Distance runner moving down

For 15 years I’ve been doing the 5k-10k thing. In efforts to improve my mile, I’m going to work on my speed for a year, reduce my mileage and see what kind of development I can accomplish in the speed area. My build is more conducive to middle distance running (6’3", struggle to stay under 165), so I’ll see what I can do.

PR’s (if it helps):

440yd-57.3 (on the roads)
660yd (1:29.9)

Most of these times were run in the middle of 110+ mile weeks, so, reducing volume, adding weights and plyometrics, adjusting recovery times and focusing more on power will probably make huge differences alone. Oh yeah, decent genetics. My dad was a 1:20+ 660yd runner in high school with no training.

Any advice would be great and please remember, I’m a neophyte in terms of sprinting.

I have a distance background, but not with such high mileage.

Things I am trying are

  • Max speed development. Say 6 X 60 m with good recoveries. Feels very strange to a distance runner.

  • Tempo running as described on this board. Reps of between 100m and 300m at around 70% of best speed for the distance. For a sprinter they are recovery runs, for a distance animal they are speed work, since they tend to be at a pace of 400/800/1500 depending on length of rep.

  • Reps at or slightly faster than race pace. Eg 400s-600 at target mile pace, 200-300 at 800 pace.

I would be very careful in changing things! Add one thing at a time and in moderation and wait for responses; think of what each new element represent to you.

Concentrate on quality, but also understand that the desired changes might take more time than you think due to your background.

Good luck!

I’ve heard of doing short sprints: alactic sessions, depending on recovery length.

Also, those 100-300 reps (tempo runs) are a good idea. What kind of recovery and volume are we talking about here. I did some quick math and the number I came up with were roughly 20, 40 and 60 seconds for 100, 200 and 300 respectively. I can just about handle that for 2-3 miles pretty comfortably. Not bragging, just wondering if that’s what sort of speed were talking about. In that case, I would use pretty short recovery, but I’m coming from the standpoint of cruise intervals where the work to rest ratio is 5:1.

On the last point, I’m starting out doing some sets of 12-16 x 300 at date pace w/ 100 jog and some 400, 600, 800 reps at date pace. Occasionally I’ll hit a 800 or 1000TT to confirm fitness or progress.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Any ideas on why the response time would be longer for me than others? Also, by quality, what are you thinking of?


As I said before, it might be a simple case of your background; it’s only natural to expect people from different events to need more time for adjustments and/or to express their potential; and I am not saying this to discourage you, or anything, of course…

I suppose it’s the same saying that a sprinter could easily move to 800-1500 m racing distances; the speed might be there for him/her, but the distance aspect will take some more time compared to you to get accustomed to.

By quality I mean that more is more and less is better! Whenever quality suffers for any reason, reduce volume, increase resting periods (e.g., intra- and/or inter-session recovery), or both, or even call it a day; this is of great importance when it comes to speed development!

Not sure if I am helping you here… :o

Part of the problem for me is trying to figure out what I’m going to really focus on, then, once I get clear there, how to move from what I’m doing/have done to what I want to develop. I guess it’s a matter of trying to see how overcompensating in one area (speed) will benefit me in another (middle distance). I thought for a long time my best distance was 5000-10000m. Someone told me to look at the IAAF charts for comparison, so I did and realized that 1000m was my best performance by a few percent. So, I naturally ask myself, if I drop mileage, increase speed can I run some good 800’s or 1500’s? I’m not looking for an all-inclusive answer, just an idea of how to look at developing some week parts of my current ability. As it is, I have pretty strong lactic capacity. I once hit 20 x 400 (1:04) w/ 3:00 400m jog. But, I didn’t have the stamina to put it together. My training at the time was focusing on the 5000. So, with some proper development, I figure I might be able to drop my 400 down a few seconds which will translate back up into the longer distances. As I said, this is all really new to me.

Have you looked at the “lactate threshold” thread?

I think it was started by “Blinky”, look at the posts under this Username and I am sure you’ll get pretty useful information by KitKat, Pierre-Jean and others and it might suit you well for some good 400 m training! At least, you’ll get the picture.

Of course, you can always adjust things into your own situation…

I hope it helps!

No, I’ll check that out. Thanks.

BTW, 64’s for 400 was about 90%…if that means anything. Seems folks on here refer to efforts based on percentage of best time over a distance.