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The Middle Distance Thread

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  • 07-01-2014 11:27pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭


    So I thought I would set up a thread for those runners who are going to focus on the middle distances, from 800m to 3000m. There are a good few logs now by people focusing on these distances, and I thought this could be a good place to share training ideas, race strategies, or any info about upcoming races and events.

    So I'll get us started, what events are people looking to focus on? 800m, 1500m, 3000m? Or will you double up, 800/1500m or 1500/3000m? Are you running indoors or just going to concentrate on outdoors? What base work are you doing? When will you start specific sessions?

    Myself, I'm hoping to double up the 800/1500m with the 1500m as the main event. Not really going to focus on indoors, just might do the Leinsters to see where I'm at. Just doing base work at the moment, steady mileage and I'm going to include a tempo run from tomorrow night. My training will be a mix of my own ideas and a plan my coach is in the process of putting together.

    Hopefully we can keep this thread alive among all the marathon threads! :)


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 115 ✭✭Lock


    Good idea for a thread. If you're doing the Leinster Indoors, I'd say be prepared to sit around. I ran the 1500m last year, which was scheduled towards the end of the afternoon session. In the end, the race didn't start until after 9pm by which time I was starving and pissed off. Go with whatever they have in the morning session!

    In fairness, they were having trouble with the clock that day as it was the first time using the facility for a lot of the officials but Leinster Athletics like to pack in as many events into one day so it does drag on quite a bit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062


    Lock wrote: »
    Good idea for a thread. If you're doing the Leinster Indoors, I'd say be prepared to sit around. I ran the 1500m last year, which was scheduled towards the end of the afternoon session. In the end, the race didn't start until after 9pm by which time I was starving and pissed off. Go with whatever they have in the morning session!

    In fairness, they were having trouble with the clock that day as it was the first time using the facility for a lot of the officials but Leinster Athletics like to pack in as many events into one day so it does drag on quite a bit.

    Was worth setting us this thread just for that info alone! Good to know, must keep that in mind for when they release the timetable.

    Good to see you back, hopefully you can stick around for this thread.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,695 ✭✭✭Chivito550


    Not a middle distance runner but have been warming to the 800m of late. PB is currently at 2:15. The next day I run one I hope for 2:12, with the hope of a 2:10 to come in the following one. Very much a short to long approach for me though, with no mileage, but running a good 800m does wonders for the 400m (as does running a good 200m).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,762 ✭✭✭✭ecoli


    Probably won't guess it to look at my training but the intention is to spend the summer working on more middle distance (1500-5k). Probably taking Lydiard too literal with regards marathon conditioning before speed work :D.

    I reckon 2 weeks recovery after the marathon will bring me perfectly into May giving me roughly 12 weeks of middle distance specific work. From here I will be mainly working on speed development and lactic tolerance style sessions.

    Doing alot more plyometrics and weights this year compared to most and am certainly feeling its helping. Have only had one proper speed session over the winter and there was speed there that shocked me which probably attributing to the ancillary work as these sessions have really stressed the CNS and there has been days where it has left me completely fried for the rest of the day beyond the usual muscular fatigue


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Good thread, big middle distance fan here, the 8/15 and steeple are my main events. I'd prefer middle distance over longer stuff for a number of reasons, I find it alot more competitive, you are running a short event on the track, where there is nowhere to hide. Pbs etc are important, but position is in general alot more important than in mass participate distance events, so you are always battling with a person around you, rather than just a watch which is often the case in distance events. Also of importance for me, the weekly milage is lower, I get away with less days training, I'm flatout with work so this is important, also I find that you can dip in and out of racing easier, if you are too busy to train for say 2wks during track season you won't have fallen off a cliff like you could well have for longer events.

    I suppose also, middle distance tends to be a smaller more tightly knit community, you generally will race your competition regularly during the season, whereas in many distance races, of which the calendar is flooded with races, you might go several races without knowing any of your competition.

    Ok enough about why I do middle distance, this year I'm hoping to actually do my 1st ever indoor race! Every year something crops up in feb/March and I end up writing it off, however with athlone open, there seems to be way more events for seniors. I'll probably do a timetrial or so to see if I'm in better 8 or 15 shape at the minute, and gear training around whichever one I feel I'll do best in. Moving along, March/April will be back to distance, maybe afew 5ks etc, and pullback the miles, but up the speedwork at the end of April. Aim to hit the early outdoor races in may with a bang, maybe bag a sneaky pb if I can. Back off end of may from racing till late june, then all out till August, during which time I might get in up to 3 races a week. Back to the off season, and some xc and road races to help build the base for the rest of the year.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 336 ✭✭notsofast


    pconn062 wrote: »
    Was worth setting us this thread just for that info alone! Good to know, must keep that in mind for when they release the timetable.

