Only over the past two years have I started racing the 800m, training with my squad coached by Peter Fortune. I didn’t come from the typical little athletics background, I mostly just played team sports until I got halfway through high school and found my love for running. I’m extremely privileged to train with Fort and such an incredibly strong group of women, they are some of the most talented girls in the country and they really motivate me to work harder. Having so many girls running around the 2 minute mark, I hope to pull my time down from 2:10 over the next few seasons.
As the 800m demands both aerobic and anaerobic contributions, our training consists of speed endurance work, speed work, easy runs, strength training and a long run. I’ve had to do a fair amount of cross training in the past year due to injury, however I’ve found that swimming and cycling have really aided my aerobic fitness.
Here’s a little insight into my four favourite sessions as an 800m runner.
Session 1: 5, 4, 3, 2
As an 800m runner, this session is a huge indicator of race fitness. We run 500m, 400m, 300m, then 200m on the track with 2 minutes break between. We try to do this session at different stages of the season to pick out areas we may need to strengthen. It’s a great one to record down times to assess future progressions.
Session 2: 8-10 x 200m
This session is a staple one we complete every few weeks on track Thursdays. As much as I wish I could say a steady or threshold run is my favourite, I’ve always preferred interval training. I’ve found it translates to the track really well and is a great way to ensure each training block has a good amount of variety to keep my squad and myself motivated. We also try to change up the training surfaces- incorporating a few days on grass tracks has really benefited our group as a whole.
Session 3: 3 minute reps
3 minute reps are a regular inclusion in our training, we will usually do 3-4 x 3 minute reps followed by up to 8 x 1 minuters to really push the pace. This will include 1 minute of walk/ jog recovery in between. I find these sessions some of the most challenging when I’m training with a fast pack, but you can really get the most out of yourself when you do these sessions with a team.
Session 4: Easy runs
Not exactly a “session” but an integral part of my weekly training and a huge influence on my progression. Fitting 2-3 easy runs into my training each week around big sessions has helped me improve my aerobic fitness and can be some of the most enjoyable training of the week. Running 30-40 minutes without worrying about distance/ pace always reminds me how great the simplicity of running can be. Incorporating runs at a slower pace and lower heart rate can act to aid your adaptations from the harder days.