Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Less than 5 weeks to the US Outdoor Track Champs: Last week's training

Summer seems to be finally peaking it's head out in Portland, making it a lot easier to get out the door for some of the more daunting workouts ahead of me leading up to the 10km at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the end of June in Eugene. I've also been fortunate to have training partners for a few workouts lately. Tuesday consisted of 10 x 500 meters with short rest, and I was helped along by local Derek Scott (8:31 Steeple, 3:39 1500) through most of the reps. I haven't done this particular workout with help since college, and it made a big difference to be able to tune out for a few reps. Derek brought me through in 74 seconds for the final rep, which is as fast as I've ever closed that workout, leaving the average at 78.6. I'm just a few big track workouts away from being where I want to be in terms of fitness before the US Champs. These efforts will have to be carefully spread out, however, and I'll have plenty of lighter workouts in between. Friday was an example of this with another 4-mile tempo with 100 meter surges at 15 seconds each lap. Obviously the pace changes make the tempo more difficult, but it also makes the workout go by faster as there is something to focus on and look forward to (or dread) about every minute of running. It also puts me into a different mindset with recovery pace being 72 seconds per quarter as opposed to the overall goal pace. The overall time of the workout ends up being similar, but the experience is very different. The goal is two fold: First, continue becoming more comfortable at sub 4:00 minute mile pace. Second, preparing the body for pace changes in a championship race, which is almost always the case. It's one thing to be in shape for a 27:40 10km, but it's something completely different to be ready for hard surges or a hard finish at the same distance. Like the other competitors, I'm doing my best to balance overall fitness with race readiness over the final month.

I found out this week that Aaron Braun will be joining me in Portland for the final 10-14 days leading up to the USA Champs. He'll be coming down from altitude to get some final rust-busting sea-level training before the 10km. While we will be competitors come race-day, we both have an interest in having a fast pace set in order to hit the IAAF 'A' standard as neither of us have hit the mark this year. Hopefully the trip will be a time to focus and plan. We will likely be helping eachother keep the pace hot midway through the race, and the last couple of miles will be every man for himself. We'll battle, shake hands, and likely grab a beer. With only 3 spots open for the World Team in Beijing, it is probably that at least one of us will be very disappointed, but that's the nature of the sport.

Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 25 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 5.5 10 x 500 meters w/40 seconds rest, avg. = 78.6 16
Wednesday 14 off 14
Thursday 11 5 1 hour 16
Friday 5.5 4 mi tempo with 15 second 100 meter surges each 400 meters. Total time = 18:45, 6 x 200 @ 28-29 seconds 12
Saturday 12 off 40 minutes 17
Sunday 10 + drills and strides 6.5 17
TOTAL 109



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Less than 6 weeks to the US Outdoor Track Champs

It's safe to say that I'm fully recovered from Payton Jordan with a week of solid tempo running under my belt. I started the week conservatively with a 4-mile tempo on the track, restricting myself to 19:00 and throwing in some 200s after to get the legs moving after the 10 days of easy running. I took advantage of a visit by fellow marathoner Scott MacPherson and had some company for this one. My luck continued when I was invited to join the Dan Browne's WCAP team for a 10-mile tempo on Friday. It was refreshing to take advantage of training partners for the second time that week and switch leads every mile or two on the way to a 49:28 finish. With two tempos under my belt, I'm looking forward to getting 4 weeks of aggressive track workouts in leading up to the US Outdoor Track Championships in Eugene at the end of June.

Tonight I'll be joined by another extremely talented runner for a tough 10 x 500 meter workout at Roosevelt High School in Portland. Check in next week for the details. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.


Week 24 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 5.5 4 mile tempo @ 19:02 + 6 x 200 meters @ 29 17
Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Thursday 11 5 + drills and strides 16
Friday 10 mile tempo @ 49:28 off 18
Saturday 12 off 40 minutes 14
Sunday 5 10 + drills and strides 14
TOTAL 110

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Less than 7 weeks to the US Champs

I took a little break from blogging after my disappointing performance at Payton Jordan. I will keep this recap brief as I don't want to rehash what I already have in mind in great detail. I went into the Payton Jordan 10km looking for a PR (27:44). I had an off day, which I have nothing concrete to attribute it to. The pace was slow through 5km, so the only way to hit my goal was to have a huge negative split, which should have been doable given my fitness, but my body was not ready to go with the pace change. Training had gone very well, my mind was in the right place, and I put myself in a good position tactically, but I just didn't have it on the day. It's very normal as an elite runner to have off days, but I have been unusually consistent throughout my career, so this one stung more than it should. I am, however, mature enough to realize that the fitness is there, and I don't need to change anything. I need to shake it off and get ready for the next one. This was my first trip to Stanford in which I haven't PR'd, since 2005. I knew it couldn't last forever, but based on my fitness, I didn't think it would end this year. The good news is that because the pacing was so poor at Payton Jordan, very few Americans have the necessary standard to qualify for the World Champs. This means that given good weather, the US Champs in Eugene should go at IAAF World Champs standard pace, so it's very possible that I will have another chance.