    Good to see you back, hopefully you can stick around for this thread.

    Leinster indoor competition booklet, including timetables is available on athletics Leinster website


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,082 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67


    Planning to take some time out from Marathons next year and focus on the shorter stuff.
    Always loved the 3,000m, it was a nice balance of speed and endurance that suited me and the pain was over relatively quick.
    Not too many to choose from though when compared with the other MD distances.

    Training back in the day was a lot of 200 - 600m work and then racing under distance as part of the final phase.
    Some good tips in this thread from a while back!


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    BeepBeep67 wrote: »
    Training back in the day was a lot of 200 - 600m work and then racing under distance as part of the final phase.
    Some good tips in this thread from a while back!

    Useful thread alright. I definitely may give the odd few 3ks a go also, my 3k pb of 9.40ish does me no justice at all, and I also want no repeats of that 3k me and you did last year, where ya almost handed me my arse :p (some smackdown talk ha!)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,623 ✭✭✭dna_leri


    Have not been logging here much so this is a good chance to catch up.
    I am planning to do 800m in the Masters Indoors in 17 days time.
    Athlone is a great venue - any one who gets a chance should run there this indoor season.

    I have been doing the training sessions but not getting much return off them recently.
    I had planned 3 races over the Christmas but 2 of them were in awful conditions so gave me no indication of where I am at. Most of my track sessions seem to have coincided with crappy weather too.
    I did one 600m race in Athlone in sub 1:30 which gave me some confidence.

    I don't feel I am in the same shape as last year when I opened with 2:05 and went on to do 2:02.
    Yesterday was the first time I got a decent session - 10x200m in average 31s off about 90s.
    Hopefully I can still round into shape.

    As Timmaay said it's all about racing on the track, getting into a good position, staying strong for those middle laps and having a kick at the finish. Even thinking about it gets the adrenaline flowing.

    I don't have a good plan for the rest of the season. I did the Connacht Indoors last year and much like the Leinsters, it's a long day with lots of kids races to get through - I am not sure if I am up for that this year. I'd like to try my hand at a 400 indoors and then make plans for the outdoor season.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,895 ✭✭✭Sacksian


    Kudos on the thread!

    After starting running by doing a couple of marathons, I got introduced to middle distance (and track) last year - and fell in love! Did my first 5k (albeit on the road) but also did my first track races - 5 800s with one 1500m and one 3000m. I started late last year so hoping a full year of it will pay off.

    Major goals are to get my 800m down to 2.02 (from 2.05) and under 15.30 for track 5k (from 15:49 on the road). Secondary goals are under 4.30 for the mile and under 9 for 3k. All stretch goals and possibly too ambitious, but we'll see!

    I won't make the national masters because of injury but might make the Leinster Indoors (possibly).

    I still have a bit of a marathoner's approach to racing so, hopefully, just find a few more races this year and race more, once I become uninjured.

    I'm going to try and do quite a bit of mileage (for me!) in the run up to the summer, doing a proper spring of 5k/10k training. I will do 3 sessions a week (intervals, tempo and hills) and a long run, with easy running on another two days. Interval sessions during spring will cover mile (e.g. 1min on/2mins off) to 5k (e.g. 16x400). Short hills will be from 100m to 400m and longer hills up to 800m. Tempos will also cover fartleks 5 on/2 off over hills. Will try to fit in core work when I can. Everything will be run on grass.

    I did something similar this Autumn and it really helped with the 5k.

    Once May hits, I'll start moving towards quality sessions for the 800m and 1500m until I reach the type of sessions which seem ridiculous to anyone doing long-distance e.g. 6 x 150m, 3 x 4 x 200. My speed is very underdeveloped, compared to endurance, so I want to try and really have a good base coming into these sessions so I can get the most out of them.

    I noticed last year that I finished every race strongly but it wasn't until the latter ones that I realised I have to start much, much stronger to run fast times at middle distance.

    If anyone knows of any decent standard track races, do post here.

    The ALSAA winter league is on until April: http://www.alsaa.ie/index.php/alsaa-clubs/14-clubs/20-alsaa-athletics-club

    I did the 3k in November and the standard wasn't great but it's still a chance to do a 3k out-of-season.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Sacksian wrote: »
    Major goals are to get my 800m down to 2.02 (from 2.05) and under 15.30 for track 5k (from 15:49 on the road). Secondary goals are under 4.30 for the mile and under 9 for 3k. All stretch goals and possibly too ambitious, but we'll see!

