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)


Grellan said...

Great session Mike. Don't you just love it when everything clicks into place and all expectations are exceeded.

Looking forward to some solid racing this summer.


WOW! I'm so jealous of your speed!!!
I once spent 3 months on the track and 1mproved my own pedestrian 72 sec 400 time down to 65 secs but man your 57 400 is smokin !

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I checked the masters world records for 400, 800 and 1500, I was shocked by there speed.
m 40-44 world records
400m = 48.95
800m 1.54.24
1500 3.53.92
I was even more shocked to read of an American guy who at 73 ran 2.53 for the marathon and I thought 2.51 was good for my age!!!

Mike said...

Thanks for the comments guys, always appreciated.

Yeah Grellan, it was just one of those days that you wish you could bottle up and use again later. They just don't come around that often - but I'll take 'em when I can get 'em!

Rick - it's really incredible to see what the top Masters can do. I follow a few of those guys and it seems that the best ones can get their 400m speed back to within about 2-seconds from their hey day.

Coach and I have decided not to do any real sprint work this year in hopes of avoiding an injury (knock on wood). After the season, the plan is to incorporate more power exercises (plyometrics, more power lifting, etc) into the base phase and then add true sprint work later in the build to hopefully bring back as much of my old speed as possible.

Who knows, if I can get my 400m back to within 2-seconds of my HS time, maybe I'll add the 400m to my racing schedule next year!

bricey said...

wow. congratulations. nice session and seems not to have taxed you too much (despite you saying that the last 400 was tough). You should be confident about the season aehead. It appears that the target times may have been a bit soft for you as you hit them all easily. I'm sure coach wil review and revise for future workouts!! Lucky you!! :)


Plyometrics would definitely help, Seb Coe and his dad were big fans of using them in training!
You could run your all out sprints [ next year] on a smooth grass surface, this would greatly reduce impact and possible injury!

Mike said...

Thanks Rick. I definitely plan on doing the plyos starting in the Fall. There's a Masters sprinter who works out at my gym (he runs the 100m in 11.55 @ 42yo!) I'm going to see if I can tag along w/ him during a few of his plyo sessions.

Brendan - everything I did leading up to that wo would have suggested that the chosen paces were about right. Not sure if the improvement is because the hip feels like it's back to 100% or if it's just improvement from the last several hard sessions. If I have another session like that, I'm sure Coach will make some adjustments. At this point, it just feels good to be making progress!

Michael said...

Great w/o, it looks like your training is coming around. I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress this summer. Keep it up!

Ewen said...

Excellent workout Mike. It must be very encouraging that you were feeling relaxed and the speed was faster than expected.

You'd have to be good for sub-55 in a race.

It will be interesting to see how this sort of speed helps when you come to doing 600m time trials and such in prep for 800m races.

Mike said...

I'm not so sure about sub-55, maybe by the end of the summer if I can make some more progress.

Yeah, once we get into late June and July some of those monster 500m/600m sessions will be coming around. Something like 600m @ 800m race pace - rest 60-seconds - 200m fast. Having a couple of those in a session makes for a tough day!!

BTW - I think I'm going to be using my USATF membership to enter an Open Race on May, 24th. Sort of like a "pre-season" race to kick off my season. I'm trying to determine what the field is going to look like - I think there are a couple 1:48 type guys in there. If so, I'll be praying for two heats!!

Ewen said...

I was thinking out of blocks fresh in a race has got to be worth 1.5 - 2 seconds.

I know what you mean about 1.48 guys. 20 years ago I used to run the ACT champs and they'd put fast and slow runners in all 3 or 4 heats. I remember being the only slow runner once, running about 30. for the first 200, dying and running 2.16. for a distant last.

Mark said...

very nice workout indeed!