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This week’s workout comes from Chris Palmquist, an Illinois-based coach working with Team MPI. Palmquist is a national team coach for USA Paratriathlon, head coach for the MMTT Youth Development Team, and a Level III, Youth and Junior-certified USAT coach.
“This is one of my favorite track workouts for improving 5km race pace,” says Palmquist. “Whether you are an off-season triathlete running fall 5-10 km races or an in-season athlete attempting to improve your speed at threshold, this workout will help you dial in your pace and develop the muscular endurance to hold that speed for a longer duration.”
For this workout, find a track with an infield, ideally marked for ball sports. During the main set, place two cones or water bottles on the track where it intersects the 50-yard line on either side of the field. These cones will mark the halfway point of each straightaway.
1 mile of easy running
5 min of dynamic stretching
2 x 100-meter strides or pickups
Set a timer for 20 minutes, and run at 5km to 10km race effort (rated perceived effort (RPE) between 7-8) from one cone to the other (200 meters)
Walk or jog along the 50-yard line on the infield back to the starting cone on the opposite side of the track
Repeat as many times as possible during the 20 minutes
Count your efforts
Repeat with one more 20-minute set
Your goal is to complete as many reps (or more) during the second set as you did during the first
5 minutes of easy running and/or walking