Friday, May 29, 2009

Post Race Thoughts

In terms of analyzing the race on Sunday, I don't think there's too much more to be said - essentially I believe my immediate synopsis of the race was accurate:

1.  I went out too fast and probably lost some time slowing up too abruptly to allow the best runner to get to the lead around the 2nd turn.  

2.  The 2nd 200m was good.  Overall my first lap of about 58.4 was a second or so faster than ideal, but all of this was from the opening 200m

3.  I didn't run 70-80% of both turns aggressively enough on lap #2

4.  My 2nd lap time of about 66.8 was WAY too slow.  (however I estimate that at least 1-second of this was due to being unprotected against the wind coming down the home stretch in lane-2)  I was 1:31 at 600m, and I know damn well that my last 100 was pretty decent.  Yes the turn wasn't run as aggressively as it should have been, but there's no way that final 200m was 34-seconds w/o the wind playing a factor.  

The slow 2nd lap was therefore due to a combination of factors:  going out too fast on lap #1, not being aggressive enough, and the strong winds.  

I'm not going to fault myself too much for any of this as you have to assume some errors will be made in the first race.  Overall I'm very happy w/ the performance , I'm just looking at how I'd like to make some adjustments for next time.  I believe that at my present fitness level I should try to run the race w/ 400m splits of 59.5/64.5 which would give me a 2:04.  (obviously any improvements on that would certainly be welcome!) 

Why not shoot for even splits?  A couple of reasons - first, most if not all of the PRs of the top guys were set w/ the first lap being faster than the second.  Typically the first lap is about 3-seconds faster than the second lap in these cases.  Secondly, the more of a "speed" runner you are (i.e. the less of an endurance based or "strength" runner) the more important it is to run the first lap faster.  I've seen this written in several texts/articles discussing 800m race strategy.  Clearly at this point, I am much more a speed runner than a strength runner.  I've seen it written that you don't want to have lap #2 be more than 5-seconds slower than lap #1, so I'll do my best to make the adjustments each race until I am under this limit.

The speed/strength discussion brings me to the final piece of information I got from this race - my speed may be slightly ahead of where I thought it was.  I purposely slowed down at about 185m to allow the top runner to get to the lead prior to the turn, and I was still at or under 27-flat for the first 200m.  Yes this was wind aided to some degree, but I wasn't going that hard here - had I been running a 400m instead of an 800m, that first 200 would have been in the 25.8-26.0 range.  Assuming my 200 splits would be similar to those of yesteryear (meaning somewhere around 2.5 seconds slower for the 2nd 200m) that would give me a 400m time of low 54's.  Certainly not a great time by any stretch, but w/o the benefit of any sprint work, plyometrics, heavy power exercises for legs, etc - this wouldn't be a bad time.  

I told myself a while ago that if it were possible for me to run a 53.x 400m, I'd start dedicating a portion of my training for this event.  I plan on adding plyos and power exercises to my training anyway after this season is over to help my 800m speed.  If it seems like I can get under 54 for the 400m, I may adjust next year's focus from 800m/1500m training to 400m/800m.  

I'm definitely enjoying my 800m training - I find the combination of distance work, threshold work, speed training, lifting, hills, lactate tolerance training etc to be a great way to improve overall fitness, and this diversified training always keeps things fresh and interesting . . . . . but for my money there is no race distance in the world more enjoyable than the 400m.  It has always been far and away my favorite distance to race (even though I was a better 100m runner than 400m runner back in HS)  I'd consider a good time for a 40-44yo to be in the 52.5-52.8 range, and I'd be a far cry from that - but if I can get under 54-flat, I'll start racing this event simply because I enjoy it so much.  


Thurs, 5/28:  Core work, abs, stretching rolling.  35-minutes x-train on the bike.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Easy Workout

I woke up Monday w/ a little tightness in my hamstrings, but other than that I felt OK.  Coach decided to give me a very light session for Wednesday to aid in the post race recovery.  The plan is to hit it very hard for a 10-day period starting on Saturday, then ease back some in preparation for the next race on June 18th.  

Monday's shake out run in the trails went fine, but my calf/shin issues started to resurface during Tuesday's run.  Today (Wednesday) I had an appointment w/ the CMT after the workout and she was able to loosen up the area once again.  I've got an off day tomorrow, and an easy run on Friday ahead of what will probably be a killer session, so I hope the calf/shin is good to go by then.

As far as the wo was concerned - a few moderate paced 1000s w/ 2.5-min breaks after my mile w/u and 2x200m.  The plan was to hit 3 x 1000m at about 3:25, but the calf started bothering me so I cut it to two reps (3:26, 3:22)  No sense in taking the chance of making it worse - this wasn't a real workout anyway, really more of a recovery day than an actual workout.  

