutes. We’ve done this one before. 5 minutes at 85 percent effort. 5 min at 65. Then 4 min at 85, 4 at 65. Etc., for 3, 2, and 1 minutes. As it gets shorter, you may speed up naturally. If that’s easy repeat all or part of it. Friday: pure fartlek. We’ve done this before, but not recently. The idea is simple: pick a route you like; 5-7 miles. Warm up as needed. Then in the middle 3-5 miles, play with the speed. Speed up and run to a tree. Recover. Run tempo. Sprint. Run marathon pace. Run 5K pace. Not necessarily in that order. Whatever order you want, for as much as each as you like. I.e., this is totally unstructured, done as the spirit moves you. Take longer recovery breaks as needed.

Week 41 (Dec 28-Jan 3, 2021). As everyone is noting, 2020 is about to be in the rear-view mirror. 2021 is coming. And if I heard the news correctly this morning, a third vaccine is heading for probable approval early in January. But it’s still going to be at least 6 months before we see a “real” racing season, I suspect. That means it’s still a good time to think in terms of an “off” season. As with last week, that means continue taking a few days off. If you started doing that when I first suggested, figure you’ll take your first run of the week next year. I.e., Friday. No speed. If you really insist on doing something, same as last week. Do a tempo run. See you next year!

Week 40 (Dec 21-27). Stay in base for the rest of the year. If you’ve not taken time off for a while, don’t run until 2021. (It’s not that far away!) Be active, but don’t “train” or “cross-train.” As last week, if you really insist on doing something, do a 22-minute tempo. But most of you are done with racing for a while, so this is a perfect time for a break.

Week 39 (Dec 14-20). Bottom line, if you did races, like Stumptown Cross this fall, now is the off season. If you didn’t, run a time trial now to gauge your progress, and then take an off season. I said that last week, but REALLY mean it now. If you’ve not taken time off in 2020, pick 10-14 days over the holidays, and don’t run. Walk, use an exercise machine (if you have one) but give your legs a bit of a break from pounding. If you really insist on doing speed, do a 22-min tempo, and call that good. I’ll post next week, but the advice will be similar. If you are targeting a specific virtual event this month, go for it, and take the break after.

Week 38 (Dec 7-13). It’s December, Covid lockdown is increasingly severe, and the last Stumptown virtual race is past. Most of us are probably waiting for spring. A few are training for virtual races or time trials in the next couple of weeks. But if that’s not you, I’d suggest treating this as a bit of an off-season. That means one of two things. If you ran all 5 Stumptown races (or even most of them), take a couple weeks easy, then return to base. That means mostly easy running, with a few strides and pickups, phasing into some tempo runs. If you didn’t race, and want to maintain some speed, keep it easy. As in this: Tuesday: 2-1 drill. We’ve done that before. It’s 2 min at 5K to 3K effort, on 1 min recoveries or, if you’re feeling fit, “floats” at about marathon pace/effort. Total volume, 30 minutes. (High mileage runners can extend it, but don’t go nuts. Friday: 22-min tempo run.

Week 37 (Nov. 30-Dec. 6). This is taper week for the last Stumptown race (though some may race it early and need to skip the Tuesday workout. BTW, I’ll be at Pier Park at 9:30 or so on Saturday morning if anyone has shoes for the homeless. I’ll try to park near the traffic circle and we can just toss ’em in my trunk, socially distanced. So far this year, despite the lockdown, we’ve gotten 308. Not a new record, but not too bad. Now for the workouts: Tuesday: tempo and twos. Not a lot of either: 3 x 1000 (45 sec) at tempo (no faster than 10K) plus 3 x 200 at mile pace, on long recoveries. The long recoveries are important because you want time to clear the fatigue between repeats. Think 2-3 minutes of easy jogging. Saturday (or Friday or Sunday) race. If you don’t race, you might try a time trial: either 2 mile or 5K: something to see what your aerobic speed is, going into the winter.

Week 36 (Nov. 23-29). The final XC race is in two weeks, so this is the last week of hard training for the XC season, for those doing it. Tuesday: 3 x 1 mile (400) @ 5K pace or just a touch faster. High-mileage runners (more than 45 miles a week, can do 1-2 more repeats. Friday: 22 min tempo run. Higher-mileage runners can, after an 800m jog, do a second tempo run (probably shorter), but do not exceed 10 percent of your weekly volume or 44 min, total, whichever is lower.

