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James Chu offers an exclusive coach’s-eye view of the Oregon Project’s post-race workout.
After the crowds had departed the 110th Millrose Games, as cleanup crews and reporters worked to compete their tasks, Cloud259 stayed trackside to detail the Nike Oregon Project athletes’ post-race workouts. NOP assistant coach Pete Julian appeared to be overseeing them.
First up was Shannon Rowbury. About 90 minutes after her 3rd place 4:23 in the NYRR Wanamaker Women’s Mile, it was back to work. Wearing Nike Zoom Streaks, Rowbury jogged a few shakeout laps before diving into a 4000m (~2.5 miles) tempo run. Rowbury completed the tempo in 13 minutes and 20 seconds (5:20 per 1600), snapping off 40 second laps without appearing unduly strained.
Rowbury recovered for about seven minutes, drinking water, taking instruction from Julian, chatting with her husband (Mexican multiple national record holder Pablo Solares), and jogging. She finished the workout striding out 4×100 in 14-15 seconds per rep, with 300m jog recoveries.
Approximate 400m splits for the 4000m tempo: 83, 2:44 (81), 4:04 (80), 1600 – 5:24 (80), 6:43 (79), 8:02 (79), 9:22 (80), 3200 – 10:42 (80), 12:01 (79), 4000 – 13:20 (79).
Approximate 100m splits: 14, 14, 14 high, 15.
Like Shannon, Eric Jenkins showed up about 90 minutes after his performance, an emphatic 3:53 win in the Wanamaker Mile. Jenkins began his post-race workout in a black shirt with the word “EQUALITY” emblazoned in bold white lettering, the same shirt he had worn when accepting the trophy for the race. Jenkins blasted a 3x1600m cutdown, a workout that NOP teammate Galen Rupp executed with inhuman post-race efforts in the past. Jenkins ran 4:28 for his first rep, jogged 400m, and launches into a 4:21 in the next. He took just over five minutes of recovery this time, using the extra time to remove his shirt, among other things. With long, powerful strides, he ran the last rep in 4:14—a solitary end to a successful day.
Approximate 200 meter splits for 1600m repeats:
34, 1:08 (34), 1:42 (34), 2:16 (34), 2:49 (33), 3:22 (33), 3:55 (33), 4:28 (33)
33, 1:05 (32), 1:37 (32), 2:10 (33), 2:42 (32), 3:15 (33), 3:48 (33), 4:21 (33)
32, 1:04 (32), 1:37 (33), 2:09 (32), 2:41 (32), 3:12 (31), 3:43 (31), 4:14 (31)
Just when I thought we could go home, the winner of the Women’s Wanamaker Mile, Sifan Hassan, stepped onto the track well over two hours after the finish of her race. I found it interesting that she was doing her workout separately from Rowbury. Would it be the same workout? After receiving instruction from Julian, she caught me by surprise and started her tempo running clockwise (opposite the usual direction). I missed the first lap and started my watch 200m into what would turn out to be a 4800m (~3 miles) tempo run—800m longer than Rowbury’s. Hassan ran about 15:36 (5:12 per 1600) with metronomic efficiency (I approximate her first lap split at 40s). The newly anointed Dutch indoor mile national record holder—she destroyed the old record in her 4:19 Wanamaker victory—took a few sips of water and jogged a few recovery laps before switching back to making only left turns on the track (the normal counterclockwise direction). She took off with a conservative first 100m before turning it up a notch for another 300m. She completed 400m in 67 seconds. After about 3 minutes and 45 seconds of jogging, Hassan dropped a 47 second 300m. After a modest recovery, she looked sprightly in her final rep, 200m in 29.7 seconds. Her workout was more difficult than Rowbury’s, not bad for someone who was having stomach issues, according to what I overheard NOP head coach Alberto Salazar saying after her race.