At this point, I'm just hoping that the massage plus the ice, rolling, stretching, etc for a couple days allows me to hit these next few sessions as hard as they're drawn up.  This next period of the training should be the most intense before we get into July where it will be more resting and racing, and I'd like to be able to put in my best effort to maximize the gains.  

Tomorrow I'll put up a race analysis now that I've had a couple of days to assess what went well and what didn't.  I'll also draw up the analysis of what it will take to get down to that 2-flat level.  (although this is more of a 2010 goal)


Mon, 5/25:  30-minutes @ 6:54 pace

Tues, 5/26:  AM  Core, abs, stretching, rolling
PM  28-minutes @ 6:39 pace (picked it up a little due to the Wed session being so light)  **right calf/shin started to flare up again

Wed, 5/27:  2 x 1000m (supposed to be 3, cut it short due to calf)  3:26, 3:22
PM:  Appointment w/ CMT - a lot of time on calf/shin.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to the Track . . 23yrs later (800m Race Report)

Twenty three years after my last track race - (the NJHS State Section Championships 400m Final -  where I got 6th out of 8 and top 5 went to the State Finals) - I was headed back to the track to race against young men who were not yet born the last time I raced.  The other little wrinkle was that my event, the 800m was a distance I had never raced in my life.  Well, at the very least it should be interesting, I figured.

Things didn't look great leading up to the race in that I started to get a bit of a head cold on Thursday.  By Saturday I felt pretty bad.  I was taking Advil, Clariton (in case it was some form of allergies) and a lot of Vitamin-C.  The cold did not come w/o benefits mind you - I did lose 3 pounds in the 4 days leading up to the race, and because I was pretty out of it Saturday night, I passed right out and got a good night's sleep pre-race which is unusual.  I had decided Saturday that I was racing no matter what.  I needed to get a race in - period.  I was a little better Sunday morning so it was definitely a go.  I took a few menthol cough drops w/ me in case I needed to clear the airways pre-race, but thankfully the adrenaline took care of that.

The race was close to San Francisco, and anyone who's familiar w/ the area knows that although it was 68 degrees and sunny at my house in Silicon Valley - conditions could be drastically different just 25-miles away.  As we headed up the freeway we saw the typical "wall of clouds and fog" as we approached.  Soon we were engulfed in thick dark cloud cover and I watched the car's outside temp reading drop from 68 to 48 in the span of 12-miles.  Making things more "interesting", the track was laid out beautifully . . . on the edge of a cliff.  Great if you were sitting in the stands (because of the setting, there were only stands on the one side of the track) as across the field you got a wonderful panoramic view of the valley below.  However for he runners - what we got was a huge wind tunnel that was quite a force on the final 200m.  How bad was the wind?  Well, the top 3 seed times in the 100m were 10.39, 10.41, 10.43 . . . . and the winner came in in 10.85!  My buddy Juan who ran 11.59 2-weeks ago could only clock a 12.24 yesterday due to the conditions.  Running the 800m, I was going to have to contend w/ this wind twice.  

None of this bothered me though - I was just happy to be there.  My first piece of good news came when I checked in.  There were in fact going to be 2 heats.  Thankfully I was not going to have to race the Olympic Trials guys!  There were just 4 guys in my heat, the #1 guy had a seed time of 1:57, #2 was 2:01, #3 was 2:10  (this was a BS time BTW, this guy was good - he just wanted to avoid the first heat!)  and then there was me w/ NT (no time).  We were to start off in lanes (nice) and cut in after the first turn.  The four of us were using lanes 4-7, and unfortunately I was in 7.  (unfortunately because I wouldn't be able to see anyone until after the first 100m so it would be very difficult for me to judge the pace early on)

I wasn't able to take in the first heat as much as I'd have liked.  Due to the temps, the four of us in heat #2 kept our sweats on as long as humanly possible - which meant as the big boys were entering their 2nd lap, we were all frantically shedding layers trying to time it such that we wouldn't be down to shorts and singlets until they hit the finish.  Of the six (count 'em SIX) guys in this race that have gone sub-1:50 before, Tetlo Emmen was the winner in I believe 1:48.8  

I headed out to lane-7 and lined up right below the big #7 on the track.  The USATF Official (a little old guy about 70yo) called me back and said "hey, we're not running a 400 - your stagger for lane-7 is back here".  Oops!  I said to him, "look I'm running against college kids, I'm going to need all the help I can get."  He laughed, took a look at the field, looked back at me and wished me luck.  This got me laughing and just like that, the pre-race tension was gone.  As I looked over the field it wasn't difficult to pick out the 1:57 guy - about 6'1" thin, strong and he just looked like an athlete.  The gun hadn't gone off yet, but this race was over.

