Let’s Talk Training!

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When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to be a distance runner from the first practice [and well before]. However, I was not entering into a powerhouse cross-country program. Instead, my school was continually putting out some great 4×4’s. Therefore, I was left to discover many things about the sport on my own volition; most specifically, training.

So I turned to the Internet for the majority of my research, and I would spend hours on Dyestat and Letsrun, and I would supplement by reading every book I could find. And finally, I would bother the better runners in my area by instant messaging and asking every question I could think of.

I attribute the shaping of my own training philosophy to the accumulation of hearing about other’s. And for that reason, I try to share what I am doing whenever asked. A little insight into my training could hopefully provide others with some ideas for their own. Similar to seeing others race fast, seeing what others are capable of doing in practice opens up the eyes to what is possible.

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After almost an entire year healthy, I have put together a solid block of training, specifically this fall and winter. Our workout schedule [generally] looks like this:

Monday-Strength Work


Wednesday-AM Tempo; PM Hills/Speed


Friday-Specific Endurance

Saturday-Long Run


I try to run about 80-90 miles a week, and have been working my way to running 2-hours on Saturday [Church of the Saturday Long Run?]. The classic Gags saying in regards to training, is ‘You put speed and strength in a bowl, and you get a champion.’ This is a little bit of a different approach than I did in HS and college. Rather than a strict periodization, we are constantly touching on everything. We hit some workouts harder than others depending on the time of year, but we never stray too far from any particular stimulus.

There are an infinite number of ways to train an athlete. The biggest thing is perhaps his or her belief in the system. I trust Gags, and everyday I buy into it more and more. He has made me realize that speed is necessary. While you can only turn strength into speed, and not vice versa, in order to make the US Olympic team at 1500m, you have to be prepared to close in 51-52 seconds [three races in a row]. That requires some turnover.

Below is a sneak peek into some of my best workouts from this build up. Things are going well right now, and I had a smooth transition back into training after a down week following the end of indoor. Now that the weather is picking up, the mileage is climbing and the workload is increasing. March and April’s runs will determine May and June’s races. Enjoy!

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(Photo by Zach Hetrick)

11/19/14: AM-6 mile tempo on Columbia Trail in 29:33 [502—459—458—455—453—444]

12/5/14: 12 x 400 @ 62 w/ 3 min honest jog rest + 3 x 200 @ 29 w/ 2 mins

12/8/14: 12 x 1000 w/ 2 min honest jog rest @ 255 on the cinders

12/20/14: 2-hours @ 6:05 [felt great, a bit faster than normal]

1/2/15: 600+400+300+300 w/8/6/4 rest @ [121.8—54.4—40.4—40.6] 

1/16/15: 2 x 800 + 4 x 400 w/ 6/8/3 rest @ [158.7—155.8—59.7—58.3—57.3—54.9] in Sedona, AZ

2/5/15: 4 x 600 w/ 5 min rest + 2 x 300 w/ 4 min rest @ [126.2—127.9—127.2—124.7—40.1—39.4]

2/22/15: 6 x 400 w/ 5 min rest [56.1—55.9—55.1—54.1—53.5—52.2]

3/16/15: 8 x 1000 w/ 2 min jog rest + 4 x200 @ [252—252—250—251–250—247—248—244] [27—27—27—26]

If you’re into reading about training, check out my NJ*NY teammate’s blog, Mike Rutt, at http://mikeruttrunning.blogspot.com/ as well as my former teammate’s, Joe Stilin, at http://thinkfastwaitrun.blogspot.com/

Author: kylemerber

Kyle Merber is a professional runner for HOKA One One and the New Jersey*New York Track Club. He has personal bests of 3:34/3:52 but would prefer that not be included in his bio because he believes his writing should be judged independently. He tweets a lot @TheRealMerb.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Training!”

  1. This is awesome. Thanks for posting! I love looking at training and workouts and you rarely get any transparency at the elite level. One question I have is about the cinders workout: 12x1k. The volume seems a bit high. Pace appears to be around your 10k pace or so I’m guessing, or was it closer to threshold?

    1. 2:55 would probably be considered more 10k pace for me. The volume is high for sure, but that’s the focus during the fall. I included the dates of each workout to give some perspective of what we are doing when. During the fall, it’s a lot of mileage, big emphasis on tempos and long intervals, and friday’s specific work is more like “touch the pace, but don’t kill yourself.”

  2. Do you do everything in singles? The easy days must get decently long if that is the case.

    Also, when it comes to weight lifting do you do high reps, low weight or the opposite? Or is it all body weight stuff?

    Insight into a professionals training is very interesting who is self coached.

  3. I try to do everything in singles, except for Wednesday’s when we do hills in the evening. But later in the year, or on certain weeks it becomes really hard to do it so I maybe will throw in one or more. I prefer adding on to make long cool downs because I know my body likes having 24 hours to recover. I do light weight high reps, personally. Definitely some body weight in there though. For me, it’s mostly just doing SOMETHING, or else I get too skinny.

    1. I absolutely love the Cliftons. I do a little training in the Conquest 2’s and the Huaka, but the majority of my mileage in the Cliftons. Go to your local running store and try them on. The first step may feel weird, but by the end of your first run, it’ll be a game changer.

  4. Hey Kyle. Do you have an email address I could contact you on to ask some more specific questions regarding your training?

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