Approximate 200 meter splits for Hassan’s 4800m tempo:
40 (guessing), 1:19 (39), 1:58 (39), 2:37 (39), 3:16 (39), 3:54 (38), 4:33 (39), 1600 – 5:13 (40), 5:52 (39), 6:32 (40), 7:11 (39), 7:49 (38), 8:28 (39), 9:07 (39), 9:47 (40), 3200 – 10:27 (40), 11:06 (39), 11:46 (40), 12:24 (38), 13:03 (39), 13:42 (39), 14:20 (38), 14:59 (39), 4800 – 15:36 (37)
400 – 67s, 300 – 47s, 200 – 29.7s
Another benefit is that an athlete is in a unique physiological state after a race, and running a workout during this post-race window is a stressor that stimulates adaptation not easily simulated in any other situation. Ordinarily, one would work on an energy system that was lightly used during the race. For example, if one raced a mile, a tempo run of 10-20 minutes or long intervals would likely be in order. If one raced a 5k, shorter intervals such as 200s or 300s might be the right call.
One thing that stood out to me about NOP’s post-race workouts was that there was plenty of recovery between segments or intervals in the workouts. Rowbury had generous recovery between the tempo and the 100s, and 300m jogs was plenty between the 100s. Jenkins had sufficient rest before running his final 1600m interval. And Hassan had plenty of rest between her tempo and the 400m, 300m, 200m reps. The objective appeared to be high-quality paces with the requisite rest to accomplish the task. — James Chu
See also our full meet roundup.
In Episode 45 James Chu joins Brenn in the broadcast booth and geeks out on the Millrose Games. In post-race interviews, Garrett Heath addresses gamesmanship in the Wanamaker Mile pacing, Ryan Hill reveals how last year’s narrow loss propelled this year’s thrilling win, and Abbey D’Agostino shares her reading list. Duane Solomon and Molly Huddle also make cameos.
By James Chu
NCAA track & field features the most thrilling and competitive races in the sport that we love. Collegians race not for a paycheck, but because they care about the glory and love of sport and competition. For that, and the tremendous depth and parity in the college ranks, I am a huge fan of NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field.
As a Princeton University track alum myself, I have a rooting interest in the sport. Princeton is not exactly known as a powerhouse in the major sports of football, baseball, or basketball (save for the occasional March tourney berth), but Princeton has fine programs in Cross Country and Track & Field, turning out a few professional runners in recent years. When I saw the start lists for the 109th Millrose Games, I got excited as I saw quite a few Princeton alums and two current students on the lists. I decided that I wanted to see how many representatives from each college were in the meet, and while I was at it, I scored the meet NCAA Championship style by college alma mater of the participants.
As expected, University of Oregon dominated the athlete count with 15. Princeton had the second most representatives with 7 including Olympian Donn Cabral (3000m), Liz Costello (5000m), Greta Feldman (5000m), Justin Frick (high jump), Joe Stilin (mile), and current students Noah Kauppila (800m) and Garrett O’Toole (800m). If you throw in incoming future frosh Conor Lundy (HS mile), the Tigers would have 8 representatives. For this, I use the orange and black as my title and column header colors.
I will use the green and gold of Oregon for the team scores, as their superior numbers and dominating performances take the wins for both men and women. The men’s competition actually came down to the last event of the meet, the Wanamaker Mile. Oregon trailed USC (with wins from Andre DeGrasse in the 60 meters and Duane Solomon in the 800) by 7.5 points. Oregon had three guys in the mile (Matt Centrowitz, Blake Haney, and Daniel Winn), needing to collect at least 8 points collectively to win. Haney got one point (8th place), so Centrowitz needed at least 7 points (2nd place) for the team win, and he got 10. Six points (3rd) or fewer would not have been enough.
The MVP of the men’s competition can go to none other than the greatest athlete in the world Ashton Eaton of Oregon. Eaton scored 8 pts in the 60m hurdles and 4 pts in the long jump for 12 of Oregon’s 32 points.
The women’s MVP goes to Shannon Rowbury for winning the Women’s Wanamaker Mile tallying 10 of Duke’s 15 points for a 3rd place finish in the women’s team standings.
My Tigers finished with 5 points coming from the current Tigers Kauppila and O’Toole in the 800.