Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ratcheting Up the Intensity

I had a call w/ JT (coach) yesterday to discuss the plan for the next week.  She had a 200m repeat session scheduled for early in the week and a very tough interval session scheduled for later in the week.  

We also discussed what my target pace should be for my first race, and she mentioned she had a 300m session that was a pretty good predictor of 800m race pace and we were to do that session the following week.  As we discussed race strategy (i.e. going out hard on the first quarter and holding on vs running a more even split) I told her that I wanted to do one very fast 600m session (which might only be 1 or 2 repeats) before the first race.  The idea being I wanted to run a very solid first quarter in practice, and then see what it felt like to have to try and hold that pace for another 200m.  I figured this would give me great information for how to run the race as I'd know how much I really had in the tank, and hopefully it would also give me some confidence heading into that first one.  

She agreed that it would be a good idea, but in order to fit in a very difficult workout like that, we would likely need to move that 300m session up to separate workouts properly over the next month.  Which means we're going to scrap the 200m session, and instead I'm going to be running that 300m session tomorrow! 

Here's the workout:

Two sets of 300m repeats w/ 95-110 second breaks (jog 100m back to start and then rest 1-minute) First set is meant to build up a high level of fatigue for the second set:

Set-1:  6 x 300m @ 48-49 seconds.  Then rest for 5-minutes.

Second set is either 3 or 4 reps, but she wants them between 46 and about 47.8.  I believe the average of set #2 is the estimate for 800m race pace.  

The pace of the second set seems more than a bit scary considering I'm going to be pretty gassed from that first set.  JT told me that the first one after the 5-min break might be OK, but the next two are going to make me feel absolutely horrible.

And then I've got a session that will probably be as tough or tougher than that on Saturday because it's long intervals.  

Mile (5:16) - 4:30 rest - 1200m (3:55) - 3:30 rest - 800m (2:30-2:32) - 2:30 rest - 400m (68)

I guess we're starting that final push towards the winter season.  As of right now it's looking like my first race will probably be on Jan 31 - exactly one month to go.


Mon, 12/29:  lifting (upper-A, abs) stretching, rolling

Tues, 12/30:  5-miles in 33:50 (6:46 pace)  ** Maybe too fast heading into tomorrow - not a good idea.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Consistency (for a change)

Looking back through my log book I had a rough go of it trying to hit my Sunday long run every week during late November, early December.  Something always seemed to pop up during the week to make me cut the Sunday run short - either some soreness from a tough hill session, feeling sick, something not feeling quite right in my right knee, etc.  It was never anything all that serious, it just always seemed to be something on Sunday, and as a result my long runs were every other week for a while.  

Well I got in another long one yesterday (of course this is long for me, not really what most guys would consider LONG) and this makes three weeks in a row, and four out of the last five. After last week's 12-miler at 6:55 pace I thought I'd back off on the pace a bit yesterday, but it didn't happen.

I managed to keep it in check for the first few miles, but I felt really good at about mile-5 and the pace started to pick up w/o me having to think about it.  By mile-9 the pace had dropped to about 6:20 and checking the Garmin after the run I discovered that I logged the last 3-miles in about 19-flat.  

All totaled - it was 11-miles in 1:14:57 for an average pace of 6:49, and the average HR was only 156 which for me isn't too bad on a run like that.  I've got to make sure I keep my long run streak going here for a few more weeks - I'm sure we'll cut it back for a brief period when I start my winter races (for maybe 3-4 weeks) but it will be the staple of my March mini-build when I start to get ready for the spring/summer season.


Sun, 12/28:  11-miles in 1:14:57, 6:49 pace.  HR - 156

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Custom VDOT Table

For those of you that have read the Daniels book and are familiar w/ the VDOT table and the terms "rep pace", "interval pace", "threshold pace", etc - you might look at some of the paces of my recent rep and interval workouts and say, "there's no way in hell this guy can run a 5k or 10k in the times suggested by those workout paces". . . . . . and you'd obviously be 100% correct.

