Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mixed Bag on the Tempo

I had some difficulties today using the track.  First off, when I got there originally, there was a softball team, a woman's group, and the track team using the track - so I just went home.  A few hours later the track was empty except for the track team - and they were finishing up.  

I did my warm up, did my stretching and then tried to figure out whether or not I should try my 2 x 200m (albeit at a slower pace)  I tried a stride or two, but I wasn't comfortable so I pulled the plug on the 200s.  

The plan for the 3-mile tempo run was to make it a progressive run and see how it went.  JT figured I'd start just under 6-minute pace and ramp it down to 5:40 towards the end which seemed reasonable to me.  

I ran the first lap at whatever felt comfortable and it came in at 1:28.  There it was, 5:52 pace would be where I started.  I hit every lap at 1:28 w/o thinking about it and came in on pace at 5:52.  The HR was only about 165 and it felt pretty easy.  Sticking to the plan I upped the pace for mile #2 again to whatever felt natural - first lap: 1:26.  So there was my 2nd mile pace, 5:44.

Here's where I ran into a little problem.  The track team was done running, but a few of the guys were practicing the High Jump.  Now they had been practicing this HJ the whole time I was running, but as I came through lap #2 of the 2nd mile - much to my surprise I saw the chain link "cover" (on wheels) for the pit sitting on the track taking up lanes 1-4 in the middle of the far turn.  Wonderful.  What this meant was I'd need to swing out to lane-5 and back to lane-1 on every subsequent lap during a turn.  I held my pace steady, and I was able to determine that this large obstacle was causing a 2-second/lap "penalty" for me.  Mile #2 came in on pace at 5:50 (really 5:44, as I had an extra 2-seconds/lap on the last 3-laps).

On to mile #3, time to pick up the pace further.  One problem.  The hamstring said NO!  It wasn't a loud NO!!  Just a, "if you plan on dropping the pace into the 5:30s, I'm gonna make you pay for it later" kind of no.  It felt tight, so I backed off and tried again another 80 yards later - same problem.  Wasn't going to go for it.  So I finished up my lap and called it a day - I figured no sense in pushing it further.  I need this thing to heal up to race 800m, not injure it further so I can finish a meaningless tempo run.

The HR data was pretty encouraging.  First mile averaged 155 w/ a peak of only 166.  (BTW - I previously estimated my max HR at about 185, but through some of the difficult rep/interval sessions - I've discovered my HR can get to at least 191)  So 166/191 is just 87%.  Second mile averaged 169 w/a peak of 172  (peak - 90%, and average HR just 88.5%, so definitely a threshold pace)  

I'm not sure where this leaves me for the weekend workout.  Certainly no fast stuff, and no 200s as part of the warmup.  I have another appt w/ the CMT tomorrow - hopefully she can loosen it up further.  It feels OK now, and I'm sure I didn't make it worse.  Just need to take it one step at a time.


Wed, 1/28:  2.25 mile tempo effort @ 5:47 pace.  Hamstring a little tight at paces under 5:40.

Can't Beat This Deal!!

As I mentioned before, I've been using the GU Roctane on my runs over 11-miles and occasionally on the long interval days as well.  Yesterday I realized I had gone through most of my dozen packets over the past few months so I needed to go to REI to pick up a few more.  These buggers are not cheap - $2.50 per packet, but if you buy something like 8-packets or more at REI, they give you a 20% discount dropping the price to 2-bucks.  (yes I know, still expensive - but they sure do work!)

So I go to REI yesterday and grab a couple handfuls.  I get to the checkout desk and drop them on the counter - turns out I grabbed 13-packets.  Fine.  At the regular price plus tax I figure I'd be looking at about 35-bucks.  I would never have imagined I'd be walking out of there for what I actually paid - the conversation went as follows:

