My Favorite Workout: Kristian Blaich

Coach Carl’s Introduction:

Kristian Blaich is a tremendously accomplished Master’s runner. He has won US titles on the road (10k), track (3k), and sports a 5k PR of 15:05 — set at the age of 46! Kristian is an awesome reminder that PR’s don’t have to end as you get older and that appropriate training and working hard will help you improve no matter how old you are.


I asked Kristian to participate in the “My Favorite Workout” series because I think he has a good understanding of the type of work that is helpful as you get older as a runner and how to work hard while still listening to your body. I hope that you can take a little knowledge and a little inspiration from his thoughts below!



What is your running history in four sentences or less?


I have been a dedicated runner for about fifteen years. I began running to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle as a graduate student, to pursue physical fitness. But then I discovered the satisfaction of seeing improvement from steady training, and the joys of competition, and I was hooked.



Favorite Workout: THE MICHIGAN


I first did this workout early in 2012, when Coach Carl coached me to my best track season. There are various versions of this workout. I do it as follows:


  • 1600m at 10k pace
  • 2k “recovery” at half marathon pace
  • 1200m at 10k pace
  • 2k at half marathon pace
  • 800m at 10k pace
  • 2k at half marathon pace
  • 400m hard


Kristian Blaich

Kristian Blaich running at the 2014 USATF Club Cross Country Championships


What do you like so much about this workout?


The Michigan emphasizes strength and shifting gears, requiring the runner to recover from faster running while continuing to maintain a harder effort.


In this way it mimics the dynamics of a race, where it is often necessary to cover a competitor’s move and then settle back into the original pace.


I like to do this workout several times during a season, beginning soon after finishing my base phase and then every four weeks or so until maybe six weeks before my goal race, when I begin more race-specific training.


Doing the same workout regularly is a good way to track my fitness. I use it for any distance from the 5k to 15k.  A good Michigan workout is a great confidence boost.



What are the key things to know before trying this workout?


This is not an easy workout, so preparation is key. You want to do this after building a good base.


I also recommend logging a few tempos to prepare yourself for the harder effort.


Proper pacing is also critical. It’s better to keep your paces a little slower the first time so you can be sure to finish!