The plan for the week revolved around the three races Dan would be running at the Harrison Panther Invitational on Saturday. Bill intended Dan to run a leg on the 4 x 800m at the beginning of the meet and the 3,200m and 4x400m relay at the end of the meet. Because the 4×4 immediately followed the 3,200m, Dan’s leg would probably not impress Coach Walton. Dan would need to post a fast time to get on the A team 4x400m, but this opportunity would probably have to wait.

Bill’s strategy was for Dan to run a fresh 800m to see where his fitness was, then 3,200m for a nice aerobic stimulus, with a quick turn around to see how fast he could run a 400m fatigued.

The meet would be the big workout of the week. Bill was protecting Dan a bit. If Dan were coming off a stellar cross country season with months of good consistent work Bill wouldn’t have been so conservative, as it was early enough in the year that athletes could be expected to enter meets with a good deal of fatigue in their legs. But as it was, Bill knew that psychologically Dan needed a solid meet to positively reinforce the new coaching situation and to gain a measure of confidence in himself after a couple of dramatic seasons.

Bill worked backwards from the race to plan the week. An easy shake out on Friday.

On Thursday they would begin with an easy aerobic run, followed by a dress rehearsal of the competition warm-up, and then 4 x 800m relay exchange work running 3 x 200m at 800m pace with a 90 second recovery between each. Practice would end with the Cannonball cooldown.

Wednesday would begin with the Aerobic Work Warm-Up. Then 8 x 400m with a 200m recovery jog on the track. The idea was to groove 10 minute 3,200m pace, 75 seconds per 400m, into Dan’s legs, the goal time for Saturday. Bill projected that 10 minutes was a fairly conservative race plan for Dan, even though Dan would have run the 800m early in the meet. Bill intended a controlled preparation for ascendance to performance. This was not a grab what you can while the getting is good land rush, it was about following a methodical plan of preparation. Wednesday’s workout would ideally be done in racing flats not spikes. For those who only had spikes and trainers, Bill advised trainers for this workout.

Dan ask Bill if this was the type of workout where he should try to increase his pace towards the end of the workout. Bill said that it was, but only if the 200m recovery tempo was also increased. Bill reminded Dan that this workout should feel very controlled. When the workout was complete he should be feeling as if he could quite easily do two more laps, maybe even three or four more. The cooldown for Wednesday consisted of the Back Routine, Myrtl, and General Strength and Mobility (GSM). Wednesday’s workout was relatively easy because Tuesday was the crux workout of the week.

Tuesday was a deviation from the norm. Green Mesa distance runners normally did a long run or a threshold run on Tuesdays, but this week they would do a long workout. The distance team began with a 20 to 40 minute run on the Green Mesa trail, depending on age and ability. They returned to the track for the competition warm-up, then Dan and his fellow 4 x 800m teammates would run a 4 x 600m relay workout. The goal was to get out for the first 50m and settle into 800m pace or slightly slower, then speed up again at 400m, then change gears a final time for the final 100m. While they wouldn’t be expected to change gears this dramatically in a race, Bill wanted them to get a feel for the discomfort they would each face on their leg of the 4 x 800m relay on Saturday. The athletes would do 10 minutes of easy jogging as recovery, then 3,200m of fartlek – 150m at goal 1,600m pace, followed by 250m of “just cruisin” pace, and back to goal 1,600m pace. Back and forth for 3,200m. Bill said they would know they had run the 3,200m fartlek well if, at the end, they knew they could have done two more laps, and no more.

The fartlek workout had a three minute recovery jog on the track, followed by 3 x 120m at “fun fast pace.” The recovery was simply This bit of speed play gave Bill and Gladwell the opportunity to stand on the backstretch to note posture and mechanics. They gave posture advice during the recovery jogs.

The day ended with Hurdle Mobility 82 and Grant Green for General Strength and Mobility (GSM). Bill had considered giving them the 1st 20 as their GSM, but thought this routine was a bridge too far. Tuesday indeed followed the “hard days hard, easy days easy” view of training. It indeed a long day, hard day.

Monday was a Speed Development day, a duplicate from the previous Monday. With the first meet on the horizon, there was a palpable energy to the Monday workout, as there should be when the work is short, fast and has plenty of recovery.

For a running coach the art is about yoking a progressive and appropriate volume and intensity for each athlete, akin to spinning many plates all at once.