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Justyn Knight’s seriously fast speed workout

The workout and the gear for Justyn Knight's toughest sessions

Justyn Knight is one of Canada’s fastest-ever 5,000m runners. The 5,000m is one of the longer events contested on the track, so it requires a unique blend of speed and strength and forces the runner to pay attention to both systems.

Knight had a extremely successful varsity career at Syracuse University where he earned an individual NCAA title in both cross-country and track. Following his NCAA career, Knight signed with the Reebok Boston Track Club in Charlottesville, Virginia to begin the second phase of his running career as a professional.

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Justyn in the Reebok Floatride Energy. Photo: Benjamin Weingart

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Knight has trained with coach Chris Fox since his freshman year of university and is still coached by him today. Some days Knight trains like a marathoner and other days like an 800m runner–that’s how to develop the unique blend of skills you need to be an effective 5,000m runner. Knight says that Fox cooks up some pretty intense speed workouts: his favourite is repeats of 400m, 300m and 200m.

Photo: Benjamin Weingart

The warmup

Knight says that on speed days, the warmup is a little more important. “When the workout is fast, we need to be warmed up and ready to go. Usually we do a 25 minute warmup, but on speed days it’s closer to 30 minutes. Within that 30-minute warmup, we do a four-minute pickup at cross-country race pace. We also always make sure we do four strides.”

The workout

The workout is three sets of 400m/300m/200m with a set rest of two minutes. With warmup, cooldown and the meat of the workout, Knight has covered about 14K.

The pace

The 400m intervals go at 57 seconds, the 300m intervals around 43 seconds and the 200m intervals at 27 seconds. The rest between intervals is 1:30.

Knight says those are the paces to the start and that by the last set they’ve usually worked their way down to 42 seconds for the 300m and 26 seconds for the 200m.

Photo: Benjamin Weingart

The shoe

Knight says the Floatride Energy is a really fast shoe and it’s what the team (which includes fellow Canadian and NCAA champion Ben Flanagan) uses for their base season speed workouts. “It’s a great shoe for early in the season, because it helps the workout feel a little easier. Outside of spikes, it’s certainly the fastest shoe I’ve got.”

Floatride Energy. Photo: Reebok

With fall racing season underway, if you’re considering a new shoe to help you get the most out of race day, the Floatride Energy is a great option. Afterall, if this shoe does the trick for one of Canada’s fastest-ever 5,000m runners, it’ll probably do the trick for you. This shoe is designed with Reebok’s snappy and light Floatride Energy Foam. At only 8.7 oz for men and 7.3 oz for women, this shoe is perfect for the road runner looking for a combination of cushioning, response and flexibility.

Up next for Knight are the World Championships in Doha, where he hopes to improve on his ninth-place 5,000m performance from the 2017 World Championships. The 5,000m finals go today at 2:20 p.m. ET. Full World Championship results and schedule can be found here.

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