Ronaldo Repeats


Looking for a fun and effective workout as you prepare for a long race? Try these stamina repeats I heard of from the training of Ronaldo de Costa when he set the marathon world record in 1998. I call them Ronaldo Repeats.

Ronaldo’s coach had him perform 3 x 5K starting at marathon pace and getting faster with each repeat (but still controlled on the last one). Take just 2-4 minutes between. They worked for Ronaldo as he not only had enough energy to set the WR but also did cartwheels after in celebration.

The key in this workout is to avoid going too fast, too soon. The purpose is not to run faster than the prescribed pace on the first repeat but instead to run as easily as possible at this moderately fast pace, something you’ll want to do early in your long race. Secondly, you learn to up your intensity as you are getting fatigued, again, just like you will need to do in your race.

And remember, the goal is to fatigue yourself with the duration of the workout, not the speed. It’s much better to go slower and complete the full workout than to run faster but have to cut the workout short.

Here’s how the workout goes:

5K (3.1 miles) at marathon pace; followed by a 2-4 minute recovery jog

5K at marathon pace – 5 seconds per mile; 2-4 minute recovery jog

5K at marathon pace – 10 seconds per mile; 2-4 minute recovery jog

I like that you get to practice dialing in your marathon pace early in the workout. I also like that you progress your pace across the workout. This really mimics the mental approach that leads to your best races – start controlled, push when you are getting tired to hold your pace. This workout is best later in your training plan after you’ve built your fitness and are getting into good shape.

As always, make sure you are rehydrating and getting some protein/carbs (See The Runner’s Ultimate Nutritional Recovery Routine) in the first 30 minutes post workout so your muscles can start recovering immediately. And, add ample recovery the day or two after since this is a hefty workout.


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Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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