‘Igloi’ Run Exercise: Intense sprints for distance runners

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Once you understand how to manipulate the pace, rep distance, recovery interval, and volume to get the type of workout adjustment you want, the possibilities for doing workouts are endless.

The beauty of being a treadmill is the ability to get creative while exercising. You can think outside the box and create fun and maybe extraordinary workouts for your clients. No other coach understood this better than Mihaly Igloi, the well-known Hungarian coach of Bob Schul, the 1964 Olympic 5,000 meter gold medalist.

Igloi was famous for his extensive short-term training for distance runners. This type of short, fast interval training was seen as an unconventional approach to training for distance runners in the 1960s and 1970s when long, slow distance (LSD) was seen as the gold standard for training.

Igloo style 100 training

Sprint workout for distance runners: Igloi-Style 100s

On paper, Igloi’s steps and repetitions were similar to those designed more for sprinters – short and fast.

However, by keeping the repetition interval very short (less than 30 seconds in most cases) and dictating adequate rest, Igloi knew he could prevent high lactic acid levels from building up in the bloodstream. This allowed his athletes to remain metabolically aerobic while also accumulating a large number of really fast reps.

There are a few things that I really like about this workout. For starters, you won’t see too many 100m workouts just for distance runners. It’s just not a distance that most coaches think of distance runners because it’s so short.

It also teaches runners mental toughness. Tackling more than 60 reps, or 7.5 miles – including restoring 100-meter intervals – can be mentally taxing. At the end of the workout, between warm up, cooldown, and recovery, runners will cover more than 10 to 13 miles – solid workout for all distance runners.

Ultimately, it teaches you to be patient with your pace. There is no falsification of so many repetitions. If you start too quickly, you will hit the wall.

100 training

The training: Igloi-Style 100s

  • Warm up 1-2 miles, starting at an easy pace and then gradually increasing to a moderately tough pace.
  • Run 10 x 100 m at miles to 3 km pace, with 30 seconds or 100 m of very simple jogging recovery. It’s okay to run for 10 seconds. You can calculate your pace using the “Speed” training zone in this calculator.
  • Walk at an easy pace for 3 minutes.
  • Repeat the above steps (minus the warm-up) 3 to 6 times depending on your skill level.
  • Cool off 1-2 miles at a light pace.

A comfortable, fast shoe is a must

Seven and a half miles from Igloi 100s can put real strain on your feet. The pace is fast enough that you’ll want to wear a lightweight racing shoe or trainer. But because of the volume, you also want something very comfortable.

One of my newest favorites that is both super fast and extremely comfortable is the Saucony Endorphin Speed. It features a nylon plate embedded in the ultra-reactive PWRRUN midsole, while the 8mm drop protects your calves from overload.

Saucony endorphin speed

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