The ‘Michigan’ Running Workout: Can You Handle It?

It’s your quick training tip. This is an opportunity to understand how to become more productive in minutes to get you on with your workout.

In general, distance runners are an unfortunate bunch and boast about their brutal workouts and demanding training plans. But even the toughest among them shiver at the idea of “Michigan,” the well-known lung-busting exercise designed by the former University of Michigan track coach Ron Warhurst. It’s not just that it’s universally disliked by everyone who has done it before and is complex enough that Warhurst once stated”that “anybody who completes the workout is the main focus of the exercise.”

Most people do not. It’s hard. Why should you include strenuous exercise in your challenging running routine? Because none of the other exercises will better prepare your body for the demands that race-day brings than one that helped establish Warhurst’s name into the history of running competitively.

The purpose of the goal of Michigan is straightforward: to train your body to deal with the numerous changes in pace that are common in competition. This is accomplished by blending different types of running (intervals and tempo, as well as constant state) into one savage exercise that is as much an exercise in mental toughness and a way to measure and enhance your fitness. But if you’re able to incorporate it into your endurance training, it can open up entirely new levels of fitness that will assist you in crossing the finish line quicker.

Your choice: Michigan is an intense exercise, so you should only do it in between your workout routine on days when you feel exceptionally robust and invincible. Please don’t do it during training for an event because you won’t recover fast enough to crush it. To complete Michigan, you’ll need access to a track and a course a mile or so away, most likely on trails. Begin by warming yourself up with two to three miles incline, then strides. Follow the start line at the start of the track.

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Run 1,600 meters (four laps) at your 10K pace. Jog to the starting point of the one-mile course, and then run at your tempo pace, which is slightly slower than the pace you’re running at for 5K. Return towards the track—1,200 meters at the 5K pace before another timed mile. Then, run 800m at speed slightly faster than your 5K goal before completing your third (and final) pace mile. In the end, run 400 meters entirely.

Refresh yourself with another two or three miles of jogging. You can then indulge in any delights you plan to enjoy on events since it’s one of the occasions. You’ve completed The Michigan — an unquestionably impressive feat that deserves to be celebrated. You can now forever call yourself an authentic endurance athlete and an incredible person.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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