Today’s workout comes from Hoka One One – Northern Arizona Elite runner Grayson Murphy, who has specialized in track events from the 3,000m steeplechase to the 10,000m, where her PR is 32:28.
This workout is great for building endurance and strength making it especially helpful in training for longer distance events (5k and up!). And, while it might look like a beast on paper, I love this workout because when you finish you’ll feel strong knowing you were able to run a lot of volume at a fast pace. I tend to get bored easily in monotonous workouts but this one keeps it interesting, allows you to hit a variety of different race paces and tests all of your different systems.
10-15 minute warmup
2-3 mile tempo (@ a pace you think you could run for about an hour, A.K.A. threshold pace)
3-5 minute rest
1 mile (@ 5k pace)
3 minute rest
3-4 x 800m (@ 5k effort or just a bit faster)
2 minute rest between each 800m
Optional add-on for those marathon runners out there:
6-8 x 400m (@ 3k effort)
90 seconds rest between each 400m
10-15 minutes cooldown
Total volume: 8 miles (11-12 with warmup & cooldown), keeping in mind the intention of this workout is to focused on building long distance aerobic strength.
Where to do it:
A bike path with distance markers, a track or anywhere you can measure your distance! If you aren’t lucky enough to have marked distances easily available try just running your reps based on time and effort instead (i.e. if your 10k pace is about 7:00/mile, run for 14 minutes at that effort in place of the 2 mile tempo).
How to do it:
The tempo is meant to put some work into your legs and get you close to how you might start to feel towards the middle of the race without putting too much strain on your body. Then you move into the mile repeat where you can drop down in pace and open up your stride and really get your legs moving. This should feel fast but still pretty comfortable. Now that you have some work and speed into your legs you are warmed up and ready for some faster reps.
The 800m and 400m repeats are meant to simulate the demands at the end of the race when your legs start to burn. These reps teach your body AND MIND that it can still run fast and have good turnover even when it feels tired, that’s why this workout is the perfect prep to get you ready to race at your best both mentally and physically!
On November 18th, 2017 I stood on the start line standing next to 300 of the best collegiate runners in the country. The energy was electric as we stood there staring down the barrel of the biggest race of our season: the NCAA Division 1 National Cross Country Championships. After having finished no worse than 5th place in every race leading up to nationals, I felt quietly confident. With the crack of the starter’s pistol, we were off! I felt that I had the strength and had shown the guts all year long to contend for a top-10 finish at this race. I had no reason to believe otherwise. Yet after the first 400 meters, I found that I was in about 50th place and my body was already full of lactic acid. Nothing felt smooth and I felt like I was trying to run through slowly cooling wax.
After 1 mile of the 6k race, I found myself in about 40th place, moving up slowly but still very far from the top-10 finish that I had prepared for and dreamt of. At that point finishing strong felt a million miles away. While a less experienced version of me may have panicked right away, I told myself to stay calm and hang in there. Sometimes these things happen, I thought to myself, some of your workouts didn’t feel good at the beginning but then you always felt better as long as you didn’t panic. Have patience Grayson, you got this.
Slowly but surely my body started to feel better and more relaxed. I was transforming into the strong runner that I knew I was. In that last mile, my calm belief in myself, and perseverance through those dreadful early miles started to pay off: my legs did know what they were doing! I was passing people, moving through the remainder of the field, and even passing the defending national champion. Then there it was: the finish line. At this point, I wasn’t smiling happily and gliding along as you might be imagining. Everything hurt. But I had been so patient and worked so hard to get to that finish line feeling strong that I was not about to let off the gas. ‘Don’t give up, don’t give up’ I repeatedly told myself.
Suddenly, from one stride to the next, I was across the line and it was over. Thanks to one of the fastest closing 1000m in the entire race, I finished 8th. I may not have been first across the line but I had been patient, fought long and hard, and earned that strong finish — to me that was a win. For most of the race, it seemed impossible that I would achieve my goal, let alone finish feeling strong. Previously I had thought it was only possible to finish feeling strong by physically charging across the finish line full of energy and power. This race taught me that regardless of how our bodies may feel on race day, we can always finish feeling strong using the perseverance and power of our minds.
Sign up for The Last Mile and you’ll get a free Summit trial to arrive at the starting line in peak condition, and if your last mile split is your fastest, you’ll unlock a $10 donation to youth running organizations around the world (up to a combined total of $50,000).