I'm looking forward to hitting a 1500 meter race at the Portland Track Festival in June as a tune-up for the US Champs. I think I have one more PR in me in the mile range! With my fitness, great base, and experience at US Champs, I'm confident that I'll be able to redeem myself in Eugene at the end of June. I'm also in the process of finalizing my summer and fall plans leading up to the Olympic Trials in the marathon, and I will share those shortly.

The last few years Dave has forced me to take 10 days easy following Payton Jordan as we have had disastrous workouts if we try the week after. The timing was perfect, as I didn't really feel 100% until this last Monday. The last week entailed just easy running and strides. The volume was high, but the pace was slow. Workouts are now back in full swing, and I look forward to sharing them next week. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 23 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 off 9
Tuesday 11 5 16
Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Thursday 11 5 + drills and strides 16
Friday 11.5 5.5 17
Saturday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Sunday 18 off 18
TOTAL 108

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Less than a week to Payton Jordan: Last week's training

The Payton Jordan Invite is just days away (May 2nd), and the nerves are already starting to kick in a little. I'm looking forward to a light week of training after a great last few months behind me. Last week's training was still fairly light coming off the 5 x mile track workout the week before as you can only have so many efforts at that level over the course of a training block. The only training left before the race are some light tempo 1km repeats and a few 200s Friday on the Stanford track. 

It sounds a bit strange, but there are not many races I get more nervous for than the Payton Jordan 10km. Granted, there is not as much on the line for this invite as there are for many of my other races, but the intensity is very high. Heading into any championship race, you have the hope that you will feel comfortable for some percentage of the race, and then you can focus on racing the individuals around you. Even during a major marathon, while intimidating and the most challenging overall endeavor I've taken on to date, you still get to relax for an hour before the pain really starts to set in. Payton Jordan is different. Everybody wants to run fast, so the pace goes out hard, and it stays hard for all of the 25 laps. Going out a 66 seconds per quarter never feels easy, at least not to me. In order to hit a personal best this coming Saturday, I will have to max myself out from start to finish, which means no big swings in pace, probably not even for the finish. That is a lot of pain for twenty seven and a half minutes. But you couldn't ask for a better situation to run fast with the incredible depth of the field and the perfect weather year in and year out. Payton Jordan is the only 10km track race in the world that you can count on every year to go out on IAAF 'A' Standard pace. That is not an exaggeration. I'm going to do my best to take advantage of the circumstances and go for another track PR, and continue my streak of personal bests on the Stanford track which has been going since my redshirt freshman year at Oklahoma State. 

There are a load of other fantastic lineups on Saturday, so head over to Flotrack to catch it all. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates. 

Week 21 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5 40 minutes 16
Tuesday 5 15 x 200 meters @ 29-30 14
Wednesday 12.5 off 30 minutes 12.5
Thursday 10 5 + drills and strides 14
Friday 5 4 mile tempo @ 19:00 + 6 x 200 @ 28-29 16
Saturday 14 off 30 minutes 14
Sunday 4.5 + drills and strides off 4.5
TOTAL 91

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Less than 2 weeks to Payton Jordan: Last week's training

The blog is out a couple of days late again, but below is the training from 4/13-4/19. Now that we're down to a week and a half, most of the hard work is in the books, and workouts will start to taper off. Last week consisted of two workouts, one of which was quite interesting, and the other was just simply tough. In order to start gearing up for pace-changes, either for the 10km at Payton Jordan or at the US Champs in June, we added a little speed play into my usual 4-mile track tempo. The goal was to run 400 meters slightly slower than threshold pace, then run 100 meters in 15 seconds, then back to a tempo 400 followed by another 15 second surge. I did this continuous for the 4-mile tempo with the aim of having the overall time be within the typical range (about 18:45-19:05). I got destroyed by a pretty gnarly hail storm which came on during the first lap of the workout, and lasted until the final few laps. Despite being frozen, I felt great aerobically and managed to run an 18:42 with the pace changes, never feeling out of my element. Having the surges to focus on also kept my head in the game during the storm.

This workout was followed by 5 x 1 mile on the track on Saturday with 3 minutes rest. It was quite a bit warmer than it had been lately in Portland, and it was bit breezy, but I was feeling strong, so the weather didn't seem to matter much. Starting in 4:28, I was able to work down to 4:15, giving me confidence that I can run 66 seconds per quarter for the upcoming Payton Jordan 10km, which is what I will need to do to achieve the IAAF 'A' standard in order to give myself a shot at qualifying for the Track and Field World Champs in Beijing this summer.

I'm doing my best to resist the temptation to get carried away working in our new yard and keeping my focus on recovering and resting.  My mother-in-law is visiting from the Czech Republic, so I've put her to work in my place ;) We are looking forward to the reaping the rewards heading our way from the newly planted vegetable garden as the summer begins to approach.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 20 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 5 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 5 4 mi tempo w/100 meter surges @ 15 seconds, total of 18:42, 6 x 200 @ 29-30 16
Wednesday 14 off 30 minutes 14
Thursday 10.5 5 + drills and strides 16
Friday 10 5 30 minutes 15
Saturday 2 mile shakeout 5 x 1 mile on track w/3 min rest (4:28, 4:24, 4:22, 4:19, 4:15) 14
Sunday 16 off 16
TOTAL 105

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Less than 3 weeks to Payton Jordan: Last week's training.