Clerk:  OK, you have 13 of these.
Me:  That's enough to get me the 20% discount right?
Clerk:  Yes it is.  Do you have an REI card?
Me:  A what?
Clerk:  An REI card - have you shopped here before?
Me:  Yeah, I don't know if I have a card though, let me look.
Clerk: (while I'm looking through the wallet)  It's going to be $26.00
Me:  No tax?
Clerk:  No, we're not charging tax on these right now.
Me:  Great, 20% discount and then no tax.  I have this temporary card thing - is that good enough?
Clerk:  Didn't we send you the updated card?
Me:  I don't know, I'm surprised I have this one.  Oh wait, here's an REI card.
Clerk:  (runs it through)  Oh, you still have a dividend on this card.
Me:  A what?
Clerk:  A dividend.  We pay you a dividend at the end of the year equal to 10% of whatever you bought previously.
Me:  Really.  How much is on it?
Clerk:  $25.26 - would you like to use that today?
Me:  Sure
Clerk:  OK.  Your total is then 74-cents.

So there it is:  13-packets of Roctane for the grand total of 74-cents.  Not bad.

I was able to get in my standard easy run of 5-miles yesterday w/o too much trouble from the hamstring.  Unfortunately, I seem to be developing some kind of cold - ears are clogging up (can't hear all that well right now) and today I woke up w/ some congestion and a bit of a cough.  

It would seem the past week of light running and off days has weakened my immune system!  I need to get back to killing myself soon so that I can get healthy again!?

I have the 3-mile tempo later today - w/ the hammy and the cold I have no idea how it's going to go.  I know that mentally I'm ready to put in a good effort, I just don't know how well the body is going to hold up.


Mon, 1/26:  no running  (scheduled)  Core work, stretching, rolling.

Tues, 1/27:  5-miles @ 6:55 pace

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coming Along

Another 3.5 miler today and the hamstring continues to improve.  I did some extended stretching and rolling at the gym a few hours before the run, and then I heated up the hammy w/ a heating pad prior to heading out.

Unlike yesterday I felt no stiffness even early on, so I took the liberty of "testing" it out here and there throughout the run.  First mile was 6:50, then a 6:40 up a 3.5% grade.  On the way back down I allowed myself to extend the stride just a little to see how it responded, and it seemed OK.  I averaged about 6:15 for the last mile and a half w/ a little quarter mile pickup at 5:25 - no issues.

An hour later it feels fine, but I there is certainly some tightness remaining.  I plan on taking a very easy day tomorrow followed by another easy day on Tuesday.  If I continue to improve at the same rate, I'm hoping to get in a 3-mile tempo run on Wednesday.  Keeping my fingers crossed.


Sun, 1/26:  lifting (upper-B, abs) stretching rolling
3.5 miles @ 6:34.  Hamstring is feeling better.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Making Progress

I went out for a short run this afternoon to see how the hamstring would hold up, and it was largely successful.  Three and a half miles in the trails w/ some moderately hilly terrain.  

The hamstring was certainly stiff in the beginning and I could feel it here and there, but during the 2nd half of the run it seemed OK.  I varied the pace some to see how it would respond, but made sure I didn't go any faster than 6:20 - again it held up fine.  

On the downside, it would seem that my running economy/efficiency was down as the 1.5 miles I ran at 6:30 pace required more effort than I'm used to.  Perhaps my form was slightly altered due to the stiffness in the hamstring.  I'm sure that will come around in time.  

Also, I'm starting to believe that the initial issue came about at least partially due to poor hydration.  When it feels tight, it feels almost like a muscle that has cramped before and then has the propensity to easily cramp again afterwards.  Additionally, a few other muscles have hinted at cramping over the past couple of days.  I wonder if my hydration was down (probably due to the morning coffee - evening pints and repeat!)  which is causing the muscles to cramp up more easily.  Anyway, I'll be sure to hydrate properly over the next week to see if that helps.

Other than that - I can't complain.  Being able to go out for a run only 4-days after what looked like disaster is definitely encouraging.  Hopefully it feels OK tomorrow.


Sat, 1/24:  3.5 miles @ 6:56 pace  

X-Train Day

I did 50-minutes on the elliptical yesterday w/ no issues.  I'm going to try and do a short easy run later today and see how it goes.  A lot of stretching and rolling over the past few days.

One good thing coming out of this is at least I got myself back into the gym.  As the intensity of the running has ramped up, my time at the gym has diminished far too much.  I'm supposed to be "maintaining" through this period until I get to March where I'll go harder again.  However, I've clearly been "losing" in this area over the past 6-7 weeks.  


