by Coach Sandi Nypaver

From magazine articles to following people on Strava, people now have easy access to examples of all different kinds of speed workouts that they could be doing. While it’s great to see so much shared information, not all the workouts that you see are going to be right for you.

Flip through the pages of most running magazines and you’ll see an example workout from a professional runner. While it’s probably a great workout, it doesn’t mean you’re going to become a professional runner if you do it. In fact, it could even hurt your performance. If you see an elite 5k runner share their training and you’re training for a marathon or an ultra, you probably don’t want to follow what that runner was doing. Maybe you’re even following Coach Sage on Strava and followed his marathon training. Though it’s good to see what Coach Sage did, if you’re a 4+ hour marathoner then following his plan probably isn’t to be ideal for you and could even be something that makes you injured and/or overtrained. First, you would need the right workouts and mileage base to help you break 4 hours. It’s all relative.


Whenever you do a tempo run or interval workout, you have to consider your fitness level, what phase of training you’re in, how you’re feeling, your running history/age, and what your weekly mileage is. If those things aren’t considered you’re not going to be getting the most out of your training. For instance, if you’re 3 months out from your marathon and your idea of  “speed work” throughout your entire training is doing intervals around a track at a Vo2max effort, you’re probably doing more harm than good. Too much speed work at an intense pace can actually damage your aerobic enzymes, something you really don’t want to do as a marathoner. We’re not saying you can’t go to the track early in your training, but the effort level should be easier. Also, as we mentioned above, if you’re following a training plan or doing a workout that’s too advanced for your current fitness level, you’re risking overtraining and injury.

When designing the Sage Running training plans we took into consideration current mileage, different levels of runners, and different phases of training so that athletes are doing what’s right for them at the right time. Additionally, if you follow Sage Running on Facebook, whenever we post a video on a specific workout we’re trying to give examples of what that workout might look like for different abilities. Even if you don’t have a Sage Running plan, we hope this encourages you to keep looking at the different types of workouts in magazines or on Strava, but always consider your own training first before you decide to try it.

Train Smart, Run Faster,

Coach Sandi & Sage

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