Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Less than 2 weeks to the USA XC Championships: Last week's training.

We're approaching the week and a half mark from the USA XC Champs in Boulder, CO. I arrived to altitude in Albuquerque on Saturday, and have been taking it day by day as my body acclimates. Being here with the Brooks Beasts has been a tremendous help. Not only do I have training partners for a couple of weeks, but I also have access to the group's expertise as most of them have spent their fair share of time in elevation. My general lack of experience makes me timid, but my successful month in Flagstaff last year has given me confidence to make it a more regular part of my training.

I have felt much better my first week in Albuquerque than I did in Flagstaff. The house the Beasts and I are staying sits a little over 6,000 feet, but the majority of training happens closer to 5,000 feet, which is over 2,000 feet lower than Flagstaff. I hopped into a group long run the day after arriving, and felt ok pushing about 6.5 miles towards the end of the run. My only structured workout so far has been a Fartlek in order to listen to my body and not overdue it during my first week. I do plan one more fairly tough workout on Friday, about 8 days away from the race, and almost a week into my altitude trip. I've had almost 2 months of solid training before heading up, so the fitness is there, and the worst thing I could do at this point is push too hard too close to the race.

The field for the US XC Champs looks stacked, and it should be an exciting race. After the success of Team USA in the 2013 World XC Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland puts a great deal of pressure on the top-6 finishers heading to China this year. The team silver medal in 2013 was very rewarding and will undoubtedly be one of the fondest memories of my running career; I would love nothing more than to represent the US in 2015 and chase the team podium again.

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

Week 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12+drills and strides 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 5.5 10 x 500 meters w/100 meter jog (40 seconds) rest, avg. 79.3 16
Wednesday 14 Off 40 minutes 14
Thursday 10 5 + drills and strides 15
Friday 5.5 6 x 1 mile w/4 min rest on muddy xc loop (4:42 to 4:26) 18
Saturday 9.5 Off - travel PDX to Albuquerque 30 minutes 9.5
Sunday 16.5, moderate from 8-15 (5:40) Off 16.5
TOTAL 106

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Less than 3 weeks to the USA XC Champs: Last week's training.

I'm down to the last few weeks of training before the USA XC Championships in Boulder, CO on February 7th. There is only time for a couple more high intensity workouts before heading to Albuquerque to begin adjusting to the elevation prior to the race at 5,500 feet. I am heading down on Saturday and will spend most of the first week adjusting to the altitude before getting a couple of quality sessions in before the race. Given that I spent all of December on base and strength work, I am pleased with how the workouts have progressed. It is still only January, and there is a long season ahead, so it's important not to get too fit too soon, but it's going to take a great performance in Boulder to make the top-6 and another IAAF World XC team. Finding that balance is key, but so far I think I'm on the right track.

It has been a refreshing change of pace to get a few mile repeat sessions in on grass and get off the road after a fall full of pounding the pavement. It's a different type of running altogether, and it's important for me to remind my legs how to run hard on uneven terrain. I've even been adding spikes to the mix in order to prep my calves before hammering out 12km in them during the race.

I plan on seeing Dr. John Howell at Portland Integrated Health and Medicine this week for some routine maintenance and also for another blood test before heading to New Mexico. Since I'll only be at altitude for 2 weeks, I don't expect to see much of a boost, but it will be interesting to compare the numbers to those from Flagstaff in the early fall (4 weeks at 7000 feet). I'll post the results when I come back down.

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

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5+drills and strides 40 minutes 17





Tuesday 5 7 x mile, starting 4:47 and ending 4:25. 3 minutes rest on grass loop
18





Wednesday 14.5 Off 40 minutes 14.5





Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides 5.5
17





Friday 6 4 mile tempo (18:55) + 1 mile cutdown (68, 68, 67, 64), no rest (23:23 total)
18





Saturday 11.5 6 40 minutes 17.5





Sunday 18 Off
18





TOTAL


120

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Less than 4 weeks to the USA XC Champs: Last week's training.

I'm happy to say that I'm finally feeling 100% after coming down with the flu. I was fortunate to not miss much training, and still managed a couple of good workouts this last week. I was a little worried stepping onto the track for 10 x 500 meters on Wednesday as I haven't run that fast since the summer, but it went surpsisingly well considering the lack of previous speed workouts and still feeling sick. While I was improving each day, I felt 100% by Saturday for the 10 mile cutdown tempo. I'm looking forward to a couple more weeks of hard training before starting to back off in preparation for the US XC Championships where I'll look to make my 5th world cross country team.

