Friday, August 18, 2017

Track meet #3. 400 in 58".

    Last night was my third 400 meter race. I went 58" in my first, 56" in my second, and last night went 58". I had really thought 55" would have been a bad result so I guess last night was horrible :)
     I have some thoughts kicking around as to what happened that I'll get to in another post but cramping was #1. I cramped a couple of times on Wednesday and could feel the beginnings of cramps several times. Then last night as I was getting set in the blocks I looked up and the muscles in the back of my neck seized. Not a good way to start. I stayed super relaxed through the 200 splitting just 27" which is well within my fitness. I started pushing the third turn and passed the first place guy and was cruising really well! 55" was possible at that point. Then coming off the fourth turn both hamstrings seized, then my glutes, then my hips (TFL specifically) and I almost fell on my face. I completely pulled up and just tried to keep my legs under me. I figure I lost ~3" in the last 60 meters or so.
     After the race my hamstrings stayed locked up and I finally was able to get them to release about 10 minutes later.
     And that's that. Onward.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

3 X 150 coming out of my funk

     The Sanya workout I did last week kind of wrecked me. Although I completed it, it compromised too many successive days for it to be worth it right now. In the future the goal will be to be able to absorb it more easily. For the last week I've felt flat and today was the first day I felt OK. The session was 3 X 150 aiming for 19.7 seconds. That works out to about 13 at the 100 and then 6.5 for the last 50.

 Results-

 20.0. I really need to be more diligent with my warmups! I tend to get to a point where I think I feel ready yet my first splits show I'm not.

19.3. Felt relaxed and smooth.

19.4. I took a 100 split- 12.9, so I was hitting the goal. For some reason I found myself completely overthinking my stride on this one and also trying way too hard. I was forcing it to the point of awkward which I could feel made me slow. What the? I made notes in my log to "Stop thinking! Just run!"
     I came into this not very optimistic for Thursday's race but today gave me some confidence. 4 days to go and I feel I'm over the fatigue.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Messing around recovery/ potentiation

     Slept HORRIBLE the night before last (Thursday), probably one of the worst ever. Couldn't get to sleep until ~10, woke up at midnight for a few minutes then 1:00, 2:00 and at 3:00 finally got up. I was constantly in that weird place where you think you're awake but then you wake up. So I took yesterday off. Plus when I woke up it was 46 degrees. Whatever.
     Today I felt better and jogged down to the soccer field and just did some general loosening and activation. Fire hydrants which feel and look absolutely ridiculous but are excellent for glute activation. In the future I will not be doing those on public school grounds. A set of isometric Bulgarian splits squats and then two sets done oscillatory. Dynamic/ explosive leaps down into an isometric hold. Everything felt OK. I'm probably going to race this coming Thursday so I plan on just doing one more harder split 400 session either tomorrow or Monday and then I'll rest. With only two more races left this year (outdoor) I feel I need to set myself up not to fail by simply being fatigued. My loose goal for this race will be under 56".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Speed day. 4 X 20 meter fly

      Today I warmed up and then took video of my starts for visual cues. Playing them back in slow motion I see, as near as I can tell, that my technical use of the starting blocks is quite good. Which only verifies my previous assertion that my 46 year old legs don't have the explosive/ power qualities yet. My form is good though.
     Then I ran 4 X 20 meter flying starts with 5:00 rest intervals. Flying starts are when you build for ~20 meters and then punch it to 100% max speed. A question I'd pose to anyone reading this is: do you know HOW to run at (truly) 100% max speed? How do you know you're actually there? One of the cues I use for myself is to try to constantly accelerate, never relax.            

      I've been reading and listening a lot lately. Last year I read 112 books but this year I have probably surpassed that word total in articles, blogs, forums and podcasts. My brain has always been a jumble of ideas and rarely shuts down (it wakes me up at 3 every morning ready to go) and it's only gotten worse since I started training again and trying to educate myself on sprinting. Lately I've resorted to carrying around a notebook to write thoughts down. A great tool for not forgetting those brief ideas or thoughts. Here's a page from this morning that I wrote during a rest interval during my workout.
   
     This is an outline of a weekly training schedule or structure. Each note represents a day of training with a 4th one assuming a rest day. Then you'd start over. So it's a repeating 4 day block.

     The "million $" entry is referring to the "AN2" workout.

     "Fly" is a speed session which I did today, or an An1 session lasting less than 10 seconds. Technically it's 9 seconds but rounding to 10 makes it easier for my mathematically challenged brain to use.