Following the World Cross Country Championships in China last month, I felt like a had a little space to breathe before the next big race, but we're already inside the 3 week mark heading into the 10k on the track at the Payton Jordan Invitational. While I've done a large load of base work and strength workouts, I am still looking to hit a couple more intense track sessions to at least give myself confidence. I jumped into another  10 x 500 meters workout with short rest of Friday, and again it went well. In the middle of a chilly and windy day and hit right around the best average I ever have of 79.0. We have time for one or two more big track sessions with more volume, and that should be all I need to feel ready for a 10k personal best. My current personal best is 27:44, and the 'A' standard to qualify for the Track and Field World Championships is 27:45, so I will be have to be at my best to meet this goal. While running sub-27:45 does not guarantee me anything, it does mean that if I am top 3 at the US Championships again in Eugene, I will get to represent Team USA once more this year.

My wife and I are closing on our first house this week in St. Johns, hands down the best running neighborhood in Portland. Fortunately we are moving from a one-bedroom condo, and I started the process a week ago to make sure I didn't have to do much on any given day and keep myself rested for training. It's tempting to get out and get everything done in one go, but I need to stay fresh over the next few weeks, which means taking naps and keeping the lifting light and spread out over the course of a week. With that said, a lot of organizing is left to be done, and it's almost time to lace up for another track session. Thanks again for reading. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 20 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 7 15 x 200 @ 29-30 17
Wednesday 14 off 14
Thursday 10 5 + drills and strides 40 minutes 15
Friday 5.5 10 x 500 w/100 meter jog rest (40 seconds) @ 78-80, avg. 79.0 16
Saturday 12.5 off 40 minutes 12.5
Sunday 18 off 18.5
TOTAL 110

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

World XC recap and onto the track

I realize I've missed a couple of weeks with the training log, but unfortunately China blocks all Google services, including Blogspot. This was particularly disruptive as my wife and I are in the process of closing on a house, and Prevail Coaching uses Google Drive for training calendars. Fortunately we made it through without any major setbacks.

Hopefully most of you saw the results for the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang. If not, the US Team finished 7th overall, and I placed 34th individually. This certainly appears disappointing after our 2nd place team performance in 2013, but this year was a very different story. The conditions in 2013 were perfectly suited to the US Team as it was cold, snowy, muddy, and hilly. This year in Guiyang we had dry and warm conditions along with a bit of altitude (somewhere between 3,500-4000 feet). The conditions were much more suited to the East Africans this time around, and there were 6 strong teams mostly from this region. The US Team can't have it our way every year, so it is crucial to capitalize on moments like Poland two years ago. With that said, I think overall it was a solid team effort in China. Throughout my 5 US Cross Country teams, this is the best we have finished outside of 2013. We ran intelligently and were strong through 4 scorers, but we needed to each catch more bodies that last two laps to secure a top-5 team finish. All 6 US team members ran tough and did our best to help each other out during the race. I hope we can use this as a learning experience for 2017 when World Cross Country will be in Uganda and we may well encounter similar conditions.

Bobby Curtis, myself, and our wives stayed for an extra 5 days after the race to explore a little more of the surrounding area and try some more exotic food. We were able to visit a minority village in the surrounding mountains, experience a traditional tea room in old town Guiyang, and visit a large National Park full of waterfalls and interesting rock formations. I am glad we had the opportunity to experience a little more of China outside of the bubble that was our hotel, but I was honestly ready to be done with the food by the end of the trip. I had some delicious meals during my time there, but everything served was incredibly oily without a ton of variety. This takes a toll on how you feel after eating it 3 times a day (yes, even for breakfast) for almost 2 weeks. I've traveled to many exotic countries for longer periods of time, but I have never craved a fresh salad more than after 12 days in China.

As for training, Dave and I had planned an easy week following the 12km cross race as I haven't had much downtime since returning to training in November following the NYC Marathon. This worked out well with my travel plans which forced me to run easy and low volume. I returned to the US on Thursday night and was feeling ready to workout by Saturday with one last mile repeat session on the grass. We will now start focusing on getting a bit more aggressive on the track over the next few weeks in preparation for the Payton Jordan Invite 10,000 meters on May 2nd where I, along with a large and deep group of Americans, will be going for the IAAF 'A' Standard of 27:45. I will talk more about that race as it gets closer.

Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 19 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 off 11
Tuesday 5 off 5
Wednesday 10 off 10
Thursday 13 off, travel from Guiyang to PDX 13
Friday 11.5 5 + drills and strides 45 minutes 17
Saturday 6 6 x 1 mile on grass (4:39 down to 4:26) w/2:30 rest 18
Sunday 18 off 18
TOTAL 92