Week 35 (Nov. 16-22). We are entering a COVID crackdown, but virtual racing a la Fernhill is still on, and unlikely to change. The key is to be really aggressive about socially distancing. I will run this alone on whatever day offers the best weather. So, workouts: Tuesday: 600s and 800s. The full workout would be 2 x 600 (400), 3 x 800 (400), 2 x 600 (400) @ “M” pace, which is about 15 sec/mile faster than you were supposedly running 1200s a couple of weeks ago. I say “supposedly” because if you ran the 1200s “too fast” for the assignment, you won’t speed up this one by that much. If you are doing the race, and want to taper, only do about 2/3 of this. Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun: race. If you don’t race, do a 22-minute run at tempo (threshold) pace.

Week 34 (Nov 9-15). The next up race, assuming COVID doesn’t cancel it, is the 6K at Fernhill. Given the rapid growth in the virus, while all eyes were on the election, rather than the virus, please be careful about social distancing and mask use. Tuesday. Fast-finish 800s. At Duniway, I’d write this as 6-8 x 600/200 (400) @ L-M/S. I.e., start at 5K to 3K effort for the first 600. Then finish hard (1500m effort). For most folks, 6 reps is good. High-mileage runners can do 7 or 8, if desired. This is a tough, peaking workout, appropriate as the season winds to a close. Friday: 3-5 x 2K alternations (2 min) @ 10k/MP. Translation: find a course of about 2K (the Fernhill race course is perfect). Break it into about 4 pieces of perhaps 600 and 400 meters. Run the 600 a bit faster than tempo, the 400 as a pseudo-recovery at marathon pace. Then another 600 and a final 400. The exact distances aren’t critical. Recover a bit and do it again. In a normal year, I’d be on the course, marking it with cones, but you’ll have to imagine that until the pandemic closes. Super-high-volume runners (60+ mpw) can do 5 reps. If you are under 41 mpw, 3 is fine.

Week 33 (Nov 2-8). This is the 3rd virtual race of the Stumptown cross-country series: Powell Butte. It’s the longest, and hilliest of the lot, though the course, if you’ve not yet previewed it, is really nice. And it’s not really ALL that long, or hilly. One big hill you run 2x, for a total of almost exactly 4 miles. So, what to do? There are two more races coming, and you can’t taper deeply for all of them. So I propose a mixed result. Tuesday: 4-6 x 1000 (400) @ vVO2max. Do one less than you’d do if there weren’t a race coming up. For most of you, that means 4. Do them at about 5 sec/mile faster than current 5K pace or, if you have done a time trial, 2-mile time-trial pace. That’s what vVO2max means. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday: race. This is a truly beautiful venue. If your schedule permits, gauge the weather and go then. The trail is mostly firm pea gravel, and the footing should be good, so spikes are probably not what you want. But bring them if you have them, and make that decision on site.

Week 32 (Oct 26-Nov 1). Next up, Powell Butte. For those of you not doing the cross-country series, that’s 4 miles on good trails. Or, more precisely 2 x 3.19K. Which is pretty close to 4 miles. Not that there’s anything massively different in the various races. If you’ve never been there, it’s a gorgeous place on a nice day. So… Tuesday: Twelves and Twos. I.e., 3 x 1200 (400) at a little faster than 5K effort, and 6 x 200 (200) @ a little faster than 1500m effort. Obviously, this can be done by time, on roads or trails, rather than a track. Friday: 2-3 x 2-mile tempo alternations. Break each 2-mile repeat into 4 pieces, and alternate pace between slightly faster than tempo, and slightly slower. Recover 2-3 min between repeats. Two repeats will be enough for most people.

Week 31 (Oct 19-25). This week is a 3K cross-country race. I’m assuming you are doing it late in the week: Saturday or Sunday. That allows a fairly full workout on Tuesday (or Weds) and a 3-day taper. Tuesday: 6-8 x 600 (400) @ 3K pace. Not a lot of them, but brisk. Err on the side of too few, not too many. Friday (or weekend): race. If you don’t race, now’s a good time for a 12-minute time trial. Run it hard. Your average pace, is your training pace for certain types of intervals.