I received a request last week to share a week's long food log in my blog. While I do my best to eat well and meet all my needs as a runner, I do not keep a food journal as I think I would become too obsessed, possibly to a detrimental level. I will share what an average training day looks like in terms of diet.

Breakfast: Granola, sliced banana with either yogurt or almond milk, coffee, multivitamin about 2 hours before my first run

Run + either strength or drills and strides. Small snack between run and strength - trail mix, half or all of a Powerbar (Harvest or Protein Plus), or Powerbar Recovery drink mix.

Lunch: Often a sandwich or wrap with lean meat, cheese, and loaded with veggies. Side of steamed vegetables or crackers. Vitamin D, B-complex, C, and iron.

2nd run (short). Small post run snack. Usually trail mix or crackers

Dinner: Varies greatly, but my wife and I normally cook and generally focus on lean white meat or fish, although there certainly are exceptions. A side of grains (quinoa, couscous, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.), and a big mixed salad. Maybe some wine or beer depending on the night.

If I get hungry later, I may snack on leftovers from dinner, fruit, or a light dessert, but not an every night occurance. Calcium, magnesium, zinc blend.

I realize this isn't specific enough to be overly helpful, but as I said, I try to eat very well without obsessing to an unlealthy level. This will obviously vary if I have a workout that particular day, but you get the jist.

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

Week 8 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday Off – flu Off
0





Tuesday 11.5 5 + drills and strides 30 minutes 17





Wednesday 6 10 x 500 w/100 meter jog recovery (79-80)
17





Thursday 14 5 40 minutes 19





Friday 11.5 30 minutes + drills and strides
17





Saturday 10 miles tempo starting @ 5:10 and working down to 4:38 (4:56 average) Off
15.5





Sunday 18.5

18.5


Off

TOTAL


104



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Less than 5 weeks to the USA XC Championships

Last week I transitioned from longer Fartleks to mile repeats in an effort to sharpen up a little for the February 7th USA XC Champs. Considering the terrain, number of intervals, and short rest, I was happy with the results. It's always difficult to measure fitness after a month of effort based workouts, but this last week has shown me that I'm pretty fit already, and it's only January. I expect a loaded field in Boulder next month, so the timing should work out very well. The mile repeats were originally planned for Tuesday, but I had some bad luck with a flat tire on the way to the park, so it had to be pushed back by a day. I will get back on the original schedule this week or next, but in the end, a day here or there is not a huge deal.

I was feeling a little run down toward the end of the week last week, and I believe it was the start of a bout of the flu for me, which I am still dealing with today. Fortunately I have only had to take one day off, although I've had to back off the intensity quite a bit for the time being, which isn't always a bad thing. I can feel that I'm nearing the end of it and look forward to more intensity in the coming few days.

My ticket is booked for Albuquerque for the 24th of January. I'm excited to head down with the Brooks Beasts and get acclimated before heading to Boulder with the group. My coach, Dave Smith, will also be in Boulder, so it will be one of the few opporutnities throughout the year to see him in person as well.

I'm going to keep this post short and to the point today as I need to head out for a track workout before the sun goes down. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 7 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17





Tuesday off 9+drills and strides
9





Wednesday 5 8 x mile on grass/dirt loop w/2 min rest starting @ 4:52 and working down to 4:28
18





Thursday 11.5 Off 40 minutes 11.5





Friday 11.5 30 minutes + drills and strides
16





Saturday 5 4 miles @ 4:45 + 2 x mile @ 4:32-4:36, rest = 3 min, 90 seconds
15.5





Sunday 18

18


Off

TOTAL


105

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Run Happy in 2015

We are a week closer to the February 7th USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, CO, and I'm beginning to transition from Fartleks and hills to more specific training. While the next month will still be strength based, the workouts will slowly start to get faster. I plan on racing into late June/early July, so it is too soon to start sharpening up, but it is the perfect time to build strength and aerobic fitness at distances signficantly shorter than marathon training. It will be another opportunity to change the pace of training before returning to the marathon in the early fall before the 2016 Olympic Trials.

The New Year's celebration provides us all with an opportunity to reflect and analyze goals for the coming year. For myself, everything I do in 2015 will geared toward making the 2016 US Olympic Team in Rio. This will include cross country, track, and road racing before going for another marathon buildup. The year will also include a couple of stints at altitude in order to nail down a plan heading into the February 2016 marathon trials. While we still have over 13 months, it will absolutely be here before we know it.

For those still working on the path to achieving their 2015 goals, check out Prevail Coaching and feel free to reach out for advice or personal coaching options. We are going to keep the group very small for 2015, but we still have a few spots left.

