Barry Britt (in yellow singlet) at Portland, Oregon Track Festival.

Whether it’s 400m or 800m repeats on the track, a marathon pace tempo or like today, mile repeats, there’s nothing quite like the nostalgia of doing a classic workout and seeing how you compare with past versions of yourself.

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Mile repeats are, have been and will always be a tried and true addition to most training plans.  From 5K all the way up to the marathon, 1609m (about 4 laps of a track for ease of execution) is an ideal interval length that develops and demonstrates a perfect combination of speed and endurance.

The speed at which the miles are run will depend on your training and goals but for many, the distance represents the longest option that can be used to practice race pace, improve lactate threshold and become more comfortable at a hard/fast pace.

As always, be sure to warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running including a few strides and drills before you complete the intervals and cool-down with a further 10-20 minutes after.

Those training for a 5K should aim to complete 3 x 1 mile at goal race pace with a short, 400m, break in between. This workout should be done at least one week (preferably 10 days) prior to your goal race.

10K runners should build up to 4 or 5 miles run at goal race pace, also with 400m in between. Start with four early in the season and aim to complete five, approximately two weeks out from race day.

Half and marathon runners can experiment running between 5 and 10 miles at/around lactate threshold pace with 800m (or 1K) in between. Start with the lower number of intervals early in training and progressively build up to between 8 and 10 in a single workout. The idea is to run faster than race pace but an ‘easier’ version of the workout could have you practice running at goal half or marathon pace.


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