Week 30 (Oct 12-18). For the next two months these workouts are all geared toward Stumptown cross-country (quasi virtual series). If you aren’t doing it, adjust as needed. The next race, in two weeks, is 3K, which for most of us is a sprint. With hills. So, we have two workouts. Tuesday: hill cone repeats. Yeah, I know we’ve done this before, but it’s worth doing again. Find a good hill, at least 400m long. Pick markers (in the good ol’ days, pre-COVID, I’d have put out cones) about 100m apart. I.e., 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m from your start. Precision isn’t required. Now, run 3-4 sets where you go hard to the first cone (recover back to the start), hard to the second cone (recover back to the start), etc. Friday: pure fartlek repeats. Find a course of roughly 2K. Grass, trails, and hills are good. Run 3-5 loops at varied efforts, ranging from 1500m pace to 10K effort. Recover 75-90 sec between loops. For most, 3 loops will be sufficient. You can also do this on a 3K loop, with fewer repeats.

Week 29 (Oct 5-11). This is the first cross-country race of the 2020 season, for those of you in Portland. Tuesday: true fartlek. We’ve done this before. 20-40 min in which you hit at least 5 of the following effort levels–1500m, 3K, 5K, 10K, tempo, marathon, brisk recovery–in any order, in any combination, for whatever distances feel like fun. To the extent there’s a perfect six-months-into-COVID workout, this is it. It’s also really good for cross-country. Friday (or Saturday or Sunday): 5K (ish) race. If you’re not in Portland, do a time trial or, if you don’t want to go that hard, 5K at tempo effort.

Week 27 (Sept 29-Oct 4). Back in the saddle again after smoke and recovery. Tuesday: 2 x 600 (400), 3 x 800 (400), 2 x 600, @ 3K effort. High-mileage runners can do more, but don’t exceed 5 miles, no matter what your volume. Friday: 3-5 x 2K @ tempo (2 min). If you like, these 2Ks can be run as alternations, in which you change pace a few times, alternating between slightly slower than 10K effort, and slightly slower than marathon effort. E.g., change pace every 500m, and do two full cycles for each repeat.

Week 26 (Sept 21-28). When I started this page, this was a milestone I never contemplated: six months. Realistically, we will probably be at this for another six months. Meanwhile, last week was smoke. And smoke. And more smoke. Until blessed rain. I am assuming that a lot of people missed significant training. If you did nothing much for the entire 10 days, this week is to get your running legs back. Don’t worry, you didn’t lose a lot. Just get your mileage back up, do some strides on Tuesday, and on Friday a light version of the workout I’m suggesting for “Tuesday,” below. You’ll be able to come back full-strength next week. If you got in a couple of days of treadmill work, or traveled to clean air or did a lot of cross-training on some form of indoor equipment, you may be ready for mild speed this week. To wit: Tuesday: Run the minutes. This is a very good start-up/comeback workout. Run 5 minutes at 85 percent effort. Run 5 at 65 percent. Run 4 at 85 percent effort, 4 at 65 percent. Etc., for 3, 2, and 1 min. That’s 15 minutes of speed. If you feel good you can do a second cycle (or part of it). Friday: 2:1 drill. We’ve had this before. Two minutes at 5K effort; 2 min recovery (some of these can be floats if you are well recovered from smoke). Do on trail, chips, grass, or something to mimic cross-country. Total: 30-40 minutes.

Week 25 (Sept 14-20). Because most people doing these workouts are in Oregon, I am not posting until later this week. Come back when the smoke clears. Right now, DON’T RUN. If you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you’re lucky, even if you are young. This causes headaches, sore throat, tight lungs, skipped heartbeat, cough, and who knows what else. Even indoor exercise is now problematic unless your air filters are better than most people’s.

Week 24 (Sept. 7-13) If you’re in Portland, workouts this week may be a little tough, due to wind and smoke. Assuming that Tuesday isn’t too bad, try this: Tuesday. Tempo. Start with a 22-minute tempo run over mixed terrain. The first XC race is at Mary S. Young, so try to mimic that terrain. For most people, 22 minutes is enough. High-mileage runners can take a 4-minute recovery and tack on up to another 22 minutes in a second tempo run. Friday. 6-8 x 800 @ 3K effort on soft surface. Can be chips. Can have an upgrade in it. Recover at least 400m, or if desired, all the way back to the start.

