what are the foundational elements/workouts in a training plan to run sub-4?
All these college kids breaking 4 these days (some way under)--what are they doing? What are the common trends? (besides talent and hard work-obviously)
I want to break 4 in the next three years. I ran 4:06 in college two years ago under the following training (my coach was a thrower)
M: 4-9 miles easy
T: longer intervals, ex. (5-6xmile) or (8x1000m)
Th: shorter intervals (300s, 400s, 600s)
F: 4-9 miles easy
S: 4 mile tempo (basically a race every time)
Su:9-14 miles easy
I have better speed than endurance: 50s in 400m, 14:35 5k, 24:40 8k.
I know different things work for different folks, but let's make this thread a good place to discuss the fundamentals and key workouts.
If this has been done here before, please point me to it---couldn't find with search.
|800M or Bust|
that plan looks pretty basic for 5K. You need more mile pace stuff. To get that in I like doubles two times a week.
Tues AM 5X1000 PM 8X200 mile pace
Thurs 2 mile tempo PM 300s, 400s, 600, mile pace
Sat mixed workout hills and 200s to 300s
Sun 7 mile med hitting 5:30 pace. No long easy if you want to be a sub four miler
thanks for the advice! This is exactly the input I need. I never felt "fast" under my old training, no pop. Never felt comfortable at speed. When you watch world-class milers, they look so relaxed at mile pace--I always felt strained from the gun at 60 or 61s per 400.
Would you recommend no long run?
More input, please! What are specific mile pace workouts one should be doing (including pace and recovery times) to go sub-4?
your program looked ok but the devil is in the details.
5x1mi in 4:50 isnt much help. But run 4 in 4:30. Big difference! Maybe 3 in 4:24 near the peak.
Similarly, work towards 5x600@ 1:30 with 90-2 min rest and you might get there. Good luck
yes, exactly what I'm talking about--we used to do mile repeats 4:40-4:50; sure, it made us fit for XC, but when racing the mile I felt so damned slow! I think we just didn't spend enough time at mile paces.
How long would you rest between those faster mile reps?
Also, feel free to completely throw out the training I posted, I am under no allegiance to it and would be happy to do something totally different if more appropriate for sub-4.
4 weeks of tempo runs at 5:12 pace 4-6 miles.
2 weeks of true tempos - 4 miles in 20-20:30
2 weeks cruise intervals - 8 x 1200s at 3:40 w/ enough recovery such that you are able to complete the next one with good form.
2 weeks v02 max intervals - 8 x 800s at 3k pace
with enough recovery such that you are able to complete the next rep with good form.
2 weeks sharpening 200s, 100s, strides - sub 4 pace
race a mile in under 4:00
There are some coaches (including me) that believe that for those longer, tougher intervals the rest is less relevant than the performance. But hows this for a black and white example-David Moorcroft ran 4x 1k or 4x600m as hard as he could . Apparently he did that for several years. He started at 2:40 and 1:30 and ended up at 2:24 and 1:22! He did not worry about the rest.
On the Canova threads you will see many references to quality workouts like 1600-1200-800-400 at increasing speeds. For you it might be 4:16, 3:09, 2:04. 58. I think about 4 min rest is about right.
But you also want to keep your base solid so you might want to add longer tempos-40-50 min.
Finally, close to your goal races I like a 2k time trial 2-3 weeks out, then the next week 1200 plus 300 @ race pace and finally 3x800@ race pace-2-3 min rest.
This has worked quite well for several different kids I have coached but none of them were quite ready for sub 4.
Much of the foundation is, well... foundation. Limited down-time between seasons (If any at all - I consider my down-time to be two weeks of easy running), a reasonable buildup, then week after week of training bordering on OCD. Sometimes for several years before the breakthrough, though if you find the right plan that works for you it could only take a year. If you were a 4:06 guy in college, chances are it's going to take a lot of consistency to drop that much time unless your training back then was sub-par.
I coached myself to a sub 4 but I had been coaching myself for several years and kept making slight tweaks to my plan (which was just bits and pieces picked up here and there) based on what I thought was working for me.
Be careful listening to anyone who has a 'plan'. There are plans that are generally better than others, but nothing is going to be the best route to take for every runner. In your situation, you're going to have to really get a feel for what's helping you and what you can do without - and do this as quickly as possible. My 400, 5k, and 8k aren't drastically different than yours (a bit slower at 400, moderately faster at 5k and 8k) so you can take this with a grain of salt, but here's what I found to work for me:
For aerobic development
-Decent mileage. 80-85. Comfortable.
-Good long run. 18 miles Comfortable.
-A lot of tempo. Twice a week in base phase alternating between straight tempo (8k, 10k, or 12k) and long tempo intervals (6x2k, 4x3k, 3x4k w/20% time rest). Gradually cutting the pace over time. I was able to comfortably hit anywhere from 4:55 - 5:05 pace depending on the workout by the middle of race phase. These workouts were less frequent and less voluminous as the season moved on.
-Strides a few times a week.
-A lot of work at (what I estimated to be) current mile pace. Once a week during base I'd do about 4km worth of 200s and/or 300s. 20x200 with either 100m rest in :45 or 200m rest in 1:00 was a staple. I'd change it up for variety, but the intervals and rest were always short. 12x300, 4x(2,3,3,2), etc. Nearing the end of the season, I'd try to do longer intervals for these workouts - 300m, 400m, and 500m reps.
