Thursday, January 9, 2014

Maximizing the Threshold

From November 18-December 29, I averaged 96 miles/week, for 6 weeks.  I took the mileage down last week to 72, and took my first day off in 45 days.

Last week, on New Year's Day, I did a workout that really tested my fitness.  The workout was 5 x 1.5 Miles(2400 meters) on the track, with very short 2:00-2:30 rests.  In the cold, it can be difficult to warm-up.  Following a 3 mile jog, I did a 1200 meter warm-up pace run @ 3:50(5:05 pace).  After a few drills, I proceeded to do the workout, targeting Threshold pace.  Splits below:

5 x 1.5 miles:

7:33...2 min rest
7:27...2 min rest
7:26...2.5 min rest
7:27...2.5 min rest

18 days out from my race, this workout was perfect timing.  My average pace was 4:59 for 7.5 miles total, or 37:22 for 7.5 miles.  I always know that if I can do close to 40 minutes at Threshold Pace, then I am very fit.  I have done something like this before, such as 4 x 2 mile.  These workouts work very well with me.  In addition, the short 2 minute rest was probably the shortest I have ever rested between these intervals(last August, I did 4 x 1.5 mile at the same pace but with 3-4 minute rests).

This week, I did one final moderate paced tempo workout to keep the fire going but not to "dig in" so to speak.  I find that 10-11 days out from the race I needed to do something but at the same time not overdo anything.  I went with a 3 mile tempo, with a short rest, followed by a 2 mile tempo, at goal race pace.

3 mile: 15:15 (5:04, 5:05, 5:06)
*3 min rest*
2 mile: 10:10 (5:06, 5:04)    

I felt like I only "half" worked out, which is also a great sign.  I cooled down, feeling pretty good in the legs.

After these threshold workouts, I have not been sore.  This is also good because it means I am not running my workouts too hard.  If you are sore the day after a threshold workout, it means you ran at a faster pace(such as VO2Max pace), and indeed it was not at threshold effort.  VO2Max workouts however, you should be sore after.

I am happy with my fitness and recent training.  I feel like I have accomplished a lot.

Now, if I can just put it together in a race!


  1. Can't wait to see how you do Chris. Sounds like you're ready. Thanks for the tip on being sore after a workout. Sometimes I worry that I am not working hard enough at the track because I am not sore after, but it sounds like that's expected with a threshold workout.

  2. New reader here, loving the blog. Can you explain the difference between a threshold run and a VO2Max run?

    1. Thanks for reading. VO2Max is the hardest type of training you can do aerobically. It is your aerobic capacity, and usually correlates with a racing duration of 10-15 minutes. For elites, it's their 5K race pace. For many people it is roughly their 2 mile race time. VO2Max intervals are run very hard(95%+ effort), and intervals are between 2-6 minutes long, which correlate to about 600 meter -1600 meter intervals. 2.5 to 5 miles total is the amount of mileage that should be done. Threshold training can be longer intervals and more volume(such as 8 minute intervals what are referred to cruise intervals-similar to the 5 x 1.5 mile workout I did). Threshold(88-92% effort) is your 50-60 minute race pace. It can also be a controlled tempo at that pace-a duration of 20-40 minutes long.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.