Athlete: Asher Catterall
Prescribed Workout: 10×800 at current 10k effort w/45 seconds of rest.
Results: 10×800 w/45 seconds of rest (2:34, 2:35, 2:33, 2:32, 2:31, 2:32, 2:35, 2:34, 2:34, 2:29)
Asher’s next race is the USATF 50km Trail Champs, but more than any single race, we are still trying to improve overall fitness. At the end of the day, running is running, and although we believe in specific work for whatever we are focusing on, we never stray too far away from what believe makes us better distance runners. Whether Asher is training for a 5k, or a 50k, these type of workouts will always find a way into his training plan. With plans of running a fast marathon later this spring, it’s important that we don’t drift too far away from this kind of quality. Hopefully that answers the question as to, “what does 10×800 have to do with a 50km?”.
The goal of the day was to get in a solid amount of quality running. We’ve been putting in a heavy dose of longer tempo runs, specific long runs with climbing, but outside of hill repetitions, short sprints and strides this is as “fast” as we’ve ran in a while. Whatever the prescribed amount of repetitions are, it’s almost always a +2 or -2 result. So while on paper it was 10×800, it just as easily could have ended up being 8 or 12 reps, depending on how the workout is going.
Besides simply believing in high volume workouts of “quality”, we really want Asher to be dangerous over the last 10 miles at the trail champs. Now, if he doesn’t have his legs under him come mile 20, naturally this won’t matter. But it made sense to both of us as, albeit the course is certainly difficult, it doesn’t appear to be the most technical thing out there. So why would we give away a” speed” advantage over MOST of the field.
Asher was in total control of the workout. Although we don’t know exactly what Asher could run for a 10k now, the short rest helps keep Asher’s gauge of 10k effort honest. The quicker reps were normally because of the first 200-300 meters, then he’d adjust.
Afterwards Asher said it was probably one of the better workouts of his life. This surprised me. He’d done lots of quicker work, and longer stuff too – but the combination of volume at that pace, he’d never done before, let a lone doing it so comfortably. We preach finding that moderate sweet spot a lot. Whether it’s a long tempo, threshold work, or 10 x 800….there should always be a goal to what you’re doing, and generally a line to not cross. The effort is important. The rest is important. The “WHY”, is important.