     "Strength- w/ iso" is potentiation or CNS stimulation and explosive power. Bulgarian split squat's using the concept of oscillatory isometrics is where I want to focus here, but drop jumps and depth jumps are also interesting mainly because of my age. What's happening in my aging body and how do I stem the slide? Fast twitch fibers begin to drop off after ~30 but through stimulation they will drop less or they'll sort of self regulate the loss. Use it or lose it, right? And I won't go too deep into this thought, but as we age we don't really lose strength at the same rate as we lose power or speed. As an older, (relatively strong) guy I might be better off actually avoiding the typical gym work and focusing more on things like drop jumps where you step off a box and then immediately go into a maximal effort jump (a true plyometric). Your CNS is being asked to go from a relaxed (the drop) state to 100% activation (the landing and then jump) pretty much instantaneously. What is dropping off as we age? THIS! This is pure central nervous system stuff. This is (as far as I look at it) the relaxation and then the activation of a motor unit or motor pool under load. Look into oscillatory isometrics, same concept. Pure CNS but you must keep it under 10 seconds in duration. Another idea for another post that.

     "An2" or any load that lasts 10" up to 50". This is where the concept of autoregulation becomes usable without the need to spend a couple thousand dollars on timing equipment. I wrote about autoregulation or a-reg previously so I won't touch into that but it is possible to learn to feel or sense the drop. And really does it have to be focused down into a hundredth of a second or millimeters? For measuring speed of neural function yes, but for a longer effort of say 20 seconds I don't think so. All you are looking for is a range of drop off in performance and getting close is enough.

     I didn't come up with this on my own by the way. These are ideas I got from a podcast (about a fictional guy named DB Hammer and inno-sport) and then follow up reading. These concepts sort of go against the grain of popular training methodology which is exactly why it appeals to me but there is enough similarity that it's not completely off base. I also never adhere to one method but rather pull the good bits and pieces out and integrate them into my planning. The a-reg stuff I know is sound because I've used it. It's also, to me, common sense or intuitively correct. I do have be careful with all this because I run the risk of not sticking to one thing long enough to see if it works because I see something that sounds good and change over to that. Information saturation waters down the basics.  
 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Autoregulating Sanya

    I've been coaching for 17 years now and I can't remember when I started using autoregulation
(a-reg for short), for sure more than a decade ago. I have never used it in a sprinter's context though since I've never coached a sprinter. My own method, which I think is still a form of autoregulation, just not as much in the neurological sense, simply has an athlete look for signs of breakdown upon which the session is ended. If I recall correctly my first use of this was on one of my own hill interval sessions where my goal was 8 X 1:00 at max efforts. I thought it'd be a good idea to time the first one and also mark the start and ends and then run the rest of them by that distance aiming to complete it in 1:00. At #5 I felt a severe drop in strength and I ended the minute several meters short of the previous intervals. I ended the workout there. This is autoregulation. It's allowing your body to decide when to end the workout rather than force it to complete a predetermined distance or rep goal.
     The concept tends to float around more in weight rooms. When you use a definitive load it becomes very simple to see the drop. Cycling is another sport where it's fairly simple to use because of wattage. In sprinting you tend to have to have a complex timing system that allows you to measure top speed for a predetermined period of time. It basically takes a snapshot of your fastest speed for the predetermined interval. For sprinters this is an interval lasting either less than 9 seconds, or one lasting 10-40 seconds. The physiological significance of those two times has to do with central nervous system stimulation or not. Maximum speed can only be held for 9 seconds in a well trained elite runner, for mere mortals it's closer to 4"-6". And on a side note, when you talk about the difference in training between elite women's and men's 100 meters, this becomes a huge deal. Men are hitting 9 seconds while women are hitting 10... that one second difference changes everything because of the CNS and it's 9 second rule. Anyway.
     Today I decided to experiment with a 10 X 200 workout and allow my body to regulate the reps. I got to #5 before I felt the drop off. Although not measurable, I felt it for sure. My effort in hitting 30" was much higher and more importantly my form broke down. I ended the run there and moved into another system focus. Starting blocks. I still suck.
     The next workout I will do is going to be 20 second intervals at max velocity. I'll be using a 6 meter drop off as my a-reg cap. I'll use 6 meters to simplify this and allow myself to measure it more accurately, but 6 meters equals roughly .6 seconds (3% of 20 seconds). Once I am unable to finish within that 6 meter zone I'll be done.
     Why do this? It comes down to recovery. The last time I did the Sanya workout it took a toll on me. Traveling and all that is associated with it inhibited my recovery too, but that's part of it. Had I autoregulated that session I'm confident I'd have gotten in at least two more quality sessions since. Instead I missed them. Autoregulation is helpful in making sure you don't over stress your body and CNS and by tracking and logging the results you can eventually make sessions very predictable in terms of recovery.
     One other way that I use a-reg with my athletes is on their long runs. It's not uncommon for me to put a long run as something like 10-18 miles. Pretty vague. But my notes on that sessions will say to let your body decide the distance. Don't force it. Let the miles come to you and don't chase the numbers. Once you begin to feel a loss in mechanics then head home. A loss in mechanics (poor knee lift, weak support in lower legs, plodding basically) is a sign that you have stressed your body adequately and anything more is a) probably not making you fitter and b) increasing your risk of injury. Again, I'm not positive that this concept truly fits into the original definition of autoregulation but I think it's close enough. It's still hitting at the heart of it.
     