If one were to look at the VDOT table and find the corresponding VDOT number associated w/ a Rep pace of 69-seconds/400m (pace of yesterday's workout) it would show a VDOT of 66.  Looking across to the estimated 5k race time for someone at VDOT-66, you'd see a blistering 5k time of 15:42!  Clearly, it would be laughable to imagine me ever running a 15:42 5k, so what's wrong??

The answer is that the standard VDOT table is set up for marathon runners.  I don't think it says that specifically in the book, but this is the case.  Later in the book where Daniels breaks down 800m runners, 3000m runners etc, he puts in separate VDOT tables for those shorter distance specialists.  In fact, for 800m runners he goes so far as to have TWO tables just for them!  One table is for the guy who is more of an 800m/1500m guy and one for someone who is more of a 400m/800m type.

Below I've posted some paces for these two 800m types as well as the data from VDOT-66.  I chose the line where each guy is running w/ the identical Rep pace of 69-seconds/400m.  

TableR-pace (400m)I-pace (Mile)T-pace (Mile)E-pace (Mile)Estimated 5k

As you can see, the further we move to the right, the more the shorter distance specialist slows down, or conversely the better the marathoner holds the pace.  When we move from R to I pace - the 400m/800m guy has already lost 16-seconds/mile compared to the marathoner, and this jumps up to almost 30-seconds/mile when we get to threshold pace.  At the end of the line, we see drastically different 5k times for guys that would run a Rep workout at exactly the same pace.  

As for me, I'm not using any of these tables exactly, but I'm loosely tied to the 400m/800m table. I've been working w/ my coach for a while now, and she's pretty much dialed in paces for me that don't always hit any of these tables, but they do seem to fit my current profile.  

For example, my Rep pace for 200m and 300m repeats is slightly faster than the 34 and 51.5 suggested by the 400m/800m table, and while I am using about a 5:16 mile pace for intervals, these workouts are much much tougher for me than the rep workouts, and it takes everything I have to get through them.  Clearly the shorter and faster I go, the more comfortable it is for me.  Hopefully w/ more training my curve will start to flatten out somewhat, and perhaps in a year or so my profile will fall between the 400m/800m and 800m/1500m types.  I don't think in 100 years I could get a profile that approaches the standard VDOT table, and that's OK.  I'm just not that type of runner.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

From the Jim Ryun Archives . . . (sort of)

Today's rep session at the track was mapped out as follows:

Standard warm up:  (mile jog, stretching, 2 x 200m, re-stretch)
600m - 1:44-1:45
3x400m - 69
4x300m - 51
6x200m - 32

The running was to be continuous w/ slow jogs in between equal in length to the previous repeat. This was somewhat similar to last week's ladder session in that it was a Rep session w/ slow jogs in between, however that session consisted of only 2.8km at pace while today's workout would be 4.2km.  Also, today's pace would be slightly slower than last week due to the big jump in volume.  The idea here was to get a nice rhythm going throughout.

JT mentioned to me that this was a similar to a workout that Jim Ryun used to do (except that #1 - he would do 2x600m keeping the volume at each rep length 1200m, and #2 - he'd be home, showered and in the middle of dinner at the time I'd still be toiling w/ the 300s)  The point though was that I too was going to be doing this workout at "rep pace" (from the Daniels book)

Another little tidbit I discovered was that in the Daniels book, this actual workout appears w/ the 200s being done at "fast pace" (faster than Rep pace).  JT doesn't want me really gunning it in the cold weather, but if the weather was warm enough, I was going to try and crank up a few 200s if I had anything left by then.

Thankfully the temps were up at 55-degrees today, so that was good.  The only issue I was going to have was that some discomfort flared up in my left thigh on Friday - I was going to need to warm it up really good and try to be careful.

Typically my warm up 200s come in around 31-32 seconds, but for whatever reason the first 200 today clocked a 29.4, which surprised the hell out of me.  I hadn't run a 200 under 30 during any of my repeat sessions.  I throttled back a bit on the second one (30.5) and got ready for the workout.  Now I was really hoping I had something left for those last few 200s.

600m - 1:44, 
3x400m - 70, 68, 68
4x300m - 50, 50, 50, 49

I had a nice rhythm going and the 300s felt especially solid.  Time for the 200s.  The plan was to ramp them up as I went along.  First one- 31, second one - 30 (where I ran the curve conservatively and focused on the straight), third one - 29.8 (opposite of #2 - fast curve, held back some on the straight).  

