1600m Workouts

 

Workouts that challenge your aerobic threshold for the 1600m

The 1600m race is a fast paced endurance race that is roughly around 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic.  When a runner runs at a heart rate of below 130-150 beats per minute (bpm) or 65% of Vo2 max, their body’s aerobic system will use fatty acids as the primary fuel source.  Once the runner increases their effort above this rate, their body’s primary fuel needs will shift from fatty acids to glycogen without any accumulation of lactic acid or hydrogen ions.  Training with workout intensities at or below this intensity will challenge the aerobic system to use fatty acids and save glycogen for higher intensities.

Below is a list of a few 1600m aerobic threshold workout intensities that will help train the aerobic system to use fatty acids and glycogen without the accumulation of lactic acid and hydrogen ions. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 1600m/3200m training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 1600 meter athlete and try to run these 1600m workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 1600m workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

20-30min run @ 50-70% effort (lower %age = fatty acids  and higher %age = glycogen)

As the 1600m athlete’s capacity increases over the season: 

  • 30-45min run @ 50-70%
  • 45-60min run @ 50-70%
  • 60-80min run @50-70%
  • 80-100min run @50-70%

Important:  Make 10% total weekly volume increases to reduce the chance of injury due to heavy increases in mileage.


 
 

Workouts that increase your anaerobic threshold

The 1600m race is a fast paced endurance race that is around 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic.  When a runner trains and goes over a heart rate of around 170 bpm or 85-90% of their Vo2 max, their body’s aerobic system will no longer be able to completely supply the energy necessary to sustain that intensity or above.  The runner will have to rely on the anaerobic system to help assist the aerobic system in order to maintain an intensity that is greater or equal to the 170bpm or 85-90% V02 max.  Training with workout intensities near the anaerobic threshold allows a runner to maximize their aerobic systems efficient use of glycogen while expanding the aerobic system to higher levels.

Below is a list of a few 1600m workouts at intensities just below the anaerobic threshold  (150-170 bpm).  Training at or just below the anaerobic threshold will develop and increase the efficient use of glycogen as the primary energy source. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 1600m/3200m training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 1600 meter athlete and try to run these 1600m workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 1600m workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

20-25min run @ 70-80% of recent timed mile pace

As the 1600m athlete’s capacity increases over the season: 

  • 25-30min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace
  • 30-45min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace
  • 45-60min run @70-80% of recent timed mile pace

 
 

Workouts that increase your aerobic power for the 1600m

The 1600m race is a fast paced endurance race like the 800m but has a little more aerobic requirements since the 1600m is more aerobic than the 800m.  In order to maximize your racing abilities aerobically you will need workouts that help increase your aerobic power.  Aerobic power is also known as VO2 max which is the highest rate that oxygen is consumed or used during exercise.

Below is a list of a few 1600m aerobic power workouts that will help train the VO2 max energy system. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 1600m/3200m training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 1600 meter athlete and try to run these 1600m workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your 1600m aerobic power workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes and ” = seconds.

 

100-200-300-400-500-400-300-200-100m @ 90-100% of 800m race pace with 60-90″ rest


8-12x 200m @ 90-105% of 800m pace with 90” rest


3-5x 600m @ 85-90% of 800m race pace with 1-2’ rest


 Advanced


4-5x 800m @ 85-100% of timed mile pace with 2-3’

Important Notes:

  • Start the athletes with 85% and progress to 100% through the season.


1200m/1000m/800m @ 85-90% of timed mile pace with a recovery of equal time


 Anaerobic Endurance / Lactic Acid Tolerance Repetition Training


800m/800m/800m @ “mile race pace” with full recovery (could be 20-30min)


2-3x 1000m @ recent timed mile pace with full recovery (could be 20-30min)

 


 
 

Speed workouts that increase your maximum velocity for the 1600m

The 1600m is a middle distance race that is run at a very fast pace while running aerobically and anaerobically.  However, an endurance athlete who runs the mile has a huge advantage over their competition if they are capable of running at higher rates of speed.  To improve your maximum velocity you will need workouts that increase your ability to run the mile faster and easier than your competition.

Below you will find a list of a few 1600m speed workouts that will help improve maximum velocity and efficiency.  But wait, doesn’t this look like a sprinter workout?  It does, and sprinters use these speed workouts too.  Remember, speed is not only for sprinters.  Endurance athletes need a great deal of speed in order to run faster mile times too.  The only difference is that the 1600m runner doesn’t train with these workouts nearly as often. If you are not sure when to do these workouts or if you would like to follow a training schedule, check out my 12 week 1600m/3200m training program.

IMPORTANT: If you are a 1600 meter athlete and try to run these 1600m workouts at a faster/slower pace, run further/shorter than the prescribed distance, and/or cut the rest short (boredom or rushing), you will change the component of the workout and no longer be training the correct energy system that your workout was intended to train.  Key:  ‘ = minutes

 

3-4x 3x 30-50m assisted sprints with a bungee @ 95-100%   3′/6’


3×3 Fly 30’s @ 95-100%    3′/6′   (30m accel. zone with 30m fly zone)      

Important Notes: 

  • Accelerate through the acceleration zone and reach near-to-maximum velocity at the beginning of the fly zone.
  • Maintain near-to-maximum velocity through the fly zone and stay light on your feet as if you were running on hot coals.
  • Decelerate gradually after fly zone to reduce risk of shin splints.
  • Walking recovery is strongly recommended for this workout.


3×3 Ins and Outs @95-100%    3′/6’

Different variations of Ins and Outs:

  • 30 meter acceleration zone | 10 IN | 20 OUT | 10 IN | decelerate
  • 30 meter acceleration zone | 15 IN | 15 OUT | 15 IN | decelerate
  • 30 meter acceleration zone | 20 IN | 20 OUT | 20 IN | decelerate
  • 30 meter acceleration zone | 20 IN | 10 OUT | 20 IN | decelerate

Important Notes: 

  • IN = Fly | Out = Maintain velocity with relaxed arm mechanics.
  • Accelerate through the acceleration zone and reach maximum velocity at the beginning of the fly zone.
  • Maintain maximum velocity through the OUT zone but with relaxed (not aggressive) arm mechanics.
  • Take your time decelerating after last IN zone.  Reduce shin splints with a gradual deceleration.
  • Walking recovery is strongly recommended for this workout.