Training Log 5/17-23

Week of Training May 17 – 23

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 17 Long Run
Monday 8
Tuesday 13 5 Workout
Wednesday 13 Strides
Thursday 12 6
Friday 15 Workout
Saturday 10
Week Total 99

This week was scheduled to be an intense week of training, with two big workouts, so the long run was meant to be just a “time on your feet” day. We headed out to Watauga River Road so that we did not have to be on the hills of Moses Cone. Since we had no surges, we just gradually progressed as the run developed, and I ran the last couple of miles quick. I like doing this with the idea that the last miles of a marathon are going to be fast. To be competitive in the marathon, you have to be able to run the last few miles fast, and

The first workout of the week was aimed at specifically for running a fast 10km. Joe, Pete and I headed up to Banner Elk to run on the Lees McCrae track. We take the trek up the mountain when Pete wants us to have the workout on both grass and the track. It is the only place that we can do both. For the workout, I started with the first three reps (2km, 1km, 1km) on the grass field adjacent to the track. It had rained heavily the night before, so the grass was wet, soft, and slow. My first three reps were not where I wanted them to be, especially with the shape that I am in. It was frustrating and I did not want to continue the workout, but I knew that I had to at least get a few reps on the track before that decision. On the fourth rep I instantly felt better, and that trend continued as the workout progressed. I was able to finish the second 2km a full 30 seconds faster than the first!

2km, 4 x 1km, 2km, 2:30 after 2km, 1:45 after 1km;
4 x 600m, 1:45 rest
6:09, 3:01, 3:05, 2:53, 2:50, 5:39;
1:35, 1:34, 1:34, 1:35, 1:33

While I do not know why I felt so bad, other than the condition of the grass was not ideal, I did gain confidence from the workout. I was able to run the last 2km right at 28 minute pace for 10,000m comfortably. With that being the main goal for my next 10,000m, I know that my race at Payton Jordan did not demonstration my fitness. I felt smooth and relaxed while on the track, and am excited for my next three races with the goal of obliterating my PRs. Also I would like to add a fun little fact. I think I might be the only person to have run on the highest (all weather) tracks both west and east of the Mississippi. Lees McCrae is the highest four year college east of the Mississippi, and Western is the highest in the US.

Joe, Andrew, and me during our progression run.

Joe, Andrew, and me during our progression run.

The next couple of days were spent enjoying the beautiful weather that was brought to the high country. After the rain on Tuesday, the weather became ideal. It was just a few relaxing days, getting miles in and soaking up the sun.

The workout on Friday was a standard progression run. This is a stable of most training programs, but I feel like it is often not executed properly. I know that in college, I ran many of our tempo runs way too fast. If done properly, a progression run should feel easy and nowhere near a race effort. Since coming to ZAP, I have been much better at not running too hard on these types of efforts.

With the great weather continuing, Andrew, Joe, and I headed out to Todd Railroad Grade Road. Like all old railroad grade paths/roads, it is flat and ideal for workouts where finding a rhythm is important. The workout ended up being a superb one, as we started at 5:38 pace and worked our way down to 4:43 for the last two. I tend to thrive on this type of training and was excited to have both Andrew and Joe there to do it with me. After the progression run, Pete had us do 8 x 30 second uphill repeats. After running a steady pace for 9 miles, doing the hills helps stimulate a different system. Also running hills works on your form and getting up on your toes, something that is helpful near the end of races.

9 mile progression run; 8 x 30 sec uphill
5:38, 5:31, 5:18, 5:10, 5:08, 5:03, 4:54, 4:43, 4:43 = 46:10

Overall I had a fantastic week of training. I can feel my legs rounding into form. I always respond well to training blocks like this one. It took a few weeks to after Payton Jordan to recover and hit the reset button. Now I get to come into the next few races with some confidence that I am in excellent shape!

Training Log 5/10-16

Week of Training May 10 – 16

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 18 Long Run, Surges
Monday 8 6 Core
Tuesday 12 6 Drills and Strides
Wednesday 11 6 Workout, Core
Thursday 14
Friday 13 “Workout”
Saturday 10
Week Total 104

After a transition week last week, I was ready to start the next few weeks of training. As I have said previously, I was going to get a five week training block before my next race. Over the last three years (has it really been that long!) that I have been working with Pete, both he and I have figured out that my best results happen when I take a block of time to train before hitting a string of races. Getting those blocks allows me to hit the reset button, both mentally and physically, so that in the next races I am ready to run well.