On to the last three - I was going to try and run hard for almost the whole 200m on these.  Number 4:  28.02, that one felt good . . . . . until I stopped.  It was at that point that I was reminded that I had a slight issue w/ the left thigh - oops.  I thought about ending the session there, but somehow it only bothered me for a few seconds, and by the time I had jogged around to the starting line it felt fine.  I made sure I cut the pace way back on #5 - (32), and w/ no issues after that one, I went ahead and ran a 30 to finish up.

The thigh feels OK now, but I'm going to have to be careful for the next few days.  Last time I had this same flare up it lasted a couple days and then just disappeared.  I'll hope for the same here - it doesn't seem to be anything serious.  

Overall the workout went better than I expected.  I feel like I'm getting more coordination back on my 200s, and my stride on the 300s felt nice and smooth - some improvement over the past month for sure.  I'm not running these 300s on the balls of my feet to hit the times anymore, it's more of a mid-foot stride which has the advantage of being much more sustainable over longer distances.  Making progress always feels good - just have to make sure I don't injure myself in the process.


Sat, 12/27:  7-miles including, 600m - 1:44, 3x400m (70,68,68), 4x300m (50,50,50,49), 6x200m (31, 30, 29.8, 28.0, 32, 30)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Training the "King of the Mile"

Over the past couple of months I've been reading up on the training methodologies of some of the world's top middle distance runners.  Sebastian Coe, Wilson Kipketer (800m WR holder and the only man to break Coe's mark), Kip Keino, Nixon Kiprotich, and the King of the Mile - Hicham El Guerrouj.  (I still haven't gotten around to Norredine Morceli, but I will be doing so in the near future)

It's pretty easy to find info on Coe's training through the various books published by his coach and father, Peter Coe.  However, finding detailed info on a lot of these other guys is a bit more difficult.  (I'd really like to find more detail on how Kipketer trained)

I happened to stumble upon this training information of El Guerrouj as he prepared for the 1997 season.  Only a few cycles of his year round training are included (I understand he only rested about 3-weeks a year), but it gives a pretty good overview.

You'd expect to see the period of ridiculously tough workouts as the season approached, but what I found interesting was the intensity of his early season training.  (October-November of the previous year)  A great deal of weight training for strength, hill repeats and plyos for power, and up-tempo aerobic running that was in the form of either cruise interval type repeats at around 5k pace or 30-60 minutes of continuous running at an unbelievable pace of about 3-min/km.  (even for him that was fast as it was just 30% slower than his mile race pace!)

Anyway - some good info there for anyone who cares to read it.  Perhaps I'll post up some training of the others from time to time.  

Nice 5-miler today, and tomorrow morning I've got a tough rep session that El Guerrouj could probably do running on his hands.


Thurs, 12/25:  Off

Fri, 12/26:  lifting - general upper, abs
5-miles @ 6:58 pace

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everybody!

The family is just now getting ready to head over to a friend's home to begin the Christmas Eve festivities.  A bit later I believe my wife and I will be heading over to another friend's home for a nightcap.  (both are neighbors so we won't have to do any driving)  Looking forward to a good time.

Hope your Christmas is a happy one!

And don't forget to get in your Christmas run  : )


Wed, 12/24:  5-miles @ 6:51 pace

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

1000m Intervals

I was scheduled to run my interval workout on Wednesday morning before getting the last minute Christmas stuff done.  The benefit here would be two down days between the back-to-back sessions Sat & Sun and the interval session - however the weather was OK today and tomorrow it's supposed to be some heavy rain accompanied by 20 mph winds.  Not the best weather for 1000m repeats. . . . so I pushed up the workout a day.

This would give me three quality sessions in four days, and on top of that I haven't been sleeping well at all the past two nights.  It's a rare occurrence, but I was not looking forward to a session at the track.  The thing that got me quasi-motivated was that JT was only having me do 3 x 1000m intervals, where it would normally be 4.  (We've been averaging slightly over 4km total volume per interval session)  The reason for this is that she mentioned to me that we have specific things to work on next week, and that it would be as she put it - "really, really hard"  She even mentioned that she was going to probably have to give me step by step updates as to how I would be feeling at certain stages of the workout so that I didn't think I was way off.
(this isn't a good sign - but I'm not going to worry about it until next week)

I told myself, "so you feel like shit - you only have to do three, it's no big deal".  Target pace was 3:15-3:16 and I was getting 3-minutes break between each.  

