Sergio Reyes did this workout before finishing second in the Rock ’n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.
It’s a truism among running coaches that no one has all the answers. Many training articles share one particular coaching philosophy with its readers and then supplement the theory with sample schedules for the reader to go mimic on his or her own.
Improving your running, however, is never that simple. There isn’t one cookie-cutter way to improve your aerobic base, fine-tune your speed or set new PRs. The same workout or training program doesn’t work for everyone. This is why some elite runners switch coaches and why coaches are always looking for new ways to train.
Over the following five weeks we’ll share favorite workouts from some of the nation’s top coaches. If you’re experiencing stagnant race results or just want to try something new in your training, give one — or all — of these workouts a shot. It might just be the change you need to take your running to the next level.
The Coach: Joe Rubio of the Asics Aggies Training Group, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The Athlete: Sergio Reyes, 2010 U.S. marathon champion
When They Did It: Training for the 2012 edition of the Rock ’n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, where Reyes finished second overall in a new PR of 1:03:30.
Why They Did It: According to Rubio, this workout “teaches athletes to better utilize lactate as a fuel by forcing the recoveries to be maintained at a solid effort between the more traditional harder mile repeats.” In other words, this is a continuous workout and better simulates a race, which affords runners no time to jog or recover.
“The volume of the workout lends itself to be most beneficial to 10K, half-marathon and marathon runners,” Rubio said.
How They Did It: The In/Out Miles workout should be run on the track. The session consists of alternating 1,600 meters or 1 mile (four laps) run at goal 10K pace with 1600m or 1-mile run 60 seconds slower. During his training for the half-marathon, Reyes typically ran four “fast miles” out of 7-12 miles total. For a 40-minute 10K athlete, an appropriate workout would be running a mile at 6:27 followed by a mile at 7:27, back and forth in this fashion for 7-12 miles total, not counting the warmup or cool down.
How You Can Apply The Workout: The key to this workout is to know how fast you should be running your “In” and “Out” miles. If you are at the beginning of your training cycle, err on the side of conservative. Beginners should start out with a four-mile session that includes two “In” miles and two “Out” miles. Gradually increase the total amount of faster miles and duration of the workout from week to week, working up to an eight-mile session that includes four fast miles two weeks before your goal race.