Training Log 4/19-25

Week of Training April 19-25

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 18 Long Run
Monday 8 6 Core
Tuesday 11 6
Wednesday 15 Workout, Core
Thursday 13
Friday 12 10 x 200m, Drills
Saturday 9
Week Total 98

After being in California for the previous few days, it was right back to the grind. Since the weather was perfect in Los Angeles, it had to be pouring rain for the entire run on Sunday. By the time I had finished, I was thoroughly drenched. Wringing out my shirt yielded at least two cups of water! With spring approaching albeit slowly, the weather in the High Country becomes sporadic. Sunday was soaking rainstorms, followed by a windy Wednesday, and a fantastic Friday. It gets frustrating to have such intermittent weather, but as it gets closer to summer, the weather should even out. Until then I get to head out to sunny California for my second of two trips this coming weekend.

Ten days out from Payton Jordan, Pete had us do our last big workout of the cycle. With Andrew, Griff, and myself all targeting a fast 10,000m this weekend, we did the workout together. Since it was a windy day, we packed it up and worked together. Even with the wind, which would stand us upright along the aqueduct, we ran a good workout. It was just what we needed to get a boost in confidence and fitness in time for Stanford.

2 x 400m, 3 min rest; 20 min hill cycles, 5 min rest;
3 x 1500m, 2:45 min rest; 2 x 800m, 2 min rest;
2 x 600m, 1:45 min rest; 2 x 400m, 90 sec rest
69, 67; Hill Cycles - 3:25, 3:25, 3:23, 3:21, 3:20;
4:23, 4:22, 4:23; 2:18, 2:20, 1:44, 1:46, 66, 66
Spikes at the Track

A beautiful day at the track! Getting pumped for Stanford!

The other “workout” we had for the week was some light 200s on Friday. It is important to be able to run fast and relaxed. This is especially true for the track, where getting into a rhythm is so beneficial. Once again, Andrew, Griff, and myself did the workout together, switching leads. We were instructed to start by running 30.x seconds per 200m (30 seconds is right about 4 minute mile pace), and get fast as we progressed. It ended up being a very good session as we started at 30.8 and finished at 28.9 sec. Now all the work has been done so the only thing to do is to go and race!

Heading in this weekend, I have been thinking more about my goals for the race. My primary goal is to run sub 28 minutes. This will get me a standard for both USATF Nationals this year and the Olympic Trials next year. Along with those, I would get a coveted Olympic Standard. In order to run at the Olympics, you have to hit certain marks regardless of whether you finish in the top three at the Trials. For example, the women who got 7th in the 10,000m in 2012 headed to London because she was the third person with the standard. So without the standard, you are out of luck. I have already run the standard in the marathon (2:17), so by finishing top three at the Trials in February of next year, I will be headed to Rio that summer. While the marathon is my main target for the Olympics, it does not hurt to have a few extra standards.

Other than a time goal, I want to go into the race with a mindset that I am going to run fast and compete. Since Payton Jordan is one of the few races in the world where athletes come to run a fast 10,000m, the pace never slackens and fast times are produced. If I can just get on the train and compete, the time will come. Also I tend to run my best races when I enter with this mentality.

Training Log 4/12-18

Week of Training April 12 – 18

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 16 Long Run, Surges
Monday 8 6 Drills and Strides, Core
Tuesday 11 6 Workout
Wednesday 11 Travel to CA
Thursday 8 Drills, 4 x 200m
Friday Shakeout 8 Race
Saturday 8 Travel to NC
Week Total  82


Sunday’s long run was dialed back since nearly everyone had a race this weekend. We started at Pete and Zika’s house, which is only a few minutes from Moses Cone Park. Pete had prescribed only some light one minute surges every eight minutes, just enough to get our legs moving. After our long run, Pete and Zika cooked us a great brunch. This is something that they will do for us every once in a while. It is a nice little treat to have a plethora of food ready and prepared for us once our run is done. Often after a long run, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal.

Our lone workout for the week was a classic “2:30 down cycle” workout. Down cycles are where you increase the pace every 30 seconds, so basically a snowball effort. In order for this to be done properly, you have to start comfortable for the first 30 seconds so that you have somewhere to go as the rep progresses. The goal of the workout is to train your body so that you can respond to surges during races. We finished off the workout with two 400m at race effort.

2 x 3 x 2:30 down cycles, 3 min between sets; 2 x 400m
Me and Andrew the day before! Feeling smooth and relaxed.

Me and Andrew the day before. Feeling smooth and relaxed!

Once again, we had a big crew out there, which always makes the workout more enjoyable, even though we were just doing loops around the Greenway in Boone. Once again I felt very good during the workout, so it only gave me confidence heading into the race.