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Knowing when to listen to Kenny Rogers


     I slept well last night but didn't feel great jogging my initial 800 meters. My right shin was tingling, not a rare thing, which only added to the feeling that I wasn't in the mood to push today. I went through my normal warm-up routine never feeling good. 6 or 7 starts still struggling to get comfortable in the blocks. I no longer stumble as long as I don't launch out of them, which for a 400 I shouldn't need to, but I don't feel like they're making me faster. If I set them up "by the book" they are horribly awkward so I've set them up more by my own comfort level which mimics my non-block four point starting position which leads to me to think why not just stick with a four point start? Anyway.
     Then I did 3 X 100 and although they did progress in speed I never felt good. I decided to try a 200 and see if I could spark something that would lead me into a workout, went through ~150 meters and stopped, and cleared, my watch. This is one of those instances where I feel it's best to not see the data. Had I continued on through and timed the 200 I would have ended up with a "cue" if you will that only adds a negative. I knew I felt like crap. I knew it was slow. So why put that split or result in my psyche? These workouts are designed and executed with only one goal in mind. To run fast. Of course they're also designed to provide a stimulus or stress but when you're incapable of doing the prescribed work then that's an indication that you are already stressed.
     You can do two things when this happens. You can walk away or you can flub or flex the workout to get some form of work done. When I'm coaching an athlete (including myself) I take into account their goal race and distance, how far away is that race, the type of workout/ or goal of the workout, what made them tired and what is coming in the next 72 hours. So using myself as an example (play along at home if you like) here's the walk through in determining the right decision:

Goal race and distance: My goal is to run a fast 400 which requires doing hard, fast workouts only (at this point), not volume or easy runs.

How far away is that race: ~4 weeks. I don't have time to make a mistake and then correct it. Everything has to be spot on and the work I do must be quality. If I were say, 20 weeks out then this changes everything! I wouldn't be needing to run everything spot on and I could accumulate some fatigue. This is a basic concept in linear periodization.

The goal of the workout: I have two workouts to choose from. Speed and speed/endurance. I wasn't going to be able to accomplish either today. However, some (most) athletes will have more options than this like tempo, threshold, long... etc, which may mean they can shift or flex to one of those and still accomplish an effective and useful workout.
     To add another thought to this. I do have a potentiation session that is more like active recovery or stimulation. Coincidentally, a failed workout will organically become a mild potentiation session. So it's not a total loss.

What made them tired: Not necessarily what but when. Was the workout yesterday or 5 days ago? If it was 5 days ago and you're still tired then something is happening that needs to be examined more deeply. If it was yesterday well then, duh. You need more recovery! In my case though I have a few factors in play. One is the workout I did (the Sanya) on Thursday followed by travel, inconsistent and abnormal diet, and poor sleep. I'm simply not recovered from Thursday which happened to be maybe one of the best sessions I've run this year. So, I have a few viable excuses which don't concern me much right now.  

What is coming in the next 72 hours: For me I have a 5 hour drive tomorrow is all. I don't actually schedule workouts, rather I go to the track and get into my warm-up and then let the workout happen, or let my body and mind decide if it's going to happen. I coach my athletes in very much the same way. For most of them I don't write a weekly schedule. Instead we gradually get a basic week set up and get them into a rhythm, meaning we try to repeat a predictable set structure every week, IE: every Monday is a swim/ recovery bike. Every Wednesday is a swim/ hard bike... etc. Then I will write tomorrow's workout based on how they felt in today's workout. I also will very typically put in options in case they feel good or bad. Our bodies are far from a predictable thing so why try to predict how someone is going to feel 5 or 7 days from now!? You simply can't. Anyway, I'll rest tomorrow because I refuse to do a hard workout and then sit in a car for hours. That NEVER ends well for me as my psoas, hips and glutes get wrecked. So I'm hoping Tuesday I'll feel good. Patience is key at this point.