Surprisingly, the workout went OK.  After my mile and 2 x 200m warm up the first two 1000s went very smoothly:  3:12 and 3:13 w/ each one about 2:34 at the 800m mark.  The last one was a bit of a pain as I got a nasty side stitch about 500m in.  I came through in 3:17 which was disappointing.  What was really strange was that my HR was recovering back to under 120 less than 2-minutes after each interval.  This was odd because I certainly didn't feel fully recovered by then, and I've felt better w/ higher HR during recoveries in the past.  I'll just chalk it up to an anomaly at this point, and keep a close eye on my interval recoveries during the next few workouts.  

Now I get to look forward to a nice fat Christmas goose!!  (family tradition)  Not the healthiest of Christmas feasts but hey, you can cut through all that cholesterol and fat w/ a hefty portion of red wine I understand!  ; )

Happy Holidays everybody!!


Mon, 12/22:  Off

Tues, 12/23:  4-miles including 3 x 1000m w/ 3-min rests (3:12, 3:13, 3:17)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Good Slosher

I guess I'm getting used to these Rep/Interval sessions as there was no soreness on Sunday morning after Saturday's repeats.  This meant the long run was on.  

Unfortunately it was raining, and has been for most of the week, making the trails quite messy.  At times it felt like you were running w/ suction cups on the bottom of your shoes as you could hear that "suction sound" when picking up your feet from time to time.  (I imagine Grellan would have had a field day bare footing through this slop!)

Nonetheless, it was a good run.  I'm running these longer ones much more aggressively lately, especially towards the end.  Sunday's effort was a 12-miler w/ the first seven at about 7:10 pace, and the last five at 6:34 with the middle 3-miles of those five at 6:23.  The total time was 1:22:58, netting me a 6:55 average pace.  

I feel like the training is going pretty well right now.   This weekly combination of the short fast reps, the longer intervals (which are the toughest), and the aggressive long run seem to be feeding off each other in a way where each workout type helps the others.  I imagine this will plateau after a few more weeks, but I know JT's got something in the works (where she'll likely ratchet up the intensity further as we approach the short winter track season)

I've got rough schedule for my upcoming seasons, and when I get a few more details I'll post it up here.  I think the idea is going to be to just run a few races in the winter to see where I'm at.  I'll be training right through so there will be no attempt to run a "peak" race during the winter - it's the spring/summer season where we'll go for the best times.  Also, there will be no fast speed work before the winter season, JT doesn't want me trying to go too quickly in the cold weather - we'll save that work building up to the subsequent season in the spring.  I still have a lot of work to do before I'm ready to run a decent 800m - I'm sure a lot of heavy lactate training is coming soon - but there's only about 6-weeks until the season starts, so I've gotta get ready!


Sun, 12/21:  12-miles in 1:22:58, (6:55 pace) HR-158

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Speed Ladder

Since Sunday I've just been doing some easy runs - only one workout this week, and that was today.  Work's been busy, holiday approaching, crappy weather, the list goes on and on.  No big deal - last week was supposed to be a down week but it included a Hill session, a 5 x 800m interval session and a long run.  Not much of a "down week", so I had no problem taking it easy for a few days.

Today, however was a bit of a different story.  We had clear skies (for the most part) and the temps made their way back to 50-degrees.  And w/ no work bogging me down, I was able to get to the track for my lone workout of the week - and it was fun!  The session would be a ladder at slightly faster than Rep pace: (2x200m, 2x300m, 2x400m, 2x300m, 2x200m) with a slow jog in between each rep equal in length to the previous repeat.  

What made this different than my other short rep sessions was the active recovery - sure the jogs were slow, but my HR never got back down to the level it did when I simply rest for a minute or two between repeats.  This made the 2nd half of the ladder a little more challenging that I was expecting.