Wednesday I ran in the morning and then headed out to California with Ryan and Andrew. We were able to get a direct flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles. One thing I have learned from traveling so much the last few years is that direct flights are awesome. If given the choice, I will always pay a bit extra for one. Thursday, the three of us headed to the track for our pre race run and 4 x 200m. Both Andrew and I felt pretty good, giving us even more confidence coming into the race.

The Race

Since we were in California, the weather was fantastic for a race. It was around 60 degrees and no wind. Perfect for running fast! The gun went off and after everything settled, I found myself in great position, around 5th and on the rail. I was hoping to ride that train right to a good PR. Unfortunately that is not how the race turned out. The pace began to dawdle and everyone wanted to be in my current position. That means I had to do my best to hold my position. I would push people away as they would move into my lane. Once I had to take a step on the inside, and other time someone bullied his way on to the inside next to the rail. I tried my best to keep my spot, but I eventually I kept getting cutoff and pushed further back in the pack.

By that point it was about time that the real racing was just starting, and I was not in very good position! At the front, I saw someone go to the front and knew that I had to make a big surge to get to the front. I started moving around the group, flying past all the people that had gone around me earlier. Eventually I found myself in a group of guys who had made a little break. I kept my momentum up and began to just focus on racing those guys. I tried to make some moves around people, but I began to fade. The group was pulling away and I could only watch as it happened. Now I turned my focus to maintaining my form and fighting all the lactic that had built up in my legs. I crossed the line in 13:40.

While it was just short of a PR, I was happy with my effort. It is the fourth time in the last year that I have run between 13:40-42, but unlike last year, where I ran 13:42 in Boston, I feel like I am just coming into my peak. Looking back at my training, I think I ended up peaking for the World Half Marathon Championships, which was five weeks before Stanford. While it is always tough to have a poor race, I had to remember that I was representing the USA, which was a great experience, and I had a very good performance. Now I have one big workout before I focus on recovering for a great race at Stanford!

Race Results
Race Replay

Training Log 4/5-11

Week of Training April 5 – 11

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 8 6
Monday 15
Tuesday 12 6 Drills and Strides, Core
Wednesday 14 Workout
Thursday 12 Drills and Strides
Friday 12 6 Core
Saturday 10
Week Total 101
The beautiful Watauga River Road.

The beautiful Watauga River Road.

Since I had a big workout at the end of last week, Pete did not schedule a long run for Sunday. Instead I did what I would do on a typical Monday. They next day I headed out by myself to Watauga River Road for a good solid medium long run. I was feeling a little tired from the workout two days prior, but by the end I felt good and ran fast the last few miles.

I was excited for the workout on Wednesday, as five of us had it on our schedules. In the fall it is common for all of us to do our workouts together, because most of us are on similar racing schedules. In the spring, everyone begins to gear their training towards their specialty, which vary from 1500m to 10,000m, so it is unique for most of us to do a workout together.

For the workout, we decided to try out the new Middle Fork Greenway. The Middle Fork Greenway is a proposed path from Blowing Rock to Boone, and last fall a section of the path opened up sin front of the Tweetsie Amusement Park. This was going to be the first time that we actually ran on the nearly a mile stretch. Since it is not very long, it is ideal for repeat workouts.

2km, 6 x 1km, 2km, 1:45 min rest, 2:30 after the 3rd 1km;
3 x 600m snowball, 1:45 min rest; 3 x 200m, 1 min rest

The last few weeks I have mentioned that during the first half of the workout I have felt flat, or tired, or not good, but this workout was completely different. Right from the first rep I felt very good. For most of the workout I felt like I was floating along. It was only after I started the 600m snowballs did I feel that I was straining to maintain and change pace. For me this shows that I am in very good aerobic shape, meaning that I could run a very good half marathon right now. I know that I am racing a 5000m in a few days and a 10,000m in two and a half weeks, but it will only take a few sharpening workouts to get ready for those.

5:55, 2:57, 2:53, 2:5   , 5:55; 1:39, 1:40, 1:38; 30, 30, 29
My little side project for the summer. Hopefully it turns out well.

My little side project for the summer. Hopefully it turns out well.

After the workout, while talking with Ryan, he commented on how it is my MO to have some subpar workouts then one really good one that “announces” that I am in shape. Then I tend to run very well for the next month or so, before my fitness will start to wane and I will need to push the reset button. I have mentioned this training/recover/super-compensation cycle before, and I finally feel like I am hitting the correct part of the cycle during this early part of the track season.

Besides running I decided to try something different to occupy my time for the summer, which is brew my own beer. Since I really did not know anything about the process of brewing beer, I ended up buying a home brewing kit online, which includes a how to DVD. I am really interested to see how the beer turns out, as many times the first batch is a bust. If that happens, I will just have to try again! Right now I just started the second week of the fermentation stage and it will be another week of fermenting before I can bottle the beer. It will be another few weeks before the beer is ready to drink! So right now it is a waiting game. Until then I feel like I need to create a trademark for my new hobby!