Fri, 1/23:  lifting (upper-A, abs)  stretching, rolling
Elliptical: 50-minutes - kept HR at about 140.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Injury Update

I went to the CMT today and got the best possible news - there's no real injury - no tear, pull or strain.  In fact, she couldn't determine that anything was damaged at all.  I went through a series of tests and stretches and there was no pain anywhere.

However, there was considerable tightness in one of the hamstring muscles on the right leg (as it turns out I have similar tightness in the same muscle on the left side) and she worked on loosening them up.

What appears to have happened was the exertion of that high turnover 200m triggered a muscle cramp, which then went into spasm and simply locked up.  So essentially the muscle forced me to stop before an actual injury occurred.  (so glad my muscles have more brains than I do!)

Being that I have similar tightness on the left side, it could just as easily have been the left leg that had the problem, so I'll need to be careful.  Another tidbit - the next day (Wednesday) my left quad was really stiff, and as it turns out it too was a casualty of that sprint.  There's a good sized knot in the left quad which she worked on as well, and hopefully w/ some rolling that can be improved.  

The good news here is that in a couple of days, I should be able to resume running, and if all goes well I hope to be back into workouts by Wednesday of next week.  Of course I'll need to be careful on anything faster that 30-second/200m pace - and under no circumstances will I be attempting the 25-26 second 200m stuff.  It's really not necessary for 800m training anyway.  I was hoping to crank one out to determine where I might be in regards to running the 400m in the summer which was not particularly smart w/ a race coming up.  The speed training had been going so well I was thinking if I could run a 26-flat 200m now, that I might be able to get it down to 25 or so by the spring, which would translate to a 54-flat quarter, yada yada yada - dumb move.  

If I can't run by Saturday I'll be heading to the gym to x-train on the bike or elliptical  After that I'll play it by ear but I'm really hoping to start back up again very very soon!


Wed, 1/21:  Off (scheduled)

Thurs, 1/22:  Off (unscheduled)  Appointment w/ CMT:  hamstrings, quads.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Race this Weekend

Well, I had made it a long long way w/o any legitimate injury, but today (the last workout before the race) I broke the streak.  Right hamstring.  I don't think it's that serious, but serious enough to keep me out of action on Saturday.

Workout:  3 x 200 @ about 31 pace, followed by 2 x 300m @ 46 pace - then 2 x 200m hard.

It started out well enough, the initial 200s came in on pace as I was imagining them as the opening 200m of the race.

The 300s provided a great confidence boost:  the first 300m was used as a simulation of the last 300 of the opening 400m of the race - just trying to maintain an even and relaxed rhythm.  (time was 45.8) 

The second 300m (now w/ the fatigue from the first as I just had a 1-minute break between them) was used to simulate the last 100m of the opening 400m, and then the first 200m of the second lap.  (i.e. keeping that nice even pace, and then upon hitting 100m (the 400m mark during the race) picking up the effort level to maintain pace through the next 200)  This went very well - first 100m of 15-flat, then I increased my effort, but still very much in control for a 30.8 last 200m giving me another 45.8.

Last up - 2 x 200m hard.  This is where I had the issue.  Up until now, the 200s were always run quickly, but not actually cranking up the turnover to get into a "sprint mode".  The idea was to hit these 200s hard, but I really hammered the first turn.  I felt some sudden tightness on the outside of my right hamstring about halfway through the turn - then it disappeared.  About 2-seconds later it zapped me again.  At this point I decided to pull the plug about 100m in.  The 100m was 12.x seconds even w/ the flare ups, so this was a drastic departure from what I had been doing on other 200s.  Perhaps I just went a little too hard, but the temps here were over 65-degrees today so certainly it wasn't like I was doing this in the cold.  

I stretched out some and tried to test out the damage before heading home.  I don't think it's pulled and it's certainly not torn.  It's just tight, almost like a cramp deep within the muscle.  I can feel it when walking, but even at light pace it doesn't hurt.  There's no bruising which would clearly be the case if it were torn or pulled.  