    So today I ended the run.
Know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away.
And know when to run.

 Coming up: Auto regulation to dial in your recovery and work loads.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday non workout

 I just post-posted a pre-post on this morning's workout. It didn't happen. As I got into my warm-up, feeling pretty solid, ~60 high school football players (that'd be American football not futbol/ soccer) flooded the field and track. Done. Probably a fine thing partly because I had no choice and partly because on paper another rest day will only help. I did manage to get in 5 X 50 meters + a good 10 starts out of the blocks. The far side of the track was open so I had ~100 meters to briefly work in.

1:00am ramble on potentiation, my two taper workouts and I'm not sure what day it is.

 
Yesterday I really wanted to get out and loosen up and see how my legs felt. They feel really good but walking around and sitting in a car is so far removed from my goal that it's impossible to say for sure. I have a fairly good sense of fatigue ingrained from years of hard training so I think they feel good. The central nervous system is tricky though and when the expectation of performance is maximal speed I don't think it's a matter of sensing the fatigue in a restful state. With the CNS and working in the maximal speed range even a slight compromise, which you can't necessarily sense, might be the difference between failing and success. If I were going to do easier, longer volume then I would be confident my legs were ready to go. I need to relearn this idea although I'm not 100% sure you can actually sense a slight compromise in nervous system without some form of speed or neural test. Getting out today and doing drills, plyos, and some fast strides certainly would help in finding out if I am ready to go again tomorrow (although I am writing this at 1:45am so I should say today). That is potentiation and it's sort of a big deal in the circles that are up on CNS physiology, of which I am currently working towards joining. For many years I lifted heavy on my key intense bike session days. I'd generally swim and then lift and then get on the bike immediately after and I found that my legs felt amazing. This is because I had (accidentally) utilized the idea of potentiation and had activated or woken up my nervous system. Heavy, near maximal lifting is one way to do this. I had no idea what potentiation was at the time, I was just trying to get in my daily 5-6 hours of training. There are a few ways to use potentiation and each person is different and the sport does matter. Jumpers may find that maximal lifting is excellent while a more endurance focused runner might find that plyometrics are better. Sprinters and power athletes will respond better with some form of maximal load and speed. I think it also comes down more to what form or level of stress you are already adapted to. In other words you want to stick closer to what you know. If you never lift weights then of course lifting a max load is not going to help you or if you never do plyos then it's a foreign stress and it's more of a shock, not as much a benefit. And in a way the tried and true shake out or recovery jog is a form of potentiation but I'd guess that is less potentiation of nervous system and has more to do with muscle and metabolic recovery. Jogging easy is not a good neural stimulation. But again it goes back to sport specificity. A runner who did a 20 mile run yesterday probably doesn't need potentiation but rather a more gentle form of stimulus. You have to also consider that if you ran 20 yesterday you probably aren't going to be on the track doing speed work today... although that sounds like something I have probably tried doing. Anyway,  I'll see in tomorrow's (today's) workout!
   
    I'm in the final weeks of training before my "A' race on the 26th September 3rd (the race has been moved and I'm not complaining as it gives me an extra 7 days) and I've narrowed my training down to essentially two workouts that I'll repeat over the next 4 weeks with a gradual reduction in volume within the session. Yesterday's Sanya session is the exception, I threw that in just for fun and I may do it again, but as you'll see in the following paragraph it isn't so far removed from my plan that it's a true deviation. I'm just learning all this sprint stuff and am guiding myself through it and I've really tried to simplify the structure and goals. It gets really confusing when you start reading what's out there. You have a gazillion different methods with twice that number of workouts to choose from. I could very easily overthink this process but I think with any form of running, when you're just starting out or learning, it's better to stick to basic concepts. I generally start by eliminating those workouts that I don't enjoy and those that aren't specific to the training goal. Then I pick the sessions that address my weakness but I also keep the sessions that target my strengths. You must never allow your strength to slip or become weaker because your strength is what makes you unique and sets you apart. This idea of maintain your strength and work on the weakness is most applicable in the latter stages of a training cycle or season. The time to really work on your weaknesses is further out from your goal race. In my case I've never truly had that time. I started training for the 400 in mid April, only 16 weeks ago and really everything was my weakness.
So the two sessions I've narrowed it down to are:

Speed/ endurance:
     These are called "split 400's" and are easily the toughest workout I do. Tough from a pure workload aspect. I consider this a strength of mine because I love to work hard. I'm not necessarily fast on this session but It's one that I crave and want to do over and over. Anytime an athlete loves a certain workout they will thrive. The mental side of training is very much underrated (because it's not nearly as understood as the physiology) and any positive cue from our brain should be pounced on and exploited.
 3 X (300 meters/ rest 1:00/ 100 meters) rest 5:00.
     The Sanya session I did the day before yesterday is a more gnarly S/E session with a similar focus. It's a little more blunt though and something that fits better earlier in the cycle. The 300/100 split is sharper and designed more for final specific race prep. This is very much in part because of the 100 meter interval that follows the 1:00 rest. This comes very close to mimicking the last 100 meters of a 400 (in speed that is) and the rule of specificity comes into play.
 
     Speed (my weakness): something like 2 X (3 X 50 meters flying starts) on 3:00 and 8:00. So that's 3:00 rest after each 50, and 8:00 between the two sets. This session is pure speed and central nervous system and I think is going to be my biggest challenge. I have two major factors going against me here and they're tied in together. My actual age and my athletic or sprinting age. Not only is this something I've never really trained but I'm picking it up and starting at an age where my nervous system is on the decline. Had I been a sprinter in a previous stage of life that would help, but this is all new to me. So I'm starting from zero with an already declining nervous system.

     So, this morning I'll get through the warmup and see what my legs are telling me is appropriate on the day. One training concept I'm reading more about, and like a lot, is "the Bondarchuk method". This is old school which is partly why I like it but I also feel like it's how I coach and train myself already. Bondarchuk is a Russian hammer thrower (Olympic champion himself and the coach of many champions) who changed the way coaches think of periodization. At first, on the surface, it looks fairly complex but once you begin to understand it it's actually the opposite. It's simple and relies entirely on the response of the athlete on the day and also the athlete's development over time to guide the training. If there's a downside to it for me its that it is very data driven and my own opinion on data is that it can hurt as much as help, but I think that applies much more to endurance running than anything else. That's a whole blog post in itself so I won't go there. For sprinting and power based or explosive sports however, data becomes more relevant because of the aforementioned unique qualities of nervous system fatigue. It's harder to sense or feel CNS compromise without actually testing it and seeing a result. If the goal is to log 10 miles easy (a metabolic and muscular aspect) then CNS plays a very small role in that and it being compromised won't compromise the goal. Bondarchuk also eliminates the complexity of exercises used. The idea is that you choose just a few exercises that target your goals and you simply repeat them over and over until you see a decline in performance. Once that decline hits -10% (this number is widely varied, some coaches feel that 3% is enough while others will push that much higher or deeper) then you change the stimulus. In a way this resembles in concept the Maffetone method which may be why it appeals to me? It's been 22 years now since I started using MAF!? With Maffetone you do one thing until you're fully adapted and see a plateau, then you change the stimulus. When it comes to adaptation, at a certain point change is king. There's much more to the Bondarchuk method but that's a couple of the basic ideas. One more that is applicable to me right now is response time to a training stimulus. It's applicable because I have only 4 weeks until my "A" race and that is not enough time to significantly change or enhance my weakness. So is it better to cut those losses and focus more on my strength which I have been developing for a longer period of time? I feel that my strength will be reducing my drop off in speed, or maintaining the crappy the speed I have. Slow less in the last 100 of my race. Lots of little concepts in this idea like being able to hold a higher percentage of my top end for longer and aspects of genetic muscle composition, type II versus type I dominance and so on.
     If you've read to this point I commend you. Time to go run.        





 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"The Sanya" workout. 10 X 200 averaging 29 seconds.

    This workout has been on my mind since I tried it a few days ago and I actually felt a twinge of nervousness as I laced up my spikes. I thought I could hit it but wasn't 100% sure. Today I took slight liberties with the recoveries which are supposed to be 2:00. I took 3:00 after #5 and then I think the most I took after that was 2:30. A majority of them were 2:00-2:15 rest. The goal now will be to ease back on the paces and hit 30" and also to take the prescribed 2:00 exactly.
10 X 200:

27.4
28.9
30.6
31.1
27.7
     I started way too fast again and tried to reign it in. I realized after #4 though that I was fine.
28.2
28.3
30.2
29.6
28.8

29.08 average.

