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Keira D’Amato’s Essential Workout

This classic run workout is the elite's favorite.

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Wonder what a Keira D’Amato workout looks like? Us, too—her training is obviously working, and she has all of 2020 to show for it.

She capped off the year by placing second in December at the Marathon Project in 2:22:56, which ranked her seventh on the list of all-time fastest American women at the distance. That came after she set a 10-mile national record in a women’s-only race in 51:23. Prior to that? D’Amato staged a 5,000-meter time trial on a track and finished in 15:04, more than a minute faster than her personal best as an athlete at American University in 2006. In July she ran 32:33 for 10,000 meters, then in October she won the Michigan Pro Half Marathon in 68:57.

Like most elite-level athletes, D’Amato, 36, doesn’t really have a secret beyond working hard, running lots of miles (while training for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, where she placed 15th, she went up to 130 miles during her peak weeks), and listening to her coach, Scott Raczko. As a mother of two and a realtor, she appreciates that Raczko takes her entire life into account when mapping out her schedule.

“He really makes sure that my priorities are in check,” D’Amato says. “He really cares about me as a person, so I’ve always just trusted him.”

When she’s getting race-ready, D’Amato’s favorite workout is “an old-school” one: 400-meter repeats. She likes to place this one right in the middle of a training cycle, after she’s already successfully completed a few weeks of speed sessions, but a few weeks out from race day.

“You feel pretty tough after it’s over,” D’Amato says.

WHAT: 20 x 400 meters with 1 minute rest between

WHY: “I just think that it’s such an awesome indicator of fitness and a very manageable workout. It’s just one lap of the track at a time, but after 20 times, you can feel really accomplished and confident.”

DETAILS: D’Amato places this workout about halfway through a 12-week training cycle. She warms up for two or three miles and cools down about the same distance. She starts the 400s at about 5K pace and likes to squeeze it down gradually to about one-mile race pace.