I ran yesterday (usually my off day) as I had planned to push the off day out until tomorrow.  I'll obviously stick w/ that plan now, and I guess I'll just ice and ibuprofen for a couple days and see how it feels Thursday morning.  I also scheduled an appointment w/ my CMT for Thursday to have her go over it to see if she can figure out how bad it is.  My guess at this point is that it's just tight and sore and hopefully within a few days I'll be able to get in some light running.  

Kind of a drag to have this happen right before the first race.  But on the bright side, today's workout leads me to believe that 62-63 pace per 400m is something that's sustainable for me for a good portion of an 800m race.  I figured I was going to face some adversity at some point and I'm not going to let it get me down.  It certainly could be a lot worse - now I just need to do what I can to heal up and get back out there.


Sun, 1/18:  8-miles @ 7:19 pace (148-HR)
Finally - I forced myself to slow down.

Mon, 1/19:  5-miles @ 7:03 pace

Tues, 1/20:  Reps:  3 x 200m (31.4, 31.2, 31.4), 2 x 300m (45.8, 45.8)  2 x 200m (tweaked right hamstring on first rep)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quick Workout

After Wednesday, we decided to cut the Saturday workout down to a nice short threshold session - three or four 1000m repeats w/ 1-minute breaks.  I was pressed for time this morning, as I headed over to Los Gatos HS where the track meets are held - so I opted to just do three.  (I wanted to take a peak at how the meet was run, what the track looked like, etc)

Thankfully I didn't feel any of the sluggishness I felt on Wednesday.  The opening 2 x 200m portion was crisp - 27.8, 28.1

The 1000s came in at 3:26, 3:22, 3:21 - a bit quicker than T-pace for sure, but w/ just a 1-minute break between each, you can't get too out of control on these guys.  Nice short session.

Afterwards it was off to Los Gatos to check out the meet.  The track looked OK, but they allow 15-17 guys per heat so it's definitely a crowded start.  Also, everyone is just grouped together at the start (which was expected) as opposed to running in lanes for the first 100m or so and then cutting in.  It's going to be important to get away cleanly here as there are a lot of bodies packed into a small area.


Thurs, 1/15:  Off

Fri, 1/16:  5-miles @ 6:46 pace
** Note:  No more running these things by feel.  I have to force myself to slow down - going too fast on my easy days.  

Sat, 1/17:  4-miles including:  2 x 200m (27.8, 28.1)  3 x 1000m (3:26, 3:22, 3:21) 1-min breaks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Need for Some Rest

Strange thing happened on Tuesday - I cut my 5-miler short about 0.4-miles because it didn't feel as easy as it should have.  I haven't done that in quite a while and I knew it wasn't a good omen for today's workout.

First sign of trouble today came when my first warm-up 200m came in at 29.3  I've been routinely hitting these in 28.4 - 28.7 w/o thinking about it and then having to purposely throttle back the second one (which usually ends up about 29.5)  Today I concentrated a bit on #2 to log a 28.6 - of course I didn't need to run a 28.x, but I felt like I just wasn't right today and I was looking for something to keep my confidence up.

I felt tired, but more than that, simply drained.  Last Wednesday I felt so strong right from the get go - both 200s came in under 29 and were very easy - and then I had to hold myself back on the first 400m just to keep it at 64 when I was trying to run a 67.  I felt none of that strength today.

The workout was supposed to be as follows:

warm up + 2 x 200m
400m:  62
7-minute break
600m : (first quarter 62, try to hold that pace for the last 200m)
7-minute break
200m:  sub-28
5-minute break
200m:  sub-28

Making matters worse, the 400m which is supposed to be nothing more than a "fatigue generator" for the 600m came in way too fast - and I have no idea how it happened.  I was running the first 200 w/ the wind and the 2nd 200 into the wind.  The plan was to start out about 29-30 w/ the wind at my back figuring I'd finish up about 32 into the wind.  Well, the first 200 came in at 29.x as planned, but somehow w/o me elevating the effort the second 200 came in around 30-flat giving me a 59.8 for the quarter.  This was way too fast.  I was fairly certain I had just blown the workout as I knew I wasn't feeling that great to begin with and the additional fatigue from the 59.8 would surely be another nail in the coffin.  

