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.
Standing at the start of the New York City Marathon in 1976 were 10-year-old Brad Kelley, who thought splits every few miles meant ice cream, and 15-year-old high school sophomore Tony Ruiz, who a day after setting a cross-country PR at Van Cortlandt Park was looking to work in a long run with one of his buddies. What could possibly go wrong? Their stories of the race and more recent feats—wearing a Central Park Track Club singlet, Brad returned in 2016 to run a 2:50 at age 50, and Tony has become one of the club’s iconic coaches—complete our series on the kids who ran NYCM in the disco era.
Episode 50 is all about the New York City Marathon…and breaking three hours, of course. Imagine doing that as a nine-year-old. Gregg chats with Wesley Paul, who in 1977 zipped around the five boroughs in 3:00:39 at the tender age of eight, then went sub-3 the next year. Paul offers a childhood peek at the race and wise advice both for young runners generally and for adults looking to run their best at 26.2. Brenn will take Cloud259’s next crack at sub-3 at the NYCM on Sunday, and he bubbles over with pre-race denial about just how awful those last six miles will be.
In his first marathon since a sacral stress fracture postponed his quest for Cloud 2:59, Gregg braved the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He offers a race report under intense grilling from his co-host. We highlight the top performances at that race, discuss the mysteries of ideal pacing, give a few shout-outs to listeners, and take a look at the elites who will be running the New York City Marathon on November 6. And Gregg mentions the T-word.
In Episode 48, we recount the high drama at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where America’s best distance runners left nothing on the track, and we discuss the participation of Intersex athletes at the Games. Gregg welcomes a new runner to the fold.
Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez, here pictured at the 2015 5th Avenue Mile, won spots on the Olympic team in a dramatic 1500m race.
In Episode 47, we cover the recently completed Boston Marathon and upcoming London Marathon. Our guest, 2014 U.S. Marathon Champ Esther Atkins (nee Erb), discusses how to accomplish even pacing over 26.2. In a wide-ranging interview, she also covers the business side of the sport, the “Erbbot,” and her plans for the future (hint: Tokyo Olympic Games, 2020). We revisit the issue of the harassment of women’s runners, and provide shout-outs to listeners whose impressive performances all ended with a “9”.
In Episode 46, we let our guests do (most of) the talking. Ian Burrell describes to Gregg his approach to the April 18 Boston Marathon, his recent sponsorship changes, running with Tourette’s syndrome, and the daily routine of an elite distance runner who’s also a family man and a partner in a law firm. In our second interview Polly Jones speaks out about the troubling and pervasive issue of the harassment of women runners.