Workout of the Week: 013 – Peter Snell 800s

Following the sad passing of one the world’s greatest middle distance runners, this week we’re doing the workout that Peter Snell did two weeks out from his double gold (800m & 1500m) at the 1964 Olympics.

It’s the mother of all interval workouts. So get ready to get those lungs pumping!

WHAT

6x800m* @ VO2max Pace

*4x800m if your 5k is 25mins or more, 5x800m if between 20-25mins

Recoveries
Equal time walking/jogging as your interval

Terrain
Flat, measured (or measurably) pathway or running track.

Feels
Pumped!

This workout is designed to dial up the intensity on your oxygen uptake capabilities. As such, you will be breathing some big ones! The long-ish recoveries will make it more palatable, but the last couple of reps will be demanding.

HOW

If your 5k time is above 25 minutes, please only do 4 reps. And if you’re between 20 and 25 minutes, do 5 reps. This is important in order tweak the workout to your fitness level and make sure we’re all doing a similar amount of work as far as time-on-feet is concerned.

Be sure to pace yourself well early on so you don’t wind up spending too much time maxed out.

What’s my VO2max pace? Check the TempoFit.org calculator and here are some quick guides:

5k Time VO2max per KM VO2max per 800
15:00 02:50 02:16
16:00 03:01 02:25
17:00 03:13 02:34
18:00 03:20 02:40
19:00 03:31 02:49
20:00 03:41 02:57
21:00 03:51 03:05
22:00 04:00 03:12
23:00 04:11 03:21
24:00 04:20 03:28
25:00 04:31 03:37
26:00 04:41 03:45
27:00 04:51 03:53
28:00 05:00 04:00
29:00 05:09 04:07
30:00 05:20 04:16
31:00 05:29 04:23
32:00 05:39 04:31
33:00 05:49 04:39
34:00 05:58 04:46
35:00 06:08 04:54

WHY

VO2max-style workouts are the icing on the cake workouts.

They bring all the pieces together of long aerobic endurance running, speed and technique work, lactate tolerance training, and strength. As such, research tells us that these workouts provide incredible fitness improvements in the short-to-medium term.

PETER SNELL’S TRAINING

Here’s an excerpt from Sweatelite that details Peter Snell’s daily training in his lead up to completing the famous 800/1500 double gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (a feat that hasn’t been done by a man ever since—it also involved running six races in eight days!).

October 1: 2 hour run – strong and even pace.

October 2: 4 times 400m efforts.

October 3: 6 times 800m. Averaged 2:05 (this is the workout we’re replicating)

October 4: 1 mile time trial in 4:02

October 5: 10 times 200m stride outs

October 6: Sprint training over 150 yards.

October 7: 800m fast time trial in 1:47.1

October 8: 1 hour jog.

October 9: 800m in 50yard dashes.

October 10: 1 hour jog

October 11: 3 times 200m sprints.

October 12: 1 hour jog

October 13: Half an hour jog

October 14: 800m heat. 1:49

October 15: 800m semi. 1:46.9

October 16: 800m final. 1:45.1 Olympic Gold.

October 17: 1500m heat. 3:46.6

October 18: 1 hour jog

October 19: 1500m semi. 3:38.8

October 20: 1 hour jog

October 21: 1500m final 3.38.1 Olympic Gold.

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