This week was the first of three big training weeks before I dial back to let my body recover. As usual it started out with a long run at Moses Cone Park. After a few loops of the Lake, we headed off into the miles of trails that I have come to know so well. After a warm up of 35 minutes, we started our surges. When giving us surges, it often seems like Pete just rolls a dice. But since the purpose of surges is to get your legs moving during a run, the length of a surge is not super important, just that we get them done.

Andrew and I finishing our climb at the Moses Cone Grave. It was a great day for a workout!

Andrew and I finishing our climb at the Moses Cone Grave. It was a great day for a workout!

Since this week was my first big week, Pete only scheduled one workout. Usually this means that it is going to be a tough one. And he did not disappoint. On Wednesday morning, Andrew, Chris, and I headed to the Park to do a climb. In the Park there are many different routes to do a climb. We will often do a shorter one as part of a bigger workout, like the Manor-Maze Progressive, but this one was just a sustained progressive climb. We warmed up to “Black Bottom”, which is the lowest point of the Park, and from there ran all the way up past the Manor to the Moses Cone Graveyard. At the “Grave” we finished the workout with 10 x 30 sec accelerations (there is a relatively flat section around there). In total, the climb is just less than 5 miles, but there is still nearly two more miles to the Fire Tower, so the climb can be much longer.

Creek to Grave Progressive Climb, 10 x 30 sec

Over the last three years I have done many climbs and while we do not have any set mile markers, there are other indicators for how fast we are running. The most telling one for me was the Manor. Previously I had run 21 minutes to turn at the Manor, which was en route to the Fire Tower. In this workout, I ran 40 seconds faster than that en route. While I did not run the extra 10 minutes to the Fire Tower, I felt strong and could have finished the climb.

Climbs are great because it allows you to get a good aerobic workout while not beating up your legs as much as a flat tempo run. Since your don’t run uphill as fast as flat Pete likes to pair it with some accelerations just after the climb. This has two purposes. One it gets our legs moving and adding some faster pace reps at the end of the workout. Second it helps ingrain the form improvements of uphill running. On the accelerations, Pete always wants us to focus on maintaining good form and breathing.

The rest of the week was just miles, with the exception of some longer accelerations on the track on Friday. After our run, Pete had us do 3 x 300m, 200m, 150m. It was nice to get the legs moving a little faster than what a majority of my workouts are, and I will need that speed for my upcoming mile in St. Louis. This last week the field for that race was released, and seeing who is running makes me very excited to take part. There are quite a few very experienced milers along with a slew of guys just on the cusp of breaking four. With such a good field assembled and my current fitness, I should be able to go and race to a fast time!

Training Log 5/3-9

Week of Training May 3 – 9

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 8 Travel to NC
Monday 6 6
Tuesday 10
Wednesday 12 Drills and Strides
Thursday 16
Friday 12 6 Drills and Strides
Saturday 9
Week Total 85
Absolutely fantastic weather this week. Not a cloud in the sky! If it would only be like this all year.

Absolutely fantastic weather this week. Not a cloud in the sky! If it would only be like this all year.

We came back from California to find that the cycle of rainy dreary weather that had plagued the High Country had finally broken. This last week was filled with bright sunny days and cool crisp nights. So in other words, perfect weather to recover from a 10,000m. I was able to take the first few days of the week easy, but my calves were still much sorer than other races. Running over 6 miles in spikes does a number to your lower legs! But by the end of the week, my legs were fully revived. Since I spent most of the week recovering, Pete did not schedule a workout. I took that opportunity to run a more moderate progression run on Thursday, closing the last few miles quick. By the end of the week I was feeling back to normal and ready for a great summer season.

My next string of races will start with the Nike Festival of Miles in St. Louis. I have found that I respond well to dropping down to an “under distance” event. My theory is that it shocks the body by introducing a new stimulus. Whatever the reason, I will use it as a stepping off point for the summer season.

California Round Two

Week of Training April 26 – May 2

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 16 Drills, 6 x 150m
Monday 10 Core
Tuesday 10 6 Workout, Core
Wednesday 13
Thursday 11 Travel to CA, Drills and Strides
Friday Shakeout 7 Drills, 400, 3 x 200m
Saturday Shakeout 11 Race
Week Total 84

The week started off with a dialed back long run out at Watauga River Road. It was just a steady “time on feet” (a Peteism) long run. We had instructions not to run too fast because of our race the next weekend, but at this point we all knew the work had already been done.

The New River in Todd. This is one of my favorite places to do a workout.