My legs were very fresh w/ the easy runs all week and when I looked down at the pace to see 6:38 during the last 400m of the warm up, I figured I was going to be in for a good day.  

The first 200m felt really smooth, and wound up coming in at 30-flat.  This was a bit faster than my target so I made sure I slowed it down for the 2nd one, but it still came in at 31.

After that, I just got into a nice groove and really had fun w/ the workout.  The rest of the repeats went like this:

300m - 49
300m - 48
400m - 65
400m - 65
300m - 49
300m - 48
200m - 30
200m - 30

The last two 300s were tough, and it became clear to me exactly what we were working on w/ this session.  I was able to let the pace go a little more than previous rep sessions and I could feel the body trying to work out the kinks of a faster pace.  Still a lot of work to do there, but this was a step in the right direction.  My only disappointment was that I wanted that 2nd 400m to come in around 63.8 - the first 200m was under 31 so I thought I had it, but I guess I let up too much during the 2nd half.

Next time I do this type of workout - this will likely just be "set-1".  After that I'll take a break and then hit it again, but the 2nd set will probably have less volume.  

A good session for sure.  I'm now hoping I don't have much soreness tomorrow so I can get in my long run for the week.


Mon, 12/15:  Lifting (upper-A, abs) stretching, rolling

Tues, 12/16: 6-miles @ 7:13 pace

Wed, 12/17:  5-miles @ 7:00 pace

Thurs, 12/18:  6-miles @ 7:02 pace

Fri, 12/19:  Off

Sat, 12/20:  5-miles including (2x200m, 2x300m, 2x400m, 2x300m, 2x200m)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another Week in the Books

I was hoping to get the 800m repeats in on Friday giving me one easy day before today's long run but that didn't work out.  So today turned into a bit of a back-to-back.  Making it interesting, we got our rainstorm rendering the trails muddy and slick, which was especially fun on the steeper downhills.  And of course today's rain started just as I walked out the door to start the run.

Tough to complain about weather though when the guys in Ireland have to deal w/ all that "stuff" out there.  The sloshing was actually quite enjoyable and I trucked on through for 11 soggy miles.


Sun, 12/14:  11-miles @ 7:10 pace

Saturday, December 13, 2008

800m repeats

Today was the 2nd workout of the week and I had 5 x 800m w/ 2.5-minute rests on the schedule.  Target pace was about 2:35.

A lot going on wrapping up the year work-wise and w/ a lot of other things on my mind, I felt lucky just to get through this workout.  In all honesty I didn't even think about this one at all beforehand:  just one of those show up - run - go home deals.  I never do all that well on these kinds of workouts when I don't give them any thought and just go through the motions, but I made it through this one OK.

Times were:  2:37-2:34-2:35-2:34-2:35.  We're supposed to get a lot of wind and rain later today carrying on for a good week straight, so I'll have to see how it goes for the next few days.


Wed, 12/10:  5-miles easy
lifting (upper-B, abs) stretching, rolling

Thurs, 12/11:  8-miles easy

Fri, 12/12:  Off (unscheduled)

Sat, 12/13:  4-miles including 5 x 800m w/ 2.5-min rests.  (2:37-2:34-2:35-2:34-2:35)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hill Repeats - #6

I had decided to flip-flop my long day and off day on Sun-Mon, taking the off day Sunday - the day after the big interval workout.  However, I had a little something minor going on in the inside of the right knee, so I eventually decided to take Monday off as well.  Not thrilled about missing the long run this week, but I'm going to err on the side of caution almost every time.

Today I had my 10 x 1-minute hill session on tap, but being that this is the "down week" JT said to just sort of go through the motions on this one, don't shoot for a time record.  Knowing I wouldn't be absolutely killing myself this time, I upped the warm up run from the standard 3-miles to 5, essentially getting in one of my easy runs in addition to the hill work.  

The hill session started out a little on the slow side as planned, but I ran a few quicker ones towards the end.  A pretty good session - although I was tired at the end, I wasn't dizzy or completely spent like most of these workouts, so I guess I executed the session as per JT's instructions.

A few easy days to follow before hitting the 2nd workout later in the week - that one won't be easy.