As I stated yesterday - based on last week's session I was confident I could go 1:31.5 - 1:32 on this 600m, but that was definitely out the window now.  Still, the fact that I somehow threw a sub-60 up there made me think I at least needed to put in a good effort.  

I started out OK, but after just 350m an overall sense of fatigue started to creep in.  As I came through the quarter I saw that my time was about 60.5, but I was fading pretty quickly at this point.  A 16+ second 100m followed, putting me at 1:17 through 500m.  It just got worse from there and I finished up in 1:34.2 - which I immediately classified as a total disaster.  Being that the 600m was the focus of the entire workout, and the fact that I knew something was amiss at the start, I saw no point in running the last two 200s.

In hindsight, this performance wasn't as bad as I thought - my first solid 400s came only last week where I was going 63 - 66 up until the final one at 58.  Today I hit 59.8 and came right back w/ a 60.5 to start the 600m.  Clearly, coming in way too fast on the first 400 contributed mightily to the issues on the 6, and it's probably a bit unrealistic for me to expect that because I ran a 58 last week w/ heavy fatigue that now just a week later I can start throwing up multiple 59-60s like it's no big deal.  That's a fast pace for me right now, and I'll consider this a bit of a wake-up call - "Mike, you need to respect that pace a little bit!"

However, there's no denying that I wasn't right today, and I only have to go back to pulling the plug on my 5-miler yesterday to see an issue.  A quick check of the logbook clearly completes the picture - last Wednesday: balls to the wall rep session, Friday:  8-miler @ 6:39 pace, Sunday: long interval session (where I 'inexplicably' struggled on the last rep).  Then throwing in today's session . . . . . that's a tall order in only 8-days.  

Taking it a step further - over the past 30-days, the total number of runs averaging over 7-minute pace: TWO.  One at 7:02, and one at 7:06.  Now, I'm not complaining one bit - these 6:45-6:55 pace runs have felt pretty easy, and the combo of the short intervals, long intervals, and aggressive long runs has led to incredible gains over the past month and a half, and if I had lightened up on just one of those previous three runs I probably have no problems today, but as the saying goes, "you can't train hard and race hard at the same time".  Today I was trying to throw a race pace 600m effort in the midst of a month and a half long "training boot camp".  

So - it's time to take a step back.  I've got 10-days before the first race.  The hamstrings feel OK, no aches or pains - physically I'm fine.  The next couple of days are going to be VERY easy, and on Saturday it's going to be a 3-5 x 1000m threshold effort followed by an EASY long run on Sunday.  I've pushed a little too hard before, a good down week typically does me wonders - I'll expect that to be the case again.  

The thing I can't do is get down on myself for having a bad day that really wasn't so bad.  If I add two seconds to the 400m and take two seconds off the 600m, it's on target - and that's even w/ the difficult week preceding the workout.  Of course this is much easier for me to say than it is for me to do.  No matter how I rationalize it, I'm still pretty pissed off!


Tue, 1/13:  4.6 miles @ 6:50 pace  (should have been 5-miles,  wasn't as easy as it should have been)

Wed, 1/14:  Reps:  2 x 200m (29.3, 28.6),  400m (59.8), 600m (1:34.2)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Final Preparations Before the Winter Season

Fortunately, the hamstrings came through Sunday's workout just fine.  In fact, as of now they feel better than they did yesterday. 

With this news, I should be OK to go through my final preparations heading into the season.

The tentative racing schedule is as follows:

Sat, Jan 24 - 800m
Sat, Feb 7 - 800m (and possibly a Mile)
Sat, Feb 14 800m (and possibly a Mile)
Sat, Feb 28 - 800m (and possibly a 1500m)

If we do decide to double, it certainly won't be all three weeks - two at the most.  All of my training recently has been geared towards the 800m, so these additional races will be more of a workout than anything else.  This schedule gives me two weeks between the first and second race, giving me a little time to adjust my training pending the first results.  And then, after back-to-back races, I once again get two weeks to make any final adjustments heading into the last race.  As I mentioned before, I won't be heading to any of the big meets in March.  Once February ends, it's back to a mini-build mode to get ready for the spring/summer season, which is far and away the more important of the two.