When the gun sounded I took off in what I believed to be a quick, but under control pace.  I was shooting for a 60-61 second first lap, but mentally I was prepared for anything.  (anything meaning me running way too fast early and having to deal w/ it later)  As I approached the 100m mark I could hear the official yell out "you have to get to me before you cut in".  At 100m I was in front (probably not good), but being in lane-7 I just couldn't see anyone so it was difficult to judge the pace.  Rather than cut in all at once, I targeted a line where I'd get to the inside just as I got to the far turn.  (shortest distance)  At about 125m I looked to my left to see Mr. 1:57 - he was still behind me.  I figured, "OK, good - he'll pass me before I get to 200m and I'll tuck in behind him".  50m later I looked over again and came to the realization, "maybe not - I'm still pulling away".  No way I was going into the 2nd turn in the lead - not in front of a 1:57 guy - I was going way too fast.  I almost put on the breaks at 185m to let him go to the front.  Sure I lost some time here, but it was better than the alternative.  

There was someone yelling out 200m times, and that's when I fully understood why I was in this situation.  "26-27".  Damn, I had just put on the breaks the last 15m and I still came across the 200 in 27-flat.  Had I kept going, I was looking at a 26.x first 200 easily.  Well, I had just run the fastest 200m I've run since HS . . . . and I had 600m to go.  

For whatever reason (and I hope this doesn't change) when I'm racing I have not had a single negative thought enter my head.  There was no panic, no "oh I'm blowing the race", or "damn I better slow down a lot".  I just tucked in behind Mr. 1:57 and kept going.  I just remember telling myself to settle in.  Into the teeth of the wind, but had a guy about 7" taller than me out in front so this helped tremendously.  They had a clock at the start line, but the display was very small and for some reason, rather than put the clock on the INSIDE of the track (where we were running) - it was way over on the outside.  The end result was that you couldn't see the time until you were right on top of it.  

I crossed the 400m mark right as the clock switched from 57 to 58.  Based on how this corresponded to the official times, I'd estimate my 400m split at 58.2 - 58.5.  About a 31.5 200m into a stiff wind.  

Yeah I was too fast overall, but the 2nd 200 was just what I wanted.  I was now in uncharted waters - the 2nd lap.  The plan was to pick up the effort on lap #2 because if you don't you simply slow too much.  I don't believe I did a great job of that for the first 70m of the turn as I think I was waiting to hit a wall.  It didn't happen and as I was finishing the turn I was able to pick up the pace and go faster.  A little time lost there, but nothing I could do about that now.  

I tried to power down the back straight as best I could.  Mr. 1:57 had a good lead now, but I was still in 2nd place.  As I approached the 600m mark I could hear the guy yelling out, "1:29-1:30-1:31".  Not sure exactly when I crossed the mark, but I believe it was between 1:30 and 1:31.  (this was a handheld time obviously, so let's call it 1:31)  Maybe 32.5 for that 200m - not bad considering I took my foot off the gas too much on the curve.  

1:31 was damn fast for 600m I was thinking.  I made the same mistake I made on the previous curve - foot off the gas waiting to hit the wall.  This time however, it cost me more than some time - not one, but BOTH guys behind me passed me early on the turn!  All of a sudden I dropped from 2nd to last.  This got me out of sorts for a few seconds, but again I quickly re-focused and as I took an instantaneous assessment of my condition I came to what I thought was a remarkable conclusion - I felt fine!  

I picked up the pace and passed one of the kids that passed me before the curve was finished.  I had to swing out to lane-2 to do this, but hey I put myself in this position.  There would be no more "waiting to hit the wall".  At this point (and for the first time) I had complete confidence in my fitness level and I would increase the effort the rest of the way.

The unfortunate thing coming down the final 100 was that I was in lane-2, meaning I was not getting any protection against that hellacious wind.  I was so focused on just finishing strong that I forgot about the wind and making sure to stay shielded if I could.  With about 70m to go Juan was on the infield yelling at me to use my arms more.  I increased my effort one final time and headed towards the finish.  As I approached the line I could finally see the clock:  2:03-2:04 - I came in just as it hit 2:05.