I hope everyone had a great first run of the year, and I am pumped to get back on a cross country course next month! Last week's training is below. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Monday 12+drills and strides 5.5 40 minutes 18





Tuesday 3.5 mile warmup, 10 mile tempo @ 5:14, 3.5 mile cooldown Off
17





Wednesday 10 7 40 minutes 17





Thursday 12 5 + drills and strides
17





Friday 5 Tempo workout: 3 mile (4:45), 2 mile (4:41), 1 mile (4:38)
17





Saturday off Off – travel from Prague to Portland
0





Sunday 18

18


Off

TOTAL


104

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays and Happy Training!

For most the holidays offer an opportunity to rest, but for many runners, it offers the opportunity to train. The cookies, turkey, ham, and winter ales taste much better after a great run. I invite everyone who enjoys the usual Christmas pleasures to train your ass off in the morning, and indulge in the evening. I will be enjoying Christmas in my wife's family village, Rodinov, before
Picking the Carp for Xmas dinner
returning to Portland this coming weekend. Christmas in Czech consists of most of the usual western traditions, but the meal does differ. The traditional Czech Christmas dinner, on the 24th, is carp, carp soup (all the extras from the fish), and potato salad. Presents are opened on the evening of the 24th, and extended family is met on the 25th. I will be squeezing in two runs per day through the week, but I will do my best to enjoy Christmas in the evening.

Last week focused again on hills and a brutal Fartlek, and this week will not be much different. I will spend January on more specific interval and tempo work in preparation for the USATF Cross Country Championships in Boulder on the 7th of February. I plan on racing through late June or early July, so I'm really trying to not get ahead of myself and let myself focus on volume and strength through the end of this month. It's much easier to accept being a bit less sharp going into January when I have my coach, Dave Smith, telling me to do so.

Alright, time for you to stop reading this and go join your family in the living room. That's probably what I should do as well...thanks again for reading, and Happy Holidays!

Week 5 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12 6 40 minutes 18





Tuesday 30 minutes, drills, 10 x 300 meter hills, 30 minutes 5
17.5





Wednesday 14.5
40 minutes 14.5





Thursday 11.5 5 + drills and 6 x 150 meters in spikes
17





Friday 5.5 Fartlek 4 x (1, 2, 3, 4)
18.5





Saturday 11 5 40 minutes 16





Sunday 18.5 Off
18.5





TOTAL


120

Saturday, December 20, 2014

7 Weeks to the USA Cross Country Championships: Last Week's Training

I'm a little behind in posting my training, so the week posted below corresponds to 12/8-12/14. I am finishing up my time in the Czech Republic, still alternating between Prague and the village of Rodinov. I'll be returning to Portland on the 27th. The mild winter in Czech has allowed me to do some great base work heading into January, when I will begin more specific interval work. My workouts thus far have focused on Fartleks and hill repeats. The Fartleks have all been done in my wife's village in the Vyso─Źina region (highlands) which offers unrelenting terrain, perfect for grueling Fartlek sessions. I have really put an emphasis on hammering the hills during these Fartleks, putting myself into debt at random points in the reps, forcing myself to aerobically recover on the flat or downhill sections while still trying to maintain a decent pace. I don't measure my pace for these workouts, and the speed would not be impressive with the terrain. I focus completely on effort, which is very high and uneven. This is not an approach I will take in my interval training, so this early base period offers an excellent opportunity practice this style of running. I don't think there can be a better type of preparation for cross country than varied terrain and tough, uneven efforts.

The hill repeats have been used for strength training. While I have done some lifting in the past, I prefer hill repeats. You can still get a great aerobic workout while building strength using normal running form, reducing the risk of injury from various lifting positions. The hills are in addition to my usual running drills and core sessions. While I certainly won't be polished heading into January, I will be very strong.

Training is progressing well for Boulder in February, but the altitude presents an additional challenge. I plan on traveling to Albuquerque with the Brooks Beasts for some time before the race in order to adjust to altitude. I have not decided exactly how long I will spend there before the race, but it will likely be a couple of weeks. This will not be enough time to maximize any boost in hemoglobin, but it should be enough to get through the most challenging segment of adaptation. I would prefer to get higher quality workouts in at sea level than spending a month in Albuquerque before the championships. There is a fair argument for either option.

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

Week 4 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17





Tuesday 30 minutes, drills, 15 x 200 meter hills, 30 minutes 6
18





Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14





Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides 5.5
17





Friday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17





Saturday 5 Fartlek (5 min, 4, 3)(4, 3, 2)(3, 2, 1) w/half rest
18





Sunday 20 Off
20





TOTAL


121