The first "Race Prep" session will be on Wednesday - it's short and fast w/ a good deal of rest in between each repeat:

warm up + 2 x 200m
400m:  62
7-minute break
600m : (first quarter 62, try to hold that pace for the last 200m)
7-minute break
200m:  sub-28
5-minute break
200m:  sub-28

The key here is the 600m as it's the rep to help give me an idea as to what my target 800m pace should be.  The first 400m of that rep should simulate the first 400 of the 800m race, and the last 200m should sim the last 200 of the race.  (the 3rd and slowest 200m is the one that's theoretically omitted)  So it's a quick, but relaxed first 400m followed by the hard effort required to hold that pace for 200 more meters (sort of like the final kick in the race)  Target pace here is 62-seconds/quarter which would give me a 1:33-flat 600m if it goes according to plan.  To be honest, I'm going to be looking to shave 1 to 1.5 seconds off of that estimate and come in at about 1:31.5 to 1:32-flat, but that's going to be extremely difficult.  I'll just do the best I can.


Mon, 1/12:  Off (scheduled)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Unseasonably Warm

Today's temp:  73-degrees.  Great if you had a picnic or barbecue planned on this January afternoon, but not necessarily the best news if you happened to be running a long interval session.  

JT decided to cut back on the workout slightly due to the sore hamstrings, but it was still going to be a tough one:

1200 @ 78 pace
2:30 rest
800 @ 77
2:30 rest
3x600 74-75 pace
2:00 rest between 600s

The pace there is per 400m.  The part of the workout that's a bit sneaky is the relatively short rest after the 1200m.  (typically the post 1200m rest period for me has been about 3:15 - 3:30)  This essentially opens the workout w/ a 2k at about 5:10 mile pace w/ only the 2.5-minute break - and that sets it up such that the subsequent 600s at 5-flat pace are pretty tough.

As I've stated before - these long intervals are much tougher for me than the speed work.  At some point, these sessions will be the focus of my training for a good 5-6 weeks, and as much as I'm going to hate it, I know that once I get through it I'll be a much better runner.  For now though, they are the secondary workout behind the speed sessions - but that certainly doesn't make them any easier.

The workout went as follows:

1200m:  3:51
800m:  2:32
600m:  1:52
600m:  1:51
600m:  1:54  (I struggled some on this last one)

Overall, an OK workout.  The good news is that I never felt the hamstrings, and they haven't bothered me at any point afterwards (which has now been about 4 hours).  I'm hoping that remains the case tomorrow morning.

Yesterday I doubled w/ some lifting at the gym and then a 5-miler.  Ever since I've gotten a few speed sessions under my belt, the pace of these daily runs has increased quite drastically.  Not that I'm complaining, but it has made a much larger difference than I was expecting.


Sat, 1/10:  lifting (upper-B, abs)  rolling, stretching
5-miles @ 6:47 pace

Sun, 1/11:  5-miles including:  1200m (3:51), 800m (2:32), 3 x 600m (1:52, 1:51, 1:54)  2.5-min breaks after 1200 and 800, 2-min breaks between 600s

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Change Up

After Wednesday's speed session the hamstrings got pretty sore.  (My quads got very sore after the first couple of hill sessions, my achilles got very sore after the first couple of 200m sessions, and now it seems it's the hamstrings turn)  In all previous cases, after an initial adjustment period, the soreness subsided and I was able to run these workouts w/o experiencing any soreness thereafter.  I'm hoping the same happens here w/ the hamstrings.

With the soreness in the legs, and the big bad long interval session on the horizon, we thought it would be best to have three easy days in between workouts as opposed to the usual two - which puts the interval session on Sunday.  This is typically the day for the long run, so we decided to change things up a bit to accommodate the extra rest while still getting in a longish run.

New schedule for the week became:  Thursday - easy, Friday - long, Saturday - easy, ahead of the interval session.

As long as I'm running at sub-maximal efforts, the hamstrings don't bother me during a run, but I wanted to see how they responded to something up-tempo, so I ran Friday's 8-miler a little harder than usual.  It helped that aside from the soreness, the legs felt very strong.  (I realize that this might not make any sense, but the legs really felt great when I couldn't feel the soreness).  Thankfully, no hamstring issues and I felt great throughout

A lot of stretching and rolling going on these past few days to help speed up the recovery, and a very easy run on the schedule today.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend!