The next 3-minutes were a blur.  As I gasped for air I recall the announcer calling out the official times.  I heard my name - 3rd place, 2:05.27.  Two seconds later my feet were off the ground . . . Juan had me in a bear hug - lifted me clear off the track and yelled, "2:05 in these #&%@ conditions!?"  A few seconds later, the little old race official came up to me and congratulated me on a great race.  Clearly he had expected me to be on the track a good 30 seconds after the kids were finished.  As I walked off the track, my head pounding, Timothy Bayley (one of the pros who ran in the Olympic Trials for England last year) offered his congrats on the race, which was very cool.  

The pain in my head just got worse.  It felt like my head was in a vice and someone was turning it tighter and tighter.  Oxygen debt being repaid I guess!  I was so dizzy I had to sit down.  I was prepared for pain DURING the race, but damn the pain is much much worse AFTER the race.  

A minute or two later, my son came onto the infield and we sat there and talked about the race for a while.  First thing he said was, "gee dad - you don't look like any of those guys"  (i.e. tall, young, etc etc)  Thanks!  Usually, I'm talking to him after one of his HS races - quite a change of pace to have the roles reversed yesterday.

Five minutes after the finish and the pain was still getting worse.  The last bit of a 5k race might be more draining than the last 200m of the 800, but post race there is no comparison.  The post 800m pain is infinitely worse than anything I felt during or after the 5k - I couldn't even drive home!  

I'll probably post up an analysis of the race later - but as usual for me, this post is way beyond "long enough".  I was very pleased w/ the race overall.  Yes I could have done some things better, but you can't run a perfect tactical race on your first go-round.  And I have to believe the wind cost me a good second or so as well (I'll find out later this season)  I competed hard - I came back and passed a guy late in the race even though I went out too fast - and I gave it everything I had.  

It was also nice to have my family there, my neighbor Tim was nice enough to show up, and it was also a plus to have an experienced Masters racer like Juan there to help me out.  The race was well run, and the it was a great atmosphere to be around all of those great athletes.  How often am I going to be running in a meet w/ Olympians??  Exactly!  I'll enjoy this one for a day or two and then it's back to work . . . . June 18th ain't that far away!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Race Report Tomorrow

I'm back from the race, and it was a very cool experience.  I didn't know it beforehand, but there were several Olympians competing there today.  (we saw this one lady there competing in the Triple Jump and it looked like she was jumping a mile - none of the men there were close to her.  We later found out that she was in the '08 Olympics . . . gee that would explain it)  

I got to chat it up w/ a couple of the pros on the infield, the atmosphere was very relaxed and everyone there was very supportive of the other athletes.  The top athletes in the 800 field all hung out together before the race and warmed up together even though they were about to go head to head.  

Just to give you a feel for how great our 800 field was - Timothy Bayley (he took 5th in England's Olympic Trials last year) was there and he wasn't even the #1 seed!  That honor went to Tetlo Emmen who was in the US Olympic Trials (an injury earlier in the season kept him from running near his best at the trials)  Tetlo had a seed time of 1:46.04!

We also had a 4-time Olympian there in the High Jump and the Olympic gold medalist in the discus.  Like I said, a lot of top athletes came to this small college today - and I got to be on the infield and jog alongside them during warmups.  Tim Bayley even congratulated me after my race and talked w/ me for a minute or two (we did have 2 heats so his heat was long over when I finished)  

Also, my friend Juan (the Masters sprinter from my gym) was competing so I had someone to pal around w/ while I anxiously waited for my race to start.  My family was there and a friend of mine showed up to watch as well.

Great experience, very glad I chose this meet - I had a lot of fun.  I'm off to bed, so I'll post up the race report tomorrow - 


Thurs, 5/21:  30-minutes @ 6:55 pace

Fri & Sat, 5/22 and 23:  Off

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thrown to the Lions

June 18th will kick off the season for me in Los Gatos, CA.  They run an All Comers Meet every week from the 18th up through August 6th.  I certainly won't be racing there every week, but I hope to get a good 4-6 races in over that span.  They have three age groups for each event - HS, Open, and Masters.  

Coach and I were looking for a race a few weeks prior to June 18th just to get a time and for me to get my feet wet running this distance (as I have never actually raced an 800m before)  What I found was an Open Meet (Pacific Association T&F Championships) this Sunday, May 24th.  It's not a Masters meet, but I looked at the entry list the past two years and saw that although last year's top seed time was 1:53, there were several guys in the 2:05 - 2:12 range and a few guys in the low 2:20s.  Back in '07 the top guy was 1:50, but again there were several 2:05 - 2:12 guys and the last guy was 2:15.  I felt comfortable that I'd have some guys to race with, so we targeted the race this weekend for my "pre-season" debut.

