RW's Definitive Serious Speedwork: Other Sessions

From 200s to time trials


Posted: 1 June 2000
by Steve Smythe

200m Repetitions

This is a good work-out to do the week before an important race. Distance runners should keep the recovery very short: 20-60 seconds should suffice. Assuming you can run your 200m repetitions inside 40 seconds, you could try to start each repetition every 60 seconds.

If you want a less taxing session that generates more speed, have a 200m recovery spread over two minutes and aim to run significantly faster than mile speed. Because a runner’s speed over 200m has relatively little significance to 10K or half-marathon speed, we suggest you run the 200m repetitions as you feel, rather than to a suggested time.

800m Repetitions

This is a good range of sessions between the 400m and mile, and the speed of the repetitions should be adjusted accordingly. To build a fraction more stamina, try 1000m repetitions with the same speed and recoveries as for the 800s.

  Standard Strength Speed
  5K pace 10K pace Mile-3K pace
Repetition 6 x 800m 8 x 800m 4 x 800m
Recovery 400m jog/3 mins 200m jog/60 secs 600m jog/5 mins
Best 10K (/800m)      
35 (2:48) 2:40 2:48 2:30
40 (3:12) 3:05 3:12 2:55
45 (3:36) 3:25 3:36 3:15
50 (4:00) 3:50 4:00 3:40
55 (4:24) 4:15 4:24 4:00
60 (4:48) 4:35 4:48 4:25
65 (5:12) 5:00 5:12 4:50

Longer Repetitions

During the winter months especially, it is a good idea to run repetitions longer than a mile (eg 2K or 3K). That&146;s traditionally to build speed endurance for a good spring and summer season. But because of the distance, it&146;s probably best not to run these on the track, and you should try to run them at a slightly slower pace than suggested for the mile sessions.

Time Trials

It is a good idea to test yourself occasionally over a set distance. You may have a 10K coming up and want to run a hard 5K without having to race, for instance. Most runners will still tend to attack the time trial as if it was a race and start too quickly, but without the stimulus of competition they find it hard to maintain the same pace throughout and end up with an effort some way below what was intended.

One option would be to run the time trial at 10K pace and to practise pace judgement, and hopefully still have some energy left. A better option would be to break it down into a different sort of speed session. Former Commonwealth marathon champion Steve Moneghetti, who can claim to be the world&146;s most consistent marathoner (from 1986, when he won a Commonwealth bronze, until 2000, when he was 10th in the Olympics), has a stock session of 8 x 400m with a 200m fast float. Break down the 5K that way. If you would normally run 20 minutes for a 5K (96 seconds per 400m), run your 400m laps 4-5 seconds quicker than race pace and then the 200m float (this is not a jog) at 6-8 seconds slower than 10K pace, which probably equates to your steady run pace or approximately a minute per mile slower than your target 5K pace. To make it up to 5000m total distance, finish with a hard last 200m (at mile pace or better).

The benefit of this session is that for the majority of it you are running faster than race pace. Even on the slower sections you are still moving at a hard pace. The overall pace of running 5K this way should roughly equate to a consistent 10K pace or slightly faster.

Best 5K (/400m) 400s 200m float Approx time trial
16:00 (76.8) 72 46-48 16:15-16:30
17:00 (81.6) 77 49-51 17:25-17:40
18:00 (86.4) 82 52-54 18:30-18:45
19:00 (91.2) 86 55-57 19:30-19:45
20:00 (96.0) 91 58-60 20:40-20:55
21:00 (1:40) 96 61-63 21:40-21:55
22:00 (1:46) 1:40 64-66 22:40-22:55
23:00 (1:50) 1:45 67-69 23:45-24:00
24:00 (1:55) 1:50 70-72 24:45-25:00
25:00 (2:00) 1:55 73-75 25:55-26:10

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