Week 23 (August 31-Sept 6) Next week is Labor Day, so let’s stay in pre-XC season until after the 3-day holiday. That means nothing too difficult, but on grass is good for at least one of them, probably Friday. Tuesday. 8 x 400 (200) + 6-8 x 200 (200). Simple and standard. Run the 400s at 5K effort. Run the 200s at 1500m effort. Friday: 4-mile predator run. Start fairly easy, and speed up, like a predator closing in on its prey. Warm up (that’s not part of the 4 miles). Then start the 4 miles at perhaps 95 percent of marathon effort (i.e., a little slower than marathon pace). Slowly speed up, passing through marathon pace, half-marathon pace, and tempo pace. The last 800 might be 5K effort (no faster). High mileage runners, can extend the length of this, but should keep the same range of effort. This should not be super-deadly. If you get going too fast in the middle, slow down, recover a bit, and progress again to the end.

Week 22 (August 24-30). Wow, August is nearly over. Stumptown Cross is looming. And even though it’s virtual, it will be on grass and courses that feel like cross-country. Tuesday: 2-1 drill. This is easy and can be done on any surface. Go 2 min hard. Recover for 1 min. Go 2 min hard. Recover for 1 min. Etc. Total time: 30-45 minutes. (Thirty minutes is fine unless you’re running more than 40 miles a week.) “Hard” means something akin to XC race effort. Recovery can be easy, or a float. Or you can mix it up and float sometimes, go easy on others. Friday: 2K tempo alternations. If you’ve done Saturday on the Grass workouts with me, you know exactly what these are. Find a dirt/grass loop of about 2K. Lots of parks are big enough to make this easy. Run most of it at tempo effort, but included at least one float in the middle lasting 30-60 seconds, and another at the end, lasting 60-90 sec. If you can include an upgrade on your course, put it in the hard part and float the downgrade. Do 3-5 reps of the loop, with 2-minute jog recoveries between.

Week 21 (August 17-23). We remain in pre- cross-country mode. Nothing intense, but a bit of prep. Though, if you are in Portland, watch the air quality. We are getting smoke up from California. ‘Tis the season. Tuesday: ‘Patched-together miles‘. The idea is simple; you’re going to do floats that add up to a mile. Specifically, 500-300-500-. As before, the hyphen is the “float” run at about marathon pace, or a touch slower. The other parts are run at somewhere between 5K effort and your 12-minute time-trial pace, assuming you ran the trial. Take an easy 400m jog between sets. Do 3-6 sets, depending on your total weekly volume. If you like, you can add 4 x 150 at the end, hard. As always, you can do this by time, on the roads or grass. Friday: straight tempo run. 20-22 min at tempo effort, as discussed in prior posts. Can be on roads, trails, hills, or whatever you like, so long as you use effort as the guide, not pace.

Week 20 (Aug 10-16). We are entering an interlude with no racing (that I know of) and no clear schedule of activities for fall. One option is a couple of weeks taking it easy. If you want to do speed, however, here are two suggestions: Tuesday: 300-meter floats. These are good practice for the surge-and-recovery needs of cross-country (if we have a cross-country season) and good training overall, regardless. The formula: 3-4 x 300-300-300-300- (400). I.e., run 300m at your 12-minute time-trial pace or a touch faster, then “float” 100m briskly (at about marathon effort). Roll immediately into another 300, then float, repeating the cycle for a total of a mile. (Note that you finish with a float.) 400m recovery between sets. You can do this as a fartlek, too, by guessing at the times (round numbers are fine). Save energy for 4-6 x 200 (200) at 1500m pace or a bit faster at the end. Friday: 2k tempo repeats. This can be done on the roads or in a park. Target 3 reps at tempo pace, on 75 sec recoveries. Higher volume runners can do 4 or 5 repeats.

Week 19 (Aug 3-9). It’s the dog days of summer. The TRL Summer Series is winding down and we’re waiting to see what fall may bring. I suggest two plans: Plan A is if you’re racing the virtual 5K this week. Plan B is if you are not. Plan A. Tuesday. Taper. 4-5 x 3 min at tempo. I.e., SLOWER than 10K pace. 30 sec easy jog recoveries. Finish with 4 x 30 sec hard. 2 min easy jog recoveries. Saturday. Race. Plan B. Tuesday: tempo-speed-tempo. Start with 1-1.5 miles at tempo (400-600 easy). Then 6-8 x 200 (200) @ 1500m pace or a touch faster. Take another 400-600 recovery and finish with 1-1.5 miles at tempo. Friday: 12-minute test. Run for 12 minutes. Measure how far you get and calculate the pace per mile. You can do it on a road or a track, though if you do it on the track you’ll have to guess how far you run in the last partial lap. (An error of a few meters won’t matter.) This pace is your new long-interval or “L” pace. Those using the 5K can use 5 sec/mile faster than that pace.

