Workout of the Week: Crazy 8s

By Mario Fraioli |

It’s hard to go wrong with 800m repeats. Do them fast enough and you’ll stay pretty sharp; do enough of them and the strength gains will take you a long way. An example of a pretty standard session many coaches will assign their athletes consists of six reps at 5K pace with 2 to 2-1/2 minutes recovery in between, or maybe 10 reps at 10K pace with two minutes recovery between the two-lap intervals—you get the idea. These workouts will help you build the specific strength you need for race day, practice getting your pacing down, and improve your overall efficiency. Every once in a while, however, I like to throw my athletes a curveball and have them switch gears halfway through, running the final 400m 4-5 seconds faster than the first. Learn why (and how) below. (more…)

Workout of the Week: The 5-n-Go Tempo

By Mario Fraioli |

There’s a lot of confusion around the tempo run but stripped down to its core, this workout simply boils down to maintaining a steady effort for a prolonged period of time. And while the definitions of steady and prolonged can vary depending on a variety of factors, for the sake of simplicity and ease of creating a common understanding, let’s call the “classic” tempo run 5 miles at half-marathon pace. This is a pretty standard workout you’ll see utilized by a wide range of athletes and coaches to build aerobic strength, improve efficiency, and/or practice running race pace. The 5-n-Go Tempo adds a slight twist to the classic tempo run by squeezing down the pace for a mile or two at the end. Here are the details: (more…)

Workout of the Week: Sit-n-Kick Ks

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: John Jefferson

One-kilometer repeats are a pretty standard workout for many runners training for the mile all the way up to the marathon, and no matter how you slice ’em, they tend to make for a tough session. You can do a handful of them at a really hard effort with a generous amount of recovery between intervals to blow out the tubes or rack up a lot of reps on short rest to build specific strength for longer distances. Either way, a kilometer is long enough to demand your full focus and it’s hard to fake your way through a set, whether you’re doing two reps or twenty. One of my favorite variations of this workout is to run most of the interval at 5K or 10K pace and “kick” the final 200-400 meters to simulate the end of a race. Here are the details: (more…)

Satisfied with the Shadows

By Mario Fraioli |

“You can remember it, he told himself, but you cannot experience it again like this. You have to be satisfied with the shadows.”
—John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner (more…)

Workout of the Week: Two-Minute Reps

By Mario Fraioli |

Not every workout will leave you hunched over with your hands on your knees afterward—in fact, most of them shouldn’t—but every once in a while you just need to go out and make yourself as uncomfortable as possible. Here’s one of my favorite sessions for achieving that end: (more…)

What have the miles meant to you in 2020?

By Mario Fraioli |

This holiday season, Tracksmith is acknowledging that Running is a Gift and that this year, the miles meant more. I loved this short film narrated by Malcolm Gladwell that brings this theme to life. It gave me goosebumps and got me thinking about what the miles have meant to me in 2020. As I reflect upon the sh*tstorm of uncertainty and chaos that has proven overwhelming at times the past several months, running has been the rock that’s helped me weather it all. It’s kept me grounded and the miles have meant more than ever before, despite the fact that I didn’t race for the first time in the 23 years I’ve been involved in the sport.

In Issue 264 of the newsletter, I asked readers, “What have the miles meant to you in 2020?” Here are responses: (more…)

Workout of the Week: The Alternating Miles Long Run

By Mario Fraioli |

The long run, for me, is a fickle beast, with the emphasis changing from week to week depending on what we’re trying to get out of it. It doesn’t always have to be long and slow; sometimes we’ll alternate paces to keep things interesting and get a little more aerobic bang for our buck per mile. The Alternating Miles Long Run, which bounces back and forth between marathon pace and the faster end of your normal training pace, is one of my favorite sessions to assign my athletes, whether they’re in marathon training or not. Here are the details: (more…)

Workout of the Week: Deek’s Quarters

By Mario Fraioli |

I first read about this workout, made popular by former Boston winner and marathon world champion Rob De Castella of Australia, in Michael Sandrock’s Running With The Legends (one of my favorite running books of all-time, for what it’s worth) when I was in high school. I first wrote about it for Competitor, now PodiumRunner, five years ago. The session’s construction is simple: 8 x 400m with a scant 200-meter float for “recovery” between repetitions. It’s efficient and effective but it ain’t easy! Here are the details: (more…)

Workout of the Week: Pardon the Uphill Interruption

By Mario Fraioli |

Long intervals or short hill sprints for your next workout? Trick question. The answer is both! I like to combine different training elements from time to time to keep workouts interesting and help us get a little something extra out of them. In this workout, we’ll “interrupt” a session of 2-mile repeats with two 10-second hill sprints at near max effort. Here are the details: (more…)

Workout of the Week: The 5 x 5 Fartlek

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Cody Mann

In ordinary times, we’d be nearing the end of cross-country season here in the U.S., and the fall road racing schedule would also be winding down over the next 3-4 weeks. One of my favorite all-purpose workouts to assign this time of year, whether you’re shredding grass, locking into a rhythm on the roads, or going back-n-forth between the two is the 5 x 5 Fartlek. Here are the details: (more…)