Training Log 3/29-4/4

Week of Training March 29 – April 4

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 18 Long Run
Monday 8 6 Core
Tuesday 11 6 Drills and Strides
Wednesday 12 Workout
Thursday 14
Friday 11
Saturday 15 Workout
Week Total 101

Sunday’s long run was at Watauga River Road. This is one of my favorite places to run. It is a most dirt road with some rolling hills. As usual, we started off slow and worked our way into the run. A few miles in, and we were cruising around 6:20 pace. There was a good crew of us, so banter between us made run go by quick. Before I knew it, we were back to where we park with nearly 16 miles done! Joe and I finished up the last two miles pretty quickly, running right around 10 minutes for the pair.

After a solid long run, I had two days to recover before Joe and I had a workout on the track. This was my first track workout of the year, and after a good race last Friday, I was excited for it. Joe and I parked at Ryan’s house and made our way to the track. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day out, sunny and a light breeze.
As with many of Pete’s workouts, we had an opening piece of in and outs. In and outs are where the straights on the track are done slightly faster than the curves. Pete usually says, “Only 3%, forward.” This gives the workout lots of gear changing, and does a really good job a replicating racing on a track, especially a 10,000m. When in a strung out line on a track, any slight difference in pace at the front, is magnified as it works its way down the chain. It is something that I experienced last year, and bet will happen again. Here is an example of it happening in real life. While on a track, it is not as bad as the video shows, it illustrates the principle.

2400m ins and outs, 4 min rest;
3/3/2 x 800m, 1:45 rest, 3 min sets;
2 x 300m snowball, 100m walk/jog (~1:30)

Joe and I started the workout, by rotating leads every two laps, and before I knew it, we were finished with that segment. I felt surprisingly good, and was recovered by the time the 800s started. For the 800s, Pete also wanted us to do in and outs, but to have even less difference between the “in and out”, only around one and a half percent. The first few reps were uneven, as Joe and I were getting dialed into goal pace. Eventually we settled in and were clicking off 5000m effort.

We finished the 800s and for some economy ran a pair of snowballed 300s. Running a rep as a “snowball” means to surge at set intervals during the workout. It can be done with any length of rep, either at a set distance or time. For example, mile reps with a surge every quarter, or a tempo effort 15 min with surges every 3 min. This is a favorite of Pete’s, as it teaches you to surge in the middle of a hard effort, just like you would in a race. To run a proper snowball, you need to start off a tad slower, so when you pick it up you are eventually running faster than goal pace. Our 300s had two distinct movements on the 100 meters.

5:59 (4:41 through the 1600m); 
2:13, 2:13, 2:13;
2:11, 2:12, 2:11;
2:10, 2:06;
45, 44

While during the workout I did not feel great, looking back, made me realize that it was an excellent workout. It brought me one more step closer to feeling more comfortable on the track. As I stated before, not being comfortable on the track was one of the reasons that I did not run as well last year at Payton Jordan. So instead of heading to Boston next week to run the BAA 5km, as I did last year, I head out to sunny California to run the Mt. SAC Relay’s 5000m. Getting another hard effort on the track should set me up well for Payton Jordan two weeks later.

En lieu of a long run on Sunday, Pete scheduled another workout for Saturday. While I love a good hard long run, Pete though that a workout would serve me better coming into the track season. Joe and I headed to the Park for the classic Pete Rea workout of the Manor Maze Progressive. We tend to do this workout at least once during any given cycle. There are a lot of pieces and parts to this workout, so I will explain the purpose of each.

1500m Lake Loop, 4 min rest; Manor-Maze Progressive + 3 min,
Two forward pushes to the Manor and through the Maze
Beautiful Bass Lake with the Manor way up there on the hill!

Beautiful Bass Lake with the Manor way up there on the hill!

The fast 1500m on the lake is to put some junk in our legs. Going a bit lactic early is a good way to teach the body how remove lactic acid while running. Also doing this will make the rest of the workout just that much tougher. After our rest, we do a climb from the Lake to Moses Cone Manor. It is just less than three miles to the top, and is used as an uphill tempo. After we crest the summit, we have an “active recovery” for just over a mile as we head down to the Maze. The point of this piece is to recover some while running quick. Since we are running downhill, so our recovery pace tends to be fairly quick, around 5:30 pace. Once in the Maze, we pick it up to tempo effort again. The first 6 minutes of the Maze is slightly up hill and the last 6 minutes is slightly downhill. This makes the last 6 minutes all about getting our legs to turn over as much as possible.