Week 18 (July 27-Aug 2). Two simple workouts this week. Tuesday: 10s & 2s. Specifically, 4 x 1000 (400) @ 5K effort, plus 5 x 200 (200) @ 1500m pace or a touch faster. If you don’t have a track, divide your 5K time by 5, round off to the nearest 15 sec, and call that a 1000. For 200s, pick a round number that sounds reasonable: 30 sec, 40 sec, 50 sec, etc. You can run these uphill if you want. Friday: 22-minute tempo run. That’s an odd sounding time, but Jack Daniels has said that this is the optimum length for a tempo run, so we’ll do it instead of the traditional 20 minutes or 3 miles. You can do this over rolling terrain if you like, but avoid long or steep downgrades to protect your knees.

Week 17 (July 20-26). If you are doing the age-and-slope-graded uphill mile this week, my suggestion is that you make this your main workout, probably late in the week to avoid heat (if you are in Portland). Tuesday. If you’re really serious about the mile, keep this short but sweet: 4-5 x 400 hard, on 4-5 min recoveries. Hard means “pretty fast” but not a 400m race. The idea is to go fast but not to accumulate residual fatigue…hence the long recoveries. Alternatively (if you’re not interested in tapering) find a shady hill and run the hill-cone drill we used to do on Terwilliger in hot weather. You don’t need cones; just landmarks (sticks will do). Put one at the start, then others at about 100, 200, 300, and 400 meters uphill. Run hard to the the first mark…recover slowly back down. Then go to the second mark, third, etc. After the 400, you’ve done one set. Start over with the 100. Do 3-4 sets. Friday: uphill mile or tempo alternative. If you’re a Lizard, the uphill mile is free, so you might as well do it. (If you aren’t, it’s very inexpensive.) If you don’t want to make it a race, make it a workout. Run hard up the hill. Recover back down, taking at least 10 minutes. Then, on the flat, do up to 8 x 600 (or 8 x 2 to 2 1/2 min) at tempo effort on 25 sec recoveries. Combined with the hard mile, that’s a good workout and will keep you on track for the final race in the prize money series, the 5K.

Week 16 (July 12-18). We don’t have any race this week, so we can go hard. The target is the virtual 5K in a few weeks. (It won’t hurt you for the uphill mile, ether, though for that you’ll also want to add a few uphill sprints on an otherwise easy day. Tuesday: M Pace Ladder. Most of you will know this. For those who don’t “M” pace is “medium-length interval pace,” or about 3000m pace–about 15 sec/mile faster than 5K pace. The workout is a simple pyramid: 2 x 600 (400), 3 x 800 (400), 2 x 600 (400). Numbers in parentheses are recoveries. High-mileage runners (more than 45 miles per week) can add a few extra reps, as desired. Friday: 600/400 alternations. These are 1000s run with a pace change at the 600m mark. The 600 is the faster part, done at tempo pace. The 400 is at about marathon pace effort. The basic workout is 6 x 600/400 (45 sec jog). Higher volume runners can combine them into 2Ks, 3Ks, or even 4Ks, with proportionally longer recoveries. I.e., a 2K would be 600/400/600/400 (90 sec). Higher volume runners can also add volume, but unless you’re training for the virtual Boston, I’m not seeing much reason to go beyond 10K, even if you have the mileage to sustain it. 6-8 K total is a pretty good range for most people. As always, these can also be run as fartleks with distances estimated by time (using round numbers to make it easier to keep track of).