    Based on the 15.49, a 2.02 800 and 4.30 mile should certainly be doable, with some proper middle distance specific training and a season or 2 of racing you should be well on for sub2 and a 4.20ish mile.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Sacksian wrote: »
    If anyone knows of any decent standard track races, do post here.

    The ALSAA winter league is on until April: http://www.alsaa.ie/index.php/alsaa-clubs/14-clubs/20-alsaa-athletics-club

    Actually assuming we all keep this thread going (and its off to a decent start now), the above would certainly be a great idea, there are alot more track races than are just up on the AAI calendar, but no comprehensive list anywhere.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062


    notsofast wrote: »
    Leinster indoor competition booklet, including timetables is available on athletics Leinster website

    Thanks a lot for that, I was actually looking at the timetable recently so I don't know why I said that, brain freeze!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062


    Great to see so much interest in the thread, judging by all your posts I am by far the slowest of the lot so hoping to learn a lot of you guys!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,895 ✭✭✭Sacksian


    Timmaay wrote: »
    Actually assuming we all keep this thread going (and its off to a decent start now), the above would certainly be a great idea, there are alot more track races than are just up on the AAI calendar, but no comprehensive list anywhere.

    I kept finding references to track races outside competition and gradeds last year but I couldn't find any details or how to enter them, so any info would be very much appreciated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Sacksian wrote: »
    I kept finding references to track races outside competition and gradeds last year but I couldn't find any details or how to enter them, so any info would be very much appreciated.

    In general the most of them would be showup on the day and enter. As the numbers are fairly small in track races, they most certainly don't get given the same level of advertising as mass participle races, which explains why it can be so hard to find details on them. Here in Wicklow, we usually have two fit4life graded mile races, bray runners host an invitational mile in June every year (easy enough to get an invite for it in fairness :p), the Wicklow T&F is around may, as far as I know you can guest in that if you aren't from Wicklow? As well as that, the IMC meet in may has gone from strength to strenght every year. Then various other odd races during the year. All of these on the Greystones track. Anyways, my point being that if in one smallish county like Wicklow, we have all these races, then I'd assume throughout the country there are plenty of low key races that the most of us never hear about, or only hear on the day/afterwards!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,762 ✭✭✭✭ecoli


    For those using the winter to focus on strength training and not doing indoors, would be interested to know what kind of turnover work you are doing to stay in touch with speed if any? How often would you do this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062


    ecoli wrote: »
    For those using the winter to focus on strength training and not doing indoors, would be interested to know what kind of turnover work you are doing to stay in touch with speed if any? How often would you do this?

    I'be just been doing some stride outs on the grass after easy runs, nothing else really. We're back at the track tonight so going to start including some 150-200m strides after our sessions. Don't know if there would be anything better that this, a few hill sprints maybe?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 784 ✭✭✭Stazza


    ecoli wrote: »
    For those using the winter to focus on strength training and not doing indoors, would be interested to know what kind of turnover work you are doing to stay in touch with speed if any? How often would you do this?


    Will be dropping these cheeky little sessions in at the beginning of February with a view to developing them:
    Week 1
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before High Density LT reps
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before General Strength Endurance Uphill Circuit
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before 2x(2xflying 50’s ie 50 pick-up-50 flat-out -50 cruise) full recoveries or 3x60m + 3x80m/100m – full recoveries.
    One session of 8x100m strides (all about form) towards the end of a recovery run

    Week 2
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before 10 miles incl 20-24 mins of LT work
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before 3x(6x20-40secs @ 5k pace down to 1500m pace)
    Drills and 6x80m pick-ups before 8x8 sec hill blasts.
    One session of 8x100m strides (all about form) towards the end of a recovery run

    Throughout January, I’m doing 8x100m pick-ups during easy runs – just to work on form in preparation for the aforementioned stuff.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,900 ✭✭✭KielyUnusual


    Nice idea to set this one up PConn. I'll be following with interest. The two distances I enjoy racing most are the mile and the 3k. I'm considering focusing on these at some point in the near future. It will be good to see some training advice from the more seasoned middle distance runners on here.

    Out of interest, if one were training for the 1500/mile, what might a typical week, two or three weeks out from the goal race look like?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Out of interest, if one were training for the 1500/mile, what might a typical week, two or three weeks out from the goal race look like?