Sun & Mon, 12/7 and 12/8:  Off 

Tues, 12/9:  8-miles including 10 x 1-minute hill repeats

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Beast of a Workout

Today was the day I was thinking about all week.  The big one.  The toughest workout I'd done in 22 years.  Yeah it sucks to be that old!

On tap - intervals from Hell.  After a mile warm up, 2 x 200m at about 34-second pace.  Then - 800m (2:34-2:36), 3-min rest, Mile (5:15-5:20), 4-min rest, 800m (2:34-2:36), 2-min rest, 400m (75), 90-second rest, 400m (75)

After trying to visualize how I was going to get through this one during the week, the following plan came together:  Cruise thru the 200s w/ little to no effort.  Use the 800m as a practice for the first 2-laps of the mile (i.e. try to hit them in 77-79).  Then put in whatever was required to hit the mile even if it meant leaving me dead in the water for the rest of the workout - hit that damn mile.  Target:  (77-79-79-78)  That's a 5:13 so it gave me a few seconds to play with.  After that, if I was to hit the mile I knew I'd be amped up so go SLOW during the first quarter of the subsequent 800m leaving me enough in the tank to get through it.  (I figured if I hit the target for the mile I'd probably rocket out to start the next 800m and that would NOT be a good thing so keep it under control)  And in regards to the 400s - even though the rest lengths were getting VERY short, I figured I'd be fine even if I had nothing left.  All that lifting and all those hills would carry me there w/ no issues, even if I was dead tired and could no longer breathe.  That's what all that time in the gym was for!

After the warm up mile and a few drills I approached the start of the first 200m - "remember, no effort just some strides to loosen up."  First one in 34 seconds very very easy.  Good.  Jogged back around to the start and then I got what I was looking for on #2, a nice smooth run that seemed more like an easy stroll in the park.  32-seconds.  Perfect - I was ready.

I hit the first speed bump on 800m #1 when the first lap came in at 74.  Damn, that's too fast.  I slowed down on lap #2 to hit the 2:36 I was looking for, but since I didn't hit the appropriate splits my "practice" for the mile was blown.  Now I'd have to adjust on the fly and hope for the best.

JT wanted close to even splits for this mile - that was very important.  Typically when running a mile I just hammer the first lap, try to hold on for the middle two laps and then give whatever I've got left on lap #4, but not today.  This wasn't a race, just an interval in the middle of a workout.  She wanted it nice and even as that would mean I would have to continually increase my effort as the laps passed to maintain the pace (as opposed to banking seconds early and then letting up)

I got to the starting line and waited as the last 10-seconds of the 3-minute rest expired.  I remember telling myself, "this is what you've been waiting for all week . . . "  I never finished the thought.  

I purposely slowed myself down after the first turn because I knew I was too fast.  Everything felt nice and relaxed.  First lap 76-seconds.  One second faster than the target - that's fine, no need to adjust.  Second lap was 80-seconds, one second slow - but this put my first half mile at 2:36 which was right on target.  Onto lap #3.  I wasn't slowing much, but ideally I shouldn't be slowing at all.  About 150m into lap #3 I tried to pick up the pace and much to my surprise I had no problems doing so.  Lap #3 - 79, giving me a 3/4-mile split of 3:55 - exactly on pace.  I just needed a final lap of 80 to hit my 5:15, but I knew I was OK enough to do better than that - I was sure I'd hit the 78 to finish up.  With 200m to go I reminded myself that I've still got almost half a workout to go and that kept the finish under wraps.  As expected I closed w/ a 78 quarter giving me a 2nd half mile of 2:37 (to go w/ my 2:36 first half) for a total of 5:13, and I had done it w/ almost even splits. Mission accomplished.

Here's where I made the biggest mistake of the workout.  I knew I was amped up over that mile, and I feared I'd go out too fast on the next 800m. . . . so in my infinite wisdom I decided to cut my rest SHORT following the mile (to 3-minutes) hoping that would keep me from going out too fast.  Well that backfired because even w/ just 3-minutes I still went out in 73 (WAY too fast) and now because of the short rest I completely hung myself out to dry on that 2nd quarter.  I finished in 2:37 so only 1-second slow, but the 73-84 split was really stupid.  I'll try not to make that mistake again, but I know I will.

