Stephen Pifer has competed at the Olympic Trials twice (is on his way to a third time!), placed 4th at USA National Championships in 2009, and is competitive on the national level in events from the 1500m- marathon. Pifer moved from Illinois to join the Buffaloes for his collegiate running career and graduated from the program as one of CU's best. He earned 4 individual All-American Honors and was part of the National Championship XC team twice. He currently lives and trains in Boulder (yeah!), where he's sponsored by Under Armour and has qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon. How does a 3:56 miler build the strength necessary to run competitively at the marathon as well? He loves his ladder— starting at 1600m and down to a fast, hard 400m finish.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
I know you're tired and I know you're hurting. And I wish I could say something classy and inspirational but that just wouldn't be our style. Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. GLORY lasts forever. - Shane Falco (The Replacements)
What is your favorite hard workout?
1600-1200-800-400 w/ lap jog rec.
What do you feel it benefits?
I think it helps callus you mentally for whats going to come in the race. You have learn how to be right on the edge of breaking, but still finish strong.
When do you like it? (Before, during, the last half, not until it's over, etc.)
The best part is right after the 800. You start getting this really nervous/excited feeling knowing its almost over, but also knowing the last 400 is going to hurt like hell. It's a free shot adrenaline at painful price.
Do you do best with other people running with you during the workout, or is it best done solo?
I prefer doing this one with training partners. It gives you an opportunity to take turns leading and not worry about the pace. You can really focus on being relaxed while running fast.
Do you recommend other runners try it?
I absolutely recommend this to other runners. Start at 10k pace for the 1600, then 5k pace for the 1200, mile pace for the 800, and just run hard and challenge yourself on the 400. Do it 10 or more days out from your race and make sure you take care of your body afterwards.
What do you do for recovery after this workout and before your next?
After my workout I have some kind of protein and electrolytes. Preferably within 30mins. The night of hard works I'll use my Roll Recovery R8 and sleep in my compression socks. Training's about putting together months of consistent workouts, so the RECOVERY STRATEGY is equally, if not more important than what you during out hard efforts.