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Sub 4

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

* Photo Credit: Dyestat

A few people have asked about Simeon Birnbaum’s training heading into his sub 4:00 Mile at the Brooks P.R. Invitational, so here it is!

Looking back, I can't think of any flashy workouts, instead there were a lot of repeating themes: threshold work, long runs, hills and short reps. The same training items you'll see in most programs.

I don’t think there are any secrets in training (at least none that have been shared with me), so I don’t mind putting any of this out there.

That being said, let's be real, it's not the training....Simeon ran 3:59.51 because he’s insanely gifted with middle-distance talent, shows up everyday and has an inner-drive and self-belief that I can’t really articulate.

Best of all, he's a really, really great kid... and I love it when good things happen to good people.


I don't keep a daily record of what we do in training (probably should). I write a season plan and then tweak 99% of it as we go, adjusting based on race data, how kids are feeling and....*gasp* asking them what they think they need.

However, I do have Simeon’s daily training from the time period between the State T/F Meet & the Brooks PR Meet, as I had a feeling he was on the verge of doing something special.

So, here’s a brief background and then I’ll share his last 2+ weeks.


Mileage: We’re not particularly worried about mileage, but rather consistency of daily runs and especially the accumulation of work over time (consistency). I mention this because the weekly mileage numbers aren't going to look very impressive on paper, but really, who one is checking training logs at the starting line.

The basic running days are assigned in minutes and these are typical daily volumes for upperclassmen:

Endurance/Recovery Runs= 50’

Med-Long Runs= 60’

Long Runs= 75-80’

* most of these runs are at ~7:00 pace on average

2022 weekly mileage totals (no Sundays; no doubles)

35-42-45-42-47-46-46-40-35-45-28-44-41-42-27-46-46-45-34-42-45-30-47-46- Brooks

* the down weeks were big meets (New Balance Indoor/ Howard Wood/ State Track)


A typical week looks like this:

Mon- ~20-25 minutes of Threshold work + 4-6x 80-150m @ 800/400 + Strength

Tues- Rec Run + Rope Stretch & Foam Roll

Wed- Med-Long + 4-6x5-10s Hill Sprints + Core/Stability

Thu- Short, Progressive Tempo + 6-10x150-300m Reps @ Mile/800m Rhythm + Strength

Fri- Same as Tuesday

Sat- Long Run w/ hills or progression towards the end + Core/Stability

Sun- Off

  • if there was a race, we’d add on some Tempo running or Threshold Fartlek afterwards + Strength


Simeon did all of this on his own and some of it his teammate Alex Otten, who is running the 400m leg of the Sprint Medley at Nike Nationals (which, they just won in 3:25.12!).

Mon 5/30

75' Hilly Long Run

Tues 5/31

50’ Recovery Run

Wed 6/1

  • 2mi WU

  • Progressive Tempo Run (4 miles)

    • 5:30 > 5:00

  • 120-100-80-60 @ 400/200m effort (Speed-End)

  • 2mi CD

Thu 6/2

50' Recovery Run

Fri 6/3

Mile Specific

6x400m (averaged 59.8) w/ 200m walk/jog

  • we never do workouts like this, as we’ll always start at Threshold and work down, seemed like a good idea to get in at least one workout that started out fast, since it was predictable that the Brooks race would go out quicker than he had ever gone before. Even in the Arcadia race, Simeon was only 2:07-08 or so at 800m.

    • I'm not sure of each 400m rep, but the average was 59.8. The first 4 were in trainers and the last 2 in spikes

Sat 6/4

50' Rec Run

Sun 6/5


Mon 6/6

Threshold-VO2 “Zone” & then 1200 > 400-ish effort 200’s

  • 5x800 @ 2:33- 2:27- 2:23- 2:19- 2:13

    • Spike up for the 200's

  • 5x200m 28-28-25-25-24

    • Recovery= 200m walk/jog

    • this workout just went through the spectrum of aerobic intensities w/ the 800’s and then tacked on some faster, 400/800-ish pace 200’s. He loves running fast.

    • I stole this workout from Dr. Messer's D-Crew presentation because it fit really well here

Tue 6/7

50' Recovery Run

Wed 6/8

60' Med-Long Run

Thu 6/9

Threshold Maintenance

  • 2mi E

  • 3x (4:2) Lactate Threshold Fartlek (on portions @ ~5:20 / 5:15 /5:10 pace)

  • 100-80-60-40m Strides @ Mile-800-400 Rhythm

  • 1mi E

Fri 6/10

  • 50' Recovery Run

Sat 6/11

  • 40' Endurance Run

  • 3x5s Hill Sprints

Sun 6/12

A little sharpening @ Race Speeds

  • Progressive Tempo (1mi Easy, steady back ~6:00-5:45/mi)

  • 3x200 @ Mile (30s)

  • 2x150 @ 800 (20s)

  • 1x100 @ 400m (12s)

  • 1mi E

Mon 6/13

Off/ Travel

Tues 6/14


  • 30' E + Strides

    • 100-80-60-40 @ 3K-Mile-800-400 Rhythm

Wed 6/15

Race Day

  • 1mi E

  • Sprint Drills

    • 1' @ LT/ 1' E

    • 30s @ 5K/ 1' E

    • 15s @ mile/1' E

  • 3-4x50m @ 800 > 400 Effort

  • Brooks Mile (3:59.51)


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3 Kommentare

Bob Joe
Bob Joe
20. Apr. 2023

With Simeon’s training how often did you run 1k reps? Any at 5k pace during cross? What about in season, was there a lot of this 800 reps and 1k/1200 reps? Like that 5x800 5x200 workout for example.

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Bob Joe
Bob Joe
16. Mai 2023
Antwort an

Awesome thank you for the reply this is a super informative website

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