Thurs, 1/8:  5-miles @ 7:02 pace

Fri, 1/9:  8-miles in 53:12, (6:39 pace)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rising from the Ashes

At least that's the hope.  If I'm ever going to hit the 800m times I'm gunning for down the line, I'll need to increase my speed drastically.  Don't get me wrong - I'm going to bust my ass trying to improve my endurance, my strength, lactate threshold, VO2Max, etc, etc - but at the end of the day, to hit my goal 800m times, I'm going to need to resurrect a significant portion of my speed.  

Over the past few weeks, I've been pleasantly surprised as to how well my speed has come around.  Still a long way to go, but each week I've been able to either hit lower 200m times or have it such that hitting a certain time has been considerably easier than in previous weeks.  Obviously, I've been wondering how long this can/will continue.

Today's 400m/200m session as posted previously:

Warm up 2x200
400@66/67--90 rest
6min rest
400@63/64 60r
200@28/29 60r
6min rest

As I looked over this workout, I honestly believed that if I stayed near the slower end of the range during the first two sets, that I had an outside shot at a 58.8 final quarter provided I stayed focused throughout and didn't give in to the pain during the final 150m.  I based this on my times from last week, and an estimate of how much fatigue would be in the legs after the first two sets.  59.1 - 59.3 would be more likely, but unless there was an issue, I was going to go for the 58.8

The legs felt very strong at the start, and I hit the warm up 200s in 28.4 and 28.9.  This was the first time the second one came in under 29.5, and I hoped this was a sign of good things to come.

In each of the 400s, I would be running into the wind on the back straight. (although the wind was not too strong today)  Target for the first quarter was just 66/67 and I really wanted to come in at the slow end on all of these reps saving up for the last quarter . . . . however I did a pretty miserable job of judging pace most of the day.  I hit the first 200m in 30-flat which was WAY too fast and I did my best to slow down to conserve energy.  I nearly had to jog in the last 20m and I still hit a 64.  Wow, that was a surprise.  As happy as I was to hit such a time so easily I was more than a little irritated w/ myself for burning that extra energy.  

I made it a point to go slower on 400 #2.  After a 32 second first 200, I judged the pace poorly again on the back straight and came in at 67.  Damn, I had just run the first two 400s at the correct times . . . but in the wrong order.  At least the 200m was run correctly at 30.4

For set #2 I switched from the flats to the spikes.  I payed close attention to the pace on the 400 this time and came in on target in 63.9.  I could tell after this one that some fatigue was creeping in.  The first 200m of set-2 was into the wind, and once again I fell asleep at the wheel after a nice opening 100m - 30.7.  I didn't want to cheat the final quarter by running these reps too slow, so I tried to make up for the bad 200m by hitting the final 200m harder - 28.1

On to the final 400m - essentially the whole workout.  What could I hit after the three previous 400s and five previous 200s?  I'm sure this is what JT was interested in finding out, and obviously so was I.  I knew clearly that my speed was better than it was last week, but I was a little more fatigued than I expected to be - I still figured I had a shot at the 58.8 and so I was going to try and run it accordingly.  

As expected, the first 200m felt nice and smooth - a quick first 100m, and a nice stride down the back stretch.  I looked down at the Garmin at the 200m mark:  first 200m - 27.x.  Although I was slowing, the second turn wasn't that bad.  The pain didn't start to hit until there was about 110m to go, which caused me to skip the 300m split.  The final 100m was tough, but not NEARLY as bad as the final 100m of the last rep last week (300m).  I was confident I had done enough over the last 200m to go sub-59, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a final time of 58.15.  (meaning the final 200m was probably about 30.5 - very happy w/ the final 200m considering the fatigue from the rest of the workout)

Another weekly speed session where the speed has increased.  Early on it was obvious that the speed increases were coming from improved coordination.  Now I'm not sure what's going on.  Is it more power in the legs?  Is my leg turnover increasing?  I don't know, but clearly the repeated work is bringing back some sort of muscle memory from a long long time ago.  My only hope now is that I'm just in the middle of this process and not at the end!