The New River in Todd. This is one of my favorite places to do a workout.

That also meant that the workout for the week was going to be very relaxed and laid back. To make things simple Pete had us do a Fartlek from Todd to Fleetwood along the Todd Railroad Grade Road. The road is built on an old railroad line that follows the South Fork of the New River, so it is flat and good footing. On the ten mile trek to the Fleetwood Post Office, Pete had us do 3 x 3, 2, 1 minutes with no real defined rest. So with that in mind, after a few miles Joe set the tone of the workout with, “We’ll start at the third mail box we pass.” After that each of us took turns defining when the next rep would start. Making a game of the workout definitely helped the time fly by and before we knew it, we were in Fleetwood. With the workout finished, the next few days were all about getting relax and recovered for Payton Jordan on Saturday.

The Race

Before the race, I was feeling both mentally and physically ready to go. Training had shown that I was in great shape. Unlike the last two years, I felt that I was coming in to the race on the rise. I had recovered from the little Achilles injury set back in the winter and each race had been an improvement from the last. With all signs pointing to a good race, it was a bit of a disappointment to only walk away with less than a second PR.

My game plan coming in to the race was to find a spot on the rail and “ride the train” to a PR. Not being too worried about being a few seconds slow the first couple of laps, I went out conservative and found myself at the back. From there I just tired to my best to shut my brain off and run, but that ended up being harder than I wanted. Basically from the gun, my legs felt terrible. Just over a lap in, they started to slightly ache, and I realized I was in for a long haul. At that point I figured I was not going to be able to close well, but instead just try and run an even race and hope that I could negative split.

The crew at Stanford this year!

The crew at Stanford this year!

A rabbit was assigned to run 13:52 through 5000m, so I figured I could be somewhere around 14 flat at half way, which was going to be perfect. Unfortunately for the field pacer was slow (14:07 at 5000m, I was 14:11ish), which pushed any hope of a very fast time out of the window. But since I was not feeling great, the pace ended up being better for me. Also since the pace was slow, there was a lot of jockeying for position, just like two weeks ago at Mt. SAC, but being the caboose of the train saved me the trouble of fighting for position. Several times in the first half, the field would speed up and I would be left a few steps off the pace. I felt like I was running more even, but would have to surge to catch up.

After the pacer dropped out, the guys up front began to pick up the pace, and not wanting to be running in no man’s land, I went with them. A few laps later, people began to fall off of the pace and I went around them, but I figured I would eventually hit the wall myself. That happened just before 8km when the leaders threw in a 2:09 800m. My next few laps were a struggle and I lost focus. I think I lost about 12 seconds in those three laps. Eventually I snapped out of my inattentiveness and rallied for the final two laps. I found a second wind and with a lap to go I realized that a PR was possible and pushed the last 400m.

My initial response to my race was frustration at seeing guys I race against on the road and cross country run under 28 minutes. I am able to race well against them on other surfaces, why would the track be any different? I guess it just comes down to who feels good on the right day. There have been plenty of times where I have had a great race and others did not.

After a few days reflection, I have a much more positive view of my race. While I did not feel fantastic, I ran a smart race for how I felt and was able to control my blow up at 8km. During the entire race, I was running that extra one percent than I wanted, but still was able to hang on for a PR. Also I was also able to refocus for the last 600m and close a bit faster after slowing down.

Another thing that hit me after the race was some advice form Mike Aish. Mike ran at Western, and was assistant coach my first year there. He is the school record holder in the mile, 5000m (indoor and outdoor), and 10,000m. He is a two time Olympian for New Zealand and has run 27:46. I was talking to him before my race and mentioned my goal to break 28 minutes. We got to talking a little bit about his career and that it took him six years to finally break the 28 minute barrier, but when he did, he flew right by it. His words are just another reminder that running is not linear. There are up and downs, plateaus, and injuries. Success is measured by one race, but whole careers.

The most important takeaway from my race is that it lit a fire inside me. I may have had one bad race, but that does not mean my season is finished. Pete and I have a tentative schedule that takes me through the USATF Outdoor Championships in late June, but first I am ready to get back to training knowing that I can run faster!

I believe that I have used this one before, but one quote that always has stuck with me from Coach Vandenbusche. I feel that it is appropriate for the tone of my blog. It’s a reminder that each day is important, but it is the sum that will be remembered.

“Great days turn into great weeks; Great weeks turn into great months; Great months turn into great years; Great years turn into great careers.”

Race Results
Race Replay