How many of you have seen a more serious runner talk about running “8 x 400s” or “5 x 800s” for their training plan?
(taken from part of a Hal Higdon Advanced Plan)
When I first got into racing I was using beginner plans, so the running was purely mileage. No hill runs, tempo runs, or speed runs yet. However now that I feel more comfortable and want to get faster, I thought I should see what they recommend for intermediate runners.
First of all, terminology:
8 x 400 = 8 rounds of 400 meter sprints or speed increases. 400 meters = 1/4 of a mile.
5 x 800 = 5 rounds of 800 meter sprints or speed increases. 800 meters = 1/2 mile.
You could also see 1200s, 1600s, and any number of rounds.
Those things always intimidated me. Plus they remind me of a track, and I hated the track in grade school. It smells. So I just decided I wouldn’t ever do those types of runs.
However, when I was looking at my training plan for my upcoming half marathon and I had down “sprints” for Friday, I considered those again. I could just do one of my other sprint workouts, or I could attempt to do something that a seasoned running coach recommends.
Hmm. Me, an amateur runner that makes things up on the fly, or someone that knows what they’re talking about?
‘Nuff said. So! Here’s a way you can do those types of workouts on a treadmill. I find it easier to do speed work on a treadmill than outside, even though my Garmin could tell me my pace. Not as similar to a race setting, but I think I make myself run faster on a treadmill.
This is an 8×400 workout. It has eight 400 meter sprints with a 1/2 mile warm up and cool down. That equals 5 miles. I chose speeds that work for ME, so obviously adjust according to your level. You could walk the recovery portions and run the “sprints” too, if you aren’t quite ready to run the whole way.
Here’s a little more about my current running so you can see how I chose my sprint pace:
6.5mph = super easy warm up
7.0mph = standard pace run
7.5mph = tough to hold for more than a few miles
So my sprints were at 8.5mph, which was really hard! I only ended up having to hold it for a minute and a half, but I was winded after each round and totally spent by the end of the run. FYI – it should take almost the WHOLE 1/4 mile recovery period to get your breath back. Otherwise, push yourself harder 😉
After my run I completed P’s Full Body Workout that he taught me over Christmas. I felt like I needed to actually lift things with my arms….it’d been a while and I’m totally guilty of ditching weight training all together when I’m into running.
Try it out!
- Have you ever done a speed run with 400s, 800s, etc?