     Much more consistent in the second half when I stopped overthinking the watch and trying to hit a split, I let go and just ran relaxed and fast. Very tough session!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Potentiation

     I took yesterday off to get the roof on my shed expansion. Then this morning I woke up at 1:56am and waited, as usual, for the sun to come up so I could run. I had loosely planned on a speed day but knew immediately it wasn't going to happen, so I flexed and made it an activation day. 3 X 100 and I couldn't break 13" which shows my fatigue. I'm fairly confident I'll feel good tomorrow, if I do then I'll repeat the Sanya workout and shoot for 10 X 200 in 30" on 2:00 rest and see if I can fail less than last time.

Monday, July 31, 2017

200's Sanya Richards Ross style

     I was listening to a podcast (on the way home from camping in the Medicine Bow range in Wyoming) with Sanya Richards Ross who has the US record for 400 meters in 48.7 and she was talking about her training, which of course spurred me to try one of her sessions. She's guided by legendary coach Clyde Hart who also coached Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner and I've used his template for ideas in my own training. Sanya said one of her workouts was 10 X 200 in 30" on 2:00 rest (which I have never seen in any of Hart's workouts), so this morning I thought I'd see how far into that workout I could get. Not for a second did I believe I could do the same session but it was fun to try. And fail.
 29.2/ 30.3/ 28.9/ 29.3 and then I had to take an extra SIX minutes of rest.
28.8/ 30.1 DONE.
     Not even close. Looking at my splits only verifies that my pacing sucks. I can go deeper into this session simply by pacing them better. Next time I need to try to hit 31". Today I also used starting blocks! I got hooked up by a buddy who knew someone who lent me a pair. Once again I was able to verify that I suck at something. Not totally sure what's happening but I think my first step is too long causing my leg to buckle which then causes me to stumble. I need to drag and shorten that first step. That and I need to fix the fact that I'm weak. Ya.
     I'll definitely be revisiting this session. This is obviously less about speed and more about strength and fatigue resistance, which is a major component of the 400. The athlete who slows down the least wins. This concept is basically Clyde Harts method of coaching. If you look at his training you see VERY little actual speed work. Instead he focuses more on strength and tempo with more emphasis on the recovery interval. This workout is a perfect example of this idea. 200 meters in 30" is basically jogging for Sanya Richards, but you change that rest to just 2:00 and 30" suddenly becomes something else. She said in the podcast that by #7 she's just dying.  
 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Speed

     The workout: 
4 X 50 meters out of 4 point starts. 

3 X 100 meters out of 4 point starts:
12.70
12.77
12.92
 All on 5:00 rest. 

3 X 30 meters flying starts. I planned on 4 but cut the last one because my ankle was feeling beat up. The adaptation (if possible) to the pounding it takes from sprinting will need to be nursed along gradually. I have two days off coming up so it'll be fine. 

     I'm crazy tired today and it took about twice as long to get warmed than usual. Running 12.7 was a nice surprise. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Split 400's to failure

     The workout this morning was planned as 300m/ rest 1:00/ 100m/ rest 5:00. 
Results: 
43.3/ 13.7                   
43.1/ 14.3 This 100 hurt! 
44.6 and my legs began to fail in the last ~50 meters. In my first (of only two so far) 400 I raced this year my legs failed and I started to get wobbly and it felt like I was going to fall. Today however I kept form and my legs felt solid, I just suddenly couldn't move my legs very well and they went numb. But, I still ran under 45" (that's 60" 400 pace) which was the initial goal. My glutes cramped as soon as I stopped and my legs weren't working well enough to even try the 100 to finish. It wouldn't have been useful anyway, I was done. 

    The last time I ran this session on 7/13:
 44.7/ 14.3
 44.5/ 14.5
 44.5/ 14.1

     It's possible that starting this session slightly more conservatively would have been "better", but I'm not sure if that's true. I admit that in the past I've worked too hard and pushed too hard, but that's what I enjoy more than anything. The second I finished the last 300 I wanted to go back and experience that feeling again. It's not often that we get to experience that kind of muscular failure brought on by intensity. I held strong mentally, that was not even a small issue, and was able to bring my muscles to the point that they quit before my mind did. That's a beautiful thing. So no, I ran this workout perfectly. 
    