Week 15 (July 5-11). July is a month full of virtual races, ranging from the just-finished 10K to the Foot Traffic half, an uphill mile, and a 5K. There’s no one training program to maximize performance in all of them. My suggestion is to remain fairly generic: it takes 10 days to get benefit from a shift in training, so if you do the entire series, there’s not much to be gained by flipping focus every week. Given that…. Tuesday. 8-10 x 400 (400) at 1500m pace. Can be run uphill. Friday. Aussies, plus optional 4 x 150 hard. For those not up on the term, Aussies, aka Aussie Quarters are a continuous 3-mile run in which you change pace on a set cycle. Start with 400 at 5K to 3K effort. Then “float” 200m at about marathon pace/effort. Then roll immediately into the next 400 at 5K to 3K effort. Continue for 3 miles. If preferred, you can do a time-based workout in which you alternate 2 minutes at 5K/3K effort, and 1 minute floats for the same total distance. (This will be slightly harder because the speed bouts are probably a bit longer and the floats proportionally shorter, but it’s close enough, and easy to keep track of on your watch.) Needless to say, if you are racing this week, you’ll want to taper and recover after the race. But there are too many race schedule variants going on right now for me to recommend specifics for all of them.

Week 14 (June 29-July 4). This is time trial week. My assumption is that you are either doing the Stumptown virtual 10K or a long tempo this week, presumably as your second workout. I’m marked it Friday, but Saturday is better. For those who have already done the time trial, repeat Week 11. Tuesday, 400m floats. For those who know my notation, this is going to be 2-6 x 400-400-400- @ L (500). Most people will do 4 reps. Do 2 if you’re wanting a deeper taper for the 10K. More than 4 is for high-volume runners. If you don’t know the notation, you are going to run sets of three 400s separated by a 100m “float”–meaning a marathon-pace pseudo recovery. You then finish with a float, before taking a true recovery. Pace is about 5K pace or a touch faster. If you prefer, make this a fartlek by doing sets in which you run 90 sec at L pace, and 25-30 sec at float pace. Friday/Saturday: Time Trial or Long Tempo. For most of you this will be the virtual 10K. If you’re not doing it, do 6 miles at a pace 12-15 sec/mile slower than your normal tempo pace. (Note, low-volume runners may need to reduce this to 4 miles.)

Week 13 (June 22-28). The TRL virtual 10K starts on Sunday but lasts through next week. Since most people tend to do virtual races toward the end of the time window for them, these workouts assume that you are doing the race next week. Tuesday: long(ish) repeats. 4-6 x 1200 (or 5 min) at hard pace; 400m (2 min to 2 1/2 min) jog recovery. “Hard” means somewhere between 5K and 8K effort, depending on how many you do. Can finish with 4 x 150 (30 sec) fast, if legs are feeling it. Friday: Run the minutes. This is a fartlek and can be done on trails or roads. Do 5 minutes at 85 percent effort, then 5 min at 65 percent effort (about a normal jog). Then 4 at 85 percent, 4 at 65 percent. Then 3 at 85 percent, 3 at 65 percent, etc. for 2 minutes and 1 minute. You can speed up as they get shorter: i.e., 85 percent effort for 3 minutes may be a bit faster than 85 percent of 5 minutes. If that’s not enough (and it won’t be for many people) do it twice…or 1 1/2 times, etc. Add 4 x 150 at the end if energy allows.

Week 12 (June 15-20). The goal now is shifting to longer races, with the next TRL summer series race being a 10K. For those not doing it, I will be working toward an alternative idea, which we’ll discuss next week. For now, here are the workouts: Tuesday. 5 x 1000 (400 jog recovery) @ 5K effort. High-volume runners can add extra repeats, though you may need to slow the pace a bit, accordingly. Friday. 3-4 x 2000m 600/400 alternations (400 jog recovery). If you’re not familiar with this, the initial 600 is done at tempo pace. The ensuing 400 is slower, but not a full recovery (it’s done at about marathon pace effort). So, 2000m of this is 600/400/600/400. Both workouts can be run by time, rather than distance, if you do them on the roads, instead of a track.

Week 11 (June 8-14). Tuesday. Tempo repeats or tempo run. Two options: (a) a 3-mile tempo run at threshold pace; or (b) 3-5 x 1 mile at the same pace or a touch faster, on 75-sec recoveries. Because Friday’s workout will be more intense, keep this as moderate, and err on the side of too little, rather than too much. Friday: one-mile time trial. For most people, that will be the Rose City Mile, a free virtual race that is part of the Team Red Lizard Summer series. If you want to tack on more afterward, try up to 8 x 600 (or 8 x 2 1/2 minutes) at Tempo pace, on 20-25 second slow jog recovery.

