The kilometre countdown

There are many training techniques: from the most general to the most specific, any type of runner can find an answer that fits him or her.

Among those that serve to develop speed, beyond the usual repeats or stretches-some stand out for originality. All, if varied wisely, can offer different choices and thus can limit the boredom that perhaps practicing the same workout over and over can cause. I mean: do you get bored doing the same strides over and over again? Try this workout.

What is it about?

The idea behind what is called “kilometre countdown” is that of associating slower paces with longer mileage and faster paces with shorter mileage. Since the pace, as you may have guessed, is bound to increase throughout this training, the key is not to start with the first interval (which is also the longest) at full speed. In short, the greatest effort in terms of speed (not distance) is what you have to do in the last interval.

This workout is not only inspired by sheer fun (as fun as it can be to go faster and faster-your muscles may not be as happy) but is aimed at stimulating and perfecting the ability to endure and even sprint when your legs are most tired, that is, at the end of a competition.

Seeing how it is structured will help you better understand what I am talking about.

The Training

Some necessary premises:

  1. Since it is based on precise runs, the best way to perform it is to do it on the athletic track: you don’t have to worry about checking distances and just count the laps (which are always 400m)
  2. Choose carefully the pace you start with because it is the baseline, that is, it is the mildest of the entire workout that is structured to make you run faster at the end
  3. If this seems harsh, don’t overlook that the fastest intervals are also the shortest. In short, let’s say that the greater physical effort (in terms of speed) is offset by the shorter distance you have to cover.
  4. Recoveries to the next interval are to be done by walking or better by light running and over distances of 200 to 400 m.

How to do it

1. 1 ,000 m, basic pace + 400 m recovery
2. 900 m, faster pace + 300 m recovery time
3. 800 m, even faster pace + 400 m recovery time
4. 700 m, even faster pace + 300 m recovery
5. 600 m, even faster pace + 400 m recovery time
6. 500 m, even faster pace + 300 m recovery time
7. 400 m, even faster pace + 400 m recovery time
8. 300 m, maximum pace + 300 m recovery
9. 200 m

Like all specific workouts, it has a dual purpose: to improve speed by getting your body used to enduring it and to strengthen your body’s ability to run harder in the final stages of a race. But then, let’s face it, the real purpose is only one: to have fuel for the final sprint to cross the finish line at top speed. And, of course, smiling.

(Main image credits: Ufabizphoto on – Via Running Magazine)


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