-Every few weeks I'd try to get some pure sprinting in. 100m or 200m reps with full rest. I think more of this would have helped me, but I was squeezing a lot of work into very little time and these workouts didn't make the cut since they made it difficult to get my mileage for the day and I felt I got more from high-volume workouts.
I almost completely cut out mid-length intervals at 3-5k pace. They became too much of a hassle since I greatly struggled to do them by myself and most of the time I felt I wasted a day of training trying them. Certainly never ran them during base. Once I was near race phase though, I would throw in 20x400 w/100m rest at about 3-5k pace which I could manage alone. Only 2 or 3 sessions of 6x1k or similar and I had to get into a zone to do them (probably why my 5k PR sucks).
Good luck. If you're interested in more from me specifically just ask - I'll keep an eye on the thread for a day or so. I've got a training log you could look at.
|been around the block|
I'm not quite sure if any of those will work.
I'd think to drop from 4:06 to 3:59, he would need lots of work in the 5:00-5:45 range.
I would do 2 workouts a week, one 12 mile run and one 16 mile run both progressing to an avg of 5:45.
Workouts should consist of 8-10 mile tempo's @ 5:10-5:20 pace, 5*mile at 5:10,5:00,4:50,4:40,4:30. 8x1k @ 2:56 down to 2:45. 6x800 @ 2:05.
Then after months and maybe years of the training above, you'll be close enough to attempt at workout like 3x800 in 2:03,1:58,1:54 with 5 min rest. 1200, 600, 300 @ mile pace w/ 4 min rest.
thanks usedabe, very helpful! I agree that 5k pace stuff is the worst to do by yourself--bashing out 4:40 miles alone stinks! Interesting also to see a relatively long run.
What was your 800m PR when in sub-4 shape? I never ran the 800 in college, but HS PR was 1:54
Would you mind posting a week or two of a "typical" week in base and competition phase? I put my email if you have a log on file.
thanks everyone, keep it coming!
Methinks usedabe is the only one thus far to have run or coached a sub 4 guy. Letsrun is rife with blowhards and conjecture, with zero real life basis to give credibility to their "expert advice". Your best bet is for guys like spivey, jrinaldi, whitely, lurker, etc to get on here and give some personal questions. Remember that what works for even them might not be the right thing for you. I love your fire though. I really hope that you achieve your goal.
|Actual sub four runner|
My training was very similar to yours, but I ran about 30 more miles a week and did longer tempo runs.
From my experience strength is more important than speed if you are able to run 50 sec for a 400m. Think about it this way, you can run 59 for 400m and 1:59 for 800m pretty easily, but 2:59 for 1200m and 3:59 for a mile are hard because aerobically you get tired. It's not your speed that's preventing you from running 3:59, it's your strength. Especially if you can only run 14:35 for 5k and 24:40 for 8k.
Agreed on the 59 (very easy) 159 (easy) 259 (not easy) thing.
So how do I get that last 800m strength? What specific workouts should I do?
More easy miles? Tempos at what length and pace?
I ran 1:51 in college and had 51 speed, but when I was coaching myself (several years later) I think I would have been hard pressed to run 1:54 and 54. I've taken crap on these boards for saying I could only run 54-55 (estimated) when I broke 4 - people think it's 'bragging' or something, but when I was doing full flying start 200's fully rested and struggling to barely go under 26 (tying up like mad in the last 50m), it was pretty clear to me that I didn't exactly have wheels.
Typical base week for say late December would be:
Tu. 12k tempo (11mi total)
Th. 20x200 (10mi total)
Sa. 4x3k (14mi total)
Monday would start around 6:30 pace and end up around 6:00 pace. I'd add 4-6 strides near the end of the run.
Tuesday would have about 2mi warmup and start around 5:10 pace. I'd be around 5:00 pace by the end. 2mi cooldown.
Wednesday same rough pace as Monday, maybe a bit faster at the end (5:45 or so).
Thursday I'd do 3mi warmup and 2mi cooldown. 6 around 32, 6 around 31, 6 around 30, then 2 fast (maybe 28 or just under).
Friday was rest, 6:30-6:45 pace, some strides.
Saturday I had more time so longer wu/cd. Same rough pace as Tuesday but on a dirt track. 1 lap recovery.
Sunday I didn't worry about pace but I'd start around 7:30 and move towards about 6:30. Hilly terrain.
All of this was built to where I could do it comfortably. I did do harder workouts later in the season that killed me, but for most of my training I was in a comfortable effort level. Ran 3:59 in March. I'll try to send you a cleaned up version of my log when I get home. I'm on my phone now and it's killing my fingers.
I should also add that my 3:59 was my 'perfect' race. Everything lined up correctly with the pace of the race. I was able to stay out of trouble and inside. I heard splits 60, 1:59, 2:59. I would call it a perfect race because it was even-split and I wobbled across the line and over the last 20m. Absolutely nothing left. So if conditions were slightly different I might not have gone under.
|Let's get serious|
I'm curious as well. Lately it seems sub4 is becoming the "norm", atleast amongst NCAA runners. More runners every year are continually breaking the barrier. I'd like to know what's changed, if anything in terms of Workout cycles, types of workouts, and peaking methods. Surely there is someone in "the know" that can give an insight as to what's efficient and smart training. Thanks
Try the following 400 cutdown workout:
4x400@62 w/60sec rest interval
4x400@60 w/60sec rest interval
4x400@58 w/60sec rest interval
Adjust the target time accordingly as you improve.
This was the bread n butter of my collegiate workouts.