Workout of the Week: The Reverse Michigan

The "Reverse Michigan" workout is an ascending ladder on the track—starting with a fast 400m, ending with a strong mile—interspersed with longer stretches of tempo running off the track between intervals. It's a great blend of speed and strength that can be beneficial to nearly any runner whether they're training for the mile, the marathon or anything in between.

Getting Back On (The) Track

This past Saturday I raced the 1500m at the first of two winter all-comers track meets at Cal Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium. It was the first 1500 I’ve competed in since 2004 and my first proper track race at any distance since 2009 (save running every event at a different all-comers meet as a workout a few summers ago). I laced up a pair of spikes for the first time since 2006 and as I was doing so wondered for a brief second what the hell I was getting myself into.

Workout of the Week: The 4-2 Fartlek

This effort-based workout is a great early to mid-season season session when you're still fortifying your fitness foundation and neither pace nor specificity are key concerns.

runner running fast on a trail

Workout of the Week: Sit-n-Kick Ks

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.

Workout of the Week: Broken Tempo Run

Tempo runs tend to get the best of you? You’re not the only one. This classic workout tends to intimidate a lot of runners because of its stop-free nature, e.g. 3-8 miles at half-marathon pace is a popular prescription and anything but an easy assignment during a heavy training week. The Broken Tempo Run serves as a nice alternative, especially early in a training block when you’re just not that fit or if you tend to have a hard time wrapping your head around a long workout.

Workout of the Week: Pardon the Uphill Interruption

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.

runner running uphill

Workout of the Week: Three is a Magic Number

If I were only allowed to use one interval—but could manipulate the intensity, recovery, and number of reps to suit my needs and desires—it’d be 3-minute repetitions. What makes them magic? Three-minute reps are short enough to keep your attention, long enough that you can’t fake your way through a set of them, and versatile enough to achieve different objectives depending on the day.

runner and dog running on a trail

Quick Thoughts on 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon Standards

So what do I think about the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying standards? I’ve gotten this question at least a dozen times in the past few days and here’s where I’ve landed: I personally believe the women’s field at the 2020 Trials in Atlanta was way too big (511 athletes) while the men’s was just about right (260), so the existing standards needed to be evaluated and adjusted accordingly. The main purpose of having an Olympic Trials race is to choose the Olympic team; the secondary purposes are to create opportunity and experience for up-and-coming athletes and, as Sarah Lorge Butler wrote in the aforelinked piece for Runner’s World, "to connect elite running with a broad audience.”

Workout of the Week: Crazy 8s

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.

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

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.

runner running a tempo run