Well, looking at the entry list for this year there are only 7 guys signed up so far and only one other guy is SLOWER than 1:53.  Here are the top 4 seeds:

1.  1:46.0
2.  1:46.5
3.  1:48.8
4.  1:48.9

Essentially this is turning into the US Olympic Trials . . . . and me.  

Needless to say w/o me ever having raced this distance before, I'm going to be very nervous anyway, but to run this race for the very first time w/ guys like this - let's just say this is not the experience I was looking for.  Is it possible to get lapped in a 2 lap race?

I'll update the entry list if/when more guys enter (although tomorrow is the last day to enter unless you want to pay double on the day of the race)  Who knows, maybe Wilson Kipketer will come out of retirement and throw a 1:42 up there!  I'd like to have an up close view of this race, but it's sad to say that even though I'm going to be in the race I will be further away from the finish than 90% of the spectators!

On to today's workout - a bit of a race prep.  The plan:

3 x 200m:  31-30-29 (60-sec rests)
7-min break
500m:  Simulation of first 400m of 800m race w/ 100m kick.  
Target splits:  29.5 - 30 @ 200, 61 @ 400.

The 200s went:  32.0, 30.4, 29.1 - On target except for rep #1.  (all done in lane-1)

I didn't run the proper splits in the 500m so it didn't quite go as planned.  Also, I was going to set the watch to take splits at 200m and 400m, but 100m into the run I realized I forgot to set it up so I'd have to look down at each split myself - which is a pain when you're trying to concentrate on the task at hand.

200m split:  about 28-flat (too fast)
400m split:  about 58.8 (meaning the 2nd 200m was about on pace)

However, the total time of sub-59 scared the hell out of me.  When I saw that time I figured I was done for - this caused me to inadvertently slow down for the next 30-40m.  At that point I re-focused and surprised myself a bit when I was able to pick up the pace again and go faster.  Unfortunately, the damage was done during the slow 40m and the last 100m came in about 16.7 (that's just too slow) giving me a total time of 75.6

I'm not sure how this translates to an 800m race, but I guess I'll find out in a few days.  Tough to imagine running 300m more today w/ how I was feeling after 500m, but #1 I went out a little too fast, #2 no race day adrenaline, and #3 I obviously won't be running 3 x 200m before the race.  

I really hope I have at least 1 or 2 guys in my pace range to race with on Sunday.  I can't say as I'm looking forward to still being on the far turn when the rest of the guys are finished and congratulating each other - that's just plain ugly.  


Mon, 5/18:  AM:  4-miles @ 6:46 pace, then 50-minutes on elliptical
PM:  CMT appt - focus on calf

Tues, 5/19:  30-minutes @ 6:44 pace (probably a bit too fast w/ a workout the next day)

Wed, 5/20:  Race Prep:  3 x 200m (32-30-29), 500m (75.6)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Disaster Avoided?

As I mentioned in my last post, the plan was to take a down week after Sunday partially due to my right calf being a little stiffer than usual.  As planned, I x-trained on Tuesday (spinner bike session) and ran easy on Wed and Thurs.  

The problem was that I continued to have a dull pain about 3 inches above the ankle primarily on the inside of the leg.  I was able to diagnose this issue as the coming of posterior shin splints (both by what my CMT said on Monday, and comparing my symptoms to a few likely candidates for the discomfort)  I've never had shin splints of any kind before so this was new to me, but from what I read I could be in for real trouble if I didn't take care of it very early.

I called my CMT and asked what I should do here at home before seeing her on Monday (tomorrow).  I wound up going on Advil, stretching, rolling and using the stick on the area 3 x per day followed by icing.  No running Friday or Saturday.  This was great for relieving the symptoms - but as is always the case - unless you fix the root cause of the problem, you've really accomplished very little.

I remembered having a different type of right leg pain a few months ago when my flats wore down.  At that time, I replaced the flats and the problems cleared up almost instantly.  A quick check of the flats showed that they were worn at least as much as the previous pair - jeez, how could I have missed this??  I ordered my new flats from Zappos which which arrived via complimentary overnight shipping and planned on doing the Saturday wo today to test out this theory.  

At this point, with the workout being over, my shin/calf are no worse off than they were yesterday, which means that all the gains I made on Fri and Sat are still there.  I'm certainly not out of the woods yet as I need to see how I feel tomorrow.  Also, I skipped the spikes today on the final set and it's possible that the spikes added to the issues, but I firmly believe that all the long intervals and 70% of the rep sessions being run on worn out flats (I just shred the whole mid-foot and forefoot areas of these things) was the main cause of the problem.  

All I know for sure is that I just finished a very tough session that contributed ZERO to my calf/shin issues.  I'll take that as a sign that I'm on my way to recovery, but I'll still be watchful of any regression.