    Likes of a 50min Sunday run, two 30/40min jogs during the week, and then 2 hard sessions in around your target 1500m pace, typical sessions that feature in my program include 3x500m, 5mins break, 5x300m, usually likes of 90sec recovery between reps, then maybe 2x400, 2x300, 2x200 etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭pconn062


    I had a query about weight training, do you do it? If so, what sort of things do you find beneficial? I was thinking of adding a little into my routine, the only issue is I don't live anywhere near a gym but have a few dumbbells in the house. or could you get away with just body weight exercises?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,695 ✭✭✭Chivito550


    pconn062 wrote: »
    I had a query about weight training, do you do it? If so, what sort of things do you find beneficial? I was thinking of adding a little into my routine, the only issue is I don't live anywhere near a gym but have a few dumbbells in the house. or could you get away with just body weight exercises?

    One of the guys in my gym was Australian 800m champion back in the 90s and was a 1:47 guy (also ran a 3:40). He's astonishingly powerful in the gym. There's anaerobic elements to 800m and 1500m so why should gym work be ignored completely? Middle distance runners should be lifting weights, but in different ways to how sprinters do (more reps, lower weight, less recoveries). The 800m runners in our training group don't do a tap of weights which I think is a mistake. If nothing else, it helps prevents injuries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,623 ✭✭✭dna_leri


    Chivito550 wrote: »
    One of the guys in my gym was Australian 800m champion back in the 90s and was a 1:47 guy (also ran a 3:40). He's astonishingly powerful in the gym. There's anaerobic elements to 800m and 1500m so why should gym work be ignored completely? Middle distance runners should be lifting weights, but in different ways to how sprinters do (more reps, lower weight, less recoveries). The 800m runners in our training group don't do a tap of weights which I think is a mistake. If nothing else, it helps prevents injuries.

    I would say that middle distance runners need to do less than sprinters but not necessarily different. Recent studies show heavier weights, fewer reps and longer recoveries also work for distance runners.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/how-the-right-strength-straining-can-bring-big-rewards-to-runners/article13938003/
    the best way to get better at running is to run more. But these results suggest that even a short, six-week bout of strength training, inserted a few times a year leading up to a goal race, can give your running a significant jolt. It’s also a great way to build resistance to injuries and fight off the muscle loss associated with aging

    That being said I don't always follow the good advice. I also have limited access to a gym and my strength routine is the first victim when time is short. When I do (about 1 per week), it's free weights with series of deadlifts, squats, lunges, shoulder press. Single leg work is best but good form is even more important for these and if in doubt don't do it - keep it simple or get coaching. Typically I will do 3 sets of 5 reps as heavy as I can.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Interesting about the weights, I've come from a distance background, so gym work would have never featured, but its something that I really should consider. But similar to dna, time is a limitation, and the gym is 4miles away, however if anyone has any suggestions for any sort of short enough gym session you could do youself at home, with likes of a few dumbells etc, then please let me know about it!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 784 ✭✭✭Stazza


    dna has it pretty much nailed. You shouldn't introduce weights into your training unless you know what you are doing. If you start doing weights without knowing what you're doing you are most likely going to get injured and/or end up running slower.

    There are so many more things that athletes/runners on here could do to improve their times before introducing weights. Strength is very important for a number of reasons but the whys and hows are complicated: before we even start talking about the CNS/pathways/fibre recruitment etc, technique has to be mastered. Mastering technique requires rucks of time and means starting off with Functional Strength Training using body weight - open chain/closed chain etc. And it's also important to do General Strength and Mobility work prior to introducing weights. And even more important is flexibility. I read some dross on here recently about people not stretching etc. Bang's head on the table. Basics. Stretching is massively important. Huge. Think about it.

    Most people probably know that they should do some basic dynamic work before runs and given the time, a full AIS routine. I suspect that hardly anybody on here does though. Look up 'Hope On A Rope' by Ger Hartmann - it's a good starting point. Bolt, Farah and all the top guys stretch - it's one of the fundamentals.

    Once you're running in and around 3:50 for 1500m that's the time when you should be looking at doing 'proper' weight training and like dna said, it's very similar to the strength training that sprinters do. I would argue, however, a more progressive approach is the answer, rather bouts of 6 weeks - although, if utilised correctly, 6 week bouts can be efficacious.

    If you want to add an element of strength work into your training - more for injury prevention - then you should be looking at functional strength training with the emphasis on body weight as resistance.

    Another thing that might be worth looking at is Jay Johnson's stuff. He's pretty good on the basics of strength work for runners, but it is pretty basic stuff. His stuff is the quick add on things that you can do after runs. They help prevent injuries and will give you an element of strength/conditioning that will help produce better results.

    Another great resource for middle distance runners is the BMC site. Loads of journals spanning from the 60's until the present day with fantastic stuff on all aspects of middle distance running.

