The crux of her training program is the inclusion of at least two or often three quality sessions (one of long intervals, one of short intervals, and one of fartlek)
Reprinted by permission of Warner blogs/New York. From Grete WaitzWorld Class (p. 106) by G. Waitz and G. Averbuch, 1986, New York: Warner blogs. Copyright © 1986 by Grete Waitz and Gloria Averbuch.
Per week and one longer run. All speed sessions are done in the afternoon in racing shoes.
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On the day of a quality workout session, she begins her preparation by mentally rehearsing the workout. She takes these hard workouts very seriously and avoids a busy schedule on the days she runs these sessions. She will usually nap beforehand in order to ensure that she feels rested and prepared to run hard.
A typical long-interval workout on the track is six 800-m intervals run at faster than 10-km race pace with 400-m recoveries between intervals. If she does not have access to a track or other measured distance, she substitutes this workout with six 2-1/2-minute intervals of hard running with 2-minute recoveries between intervals. During these sessions she concentrates on doing more repetitions at a fast pace rather than fewer repetitions at maximal effort. To progress she does not try to run each interval faster; rather she shortens the recovery period between each interval.
Waitz’s short-interval session consists of twelve 200-m intervals run at close to 800-m race pace. In contrast to her approach with the longer intervals, as she progresses she does not shorten the recovery period but runs each interval faster. The purpose of these short intervals is to maintain her leg speed and efficiency. This is the only session during which she times herself on the track. She considers it to be mentally the most difficult workout for her and one that helps toughen her mind. The final type of speed work that Waitz employs is a time trial in which she races up to two thirds of the distance of an upcoming race at 5 to 10 seconds per kilometer slower than her race pace. She uses this session to assess her likely race pace. If she is able to run at or near her goal 10-km pace for 5 or 6 km in training and feels under control, then she knows she will be able to repeat that speed in a race. Because she races frequently, she uses these time trials only occasionally, particularly when there are gaps in either her racing schedule or in her confidence.