As far as the wo went - it was a killer lactate session very similar to the one I did on 12/31.  In that one it was 6 x 300m @ 48.3 w/ 1:45 rests, followed by a 5.5' break.  Switch to the spikes and then set #2 of 3 x 300m @ 46.3 w/ the same rests.  The idea is that the first set's purpose is simply to generate fatigue.  The 2nd set is performed w/ fatigue already in the system, and this 2nd set is faster than the first.  Rep #1 feels OK, but rep #2 is awful.  By rep #3 you can barely walk to the starting line, and you swear that it simply isn't possible to do another one - and then you force yourself to do one more.  There's so much lactic acid in your system that the 2nd half of rep #3 is sheer torture - it's meant to simulate the final 150m of an 800m race - not much fun!

Today's session was almost the same workout . . . . the main difference was, it was 96 degrees!  Long story short - the first set averaged 47.6 per, but w/ the heat and me having to stay in my flats for set #2 I wasn't able to generate the speeds I wanted on the 2nd set.  I averaged 46.6 on Set #2.  (which probably translates to about 45.8 w/ spikes)  Not bad - I hit the wo as it was drawn up, but to be 100% honest I was hoping for a little better on that 2nd set.  In addition to the lack of spikes, I'm sure the godawful temps had something to do w/ it - but hey, the season is almost here - no time for crybaby excuses!

Obviously the best news is simply that my leg feels OK.  I have the CMT appt tomorrow - I'll try to get in a few easy miles beforehand.  Either a short run, x-train or take Tuesday off depending on how I feel, and then I've got a wo Wednesday provided that the leg cooperates.  


Tues, 5/12:  x-train.  35-minutes on spinner bike (12-min w/u, 3x90" high intensity w/ 2' rests, then 3x60" higher intensity w/ 90" rests, 10-min c/d)
Lifting (upper-A, abs, core)  stretching rolling

Wed, 5/13:  32-minutes @ 6:51 pace 

Thurs, 5/14:  32-minutes @ 6:55 pace

Fri, 5/15:  No running.  stretching, rolling, stick (3x) followed by icing
Lifting (upper-B, abs, core)

Sat, 5/16:  No running.  stretching, rolling, stick (3x) followed by icing

Sun, 5/17:  Set #1 - 5 x 300m (46.6, 47.6, 47.6, 47.6, 48.0),  Set #2 - 3 x 300m (45.9, 46.9, 47.0)  ** No spikes for 2nd set.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taking a Down Week

I followed up Saturday's wo w/ a 9.5-mile run on Sunday.  My quads and hamstrings were sore from lifting, and the calves were sore from the workout, so the pace was slow - I averaged 7:22/mile which as it turns out is my slowest run of 2009.  

On the "injury front" my hip/quad seem to be back to 100%, but my right calf/achilles that has been a slight nag for a few weeks has upped the ante and become more of an issue.  Monday was my usual off day, and I had my appointment w/ the CMT.  She dug into the calf pretty good, and the good news is that the achilles itself seems OK (i.e. no tendonitis at this point), but the lower calf muscle is very tight.  She worked out a lot of the stiffness and I've been icing it since Sunday, so hopefully it won't become a problem.

However, due to the heavy workload of the past few weeks and the calf not being 100%, coach and I decided to take a down week here.  What that means is that the Wednesday workout will be skipped  (was supposed to be 3 x split 800s similar to the split 1000s I did last week - first 600m @ 75/400m pace and then kick in the last 200m in 32-seconds for a total time of 2:24 per)  The much tougher Saturday wo is still on the schedule, but between now and then the running will be light.  In fact, today (Tuesday) I'll be x-training on the bike instead of my usual easy 5-miler to give the calf an extra day to rest.  I might be doing a 4 x 200m session on Thursday just to stay sharp ahead of the Saturday workout (that one's a killer)

So, a little R&R for a few days and then back at it on Saturday.


Sun, 5/10:  9.5-miles @ 7:22

Mon, 5/11:  Off Day  (Appt w/ CMT - focus on right calf)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wheels of Fire

A great Cream album, yes - but also an appropriate title for today.  On tap was a straight speed session - not volume speed, not lactate training - no, just go out and run.   (that's how I like 'em!)

The workout was comprised of several small sets w/ short rests between repeats and long rests between sets.  The last set was one 400m rep that was to be run w/ whatever I had left in the tank.  It was similar to this workout that I did building up to the winter season - in that one, my final quarter was done in 58.15

Target for the wo was as follows:

3 x 200m @ 31 (60-sec rests)
2 x 300m @ 46-47 (90-sec rest)
2 x 200m @ 29 (60-sec rest)
400m - 58

As you can see, everything is funneling down towards that final 400m.  Last time I did a session similar to this one, the plan was to stay on the slower end of all of the reps to conserve energy to hit that 400m hard.  The plan for today was intended to be the same - conserve, conserve, conserve.  

