Session 1: Mona Fartlek
Basics of the session: The workout named after Steve Moneghetti is 20 minutes of fartlek with fast recovery, done as follows:-2×90 seconds hard (tempo to 10K pace) with 90 seconds recovery steady, not jogging.
-4×60 seconds hard, 60 seconds steady.
-4×30 seconds hard, 30 seconds steady.
-4×15 seconds hard, 15 seconds steady.
As I’ve said in a RT previous interview, the Mona is probably my favourite session. It’s great to see where you’re at with you training and it gives you a great indication of how your fitness is looking coming up to race day. Along with this it is also a fantastic way to improve your stamina and endurance. I personally think it’s a great length, being 20 minutes it’s not too long that it drags on but it is long enough that you can get into a good rhythm and you feel like you’ve done a full session.
Session 2: Quarters
Basics of the session: A favourite of the legendary, Rob De Castella: 8 x 400 meters (one lap of the track) with a 200-meter “float” between intervals. Complete the 400’s at 1-2 seconds per lap faster than your current 5K race pace and the 200’s at a pace that’s about a minute per mile slower than your 5K pace.
As far as track sessions go, quarters are another personal favourite of mine. I’m a big fan of the continuous sessions as I feel like constant stopping breaks your concentration and makes it far harder to focus on the running itself. When you can just keep rolling around it makes it far easier to deal with however hard the session may feel. Another major benefit of this session is that it doesn’t have to be done on the track. When training up at falls creek, quarters are the main session on a Thursday and all the athletes from around Australia gather to do them together. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the big names in Australian distance in action and to see where you stack up against them. I feel like it works so well because it is a great for both improving your speed and endurance due to its high tempo and reasonably lengthy nature.
Session 3: Hills
Although by far the most painful session in my opinion, hills are undoubtedly a fantastic way to improve strength and fitness. The great thing about this session it that it can more or less be modified around any hill you can find. The shorter ones will need more reps at a higher tempo but can be equally as beneficial as long hills at less reps and a slightly lower tempo. Furthermore as cross country is such a big part of so many distance runners’ years, it is a great way to get an edge of your competitors when it comes to some of the hillier courses.
When it really comes down to it, any session is good as long as you’re working hard and at the end of the day, it won’t come down to what sessions everyone has done but who has pushed themselves the hardest and worked the most. However I do believe that enjoying the sessions you are doing is incredibly important. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will have a much higher chance at success and sticking with your running