I agree with you that I wouldn't try this workout on most people.
Here are some guidelines I use for VO2 max workouts - they are similar to Dr. Daniels - and how Ramzi's workout compares.
- Repeats are between 800 to 1600 in length (so 1k is a nice fit)
- Pace should be 3k to 5k race pace (Ramzi's workout is definately on the quick side of this).
- Rest is 75% to 100% of run time (Ramzi's 90 second is just 60% of run time)
- Total repeat distance is 6-8% of weekly mileage with a maximum of 6 miles (8k worth of work is on the long side of this but fits.) If on the longer side of things the pace would be 5k rather than 3k.
In general if I had my runners do this workout it would probably be more like 8 x 1k @ 5k pace and with 75-100% of run time recovery and we'd consider it one of the harder ones we do.
Some other notes:
I wonder what Ramzi did for his recovery. If he jogged or if he just slowly walked around. If he walked and hung around the start area the rest, while still short, may be comparable to a little longer recovery while jogging.
Also I have noted in the past that many international middle distance runners, in particular the North Africans, are in to doing high volume VO2 Max and Fast Interval work, but they break the workout into sets in order to get in the higher volumes. So 8 x 1k may be done as 2 x 4 x 1k, as pointed out by someone earlier in the thread, with up a mile jog between sets. If done that way it may explain the shorter rest between repeats (because a longer rest was taken between sets).
However you slice it, it was a beast of a workout if its true. We all know some runners propensity to exagerate slightly or leave out certain details (like breaking the repeats into sets) when retelling workout. But nothing surprises me too much when you are talking about the workout abilities of world class athletes at their peak.