At this point I was pretty gassed.  Two 400s left at 5-flat pace.  Thankfully, my assumption that my gym/hill work would take care of this part of the workout was on target.  I was dead tired, but my legs had no such issues.  I hit the 200m mark in 34-seconds and cruised home on both reps giving me times of 72 and then 71 to finish up.  

All totaled the workout covered 4.4km (not counting warm up and cool down) at an average pace of 5:06.  I've never done that kind of volume at that kind of speed before.  And I have no idea how I'll feel when I wake up tomorrow.  

As I review the workout a few things jump out:  #1  the splits on both 800m were poor - out too fast both times.  Something to keep in mind.  #2 the mile was almost perfect, and that was really my main focus today so that was good.  #3  I could have dialed up high 60-second quarters to finish up if I wanted to even though I was running on empty.  I wasn't exactly surprised by this, but it does tell me to keep doing what I'm doing in regards to building power in the legs.  (plyos will be coming soon) The more power I can generate, the more I can use speed to overcome my cardio/fitness shortcomings until I get a few years of mileage under my belt to minimize that weakness.

JT's comments upon hearing the results:  "See, you can run a mile.  Now I can really have fun w/ the workouts!"

Can't wait to see what's next.


Thurs, 12/4:  5-miles easy
                     lifting (upper-A, abs)  stretching rolling

Fri, 12/5:  5-miles easy

Sat, 12/6:  5-miles including 2 x 200m (34,32), 800m (2:36), mile (5:13), 800m (2:37), 400m (72), 400m (71)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Down, One to Go

Today was the 10 x 300m session.  When I compared it to last week's 12 x 200m session on paper - I figured I was in for a rough day.  Each rep here was obviously 50% longer, but the target pace was almost the same.  (33-sec average for the 200m session last week, 51-sec average today (34-sec 200m pace))  Also, the rests were actually going to shrink from 80-seconds to 60-seconds.  And on top of that - last week I got an extra 90-seconds of rest after every 4th rep (3-sets of 4) and here there were no sets - 10 x 300m w/ 1-min breaks - period.  Longer reps w/ shorter rests at about the same pace. . . . . no picnic for sure.

The way JT described the workout was like this.  "You'll get into a rhythm after the first few.  After about the 6th one you'll start to get a feeling of overall fatigue but you'll still be able to hit the same paces.  After about the 8th one, you'll feel like you can't do any more, but you can."

I wanted to make sure I ran the first few slower to ease into it and then pick it up if I felt I could.  Target was to start about 54 and ramp down to 48 if possible, but JT said if I needed to stay in the 52-54 range the whole way that was fine.

Unfortunately I had the Garmin on the wrong page when I started the first rep so when I looked down to see my 100m split to see what my pace was, it wasn't there.  Rather than screwing around w/ the watch during a repeat, I figured I'd just fix it afterwards.  First rep - 49 seconds. Damn, gonna pay for that later.

I fixed the stupid watch, made the adjustment and hit the next two in 52-52.  At this point I felt like I was going to be OK.  Surprisingly after a slow jog back to the start I was ready to take off each time w/ no issue.  Next four reps were 51-51-50-50.  I really had a groove going now.  I even received some applause from part of the community college track team that was running a workout.  (200m repeats at slightly slower than my pace w/ MUCH longer rests)  I think I'm viewed as the resident "old guy" who is still somehow able to run a little bit.  

Now I was through 7 reps and was feeling tired.  By this time the 1-minute slow jogs didn't seem long enough.  I struggled on #8 finishing in 53 - but pulled it together, realized I needed to up the effort a bit, and hit the last two in 52 and 50.

Overall the average was 51 (34-second 200m pace) and truth be told it wasn't that bad.  Of course the real measure is what do I feel like tomorrow?  Achilles, quad, etc.  Saturday is looming and I'm going to need to be 100% to have a shot at that one.  Two easy days coming up before the Saturday torture session.


Mon, 12/1:  Lifting (upper-B, abs)  stretching rolling.  

