3200m Running Program Question

by Megan
(Clark Fork)

I am new to coaching track. I have a student who is a junior in HS who runs the 3200m, 1600m, 800m, and the 1600m relay. The 3200m is his specialty; however, his times have been a little high this year (11:00).

I would like him to drop about 15-20 seconds for the 3200m.

We are a small school and there isn't anyone else that can push him.

Would speed training be the most beneficial for this? What would a solid day of speed training look like and how many days a week?



Answer by Dominique:

Hi Megan,
Thanks for your question.
Speed work is definitely important for the distances the kids are training for. However, another factor, often overlooked for shorter race distances, is the importance of a good aerobic base.

Without a good aerobic base, your speedwork might be able to help the kids to go fast, but not for a very long time.

And the aerobic base is also needed to win races: in many 3,200 metre races the last lap sees those leading the pack going into a higher gear. Only with a sufficiently developed base a runner will be able to step up the pace and keep it up all the way to the finish line.

So, how do you establish an aerobic base?
That's easy. Run many easy paced kilometres and do a once-a-week long run.

So, which speedwork do we need to do?
I recommend:

  • Tempo intervals once a week(e.g. 2-3 x 1km/1mile tempo intervals)

  • Sets of interval running once a week (e.g. alternate 3 min hard, 1 min easy or something like 5 minutes hard, 5 minutes easy a number of times)

  • I think it would be very worthwhile for you to read up on some running training theory. A great running training book is Daniel's Running Formula. This book explains why we need to run at all those different speeds and when we need to do which types of running training.
    It also includes templates for all racing distances from 1km races to the marathon.
    It's THE book I'd recommend to any runner and any running coach.

    Good luck and I hope you and your runner(s) will be able to break a few records in the upcoming year!

    Kind regards,

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