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Speed with a little endurance

     Coach had me doing a 300/ 100 (split 400) session today but I flexed and changed it to speed. My weakness. Legs felt OK, tight but activated and strong.
 The usual warm-up.
 Then: 100- 13.7. Still getting loose and warmed up.
200- 26.7. Not a true "speed" interval and since I rested only 6:00 after these it tips over into endurance slightly.
200- 26.9.
100- 12.7. My starts suck. They feel fast but the watch doesn't lie. I still stumble every few but it's getting better. The explosive requirement is something I've never worked on. I've done a little box jumps with a weight vest but think I need a lot more. I also have too high knee lift in the first ~10 meters which only reduces my foot speed as it requires far more recovery. Think short, choppy steps.
100- 12.9.
 Then 6 X starts. Weak.

    My ankles start to ache after these sessions and I realized it's 100% due to the deceleration after I finish an interval. Going from top speed to trying to slow down just beats the crap out of my ankles. So today I tried to just relax and let speed bleed off more gradual. It helped.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hill intervals again.

     I over slept this morning and didn't have time to drive to the track and since there's not a flat section of road longer than 10 meters up here I made do with hill intervals today. My energy was through the roof and everything was firing.
Wu) Home before leaving- TRX pikes, sandbag (40 pound) swings (like kettle bell swings), sandbag torso rotations, sandbag overhead swings, jump rope. Jog to the soccer field- drills, brief plyo, stretching, then 4 diagonals.
     I measured out a 150 meter hill that starts steep and gradually lessens. The first 50 meters is ~4-5% and the last 50 is ~1-2%. The goal today was 3 X 150 mimicking the first, middle, and last phases of the 400, which means sprint the first 50, "float" or relax without losing much speed on the middle 50, then drive and dig (run ugly) on the last 50. With the last 50 being the lowest grade I was able to speed up on the last 50 which felt like a great training effect although I've never read anything regarding this. Although this is pretty much impossible to do in a 400 race, even this guy can't do it, the increased leg turn over has to have a positive CNS benefit. The decreasing grade allowed me to run stronger and hold form. If the hill were 5% the entire time I would have fallen apart a little more. The altitude (8200ft) in this case inhibited recovery more than anything. Physiologically these are too short to be affected by lower oxygen uptake during the interval, but for the 5:00 rest intervals recovery was certainly blunted. I think it would have taken closer to ~15:00 of recovery to run these at a truly high quality effort.  
     And just to add a little gasoline to the fire, I decided to put on my 20# weight vest on the final 150. Felt great on the first 50 and by the final 50 I was feeling like I was finishing a 400 race. Intense muscular fatigue just a few meters shy of starting to fail. Vision started to tunnel a little after I stopped.
     Then jogged back to the soccer field and did a brief drill set then 4 X 40 meters sprint to max speed. Jogged home.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday mix of tempo and speed

 Jog down to the soccer field. Long warm-up routine.

 No actual measurements and I didn't wear a watch, so the distances and times are just guessing.
 Then 8 X 50 meters rolling starts building to max speed on 30" rest (walk the end zone).
Rest 5:00.
Then 4 X 40 meters, 4 point starts, max speed.

Jog easy back up to my driveway, about 3:00.

 Then on the hill in front of my house, about a ~4% grade.
200 meters hard tempo.
Rest 1:00.
200 meters again but building to max effort.

Rest 5:00.

Then 4 X 20 meters 4 point starts at max effort up the same hill with a 20# weight vest. On ~2:00 rest.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

New deadlift max and vasectomy/ hernia pain

     I didn't race last night. I've felt like shit the last 3 days and it peaked yesterday. I think I felt so crappy because I was resting, which happens all the time. A severe change in a schedule tends to do that whether it's doubling your mileage or intensity or cutting it in half. I wasn't bummed though because I knew I'd feel good in the day or two and I would be able to train, which is the fun part anyway right?
     And I did feel good this morning! I went to the gym and finally deadlifted double my body weight. #290.