Week 10 (June 1-7). Tuesday: fast-finish 800s. We’ve done this on the track. You do 600 at 5K effort, then finish the last 200 fast. How fast is up to you. If you don’t have a measured course, just go for about the time it would take you to cover half a mile at 5K pace, and speed up 3/4 of the way through. Work in round numbers. This isn’t rocket science. E.g. 3 minutes is pretty good, with the last 45 sec fast, whether you’re a 5:30 miler or an 8:00 miler. If you’re slower than 8:00s, go for 4 minutes and do the last 1 minute fast. Six to 10 reps, depending on your volume (most people will find 6-8 to be plenty). Recovery is 400 meters, or about the same length of time you spent on the prior 800. Friday: 8 x 90 sec, hard. This assumes that if you are doing Rose City Mile, next week, you are doing it late in the week and not yet ready to taper. However, if you’re doing the mile, 8 of these is enough. They can be uphill, if desired.

Week 9 (May 24-30). Tuesday: hill crests. This one’s straightforward, and lets you double speed work and hill-climbing, if you’re doing the Team Red Lizard hill challenge. You’ll need a hill with about 400 meters of continuous upgrade. Pick a starting line about 90 second below the crest, and run hard uphill, working to speed up (i.e., retain the effort level) as the grade abates at the top. Go just enough beyond the crest to feel that speed-up in action. Recover back to your initial starting point. Do 8-10 reps at 1500m race effort. You can do 12 reps if you’re running 60 or more miles a week, but that’s optional. Friday: straight tempo. We’ve been doing a lot of complex stuff, so this one’s simple: 20 minutes at steady tempo effort. High-volume runners can do additional tempo repeats of up to 20 minutes each, sufficient to bring the total tempo volume to 10 percent of your total weekly volume…but again, only if you want. It’s not like you’re training for a marathon at the moment.

Week 8 (May 17-23). With the 5K time trial behind us (for those who did it), we’ll shift gears for a few weeks, with a possible eye to doing a mile time trial the second week of June. Tuesday: ersatz mile floats. Here’s the idea. Each repeat will be a mile, but you will break each one into three pieces, separated by a 100m “float” (a pseudo-recovery) at about marathon pace. Run the fast sections at about 5K effort. Make the first fast section 500m (.31 miles), the second one 300m (.19 miles) and the third one 500m. Finish with a third float after the 500. So each mile becomes 500-300-500-, where the hyphens are floats. Don’t worry too much if you’re not sure of the distances; this is basically a fartlek, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re a few meters off. Repeat 3-4 times, separated by a 400m jog recovery. Friday: inverted speed pyramid. This one is tough, but fun. Again, don’t worry if you can’t quite get the distances right. Approximate is good enough. For those who know my notation, it goes like this: 2 x 600 (200) @ 5K effort, 2 x 400 (400) @ 1500m effort, 2 x 200 (200) @ 800m effort, 2 x 400 (400) @ 1500m effort, 1-2 x 600 (200) @ 5K effort. Numbers in parentheses are the recoveries; @ signals the pace you’re to run. This is good for building speed/endurance for distances ranging from 800m to 3000m, but it’s a fun change of pace even if you aren’t targeting a virtual mile.

Week 7 (May 10-16). We’ve been building toward a 5K virtual race/time trial and tapered for it last Friday. So now the goal is to do it…and recover. Tuesday: 5K virtual race or time trial. Have fun! And realize that virtual races aren’t the same as real ones, so figure that anything you run in this is a PR. Friday (if recovered): tempo repeats. Keep it simple on this, with 3 x 2K at tempo effort, on 75-90 sec recoveries. High-volume runners can add an extra repeat or two, but only if it feels like fun.

Week 6 (May 3-9). Again, we will be specifically targeting next week’s virtual 5K, though the workouts also work for basic fitness. Tuesday: pseudo-800s. On a track, we’d do these as 800s. On roads or grass, make them 2:45 to 3:15. (Even if you don’t cover a full 800 in 3:15, that’s long enough for today’s purposes.) Recoveries are 2-minute jogs. Target pace is about 5K effort. Do 6 reps unless you are running more than 50 miles a week, then you can do 8. If desired (and your legs feel good enough) you can add up to four 25-sec sprints at the end. Friday: cruise intervals. If you do 8 of them, this is a taper workout. On the track, we’d do 8-11 x 600 on 20-25 sec recovery at tempo effort. (My Podium Runner article on how to find your tempo pace is here.) Off the track, do repeats lasting about the same time as a tempo 600 (there is no need to be super-precise about this). Recovery is a slow jog. The first few reps should feel pretty easy. If you do all 11, you’ll start to notice the short recovery in the last 3-4 of them, but it still shouldn’t be super intense.

