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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Less than two weeks to the IAAF World XC Championships: Last week's training.

Gate River came and went quickly as big races always do. I am a bit disappointed with my 5th place finish this past weekend at the USA 15k Championships, but I ran as hard as I could on the day and left it all out there. I don't know exactly why I felt a bit sluggish, but I did. The heat and humidity were challenging, but it was challenging for everyone running on Saturday morning. The four athletes in front of me are excellent runners, and could have each won that race on a different day, so there was no shame there. My training has been going as well as it ever has, so I will simply count this as a slightly off day and push my focus to the World XC Championships on March 28th in Guiyang, China. I'd like to extend a big thanks to Richard Fannin, Doug Alred, and all the motivated
 volunteers for another excellent weekend of racing. It was nice to see Christo Landry recognized as the new 2012 Gate River champion as we were all given shirts featuring Yoda and an anti-doping slogan. There are few US Championship road races that haven't been affected by this issue over the last few years, and I think we all appreciated the message.

There isn't much to discuss in terms of training last week, as it was quite light heading into Gate River. As we're already less than two weeks out from the 12km XC race in China, there is really only time for one decent workout this week. I will take the time in between the two races to let all the quality training catch up in an effort to make my 5th World XC race the best of my career. Next week I'll share some memories regarding the 2013 USA Silver Medal team as well as discuss our goals for this year's team in China. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Week 17 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 5 8 x 1km @ 2:56-2:58 w/1 min rest + 6 x 200 @ 29-30 16.5
Wednesday 9 5 14
Thursday Off, travel to JAX 7 7
Friday 5 + drills and strides off 5
Saturday shakeout + race off 17
Sunday 9 off, travel to PDX 9
TOTAL 85.5

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Less than a week to the Gate River Run USA 15km Champs: Last week's training.

We're days away from the 2015 USA 15km Championships during the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL. I'll be heading out of Portland for the long flight early Thursday morning, getting there in the mid-afternoon with enough time to get my run in along with some drills and strides. While it is nice to get the run over with before flying, running after the flight does make me feel better the following day. The weather looks to be fairly typical for this time of year: warm and a bit humid. The low for race day currently shows 63 degrees, which means it will be a little sticky when the gun goes off at 8:30 AM. Because this is a championship race, time is not important, so I don't mind challenging weather conditions when you are simply running for place. It adds an extra element that puts emphasis on patience, experience, and knowing your body.

8:30 AM is a nice start time for a 15km if you live on the East Coast. For those of us coming from the West Coast, and there are many, that is the equivalent of starting at 5:30 AM and waking up for breakfast at approximately 2:00 AM. It's not possible, for me at least, to get myself to sleep by 6:00 or 7:00 PM PST in order to make up for this. My strategy has been to stay on my own body time, which means going to bed a bit later and sleeping in later on Thursday night to make sure I get a full night's sleep, and then you just put up with a short night heading into the race. The adrenaline of race day is enough to get you going, and your job is done for the day by 11:00 (8:00 PST) after a cool-down and awards, so you can head straight back to bed!

Training went well last week as I bounced back from a mediocre mile repeat workout the week before. The 8 x 800 meter workout on the track was another confidence booster as I was able to average 2:07 with less than two minutes rest for 4 miles of work. That was followed by another 4-mile tempo in 4:41-4:42 and some smooth 200 meter repeats. The weather has continued to be outstanding, making these workouts much easier to get through than they should be this time of year.

I'm all set for Jacksonville this weekend. My fitness is significantly farther along than it was when I ran this race last in 2013 where I was 3rd, but I would argue the field is deeper this this year. There are too many names to list here, but this will be one of the strongest US road race championships of the year, and I'm looking forward to putting myself into the mix. Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 16 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5.5 40 minutes 16.5
Tuesday 5 8 x 800 meters 2:06-2:08 (avg. 2:07) w/1 lap rest (< 2 minutes) 16
Wednesday 12.5 Off 40 minutes 12.5
Thursday 10+drills and strides 5.5 16
Friday 5.5 off 30 minutes 5.5
Saturday Off 4 mile tempo @ 18:47 + 6 x 200 meters @ 28-29 12.5
Sunday 14 off 14
TOTAL 93

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Less than 2 weeks to the Gate River Run US 15km Champs: Last week's training

We are down to less than two weeks to the Gate River Run US 15km Championships in Jacksonville, so it's time to start bringing the volume down a bit. My coach, Dave Smith, and I decided to keep the volume a bit lower following the US XC Championships and focus a bit more on quality workouts. I have a huge base under me from the fall marathon training block, and the winter prep season, so now is a good time to back off the mileage just slightly. After a few weeks of mostly strength-based workouts following the XC Champs, I was looking forward to getting on the track for a 10 x 500 meter workout last Tuesday. While the workouts have been going well, I wasn't sure how I'd feel getting after it at 5km pace and below. I surprised myself. I ended up averaging 78.5 on 40 seconds rest (100 meter jog). The first half of the workout stayed in the 79 low range before gradually moving down and eventually closing the final rep in 75. It was a near perfect day in terms of weather for a workout, so I'm glad my legs were feeling up to taking advantage of it. With very little track work preceding this workout, I am very pleased to have felt as sharp as I did. Combined with all the tempo and long interval sessions, I am confident heading into Gate River and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the end of the month.

Unfortunately the Saturday workout did not go as well as I had hoped. After having a solid 10 x mile session the week before, I was looking forward to getting a little more aggressive over 8 x mile. I went to Seattle for the weekend to hang out at the Brooks headquarters and to watch some college track (what a weekend for indoor track by the way!). This meant doing the mile workout in unfamiliar territory at Magneson Park. While the gravel loop at the park was excellent for intervals, it was very windy and packed with people on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I was also feeling a little sluggish for some reason, so this all added up to a fairly sub-par workout. I haven't had a disappointing workout in months, so this is no big deal at all. I took the next couple of days easy, and now I'm feeling back to 100%, ready to nail a couple more workouts before resting for March 14th.

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

Week 15 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5 + drills and strides 40 minutes 16
Tuesday 5 10 x 500 meters w/40 seconds rest (100 meter jog), avg. 78.5 16
Wednesday 14 Off 50 minutes 14
Thursday 10+drills and strides 5 15
Friday 10.5 5 40 minutes 15.5
Saturday Off 8 x 1 mile w/90 seconds rest, avg. 4:52 15
Sunday 16 Off 16.5
TOTAL 108