Winter Training for Middle Distance Runners

A-lot-of-snow

A-lot-of-snowAs a middle distance runner during the winter you have a couple goals:

  • Increasing your max sprinting speed.
  • Increasing your VO2 max.

Working on accomplishing both of them at the same time won’t yield the same results as working on one of them separately and then moving on to the other.

Planning Phase

If you have at least two months left until track season starts, you will be doing VO2 max for a month and then sprint oriented workouts for a month. (If you are in shape right now)

If you only have a month or less left, you will be working mostly on increasing your speed with a bit of focus on VO2 max.

If you’re not in shape yet, you should just do a basic distance running program until you can a 12 minute two mile.

Basic Program:

Monday: Long Slow Distance Day

Tuesday: Short Tempo Day. (Run at the same speed for 1 or 2 miles)

Wednesday: Maintenance Run. (Run 1-2 miles at an easy pace for you)

Thursday: Long Tempo Day. (Run at the same speed for 2-3 miles)

Friday: Maintenance Run.

Saturday: Either event specific run or an all out timed mile.

Sunday: Rest day or Maintenance Run.

Do Distance Runners Need Sprint Training?

You might be wondering, “Why should I increase my sprinting speed if I’m a middle distance runner?”

  1. It will make you a faster distance runner.
  2. It will make your other workouts easier.
  3. It will be easier to outsprint your opponents at the end of a race.

Imagine you have two runners: John and Jack.

They’re both running in the 800, and after the first 400m, John leads by 10m.

John’s best time in the 100m is a 10.9, but Jack’s best is a 12.6.

Let’s say that to stay in the spots they’re currently in they need to run a 55 second lap.

John needs to run at 79% of his max effort because his max sprinting speed is higher, but Jack needs to run at 92% of his max effort!

Now you tell me, which one is easier?

Beating your opponents at the end of the race will also be easier if you have a bigger “kick” than the guy next to you.

Workouts

You can do the workouts outside, in the gym, on a treadmill, or using other equipment.

Check out this post to see what other equipment you can use, and create your workout using the example ones below.

You sample workouts will look like this:

2 Month+ Program

First Month (VO2 max focused)

Monday: Longer maintenance

Tuesday: Short Intervals (a total of 2 miles)

Wednesday: Maintenance Run. (Run 1-2 miles at an easy pace for you)

Thursday: Long Intervals (total of 4 miles)

Friday: Maintenance Run.

Saturday: All out timed mile.

Sunday: Rest day or Maintenance Run.

Short Interval Workout Examples:

Treadmill:

Set it to the max speed (12), run for 30 seconds.

Set it to half of the max (6), run for 30 seconds.

Repeat until you’ve ran 2 miles.

Outside:

Sprint for 15 seconds all out.

Jog for 45 seconds.

Repeat for 20 minutes.

Long Interval Examples:

Treadmill:

Set it to the max speed (12), run for 1 minute.

Set it to half of the max (6), run for 1 minute.

Repeat until you’re at 4 miles.

Outside:

Run a 400m dash (1 minute 15 seconds). Not all out, but fast.

Jog for 1-1.5 minutes.

Repeat for 20-30 minutes.

Second month. (Max speed focused)

Monday: Max speed or hill training

Tuesday: Speed endurance

Wednesday: Day off or lift

Thursday: Max speed/hill training

Friday: Speed endurance

Saturday: Event practice

Sunday: Rest day

Max speed/hill training:

Treadmill:

You will only be able to do “max speed training” on a treadmill if it has the option to increase the elevation to 12 or higher. An elevation of 15 is ideal, but not all treadmills go that high.

Set speed to 12, and the elevation to 15.

Sprint for 15-20 seconds.

Rest for 5-10 minutes.

Repeat 6-10 times.

Outside:

All out sprint for 10 seconds.

Rest for 5 minutes.

Repeat 6-8 times.

Speed Endurance Training:

Treadmill:

Set the speed to 12 and the elevation to 15.

Sprint for 30 seconds.

Rest for 3-5 minutes.

Repeat 8-10 times.

Outside:

Sprint 200m.

Rest for 2 minutes.

Repeat 8 times.

One Month Program

If you only have a month left, we will mostly focus on increasing your sprinting speed, while placing some focus on increasing your VO2 max.

Monday: Max speed or hill training

Tuesday: Short Intervals

Wednesday: Maintenance run

Thursday: Max speed/hill training

Friday: Long Intervals

Saturday: Max speed training (lower volume)

Sunday: Rest day

With the above programs you should be ready for anything your coach will throw at you when the season starts, and you will be ready to get out there and beat everyone!

P.S. Please don’t forget to check out the best spikes for middle distance runners!

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