Armageddon Track Intervals is a high intensity, low rest, negative split, not for the meek, please check with your doctor first running workout aimed at competitive runners with a strong base and some history of running track intervals. This is not to dissuade non-competitive runners, as the pace control and strength created will certainly benefit your overall running goals. However, there is a risk of injury if you are not prepared for this level of intense running.
Why Run Armageddon Track Intervals
If the title for this track interval workout sounds extreme, it’s because it is, but produces extreme results starting with running strength and endurance. Composed of 8 miles of 200 meter repeats and paced recovery between intervals with another 4 miles of warm up and cool down, Armageddon track intervals focus on building core running strength while nurturing the underlying endurance required to hold an intense pace.
The benefits go beyond the common staple of strength and endurance and into the supporting elements of mental toughness, pace knowledge, and control. Mental toughness is a given with this workout as it will force you to comply with a pace while pushing to stay at that pace or faster, which is critical during a competitive races.
Pace knowledge and control allows you to know when you are over or under pacing during a race, such as knowing how an 80 second quarter mile feels versus 75 seconds without looking at your watch, while making the necessary adjustments to speed up or slow down with less effort and increased running efficiency. This is gained by running negative splits for each 200 meter interval which aids in not only providing strength and intimate pace knowledge during a race, but a vicious end kick to leave competitors in the dust at the very end!
How to Run Armageddon Track Intervals
The Armageddon Track Interval workout itself is comprised of two sets of 16×200 meter negative split repeats with a 200 meter paced recovery in between each interval. The recovery period of interval training is when strength is really gained, as those that jog or walk are missing the power of pacing and control while winded after an interval. Specifically, the Armageddon Track Interval workout proceeds as follows, constituting a little over 12 miles of running:
- Check with your doctor to ensure that you are physically able to perform intense running training and no underlying issues exist, especially with the heart
- 2 mile warmup, done away from the track so you aren’t running in circles
- 16×200 meter repeats starting at 5K race pace but reducing each interval by 1 second (negative split) or maintained (even split) if you can’t run 1 second faster
- Each 200 meter recovery period between an interval should be run at 75% of the previous intervals pace (ex. If your pace was 40 seconds for the 200 meter interval, run your recovery of 200 meters at 53 seconds). This is one of the most critical parts of the workout as it builds massive running strength while teaching you pace control and the ability to modulate your pace during a race (aka, speed up for a mile but fall back into your desired pace)
- After the first set of 16×200 meter intervals, jog a 400 meter recovery but don’t walk, going the opposite direction on the track
- Run your next 16×200 meter intervals the opposite direction on the track to provide balance to the legs versus always turning left/putting too much pressure on the left leg
- The last 200 meter interval should be all out/as fast as you can go
- 2 mile cool down, done away from the track so you aren’t running in circles
If a “Full Armageddon” is too much to handle, consider a “Half Armageddon” where the same rules and warm up/cool down apply, but instead of 16×200 meter intervals you will run 8×200 meter intervals each set for a total workout of just over 8 miles.
What to Avoid When Running Armageddon Track Intervals
The Armageddon Track Interval workout is not to be taken lightly and involves some risk to obtain the gains it offers. To mitigate that risk, please keep the following in mind:
- Don’t begin any intense running programs without speaking to your doctor first
- Don’t attempt the Armageddon Track Interval workout while injured, recovering from injury, or tired
- Ensure that you have built into interval training and have a strong running base. If a “Full Armageddon” is too much, there is no shame in a “Half Armageddon”
- Run with a partner to help each other through the workout
- Don’t run with music as that will distort the mental toughness aspects of this workout and distract from focus required for negative splits
- Only run the Armageddon once a month, using the weekly interval training for more standard track intervals or ladders when not attempting an Armageddon
- Don’t be discouraged if your pace fluctuates or you can’t complete the workout. This will come with time and persistence
- Make sure to have a light run of 3-5 miles the day after an Armageddon Track Interval session to recover. In the very least, walk, to loosen up your muscles