WRC Speed Development – 13/08/2020 – Eilish McColgan: Power Fartlek

10 August 2020 - By Scott Darney


This weeks workout comes courtesy of a British Champion with Olympic dreams in Tokyo in 2021.

Eilish McColgan has proved that she has plenty of strength and speed across multiple distances as she boasts domestice titles in the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m in recent years. She International success with a Silver in the 1500m European Championships and Bronze in 3000m Indoor European Championships. Not to mention a respectable 9th in the World Championships and 13th in an Olympic final, both over 5000m.

Tokyo 2021 will be Eilish’s 3rd succesive Olympics where she will again compete in the 5000m but she also hopes to represent GB in the 10000m, some 30 years after her mother (and coach) Liz won the World Championship Gold in the same city. With the 2nd fastest 10000m time of 2019 she stands a great chance of competing in the double.

Eilish has also featured heavily on the road scence racing many times over 10k and winning the Great South Run 10 mile race so it’s no surprise to hear that she has also revealed that she intends to switch turn her attention to the Marathon in the future.

For Eilish’s workout, she pointed me towards some Power Workouts that feature in her training. She says “Over the years, I’ve discovered that, without exception, all of the fastest athletes in the world are powerful”. That is why she spends time training on the trail with hills and sprints and why this weeks workout will be an off-road Power Fartlek.

Whilst the intention is to do this on trail, the workout can be performed on any surface from trail, track to road. I would recommend that the variety of the trail or even an undulating road route provides the best workout for you but as usual please ensure that you pick a route that enables you to maintain proper social distancing.

Eilish McColgans Power Fartlek:

“This is a great session for working on both endurance and power (fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’).
Make sure the trail is tough and undulating. When you get to a hill, focus on driving up it as quick as you can – no matter what repetition you’re on.

The workout:

  • 6mins at 10k pace
  • (90s recovery jog)
  • 2x3mins at 5k pace (60s recovery)
  • (90s recovery jog)
  • 6x1mins 1 mile pace (30s recovery)
  • (90s recovery jog)
  • 6mins 10k pace

Recovery should be short throughout, at 90 seconds continuous jog between the sets, 60 seconds between the 3min efforts, and 30s between the 1mins. Combining endurance sessions with sporadic sprints throughout the session will help strengthen the legs.”

Whils Eilish provides guidance on the pacing, it really is tough to reach and maintain specific paces on trail so try and focus more on effort. This is a good session for running by feel, something we have been working on allot over the summer months. Try not to judge your session at the end based on your garmin splits, judge it by how you feel. You will know if you have pushed yourself hard enough and if you have had a good workout.

Eilish will be representing GB in the Olympics next year and you can follow her on the usual social media platforms (Facebook | Instagram | Twitter) as she bids for double success in the 5000m and 10000m.

Good luck Eilish!


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