The Workout of the Week (or as we like to call it, the WoW) is an ongoing feature from pro athlete Lauren Fleshman. If you missed the last few workouts or want to check in on upcoming ones, bookmark The Weekly Workout page.
What it is: 4 sets of 2 x 800 with 2 minute recovery between the reps and 3 minute recovery between sets. Each set of two gets progressively faster, averaging out to around your 5k pace. Yes that is 8 x 800 total (dayum!) Advanced version is 5 sets, or 10 x 800 total.
You can do it, I swear.
How to do it: This is my signature take on an old classic workout. In a way it is the little sister of hard mile repeats, breaking the miles into bite-sized sets of 800’s. Only the most experienced athletes can handle 4 x 1 mile at true 5k goal pace, and generally only at their fittest weeks of the year. Mile reps are one of those workouts that often lead athletes to “prove it at practice” leaving nothing for the race. My fastest 5k’s were run in seasons when I ran workouts more like this one.
Location: #Flyer800s can be done anywhere, but preferably someplace flat: grass field loop, bike path, gravel road, or track. Just make sure you’ve got a clear path with good footing so you can focus on hitting your goal times while staying relaxed.
Pace: Figure out a reasonable 5k goal pace you’d like to hit in the next 3 months or so. Use this pace chart to determine what pace that is per 800. Then do the first set of two 800’s 5 seconds slower than pace, the next set 2 seconds slower than pace, the next set right on pace, the next set 2 seconds faster than pace, and if you do a final bonus set, 5 seconds faster than pace.
– For me (currently): 2 x 2:35, 2 x 2:32, 2 x 2:30, 2 x 2:28, 2 x 2:25.
– For my master’s athletes Sally and Sarah: 2 x 2:55, 2 x 2:52, 2 x 2:50, 2 x 2:48
Variations: As you get fitter, you can decrease the recovery time between 800’s from 2 minutes/3 minutes (what is prescribed) to 90 seconds/3 minutes. If that is too easy, your recoveries can be 60 seconds/3 minutes. If that feels too easy, you need to run your #Flyer800s faster, homeslice.
Photos from Amos Morgan