This is where Windy City Sports enters the picture. We asked a three-time Olympian, national champions, NCAA All-Americans, Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers and college and club coaches about their toughest workouts.
The prep work is done we've got nine killer workouts. Now it is up to you to actually do them.
Just be sure that you don't get ahead of yourself. If youre not in good-enough shape for a particular workout, scale it back with slower times or fewer reps. If youre not quite up to Julius Mwangis 3 x 1 mile at 4:20 pace to start his workout, you are forgiven.
Evanston resident Pat Savage, 56, coaches the Niles West/Oakton Runners Club, which meets year-round at Niles Township High School West.
Workout: 10K broken into this sequence: 1K, 3K, 2K, 3K, 1K. (The total time should be slightly faster than your 10K PR.) Rest three minutes between each segment.
Comment: This workout really teaches you how to pace yourself, Savage says. If you run the 1K and 3K at the beginning too fast, youre dead by the end.
April Ecke, 28, ran cross-country at Mississippi State University and earned NCAA All-American honors in 1993. She now lives in Evanston and serves as the head coach for Northwestern University's women's cross-country team.
Location: Trail or road preferably one with a hill.
Workout: 6 x this sequence: four-minute sustained run (85 percent effort), followed by a one-minute all-out run, followed by a 30-second jog.
Comment: Because you repeat the sequence six times, this workout really teaches you how to control your pace, Ecke says. Also, the one minute all out simulates the surge at the end of the race.
Forty-year-old Jim Spivey of Glen Ellyn is a three-time Olympian (1984, 1992 and 1996) and won a bronze in the 1,500-meter at the 1987 World Championships. He now serves as the head track and field coach at the University of Chicago.
Location: Track and trail/road.
Workout: 3 x 400-meter repeats on the track, making each one slower than the previous one (Spiveys teams run around 65 seconds for the first, 70 for the second and 75 for the third.)
Continue straight off the track and run four to eight miles at a tempo run pace. (For this part of the workout, Spivey recommends getting your pulse to around 165.)
Continue straight from the tempo run onto the track and run 3 x 400-meter repeats on the track, making each one faster than the last.
Comment: This workout does three things, Spivey says. It develops speed and strength. It forces you to maintain a fast rhythm, and it makes you mentally tough.
Algonquin resident Ann Schaefers-Coles, 35, qualified for the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in 1996 and 2000. At this years trials, she crossed the finish line at 2:38:47, putting her in sixth place.
Location: Trail or road with a hill.
Workout: 10-mile tempo run, followed by: 6 x one-mile repeats out and back run out and back over a hill with 2:30 recovery time between each mile.
Comment: This workout gives your body more than two hours of quality effort, Schaefers-Coles says. If you do this workout and then run a flat course, youre going to feel really strong.
Chicagoan Jim Knoedel, 47, serves as the head coach for both the mens and womens cross-country and track teams at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before Knoedel came to UIC, he coached at Simpson College, Loyola University, Drake University and Northwestern University.
Workout: 6 x one-mile repeats, making each mile faster than the last. (Knoedels teams start around 5:10 and finish at 4:45.) Rest three minutes between each mile.
Comment: This workout will let you know if youre truly in good shape, Knoedel says. It shows you the importance of conditioning and helps develop mental toughness.
Naperville resident Mary Knisely, 41, was the 1986 and 1987 national champion in the 3,000-meter and won a gold medal at that distance in the 1987 Pan American Games. More recently, she qualified for the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials.
Location: Hill preferably one with a constant grade. (Knisely uses Mount Hoy in Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.)
Workout: 3 to 4 x sprint repeats up the hill doing one of four leg drills: high knees, bounding, butt kickers or fast knees (do a different drill each time up) and take any easy jog down.
After the first hill sprint, run 6 to 10 x 200-meter repeats with 45 seconds of rest between each one.
After the second hill sprint, run 3 to 6 x 400-meter repeats with 1:30 of rest between each one.
After the third hill sprint, run 50 yards at a tempo pace and then sprint for 60 yards, continue this pattern for one mile.
Comment: This workout is a transition from the long-distance running in the fall to the speedwork in the summer and spring, Knisely says. It works form, strength and overall tone. The workout also helps keep things fresh because it is done outside, not on a track.
Team Kukimbia Chicago
Bruce Meyer manages the Kenyans in Homewood. He asked three of his runners, who have formed a team named Kukimbia Chicago, about their toughest workouts and relayed their answers.
Kahugu, 29, finished in the top 10 at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon the past two years, running a 2:07:59 in 1998. In that same year, he also won the CVS-Cleveland Marathon and set a course record.
Workout: 7 x 2,000-meter repeats, each run in six minutes, with a 400-meter jog between each one.
Comment: Joseph is a pure distance runner, Meyer says. This workout is a good test for him because he is running faster than his marathon pace.
Kariuki, 31, won the LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle in 1997 and took second place the next year. In 1999, he ran the Twin Cities Marathon, his first marathon ever, and finished second.
Workout: 10 x 800-meter repeats at 2:04 with a three-minute jog between each one.
Comment: This is an anaerobic workout that develops speed, Meyer says. If this workout is comfortable, youre ready to run fast.
Mwangi, 24, is a three-time NCAA All-American. In 1999, he won the Heart and Sole 10K, setting a course record with a time of 29:16.
Workout: 3 x 1-mile repeats at 4:20.
3 x 1,200-meter repeats at 3:15.
3 x 800-meter repeats at 2:10.
2 x 600-meter repeats at 1:35.
2 x 400-meter repeats at 1:03.
2 x 200-meter repeats under 30 seconds.
Rest three minutes between repeats from the one-mile to the 600-meter, one minute for the 400-meter and 30 seconds for the 200-meter.
Comment: Julius has never finished this workout, Meyer says. But the first time he does, look out.
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