Wed, 1/7:  4-miles including 2x200 (28.4, 28.9),  Set-1:  400m-400m-200m (64, 67, 30.4), Set-2: 400m-200m-200m (63.9, 30.7, 28.1), Set-3:  400m  (58.15)

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Week's Speed Session

No running today - Monday is usually the lone off-day each week.  I will be heading out to the gym a little later to get in a lifting session however.  

Here's the early week workout given to me by JT:

Warm up 2x200
400@66/67--90 rest
6min rest
400@63/64 60r
200@28/29 60r
6min rest

Not as demanding as last week's 300m session, but this one will require me to maintain speed a little longer (400m vs 300m) on a few occasions.  Obviously everything here funnels down to the last 400m where I'm interested to see if I can run a sub-61 w/ the fatigue from the previous two sets.  I do get a nice 6-minute rest before that last one, but I believe I'll still be feeling the effects of set #2, as all of those reps are pretty quick for me.  

I'm looking forward to this one.  If I can hit that last quarter in 61 I'll feel pretty good about where I'm at.


Mon, 1/5:  lifting (upper-A, abs) stretching, rolling

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reigning it in

As the winter season approaches, the intensity of the repeat sessions has elevated.  The 300m session last Wednesday was brutal, and this week I've got a tough 400m/200m session on Tues or Wed along w/ a very challenging long interval session coming on Saturday.  

Over the past five weeks, I've essentially been running three workouts per week - the short rep session, the long interval session, and the aggressive long run on Sundays.  However, with the higher intensity of the interval sessions something needs to give, at least a little.

So today's "long" run was cut back to just 8-miles (as opposed to 11), however the pace was about the same as the others.  (6:57 vs the 6:54 average of the previous four)  It doesn't seem like much, but omitting those last 3-miles will keep me much fresher for the tough work that's coming during the week.  

The meets in my area start on Jan 10th but I won't be running my first race until the 24th.  I'll probably get one more long run in before then (about 12-miles at a similar 6:5x pace).  

The last race I'll have on the schedule is likely to be Feb 28th.  There are other races after that one that run into mid-March, but as I've stated before, the focus is really on the spring/summer season.  I'll probably run four 800m races during this season and as of March 1st, I'll likely be starting up another build for spring/summer.


Sun, 1/4:  8-miles @ 6:57 pace

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Slight Improvement

Back at the track today for a 5 x 1000m threshold workout.  Originally we had planned a long interval session for today, but being that we moved up the tough rep session into this week, JT wanted to push that workout out until next Saturday.  That was fine by me, I think I'd have gotten crucified if I had attempted that one today - my legs are still not all the way back.

Standard deal here - mile warm up, stretch, 2 x 200m, re-stretch and then hit the workout.  I was getting my typical 1-minute breaks between repeats.

The 200s during the warmup came in on the quick side which was nice to see (28.6, 29.5) but I know the legs are still not back at 100% - still some residual fatigue.  

Here's a comparison of today's session w/ the same workout performed on November 29th:

Rep #29-NovAve HR3-JanAve HR

The times are similar, but the HR is considerably better on the last three repeats.  I ran both of these workouts on feel, and I was fully expecting to run similar HRs as compared to last time, but I think the fatigue kept the pace steady after #2 instead of the continuous ramp down.  This in turn kept the HR at about a steady 162 for the last three as opposed to coming up to the 167-168 level.  Also, the max HR of the Nov session was 173, and today it was just 169.

I don't run this workout as a fitness test really, it's just easy to compare when the workout is exactly the same.  The weather was almost identical as luck would have it, so aside from the extra fatigue today, I think this is a pretty fair comparison.  Some improvement for sure, but it's difficult for me determine exactly how much.  If either the pace or the HR were a constant then I'd obviously learn something concrete about the other parameter, but w/ this data being slightly better in both categories, I can't really predict how much better I'd be in one category provided that the other one was indeed the same.  But I guess that's what you get when you don't run the workout as a fitness test!


Sat, 1/3:  5-miles including:  5 x 1000m (3:28, 3:24, 3:26, 3:25, 3:26)