David Torrence, American miler running for Hoka One One
, first broke 4 minutes in the mile while competing for UC Berkeley, trying to make a regional qualifying time his junior year. He tells the story on Hoka One One’s website, where he recounts a feeling of fatigue and self-doubt before the race. With a relaxed mindset and trust in his fitness, David was able to shatter his school’s 50-year long record, running 3:58.62. With hard work, diligence in his recovery, and the same determination he showed that day, David has become one of the more decorated middle distance males currently running for the United States.
Below is a list of his current highlights and personal records:
4x USATF National Champion
American Record Holder 1000m Indoors
#2 All Time 2000m Indoors
World Record Holder 4x800m Relay Indoors
American Record Holder 4x1500m Relay
Fastest US Miler in 2012
800m – 1:45.14
1500m – 3:33.23
Mile – 3:52.01
3000m – 7:40.78
5000m – 13:16.53
4x1500m Relay – 14:40.80 (AR)
1000m – 2:16.76 (AR)
Mile – 3:56.69
2000m – 4:56.99 #2 US All-Time
4x800m Relay – 7:13.11 (WR)
What is your favorite motivational quote?
We’re going to go in there like the f****** vikings. We will pillage & plunder, fire and brimstone.” – My coach before a race in 2011.
What is your favorite hard workout?
As boring as it may seem, my favorite workout is probably 20x200m on the track with 45sec recovery, starting at a little bit slower than mile race pace and working down to 800m race pace. On the last you go all out. Don’t let its simplicity fool you….this workout was deviously designed for maximum physical pain and psychological stress.
What do you feel it benefits?
Hmm, what does it benefit? How about it benefits your ability to be an absolute monster on the track and the roads. Makes you feared in the last 200m of any race. If you do this workout, and you see that finish line in sight, I guarantee it will give you new confidence that will allow you to blow away your competition like they are stuck in the mud. The only thing it doesn’t benefit is your relationship with the local running community since they all know you are going to DUST them that last 30seconds of the race and they will grow to resent you and your prowess.
When do you like it? (Before, during, the last half, not until it’s over, etc.)
Like I said before, this workout was very deviously designed. I don’t even think my coach came up with it, I’m pretty sure its scrawled in some medieval torture book in Germany somewhere. Anyway, it lures you in at the start because you actually feel great at the beginning. You think to yourself…wow, 45seconds? After a 200? What a joke.
But that’s all apart of its plan. To make you feel like you got this. Build your ego. Make you over-committed to finishing it. And then BAM you hit number 14, and you realize that your legs HAVE been getting a bit tired.That your breathing IS a bit labored. And that’s when the workout has you. Because you think to yourself…aw man, I only have like 6 left, I can finish this! I have to finish this! It’s just 200meters! But now instead of feeling free and easy and fast, you’re feeling a sinking hole in your stomach.
The lactic is starting to buildup.
You start questioning the length of the track, since the each successive 200meters seems farther and farther. But you have to keep getting faster and faster. When you’re at #16 you should be at full on 800m race pace. From here you now have to will yourself to keep getting faster, despite having to still go all out on the last one. You’re not approaching the red line, you’re freaking tap-dancing all over it while trying not to burn yourself out.
And then you hit #19, just two left… and you’d expect your body and mind to incite a mutiny on this pain cruise, but there’s actually a moment of calm that comes over you. You think to yourself, “well, I guess if I die, at least I did it on the track!
It’s going to make a great social media story.” You make peace with your maker, and embrace death like an old buddy you haven’t seen in years. On the last one you’re then snapped out of this momentary bliss, because you realize if you’re going to conquer this workout, you have to will every last bit of energy, fire every last muscle fiber in your body to fly around that track like you’re being chased by rabid dogs.
I’ve actually had my forearms get sore from this workout. And then you’re done. I probably like it the most around then.
Do you do best with other people running with you during the workout, or is it best done solo?
If you can find somebody else to willingly run this workout with you, then let me tell you: that’s a great friend that you should cherish forever. Hopefully with that epiphany (your welcome) you would then spare them from running it with you. If your friend is insane and they still want to run it with you, then make sure to tell them “oh yeah, it’s really not that bad, don’t worry about it”. Luring them into a false sense of security is KEY because otherwise they will probably drop out right when it gets hard, since they know whats coming.
And nobody likes a quitter. Afterwards there’s a 50/50 chance that they unfriend you on facebook and change their cell number. But if you run it alone then nobody can see you crying afterwards. So they both have their benefits.
Do you recommend other runners try it?
What do you do for recovery after this workout and before your next?
I usually do a cool down run of about 2-3miles, and then immediately jump into about 10-20minutes of general strength/body weight exercises (pushups, squats, core, lunges, etc). Eat some post workout food and rehydration drink (I’m a big fan of GU products). Next I roll out with the R-8 (which is great for workouts on the go) to really get into the calves and lower legs.
All that higher intensity track work tends to use them a bit more, and I’ve found the r-8 to be EXCELLENT at getting into the soleus/gastroc/posterior tibilalis. I then finish it all up with a nice dip into an ice bath! Later that night I then contemplate if I’m insane or just a masochist.