Over the weekend, University of Michigan alumnus and Olympic medallist Nick Willis ran a killer workout. He tweeted, “Inspired by my training partner taking down Paul Chelimo today, so I went and ran my best workout in three years.” Willis continued to outline the workout and his times, including that one of the other instances when he ran this well was in college, with Canadian cyclist and two-time Vuelta a España stage winner Mike Woods. Woods replied that he would get more nervous for these University of Michigan workouts than for any bike race.
Prob closer to 2800, but distance not important. One of my better workouts on that course, and had some doozies in my day, including a few with @rusty_woods
— Nick Willis (@nickwillis) November 14, 2020
The Woods, Willis, Nate Brannen, Kevin Sullivan and Alan Webb era of Michigan Track and Field was truly bonkers one. The depth of talent and athletic accomplishment among those names runs deep. All of this to say, Woods wasn’t attending any old track and field practice, he was running among Olympic finalists, medalists and national record-holders. Woods himself would go on to become Canada’s best-known cyclist (he just didn’t know that yet). When asked which varsity workouts made him particularly nervous, Woods listed three that “struck the most fear in my heart.” Here they are.
— Michael Woods (@rusty_woods) November 15, 2020
Anyone who has followed the careers of the names listed above has heard of The Michigan. Woods says, “The Michigan was definitely the workout that I was most nervous to take on when I was at school, as it was always an accomplishment to just finish the thing. Whenever I knew I had a Michigan on the schedule, I would be nervous for days prior to the actual training session.”
The workout goes like this: one mile on the track at 10K race pace, followed by a short jog (roughly 200m) to a 2K loop (that had a hill in it) at tempo pace. Then a short 100m jog back to the track to run 1,200m at roughly 5K pace, then repeat the same short recovery jog to the same 2K tempo loop, 100m jog recovery straight into an 800m at 3K pace, short recovery jog to a 2K tempo loop, and then finish it all off with a 400m on the track at what their coach, Ron Warhurst, would yell “AYG” (all you got).
That’s it – just a cool, continuous 10K of really, really hard work for a bunch of teenagers who would then walk off to their philosophy (?) classes.