Middle Distance Training

Thursdays at Paddington

March to August only.

Ragab and Calvin in SAL 800mDuring Spring and summer a group of Serpie meet for a track session on Thursday evenings at Paddington Track aimed at middle distance athletes. Currently coach Andy Robbins facilitates the session by providing plans but is usually not present due to other commitments, so attendees 'self coach'.


The session starts at 7pm and meets at the start / finish point on the track. A track fee of £1 per person is charged payable at either the entrance to the actual track or at reception. Lockers and free changing rooms are available by reception.

The session will typically consist of about a mile of warmup running, some mobilisation exercises, hurdle work, laps of drills, strides / accelerations and then the nominated workout. It's worth noting that early on in the year, the actual designated 'workout' is not the primary emphasis of the whole evening, which might take some getting used to!

The purpose of these sessions is to try to build members' ability to race, race well and, most importantly, race often around May / June / July time, hence why regular attendance is encouraged. If you want to parachute in for the odd session then you're more than welcome but you will generally be advised to scale back what you do accordingly.

Monthly schedule

  • March - introduction to 800m / 1500m paces
  • April - a gradual increase in rep length and overall volume
  • May / June - moving towards true lactate tolerance / clearing and race specific sessions
  • June / July - maintenance to allow people to race often - the whole point of this training!

If you're serious about this sort of racing, it is expected that you'd have undertaken perhaps a full XC season beforehand and that you'd have kept in touch with middle distance type paces and a bit of proper speed over the winter too to save having to learn to run fast again. A reasonably full quota of spring road races is also fine but doing a spring marathon and then expecting to pick this up is not to be recommended.

Where does this session fit in?

In terms of where this session would fit into your week over spring / summer time, you'd generally be advised to undertake a weekly 3k/5k or lactate threshold workout, this 'race specific' session plus perhaps a quicker 800m / speed development / short hill type session to hopefully maximise your potential. What we do on Thursday will be coordinated with what is offered on Tuesdays at Paddington, i.e. when Tuesday at Paddington is say 3k based Thursday will be 1500m, when Tuesday ay Paddington is 1500m then this will be 800m / speed and so on.

Middle distance runners should also consider the sessions on Tuesdays at Parliament Hill, which don’t dip down into 400/800m type sessions but are very compatible with middle distance-specific training.

NOTE: This is considered to be an advanced session so is not suitable for beginners / improvers or those wanting to simply work on 'speed'. Use the other club sessions for this. This session is for people wanting to specifically target middle distance racing who are willing to represent their club at the various leagues and open events the club encourages members to participate in over the summer.