Set #1 came in pretty much on target - 30.9, 30.0, 30.1

Yeah, a little fast, but I'm always a little fast on the 200s.  So far so good.  

I got my first real taste of how today's session was going to unfold on the first 300m.  Target was 46-47, and I was figuring on hitting a 46-flat.  I ran a nice controlled 300m on #1 and fully expected to see about a 46 on the watch - instead I saw 44.8  Surely that would mean 300 #2 would be close to 47 because I went too hard on #1, right?  300m #2 - 45.3  Honestly, this was a surprise.  I was running 60-flat quarter pace here w/o kicking it into high gear at all - and w/ only 90-seconds between reps.

As I took my break between sets I switched over to my spikes and took a gel.  I only had a couple 200s to do next, but the 400m loomed and I knew it would be a great confidence booster if I could find a way to break 58.  But as much as I tried to focus on that finishing 400, the reps leading up to it continued to be the story of the day. . . 

The next 200m left me scratching my head.  I ran a nice opening turn - I remember thinking that although I wasn't in full sprint mode and my arm action was minimal, my turnover was actually pretty good.  (up until today, I needed to really get after it to get what I'd consider decent turnover)  I figured the opening 100m was pretty quick, but not as quick as the 12.x I saw on the watch.  I then headed down the straight into the breeze (we only had a slight wind today).  I recall easing up just a touch because I'm supposed to be conserving energy and the thing still came in at 27.07  (that's the fastest workout 200m I've done since I started Masters training . . . . by 3/4 of a second)  After my 60-second rest I was back at it.  First 150m was great, but then I felt the fatigue finally start settling in.  Still I managed a 28.0

Up to this point, every rep was a full second faster than target.  I was shocked - I know the effort I'm supposed to put into this portion of the wo, and I felt that was on target - the paces were just a lot faster than expected.  

On to the 400m.  I knew during the last 40m of the previous 200 that I had finally gone over the edge.  I wasn't going to be 100% for this 400.  The cardio would recover w/ the 10-minute break, but the legs were now sapped of some strength for the rest of the day - nothing I could do about that now.

After the first 120m of the 400, the strength loss in the legs was confirmed.  I just didn't have what I had on the first 200m of the last set.  I kept up the effort and came through the 200m in 27.x, but it was tough - not at all the smooth fluid 27.07 200m of the last set.  At this point, my training seemed to kick in as I was able to up my effort and run a decent turn.  I came through the 300m in about 42 and headed for home determined to clock sub-58, tired legs or not.  Surprisingly, as long as I was mentally committed to pushing through, the body had little trouble responding.  I came through the finish in 57.09 - tired legs and all.  I knew for sure had I backed off on some of the previous reps I could have clocked 56.5 here easily.  Where does that put me on a fresh 400m w/ blocks?  I don't know, 55 maybe?  I'm certainly not all the way there yet, but it's definitely coming along.

Damn - this was a great session.  Every rep was solid, and I was able to generate some speed w/o having to sprint.  I was running nice and relaxed (until the final 200m of the 400), but still the paces were much better than expected.  

Hopefully, I can build on this session throughout the remainder of the season and turn in some decent 800m times this summer.


Thurs, 5/7:  32-minutes @ 7:03 pace

Fri, 5/8:  32-minutes @ 7:00 pace
PM  lifting (general upper, core)  stretching, rolling

Sat, 5/9:  3x200 (30.9, 30, 30.1), 2 x 300 (44.8, 45.3), 2x200 (27.07, 28.0), 400 (57.09)
PM  lifting (legs)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Split 1000s

Today's workout was like a long interval session w/ a twist - split 1000s.  (meaning not run at an even pace)  A great split 1000 w/o can be found in this article which talks about training for 800m runners.

In that one, it's 3 x 1000m w/ the first 600m at about 3k pace, then a slower 100m float which they call a "lactate shuttle".  The idea is to use the 100m float to clear the lactate produced by the first 600m quickly through a fast active recovery.  The last 300m are then kicked up to 1500m pace.  That's a great looking workout - I'm hoping to try it out somewhere down the line.