    But whatever you do, please don't start doing planks etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,717 ✭✭✭YFlyer


    Stazza what do you mean not starting with planks etc?


  • Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭oldrunner


    Nice to see this thread active.
    I've started running 800/1500s in the late 1980s and never looked back. Still competing at Masters events. I'm in the middle of the o50 category and the 'youngsters' are making it harder every championship.
    If Dublin is accessible, there is no shortage of racing available for all standards - 8x Graded meets, Irish Miler club meets, Raheny has a 1 mile race in their winter league series, Clonliffe runs an invite based Grand Prix series including track, 800, 1500, mile and 3k races, ALSAA winter league, BHAA Trinity track meeting and mile races in August, National Championships, mile leg in National Road Relay, etc.
    For competitive Masters, the Graded series, provincial championships and national championships offer great competition. There's also the NI and British championships as well as European and World meets.
    I went overboard two years ago and got 18 races 400m to 3k in from March to end of August.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 784 ✭✭✭Stazza


    YFlyer wrote: »
    Stazza what do you mean not starting with planks etc?

    'Core'/Core Stability (CS) is a multi billion $ business con, especially where runners are concerned. There is no such thing as core. And it is dangerous for the health of the spine/pelvic region for people to engage in isometric contractions of the supposed 'core' muscles.

    Now, I know most people on here - and around the globe - are there in their bedrooms in the old plank position giving it welly - front planks, back planks, side planks, being planks. But planks and many similar so called 'core' exercises are detrimental to functional movement and the longevity of health for the 'core' area . In fact, if people bang away at the plank stuff they will, in time, get injured. And the injuries are bad.

    I'll put some 'stuff' together and post it. But if you just think for a moment about how the body functions in the so called 'core area' (glutes, hip flexors, abs, erector spinae QL and all the rest of those beastie boys) you'll soon realise that isometric work in this region will develop some prime movers and leave behind smaller muscles that should be firing first. This causes, amongst other things, muscles to fire in the wrong order. This manifests in lower back pain, 'glutes not firing' - they are, because if your glutes weren't firing you wouldn't be able to walk, let alone run a sub four min mile, piriformis syndrome, achilles problems, and many more complicated things like sports hernia.

    Just try this: lie down on your back, slowly roll over on to your front (like how a baby would do), move onto your knees, and then stand up and raise your hands to the ceiling. Difficult? A bit. So, if your body has 'forgotten/lost' the ability to do the most basic functions, why on earth would you pulverise one of the most sensitive, complicated, and important areas of your body with isometric work, which if we're honest, most people wouldn't even be doing properly.


    Like I said, I'll put some stuff together and try to put it in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow. If you must do some sort of 'core' work. Do the aforementioned exercise of standing up or you could do monsters and caterpillars...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,717 ✭✭✭YFlyer


    Stazza wrote: »
    'Core'/Core Stability (CS) is a multi billion $ business con, especially where runners are concerned. There is no such thing as core. And it is dangerous for the health of the spine/pelvic region for people to engage in isometric contractions of the supposed 'core' muscles.

    Now, I know most people on here - and around the globe - are there in their bedrooms in the old plank position giving it welly - front planks, back planks, side planks, being planks. But planks and many similar so called 'core' exercises are detrimental to functional movement and the longevity of health for the 'core' area . In fact, if people bang away at the plank stuff they will, in time, get injured. And the injuries are bad.

    I'll put some 'stuff' together and post it. But if you just think for a moment about how the body functions in the so called 'core area' (glutes, hip flexors, abs, erector spinae QL and all the rest of those beastie boys) you'll soon realise that isometric work in this region will develop some prime movers and leave behind smaller muscles that should be firing first. This causes, amongst other things, muscles to fire in the wrong order. This manifests in lower back pain, 'glutes not firing' - they are, because if your glutes weren't firing you wouldn't be able to walk, let alone run a sub four min mile, piriformis syndrome, achilles problems, and many more complicated things like sports hernia.

    Just try this: lie down on your back, slowly roll over on to your front (like how a baby would do), move onto your knees, and then stand up and raise your hands to the ceiling. Difficult? A bit. So, if your body has 'forgotten/lost' the ability to do the most basic functions, why on earth would you pulverise one of the most sensitive, complicated, and important areas of your body with isometric work, which if we're honest, most people wouldn't even be doing properly.


    Like I said, I'll put some stuff together and try to put it in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow. If you must do some sort of 'core' work. Do the aforementioned exercise of standing up or you could do monsters and caterpillars...

    Thanks for the quick respond Stazza.

    I'll read through your respond later in more detail and may have more questions to ask :)


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