igloi style 100’s

‘Igloi’ Run Workout: Intense Sprints for Distance Runners

Once you understand how to manipulate pace, rep distance, recovery interval, and volume to solicit the type of training adaptation you want, the possibilities for running workouts are endless.

The fun thing about being a running coach is the ability to get creative with workouts. You can think outside the box and create fun and perhaps extraordinary workouts for your clients. No other coach has understood this better than Mihaly Igloi, renowned Hungarian coach of Bob Schul, the 1964 Olympic 5,000m gold medalist.

Igloi was famous for his high-volume, short-interval training for distance runners. This type of short, fast interval training was considered an unconventional approach to training distance runners during the 1960s and ’70s when long, slow distance (LSD) was thought to be the gold standard of training.

igloi style 100’s training

Sprint Workout for Distance Runners: Igloi-Style 100s

On paper, Igloi’s paces and rep distances resembled those more typically designed for sprinters — short and fast.

However, by keeping the rep distance very short (under 30 seconds in most cases) and prescribing enough recovery, Igloi knew he could prevent high levels of lactic acid from accumulating in the bloodstream. This allowed his athletes to metabolically stay aerobic while accumulating a massive number of really fast reps.

There are a few things I really like about this workout. For starters, you’re not going to see too many workouts of 100 m only for distance runners. It’s just not a distance most coaches will think to give distance runners because it’s so short.

It also teaches runners mental toughness. Having to tackle upwards of 60 reps, or 7.5 miles — including the recovery of 100m intervals — can be mentally taxing. By the end of the workout between warmup, cooldown, and recovery, runners will log over 10-13 miles — a solid workout by any distance runners’ standards.

Lastly, it teaches you to be patient with your pacing. There’s no faking this many reps. If you start too fast, you’re going to hit the wall.

100's training

The Workout: Igloi-Style 100s

  • Warm up 1-2 miles starting at an easy pace, then gradually pick it up to a moderately hard pace.
  • Run 10 x 100 m at mile to 3K pace, with 30 seconds or 100 m very easy jogging recovery. It’s OK to walk for 10 seconds. You can calculate your pace by using the “Speed” training zone in this calculator.
  • Run 3 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Repeat the above (minus the warmup) 3 to 6 times depending on ability level.
  • Cool down 1-2 miles at an easy pace.

A Comfortable, Fast Shoe Is a Must

Seven-and-a-half miles of Igloi 100s can really tax your feet. The pace is fast enough that you’ll want to wear a lightweight racing shoe or trainer. But due to the volume, you’ll want something super-comfortable as well.

One of my newest favorites that’s both super-fast and ultra-comfortable is the Saucony Endorphin Speed. It features a nylon plate embedded in the ultra-responsive PWRRUN midsole while the 8mm drop saves your calves from getting overworked.

saucony endorphin speed

Looking for more run workouts? Check these out:

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Power Hill Sprints
Run Faster: Prime Your Nervous System With Power Hill Sprints
Brooks Johnson, the famous former Stanford track and field coach, once said, 'It’s true that speed kills in distance running. It kills anyone who doesn’t have it.' You will need it. Here's how to get it. Read more…
Treadmill workout
Distance Runners: Here's the Best Treadmill Workout You Can Do This Winter
Being stuck on the treadmill isn’t all bad news. Spend the winter months getting fitter and stronger than you ever have with this killer treadmill workout. Read more…
Cory Smith

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, California-based athlete, online running coach, and freelance journalist specializing in running- and climbing-related content and gear reviews. He draws from over 25 years as an elite runner and rock climber for ideas, inspiration, and expertise. Check out his portfolio here.