And while that session is certainly no picnic, it's probably easier than the one I had today.  For my split 1000s I had 800m at slightly slower than 3k pace followed by an acceleration to around 1k race pace for the last 200m.  (I'll tell you, by #3 I was wishing I had a 'float' somewhere in there)

The target was 4 x 1000m broken down as follows:

800m:  2:40 (5:20 pace)
200m:  32-33 (about 4:20 pace)

I'd never done a workout like this, and wow, it was hard.  Having to switch gears to that degree takes a lot out of you.  This is MUCH tougher than running the 1000m at an even pace, and the fatigue escalates in a hurry!  It also didn't help that we're having some east coast weather out here in CA - 80% humidity.  What the heck is that!?  This is CA, we're not supposed to have humidity.  On the bright side (if you can call it that) I did lose 3 pounds during the session, and that's with about half a gallon of water and recovery drink post workout!  Hey Rick - if you want to lose weight, I've got the workout for you!!

Here's how it went down:  

Mile w/u, 1 x 200m (cut out the 2nd 200m due to humidity - sticky and disgusting already)

#1:  800m - 2:39, 200m - 33, (3:12)
#2:  800m - 2:39, 200m - 32, (3:11)
#3:  800m - 2:42, 200m - 34, (3:16)*

* inadvertently slowed on lap #2 in anticipation of the kick, workout starting to take its toll

After that I decided to call it quits - I was pretty fried.  But after 2 minutes I talked myself into doing the last one knowing it was going to be absolutely dreadful.  I figured the time would be terrible (I was right about that) but at least I had the guts to go to the starting line and give it a go.

#4:  800m - 2:47, 200m - 34, (3:21)  Yuk!  Yeah that one was really bad, but I just didn't have anymore in the tank.  

If we had cut it to 3 x 1000m, I'm sure I'd have done a few seconds better on #3 (knowing it was the last one) thus nailing the w/o.  Four was one too many for me today - but since I had run #3 anticipating there being a #4, I was glad I went ahead and threw that 4th one up there.

I was looking forward to seeing what I could do w/ this session as I knew it played straight into my weakness as a middle distance runner - sustaining or picking up the pace when fatigue has already set in.  I'm more of a - go kill the first half and hang on kind of guy - I'm sure the sprinting background has a lot to do w/ that.  I'm going to ask coach for more sessions like this until they start becoming easier to manage.  This is an area where I really need to improve.

All in all - a good learning experience, and it was actually fun too.  Trying to drop your pace a full minute per mile when you're already going 5:20 - if I can't get up for that, I shouldn't be doing middle distance!


Wed, 5/6:  4 x 1000m (split-1000s)  3:12 (2:39-33), 3:11 (2:39-32), 3:16 (2:42-34), 3:21 (2:47-34)  PM - core work at home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A lot of beer will be consumed today in Mexico (and California) in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.  I will also be raising a pint this evening, however for a different reason.  Today is the day I finally signed up as a member of US Track and Field.  I imagine they'll be sending me my membership card in the mail shortly.  

Of course immediately after signing up on line, I could click on a link that would take me directly to a page where I could purchase USATF merchandise at a 10% discount . . . . however I'm sure said merchandise was previously marked UP 20% prior to that, so w/ my membership - I'd just be paying 10% extra!!  I'm half joking here - it looks as though they had some pretty nice stuff and the prices weren't that bad.

I'm going to need this card to get into a lot of the meets so this needed to be done sooner or later.  

Interesting 1000m repeat session on the schedule tomorrow.  I'll be doing split-1000s for the first time. (split meaning part of the run at pace-X and then kicking it up to pace-Y somewhere in the middle)  Tomorrow's split will have me running the first 800m between 3k and 5k pace and then trying to hit the last 200m in 32.  Should be challenging, I'm interested to see what I can do w/ these.


Tues, 5/5:  30-minute run, 6:57 pace

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wrapping Up the Week

Sunday saw an easy 9-miler in the trails.  I haven't done a run over 8-miles since the 5k, so it was good to get this one in.  (the first Sunday was a recovery day from the race, one was a tempo run instead, and I missed the other couple of weeks due to the hip acting up)

I hope to keep a 9-11 mile run on the schedule for another month or so before reigning it in as the season approaches.  

A good week of work for me:  aside from the longish run, I had the high intensity w/o on Saturday and another good session on Wednesday.  Most importantly, the hip/quad are feeling much better now, and hopefully those issues are behind me.  

Today's the typical off day from running, and I've got an appointment w/ the massage therapist later this afternoon.  I'm still not sure what the workouts are going to look like this week, but it's looking like those sessions will be on Wed/Sat again.

Hope you guys are having a great week!


Sun, 5/3:  9-miles @ 7:06 pace

Mon, 5/4:  Off Day  (appt w/ CMT)