This workout ended up being one of those where I did not feel great, but was able to get the effort in. The opening 1500m was a shock to the system, and during the climb I found myself straining at times to run with Joe, so I had to swallow my pride and let him crest the summit of the Manor a few seconds ahead of me. Joe and I then drifted together on the “active recovery”, and we cruised relaxed though the Maze. As happens often during heavy training blocks, I felt much better on the second half of the workout, and was able to rotate as we ran the last 6 minutes downhill back to the Lake.

4:17; 14:24 to the Manor, 12:22 through the Maze (34:07)

After my miles languishing in the high 80’s and low 90’s for the last 6 weeks, I was able to get above 100, while having two good workouts. While mileage is just a number, and it should be taken with a grain of salt, seeing those triple digits really helps boost the confidence. I feel more like I am in training mode, and can now start to focus on the little things that may make just a fraction of a percentage in difference, but could mean the difference in winning races, or finishing in second.

One thing I noticed since beginning to write my blog is that I tend to run many of the same workouts over and over again. I find myself, repeatedly writing the same description of either part or the entire workout, over and over. So over the last few months I have been collecting and consolidating the workouts that need extra explanation, like the Manor-Maze Progressive above. I have added a page to give a nice run down of each. This should do two fold. One, it will mean less writing as I can just copy and paste descriptions. Two, it will give a nice condensed version of important workouts we do at ZAP Fitness, if anyone is interested. I hope you enjoy!

Training Log 3/22-28

Week of Training March 22 – 28

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 18 Long Run, Surges
Monday 8 6 Core
Tuesday 14 Workout
Wednesday 11
Thursday Shakeout 8 Drills, 4 x 200m
Friday Shakeout 13 Race
Saturday 9
Week Total 86

This week marked the start of my track season. My first track race this year was a 1500m, which is just short of a mile. It had been 7 years since I had run a 1500 fresh at sea level. So with that knowledge, I knew I should walk away with a PR.

We did our Sunday long run at Moses Cone, starting very slow with some lake loops. Eventually we started moving well, due to 2, 1 minute, and 30 second surges every 7 minutes. I love a good long run, and I ended up finishing the last 3 miles fast. Doing this gives boosts my confidence, and I also know that in a little under a year’s time, I will have to close out a fast marathon even faster.

After a solid long run on Sunday, I had a quick turn around and a workout on Tuesday. The workout was 1000m at 10km effort with 500m, followed by 2.5 Hill cycles, all repeated 3 times. I had never done this specific workout before, but it is similar to many other workouts we do. There are different paces with gear changes thrown in. Since I was racing on Friday, I did not want to push too hard. I still wanted to be able to fully recover in three days.

3 x (1000m, 500m float (~2:15 min); 2.5 Hill cycles, 3 min rest)
2:58, 3:30, 3:29; 2:57, 3:27, 3:27; 2:56, 3:25, 3:23

On Thursday, Chris, John, and I hopped in a car and made the three and a half hour trip to Raleigh. After being in a car for so long, it was nice to get out and do a run to stretch the legs. As usual, I felt pretty stiff and sluggish, but it wore off by the end of the run, where I finished with 4 x 200m at race pace. This is a standard end to a prerace at ZAP. It is good to try and find the prerace rhythm and feel relaxed.

John and me finishing Raleigh Relays. 3:48.71, good enough for a new PR!

John and me finishing Raleigh Relays. 3:48.71, good enough for a new PR! Photo Credit: Tim Meigs

The day on Friday was spent relaxing and exerting as little energy as possible. I laid around the hotel, went for a shakeout run, and went to lunch. I got more excited as the race drew nearer. I did my warm up and strides, and right before the gun went I realized I had forgotten to put my numbers on my singlet and shorts, rookie misstate! I feel like I do it the first race every year. I am so used to just putting my bib on the night before and showing up to the start line. Road races are so much less complicated! Fortunately, I was able to make a quick dash to my bag and got my numbers.

The gun went off and I found myself in pretty good position, considering I usually do not have the best starts, especially compared to 1500m runners. My goal before the race was to get on the rail and “ride the train” to a fast time. I pretty much stayed in the same position for the rest of the race and tried to cover all the moves, which I was successful until the leader began to pull away. The entire race felt very fast, which makes sense because I have not run that fast in a long time.

Overall I was very happy with my race. The goal for the race was to go and compete, which I did. I would have liked to run faster, but for a season opener and a bit of kick and sit race, I do not have any complaints. Another positive from the race is that I did close the race very well; right around 2 minutes for the last 800m.

After the race, I had a few hours before I had a pacing duty for the 5000m. Pete wanted me to get a bit more track work in than just a 1500m. Looking back to the last two track seasons, both Pete and myself thought that I did not have enough time on the track before the goal race of Payton Jordan.