This is an open invitation for input from the readership. Here is what I came up and no doubt the following list of ten items can be improved. I look forward to your comments below.
1. The 1,600m is roughly 80% aerobic and 20% anaerobic. Thus, improving the aerobic metabolism is extremely important.
2. We will identify the critical zone for the 1,600m race in two parts – the last 400m and the last 200m. Specifically, for the 4:16 1,600m runner whose race averages out to 64 seconds per lap, the reality is that the runner needs to be able to run closer to 61 or 62 seconds in the final 400m and closer to 30 or 31 seconds for the final 200m. We want to develop someone who can win tactical races, not someone who can only run evenly paced time trials.
3. The five biomotor abilities – strength, speed, power, flexibility and endurance – must be addressed throughout the weekly micro cycle.
4. Competency at five paces – 400m pace, 800m pace, 1,600m pace, 3,200m pace and 5,000m pace.
5. A progression of strides at 400m pace, 800m pace and 1,600m pace should begin as early as possible in the annual macrocycle.
6. Posture and biomechanics need to be optimized. A slight forward lean of 1º to 2º, allow the athlete to utilize the hip flexors and put force into the track, is the goal.
7. General Strength and Mobility (GSM) must be done daily to allow for the intensity and volume of the running training.
8. Speed Development work needs to be done periodically to improve not only maximum speed, but also to improve Running Economy (RE).
9. The ability to run several types of races – sit and kick race, evenly paced race and races where the paces speeds up, then slows – is critical.
10. Ideally, the 1,600m runner will have the speed and power and anaerobic capabilities of a capable 400m runner, as well as the “aerobic engine” of a 5,000m runner. When in doubt, the coach and athlete should come back to this duality and ensure that their training is empowering the athlete with the abilities of both a 400m runner and a 1,600m runner.