     Not exactly "proof" but I'm not the guy who asks someone to take a pic while I do the lift, so you'll have to take my word for it. Or not. And the bare bar weighs #60 if you're adding it up.
     I listened to a Tim Ferris podcast recently and his guest was Ryan Flaherty, an elite level strength and speed coach, and he talked a bit about using the trap bar (or hex bar) deadlift in not only determining an athletes speed but also improving it. Here's a good article on this. Strength to body weight ratio, which I feel is my #1 weakness right now. This was just my 4th time doing trap bar deadlifts so I'm over the moon with today and even better is that I didn't feel any tweaks. Well, besides my triceps. After my #290 lift I dropped the weight by #90 and did 2 sets of 16 reps and my triceps cramped.
     Another breakthrough of sorts is that I did #110 on hip ADduction (machine). The reason I've been  focusing on these is that for the past couple of years I've had a Google (self) diagnosed sports hernia. When I slept on my left side I'd have sharp pains in my groin that ran up through my lower abdominals. At first I thought it was lingering vasectomy pain (or PVPS which is a real thing), which I had for ~6 years post procedure. Pain in fact to the point where I felt I'd been punched in the junk. That slowly resolved right at the time when this new pain came about so I just thought it was part of that. But, after looking more into it I thought it may be a sports hernia. One PT exercise for such an issue is hip ADduction work. Like the Thighmaster.
     That's not me BTW, I lent mine to a buddy and he never returned it so I've had to resort to the dreaded adduction machine at the gym. It's the only piece of equipment you use where eye contact becomes awkward. I look more like this and I do scream. People STILL won't make eye contact.
       Anyway, since I've been doing this I've had 100% resolution of pain in my groin and lower abdominals and I can finally sleep facing my wife. I started a few months ago with the lowest weight possible and it HURT. It sent electric shock sensations into my groin and junk. Although that could be a good thing for some, I think it's more associated with acts that are banned by the Geneva Convention. Every week it got better though and today I was able to do #110 for a set of 10 reps with zero discomfort. Good stuff. This is all part of why I feel that weight/ strength training is such a huge deal particularly as we age. Next time you see an elderly person, really check them out as they move. Don't be creepy about it, but look at what they're lacking. It's probably strength more than anything. After the age of 30 we start to lose muscle mass with the most severe losses happening after 50. Bone density also drops off. Both of those can be prevented by exercising and strength training is of course the #1 Rx.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday 3 X 150 meters

     I felt amazing this morning. No niggles whatsoever and my hamstring was just mildly tight and loosened up well during my warm-up. Despite those things I ran pretty poorly. At my top end speed I felt awkward and the watch showed that I was slower than usual.
 3 X 150 on 5:00 rest.
19.4
19.2
19.9
     If you split it evenly that's ~13.x for the first 100 then 6.x for the last 50. I race this Thursday and am hoping to improve from my last 400 which I hit 56.8. If I run like I did today I won't. Based on today I'd run 26.x for 200 which barely slips into the 56.x range for 400. But I was working too hard on these 150's. Much harder than I will in the first 200 this Thursday. We'll see.
    It's possible that yesterday's rest has my muscles feeling lazy or not fully activated and today's run fired them up. The next two days will be more tempo type work and avoiding stressing my CNS increasing fatigue.
     

Saturday, July 15, 2017

4 X 200, nailed it exhausted

     The minute I stepped out of bed I was doubting that this workout was going to happen as my legs were tight and numb. I had a couple of things going for me though. I slept in and woke up at 3:55 which I haven't done in a while and my energy was great. Then I remembered the results from the 400 meters in my age group at yesterday's Masters National Championships.
     My motivation is high already but seeing the results added a little to it. Allen Woodard is in a league of his own but I'm always motivated seeing guys like that and it definitely makes me want to work harder.
     So the workout was planned as 4 X 200 meters in 28.5 on 5:00 rest. All of my goal workouts are planned around a goal of 53" for the 400. The warm-up started awful and I jogged two laps on completely dead legs but started to loosen as I did my stretching and drill work. My left ankle which has been sore for a few days was 100%. Hamstring was about normal. Shin 100%. I spent probably an hour total aggressively massaging my lower legs and hamstring last night and it made all the difference.
     I told myself if I had to race to get under 29" I'd bag the workout and rest.
#1- 28.8". Not as bad as I expected. I've always had this "game on" attitude anytime the gun goes off or I hit my watch to start a workout and in the flip of a switch I feel better.

#2- 27.7" feeling smooth and relaxed. The effort was there but I wasn't hammering by any means and I felt good.

#3- 27.4 easiest one.

#4- 27.1 and feeling the effort finally. Still not racing but definitely needing to focus a bit. I also ended up taking just 4:00 rest which I felt was correct today. I ran a 200 time trial a couple of weeks ago somewhat rested and split 26.2. I was super happy to get within a second of that with a wasted and tired body. I blame a mental shift in attitude and a definite bump in fitness, which are both improving quickly.
     Super happy. Anytime you step up and do something that either you probably shouldn't be able to do or at least are doubting, it's a significant win that shifts your confidence up. Tomorrow is a full rest day finally.