80%-20%, from Coach Bill Devine

Coach Bill Devine Westfield State University writes to suggest I should examine the trend toward 80 % 20% training for cross country and middle distance track runners. Part of Bill’s motive is that I am easily confused by numbers. I will give it a try.

We are talking about runners in the 5K (women) and 8K to 10K (men) events and for track events mile to 10K including the 3K steeplechase.The suggestion would be for 80% of the training during most of the year to be at aerobic talking pace, and 20% of the training to be faster than aerobic pace.

So let’s try to look at the numbers; assume the cross country runner runs 40 (women) miles a week and the men 50 to 60 miles a week. That would mean that the men would run 12 miles a week of quality, faster running and the women 8 to 10 miles a week of quality running

The 3K steeplechase runner( or 2 miler) would need to do 9 miles of quality work each week, if we exclude 2 -3 miles of racing that would leave 6-7 miles of quality work! One day of 5-6 x 1 mile repeats at 3k to 5k pace with some over barriers or hurdles. Another day on the track could be 6-8 x 400m at mile pace with a 400m jog rest or 3 -4 x 800 at steeple pace over barriers. Also to be included would be supplemental work such as skipping and fast strides.

What about runners such as Moose, mile-800m, 10-12 miles of quality work a week, he could do one day of repeat 800m x 10-12 at 3k pace with 3 mins jog (6 miles) (that is a lot), and 2nd day of 4 miles of repeats including 8 x 400 at mile pace(2 miles) and 2 miles of 300 and 200 m at date pace for the 800m. Such as 4 x 300 at date pace and 6-8 x 200m at goal pace, with 4- 8 x 100 at fast 400m effort to finish days on the track. Somewhere in the mix for Moose we have to find a place for 5 x 500 at hard with 500m rest, and 1 minute reps fast with 3 minutes rest doing as many 1 minute runs as possible. It is essential that miler-800 runners work on speed in their warm ups to  include 4 x 60m fast. After wup, 3x 30 m varied pace runs,  several days a week, finishing long slow runs with fast strides. Improving 400m speed is still a key for the 800-mile.

Are you getting this Moose, so after getting back from running to Las Vegas, we should develop this program.

What about the 5k 10K college runner, and the high school 2 miler that runs 40 miles a week?

10K college runner with 70 miles a week, would need 14 miles of quality workouts, wow that is much, going back to the great coach Bill squires his college runners in the early 70’s ran 6 x 1 mile repeats with a 4 mins jog rest once a week, plus steady pace fast runs of 30 mins at 10k pace on the grass at Franklin Park as they rarely had a track available. Back in those days when Westfield State and Boston State only got to tracks on race days, early season we did workouts during and after race. Above all have fun!!!

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