Workout of the Day — Me?

6 x (800 meters + 300 meters)

Splits: 2:32 / 51, 2:27 / 50, 2:23 / 48, 2:19 / 46, 2:12 / 46, 2:06 / 46

Recovery: 200 meter jog between 800 meter reps and 300 meter reps and 300 meter jog between sets. 

Jacob Phillips, April 2007

This week’s Workout of the Day is like many of my running highlights…a workout and not a race. I never really ran to what my workouts predicted I would run at; I figure that most of that was due to lack of racing opportunities, or dumb racing tactics, but it could have been that maybe I was just running too hard in my workouts.

Regardless, my coach at the time, Gabriel Rodriguez, was heavily influenced by the old Oregon System (Bill Dellinger) and had a connection with Alberto Salazar. So, the workout of the day during this spring track season was an old Oregon Special: the Oregon 800/300 drill. 

For those who don’t know what that is, it is an 800 meter rep, followed by a 300 meter rep. The idea was to run the 800 meter reps in cut-down fashion, starting around 2:32 for the first rep and finishing around 2:12 for the last 800 meter rep; and the 300 meter reps were scheduled to be run in 52-53 seconds.

Here is what Gabe sent in my training email that week:

800 in 2:32, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M
800 in 2:28, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M
800 in 2:24, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M
800 in 2:20, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M
800 in 2:16, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M
800 in 2:12, jog 200M, 300 in 52-53, jog 300M

To complete this workout you need 1) Control, 2) Pace Discipline, 3) Focus, 4) Determination, 5) Guts.

As you can tell above in my splits, I didn’t have any of #1 and #2. NO CONTROL AND NO PACE DISCIPLINE AT ALL DURING THIS SESSION. I used to think I should BEAT the assigned paces, not hit them. And usually Gabe would give me a stern reminder that the workout was hard enough and to just follow the assigned paces.

However, after this workout was reported back to him he said, “Holy cow. I just sent this over to Alberto and he said, ‘Who is this kid and why is he running 15 minutes for 5k?’

Shortly after this session I set my still current 5000 meter personal best of 14:44. We were hoping for something closer to 14:30 or under, but I guess I had left my race in the workout.

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