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In true Lyle McDonald fashion, this is a continuation of a series of articles on specific sprint training for the 100 to 400 meters.
Since November is around the corner, I want to discuss special endurance “magic workouts” and those workouts depend on whether you have an indoor track or not. The 4 x 4 x 60m workout is suited for those going indoors.
Here are the other articles in this series (this is only a short list):
- What are Tempo Workouts?
- Training for 400m: Balancing Speed and Special Endurance [Lactate]
- Michael Johnson, Jeremy Wariner’s Magic Workouts (Part 2) (plus links to 8 other special endurance articles)
- Speed Endurance Magic Workouts (Part 1)
- How to Improve Acceleration Part 4 (a 4 part series)
- What is the RAST Test for Speed Endurance? (6 x 35m with 10 sec recovery)
- Fine Tuning your 400 meter Workouts, Part 1 (and part 2 here)
Training Volumes and Recovery (A Review)
I talked about special endurance “magic workouts” previously. Here is another.
First, a reminder of Training Volumes and Recovery. In my case, it’s always a maximum of 1000m total volume. Anything more, and I find the quality drops for my training group. Yours may vary.
A classic special endurance workout is the 2×500m, with a full 15-20 minute recovery. You should see the look at some of the quarter-milers faces when they see this workout posted on the weekly workout board. Some of them FEAR the workout, and try to get out of it (i.e. last minute dentist appointment, or mystery jury duty, etc). People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything in life, get out of your comfort zone, and that means over-distance work.
So if the thought of 2 x 500m scares you, a better workout could be a 3×325 workout with a full 15-20 minute recovery. Again, watch the 1000m total volume. (I won’t get into the terminology of SE1 and SE2 here)
How much recovery is enough? Where and when does the quality drop?
This is where the controversy begins. Some coaches love long full recoveries. Some like shorter recoveries. When we were training in Vancouver in the winter, standing around outside in the cold wet track for 30 minutes between reps can get uncomfortable. (Thank God for the shed!) So for cold weather cities, you may want to modify a workout for shorter recoveries in special endurance sessions.
The Michael Johnson 60-40 Workout
If there are classic coaches who like the short recovery in workouts, credit would have to go to Clyde Hart and Pietro Mennea’s coach.
The Michael Johnson “60-40 workout” is more of a speed endurance type of workout, but I thought to mention it here because of the short recovery component. I covered that workout in the Michael Johnson’s Speedwork Training article.
The “60-40 workout” comprises of 2 sets of 2 laps of 60-40: 60m at 95% then slow down 40m followed by an easy jog of 40m, usually by going back 20m and then turnaround to the next starting point. Rinse and repeat until you reach the starting line (which is 4 reps). Rest 5 minutes between sets. This is very similar to my 4×60m “turnaround” indoor workout for speed endurance, though I prefer a full recovery of 15-20 minutes between sets (again, this is just me). I turn around and go. No jogging for rest. Your lungs and legs will be on fire pretty quickly, and watch the quality of that last 60m run. If it degrades too much, you may want to ditch it until the athlete can handle those speeds and volumes.
Since I mentioned Pietro Mennea, his workouts are geared towards higher volume and short recoveries. I won’t go into detail as there are detailed training logs in past articles:
- Pietro Mennea’s Detailed Training Workouts for 200 meters
- More on Pietro Mennea’s Detailed Training Workouts
- Lane 8 200m Revisited – Pietro Mennea 1980 Olympic Gold Medal
The 4 x 4 x 60m workout
Okay, so now I’ll get to the point. (I think I’m reading Lyle McDonald’s Blog too often)
The 4 x 4 x 60m workout is simply 4 sets of 4 x 60m, where you put a cone at the 20m mark, and with a standing rolling start (or 3-point pike start) you accelerate until 20 meters, then maintain the last 40.
As the weeks progress, you put a cone at 25m (maintain 35m), then 30m (maintain 30m), and so on.
The recovery can be a longer one where the walk back to the start (3-5 min), or a shorter one where they “turnaround” and go again. You may want to separate your 100 meter sprinters from the 400 meter specialists here.
By controlling the acceleration portion, this becomes a special endurance session, and not a speed session, or speed endurance session even though the distance is “only” 60 meters.
Of course, there’s no way you can run a full 60m acceleration for 16 quality reps (unless you are Pietro Mennea) . If you do, cut the number down to 4-6 and call it speed endurance session, and call it the day (For speed endurance sessions, I rather see progressive, like 60, 80, 100, 120, 150.. a total volume 500m. Again, refer to the Ben Johnson Magic Workouts article.