Yared Nuguse Reveals the Secret of His Success: Triple Threshold Training
April 1, 2023
American Yared Nuguse has been one of the hottest runners on the planet in 2023. He opened his season by running an American record of 7:28.64 for 3,000 meters in Boston on January 27, followed that up by running 3:47.38 in the mile to set another American record at Millrose two weeks later, and closed his indoor campaign with a 1500m win over World Championship medalist Mohamed Katir in Madrid.
Many explanations have been suggested for Nuguse’s breakout season. Now that he’s a pro, he can focus on sleep and recovery instead of classes at Notre Dame (he was a biochemistry major). He’s training at altitude for the first time in his life. He has world-class training partners at the On Athletics Club in Ollie Hoare and Mario Garcia Romo.
All of those explanations sound logical. But all of them are wrong. Nuguse says his fast times this year are due to one thing and one thing only: triple threshold training.
Jake Wightman Spills the Secret
In recent years, Jakob Ingebrigtsen and coach Mike Smith at Northern Arizona University have found great success by utilizing the double threshold training developed by Norwegian runner Marius Bakken in the 2000s. The idea is fairly simple: two threshold workouts per day. That means something like 5 x mile with 90 seconds’ rest in the morning, and 7 x 1000m with 60 seconds’ rest in the afternoon.
Triple threshold is the next logical step in training — three threshold workouts per day.
Nuguse said he discovered the concept while chatting with Jake Wightman at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.
“We were at the Wild Duck (RIP) the night he beat Ingebrigtsen in the 1500,” Nuguse says, recalling the story. “I think Jake may have had one too many IPAs, because he was saying all sorts of things. But then he called me over to a booth and, with a deadly serious look in his eyes, asks me, Do you want to know how I beat Ingebrigtsen?
“And I said, Of course! And then Jake said three words: Triple threshold, mate.”
Before then, Nuguse had been considering getting a number of small tattoos on his arms and legs in an attempt to bridge the gap to Ingebrigtsen.
“I figured they must make him faster somehow,” Nuguse says. “Why else would he have them?”
But Nuguse scrapped that idea after hearing Wightman’s revelation. Nuguse mentioned triple threshold training to his coach, Dathan Ritzenhein, who was intrigued.
Double Threshold Training = Antiquated
“We sent some of the details to the guys at the On labs in Switzerland,” Ritzenhein says. “After three months of number-crunching, they confirmed to us that three is greater than two and that we should give it a try.”
During the 2023 indoor season, Nuguse kept his triple threshold strategy a secret from his OAC teammates.
“It was difficult because I’d have to keep making excuses for why I was leaving the house at 8 p.m. for another workout,” Nuguse says. “One night I told them I had made plans with a friend to catch up on our ironing together. Then I said I had gotten really into quilting. And in February, I told them I had joined a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. That last one is not even a lie — I actually went a few times after my workouts. It was pretty fun!”
“We just assumed he was a massive loser,” Hoare says.
Ingebrigtsen was both surprised and relieved to learn about the secrets of Wightman and Nuguse’s success.
“It’s my fault that I lost in Eugene, because I should have thought of this before,” Ingebrigtsen said. “But it’s a relief to know that I was beaten because of the training system and not because I am not the best runner in the world. I will incorporate triple threshold immediately and will never lose again.”
Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher was not available for comment, but sources report he is currently experimenting with a system called “infinite threshold” in which athletes do nothing but threshold training 24 hours a day.
Happy April Fools’ Day, everyone.