Week 5 (April 26 to May 2). Those of you in Portland may be ramping up for the (free) Stumptown Quarantine 5K competition. (Non-Portlanders are invited to join in.) Note that this is a team event, as well as an individual event, so invite your buddies. So, for the next two weeks, we’ll focus on 5K. Tuesday: 2:1 drill. Run hard (5K effort) for two minutes, followed by 1 minute at marathon effort. Then return to the hard pace for 2 minutes, followed by another recovery, etc. Break this into sets of 9-12 minutes each. Do 2-3 sets. This is a great workout on mixed terrain (grass, dirt, asphalt), if you have access to it. Friday: short and speedy. Find a route of about 400 meters, and figure out its midway point. “About” 400 meters is good enough. Run hard (1500m effort) for 6-7 x 400, then 4-6 x 200. I.e., total distance 3200 to 4000 meters. Recovery is back to the start.

Week 4 (April 19-25). Tuesday, seesaw fartlek. This was my favorite treadmill workout, adapted for outdoors. It requires a GPS watch or a good sense of pace/effort, but it’s not rocket science, so don’t obsess about getting it too precisely. Start at a comfortable pace. Every 30 seconds, speed up 6 sec to 12 sec per mile. Continue doing this for several minutes, until the pace gets pretty brisk. Hold peak pace for 60 seconds. Then start easing off each 30 seconds in the reverse of the pattern in which you sped up. The first few reps of this will NOT feel like recoveries, but eventually you’ll be slow enough to start recovering. When you feel ready, start speeding up again. Plan on 30 minutes of this (unless you run less than 20 miles a week). High volume runners can do more–how much more depends on how intense you make it. If terrain is hilly, or wind shifts, don’t worry about pace and substitute effort. Friday, hill cone drill. If you’ve worked with me at Duniway, you probably know this one. Find a hill, at least 400 meters long. Using any markers you like (pavement cracks, trees, cones, telephone poles) pick a starting point and increments about 100m apart. Run hard to the first marker (~100m). Recover back to the start. Run hard to the second marker (~200m). Recover back to the start. Ditto for the third and fourth markers. That makes one set. Do 3-4 sets. (Don’t do 4 if your weekly volume is under 40 miles.)

Week 3 (April 12-18). Tuesday, 4-minute breakdown. Start with an interval lasting 4 minutes, at about 5K effort. Take a 400m jog recovery. Then run an interval lasting 3 1/2 minutes, with another 400m jog recovery. Follow that with 2 1/2 minutes, 2 minutes, etc., all the way down to 30 seconds, all on 400m jog recoveries. As they get shorter, make each one a little faster than the one before. High-volume runners can start at 5 minutes, for an extra 9 1/2 minutes of speed. Friday, predator loops. Find a course about 800m around. Start slow, and with each loop, speed up, thinking of yourself as a predator stalking its prey, preparatory for the final leap. BUT (big but!) be willing to adjust this to avoid close contacts with walkers, other runners, etc. This is not a time to be obsessive about the clock, versus public safety.

Week 2. Tuesday. Precision pacing self-competition. (Can be done as virtual competition with others.) Find a place where you can run hard (5K effort or a bit faster) for about 90 seconds, with convenient landmarks for start and finish. Any terrain. Plan 12 repeats. On the first, use your Garmin as desired, and check your time at the end. That’s the target time. Now, run the next 11, trying to match the effort you did in the first, without looking at your watch. Take a split at the finish, but don’t look at it until later. Recovery is back to the start. When you’re done, compare your times for each rep to your target time. Score 1 point for each second by which you missed. The goal a the lowest score you can get. If you like this, you can repeat it and try to beat that score next time. Friday. Two-one drill. Run 2 minutes hard, one minute medium, for 30 minutes total (more OK for high-volume runners). Take recovery breaks as needed, plus any other breaks needed to avoid congestion. Can be run on mixed terrain (roads, hills, grass)–wherever you can get enough space to social distance appropriately.

Week 1. Thursday or Friday: 3-6 x six-minute tempo repeats. Recovery is 90 sec easy jog.