Tues, 12/2:  5-miles easy

Wed, 12/3:  4-miles including 10 x 300m (1-min rests) at average pace of 51-seconds (4:33 mile pace)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fear Factor

So Mike, you said you wanted to train for middle distance, eh?  Not content to just get into decent shape, run some 5ks/10ks, have a good time and all that jazz.  No no, I decided I wanted to train hard and fast in some attempt to perhaps "see what I could have been" in the world of middle distance.  Well Mr. Forty year old pretending to be 25, be careful what you wish for!

I knew some tougher stuff was coming down the pike, I just didn't envision this level of pain coming so soon. . . .

I had my weekly talk w/ JT (coach) today where I was to receive my instructions for Wednesday's speed session.  The session, 10 x 300m w/ 1-minute breaks (walk back to the start) starting at about 54-seconds ramping down to 48.  OK, that's going to be tough - that's the same pace as last week's 12 x 200m.  However the rests are shorter this time (1-min vs 80-seconds) and the total distance is 3km instead of 2.4km . . . and last week the workout was broken down into 3-sets where I got some extra rest in between.  Maybe it's a lot tougher than last week.  Still, I think I can manage.

At that point she asks me, "do you want your workout for Saturday now or do you want to wait?"  This didn't sound good, but if she had the workout mapped out already no sense in waiting - might as well give me the news now.  Or conversation then went as follows:

Me:  "yeah, if you've got it.  What is it?"
JT:  "I was going to do a short hill session again, but I want to start getting you into some longer intervals.  Wednesday's the short intervals and we'll do the longer ones on Saturday."
Me:  "OK"

(we had previously discussed that we were going to transition from primarily hills to a mix of hills, short intervals and long intervals for a while until the hills were finished)

JT:  "So it's going to be 800m - Mile - 800m - 400m - 400m.  After your warm up do 2 x 200m as a long stride to get your legs ready to run."
Me:  "How fast do you want the 200s?"
JT:  "35, maybe 33.  Then jog 100m and walk 100m back to the start.  Get a good rest in between.  After that you can take 5-7 minutes to stretch again before hitting the workout."
Me:  "OK, what about paces for the workout and rest times and all that?"
JT:  "First 800m in 2:34-2:36, Mile in 5:15, next 800m . . ."
Me:  "Five what??"
JT:  "huh?"
Me:  "The mile.  Five what??"
JT:  "5:15.  The next 800m in 2:34-2:36, and the 400s in 75-77."
Me:  "And rests in between?"
JT:  "Between the first 8 and the mile, 3-minutes.  Between the mile and the second 8, 3-minutes.  After the second 8, 2-minutes.  Then 90-seconds between the 400s."

At this point I was trying to get my head around what I'd just heard and I couldn't seem to get past that mile.  This wasn't some, "hey run a few short reps and then at the end give an all out effort to get a mile done".  No this was, "ho-hum, go throw a 5:15 mile up there in the middle of a workout, right between two quick half-miles - and w/ minimal rest.  And oh btw - you've also got two 400s and two 200s to do on the ends."

Typically I'm ahead of the paces she gives on most workouts, and I saw no problem hitting the 800m paces, but extending that pace out to a mile, in the middle of a workout - I don't know.  We talked about it some.  She understands that even though we haven't really done any speed work yet, my speed is still way ahead of my endurance so holding interval pace for that long would be much more difficult for me than if my endurance were up - but she thinks it's something I can do.  We settled on 5:15-5:20, and I told her I'd do my best.  

Problem now is that this mile is all I can think about - but I've got that 10 x 300m workout coming up in 2-days.  And now matter how you slice and dice up that workout, it still amounts to 3000m at 4:32 mile pace!!  (and that's the EASY workout)  My head better be screwed on straight for that one or I won't get through it properly.  

I'm starting to understand a conversation I had w/ JT a month or two ago where we were talking about something related to running decent times at an advanced age and she mentioned that she had just set a PR in the 5k.  (not that it was ever her event, but she's somewhere in the low 16s at I think 37yo)  And I asked her if she could still make a run at her 800m and 1500m PRs.  Her response - "oh no, I just train for fun now.  Middle distance training is really hard."

I'm beginning to wonder how hard is "too hard" for me.