Tom Tellez and Weekly Training Cycles (The Microcyle)

The key to a proper training program is BALANCE.

I prefer alternating hard & easy days with one or 2 days off, depending on the athlete.  Masters athletes need more easy days, but the “active recovery” days are great to maintain fitness and keep those unwanted pounds from creeping up.  It’s also a chance to do other sports, like Yoga, so life isn’t all about track!

As well, my Saturday AM workout is usually at 9am to keep the athletes honest on a Friday night.  Call me Mr Burns if you like, but these College kids still have Saturday Night to go stir crazy.

A big question is when to do your hard sessions.  For students, late afternoon or early evening is your only choice.  If all your race Finals are at night, then perhaps it’s better to train during this time slot..  Your body should be accustomed to training hard and racing when the time comes. 

Another factor is the weather.  Sometimes AM workouts are warmer than late afternoons.  This was certainly the case in Vancouver with all the rain.  Speed sessions were a challenge.  Or trying to avoid the heat of the day like Rome.  How on earth Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin trained in Texas at 1pm in the afternoon summer is beyond me.

And finally there are facilities challenges.  Stanford’s Cobb Track and Angell Field is closed to the public between 2-6 pm Mon to Fri.  Only varsity athletes are allowed.  And Vin Lanana (at the time) was pretty picky about those rules, trust me on that!

It all boils down to do whatever you have to do.

Tom Tellez Weekly Cycle

Tom Tellez recommends the following six-day cycle with 3 hard workouts per week:

  1. Hard
  2. Medium
  3. Hard
  4. Easy
  5. Hard
  6. Medium
  7. Rest

Typical College Weekly Cycle

  1. MON – Hard, usually speed workout from 2 days rest
  2. TUE – Easy
  3. WED – Hard
  4. THUR – Easy
  5. FRI – Hard
  6. SAT – 9am Tempo Strides and Circuit Training
  7. SUN – REST or active recovery

Typical Masters Weekly Cycle

Masters should only go “hard” 2 times a week:

  1. MON – Hard
  2. TUE – Easy
  3. WED – Easy or Medium
  4. THUR – Hard
  5. FRI – Easy (or off)
  6. SAT – Easy or Medium or active recovery
  7. SUN – REST or active recovery

My Masters Weekly Cycle

Depending on professional appointments, Mon/Thur were always the hard days, or I switched to Tues/Fri.  When things get crazy at work, I go to Wed/Sat where I can devote 3 hours to a Saturday practice.  I am referring to the 4x30m warm-up, then 60m, 80m, 100m, 120m, 150m workouts with full recovery.

  1. MON – Hard, usually a speed workout from 2 days rest
  2. TUE – Easy, 2000 meters Tempo
  3. WED – rest or active recovery
  4. THUR – Hard, usually speed endurance or special endurance
  5. FRI – Easy, 2000 meters Tempo
  6. SAT – rest or active recovery
  7. SUN – REST

800 meter Training Weekly Cycle

Things get pretty busy for a 800 meter runner.  That’s because you have to squeeze in the following (thus 2 workouts a day is the norm):

  1. speed track sessions (anywhere from 30-400m, depending on your philosophy)
  2. 800m track sessions
  3. over distance track sessions
  4. steady state runs (1 or 2X per week)
  5. recovery runs (4 or 5X per week)
  6. long run (1 per week)
  7. strength training (2X per week)
  8. circuit training or other training (Pilates, yoga, etc).  Sanya Richards is supposedly a fan of Pilates.

So a sample training week for a 800m would be something like this assuming hard sessions in the AM for weather reasons.  Some 800 meter runners like the recovery run in the AM to allow more time before the afternoon track workout.

  1. Monday: AM – strength training  PM – recovery run
  2. Tuesday: AM – speed  session PM – recovery run
  3. Wednesday: AM – circuit training  PM -  steady state running
  4. Thursday:  AM – distance intervals PM – recovery run
  5. Friday: AM – strength training PM -  steady state running
  6. Saturday: AM – 800m session PM -  recovery run
  7. Sunday:  AM – long run

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • As a current college athlete you should see how many coaches in the game attempt to go hard all the time. With very little rest days and rest weeks. All it leads to is injuries over and over again. In terms of training time, I am a 11a.m time of guy it works perfect. It is not super early in the morning but at the same time it is not blazing hot yet.