Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday track fail

    Like some things, even when it's bad it's good. I got to the track today. They had far less snow in town than we had up here (20"+) in the mountains so it was all clear. The plan was to do something I haven't been able to do as of late. So I chose split 400's done as 300 hard/ 1:00 rest/ 100 hard. Results.

 300 in 44.5. Done. I felt great through 200 then over the next 14 seconds I died.

    I ran one more 300 after my hamstrings loosened from their cramped state but I kept it very relaxed. Then 1 lap with the straights as tempo. So, not what I wanted but I'm not entirely shocked. Over the last several days I've had solid workouts with yesterday being a lift + 5 X 50 meters hills. Thursday was a crap ton of shoveling heavy, wet snow and I wore a 20# weight vest. I shoveled the driveway (twice), deck, and a path to my shed and it was one of the harder "workouts" I've done in a while. Plenty of reasons I sucked today but I think the main one is that I haven't done anything long in a while. I need more endurance work but not the long, slow running kind. More the speed endurance kind with reps of 300m up to 400m done at 90% to 95%. Very difficult, long efforts edging upwards to 40"-1:00. 
  Anyway. It's all fine and good, even as I was failing I was having a blast. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tuesday 8 X 40 meters

  I tell athletes that the best way to know if a workout was too hard is to wait a day. Or two. Over the years I've learned how to feel if a workout is too hard or damaging while it's happening by paying attention to how my body feels during the workout compared to how it feels the next day. By paying attention in the moment, and then looking back, you learn how to predict. During Monday's workout I stopped at the point where I thought I could be compromising the next day's workout. I was also seeing a drop off in performance which is a sign of break down.
   Yesterday I lifted early in the morning for ~45:00, lots of jumping and eccentric hamstrings to mitigate my HHT (high hamstring tendinopathy) that has been niggling. As long as I continue to load it heavy, eccentrically and frequently it's fine and good but I dropped off the routine last week and it's flared back up. Then late in the day, thank you daylight savings, I went to the soccer field and did a speed session and practiced my starts with 8 X 40 meters. After the first one which was dismal I managed to get the next 7 under 5.8 seconds. Which isn't great but considering my fatigue it's fine. Part of the goal was also to work on my starts which are slowly becoming consistently good with much less thought. I also forced this a little because of the storm that moved in last night and will prevent me from running for at least two days.
 The first few inches of a potential foot of snow. Old Man Winter is grumpy.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday 10 X 100 (or split 200's) up/down contrast

  I haven't posted for a minute but I'm continuing to train fine considering the weather has been less than ideal for sprinting.
  Today was contrasting uphill/ downhill 100's on (maybe) a 2% grade. These were broken up into sets of two (also called split 200's) with a 1:00 to 2:00 rest between each. Then 6:00 to 8:00 rest between sets. I'm finding that the typical one minute rest between split intervals isn't productive at 8000+ ft altitude, I think it only inhibits performance. That 60" rest protocol is based on an assumed sea level altitude with the goal of neural and ATP recovery but still allowing high lactate levels, never a mention of actual O2 uptake. At high altitude though O2 becomes a real issue. After 60" rest I'm gasping for breath and it's actually peaking at that point. Today, between 100's, I waited until I actually caught my breath and was no longer feeling light headed which was coming on after about 1:30.
  I've never read anything about contrasting up/down hill workouts so I was sort of making it up as I went. My idea today was to use the downhills to allow me to run faster in a fatigued state than I could on a track, not only in terms of the individual 100's but also the volume. 10 X 100 is a ton of sprinting and I was hoping the downhill would allow me to eek out more reps. So I ran my first 100 UPhill/ rested 1:00 up to 2:00/ then ran a 100 DOWNhill. The first 100 was an aggressive but relaxed effort, no time goal. The downhills were just max effort, no time goal. One other reason for this workout was that I don't have access to a flat 100 meters unless I drive an hour round trip.

 The first two were still sort of warming up and getting a feel for the hill.
100- 13.7 uphill
100-13.3 downhill

100- 13.5 up
100- 12.7 down

100- 12.9 up
100- 12.4 down

100- 13.0 up
100- 12.7 down

100- 13.4 up
100- 12.8 down

   Not sure if this is an effective workout or not. I'll find out in a few months, but of course one workout has little impact on overall performance. It was fine though and I had fun. However, I am sure that the downhills allowed me to run more total meters faster than I could have on a track. I averaged 13.0 seconds for 10 X 100 (or 26" for 5 X 200 meters, not really but sort of) which I doubt I would be able to do otherwise. I'm also not rested, previous workouts have been solid so doing this well in a fatigued state is quite good for me.
   One thing to note is that downhill sprinting is as violent as it comes. I've read that pushing downhill sprints too aggressively is a "potentially career ending" exercise. I've also read that injury rates increase 3600% when fatigue begins to inhibit nervous system economy. So basically downhill sprinting when fatigued increases injury risk by a gazillion percent. It's probably best not to try it.

Here's the hill.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday 100's

    Friday was a great hill workout. Yesterday was a ridiculously solid strength session focused on jumps, loaded jumps, and messing around with some shoulder stuff. I've backed way off on any upper body lifting in the interest of keeping that mass or weight down. I'm consistently at 155-160 pounds regardless but every little bit I don't gain helps.
    Today I felt really good but could definitely feel some nervous system fatigue but I went to the track anyway because it's the weekend and I won't be able to get on all week because of school. Tired, but not knackered, so I gave it a go. Freezing cold, 28 degrees and a steady ~10-15 mph wind. The turf infield was snow with spots of dry but lane 1 and 2 were dry from someone shoveling. The goal was 3 sets of 3 X 100 on 1:00 rest. Full recovery between sets. I stopped after two sets.
     Choosing goal times for short intervals is pretty tricky and I've found it more effective to go by perceived effort and percentages. Similar to Daniel's VDOT chart I use a % chart based on various personal bests or current level of fitness. So today I ran at two efforts, 100% for the first ~20 meters and then 95% for the remaining 80 meters. Which is kind of similar to how you'd race a 200.
Set #1
13.6 blocks
13.8 no blocks/ curve
13.5 no blocks

Set #2
12.9 blocks
14.2 no blocks/ curve and I tripped, more on that in a minute.
13.6 no blocks

     On the curve of that last set I kicked my leg on the swing through, first time that's happened. I'm wondering if that's a sign of the neural fatigue. My times were also meh but I was putting out the effort so I'm guessing that it was.

 Then I practiced my starts. I still need work but they are getting better. My issue is that I take too big a first step when I need to keep it much shorter. Technically, your leg moves faster because it's not moving as far and also you're not loading that lead leg at a disadvantageous angle (too bent) and losing power on the drive. Similar to the loading disparity between a full squat and 3/4 squat, the 3/4 squat is much higher because you don't break over that more extreme/ weak angle. When I try really hard to explode out, I over step. When I relax and don't try as hard, it's much better and faster.

 Then I ran one more 100, blocks, in 12.9.

     Back to the VDOT idea thing and choosing splits. Taking out the trippy 100 this workout indicates that I'm in about 25 high 200 shape. That's very encouraging because today I was quite fatigued and the weather wasn't good for sprinting. 

    Good workout even though the times were mediocre. Being self coached and having no second opinion or source for advice I often doubt whether or not I'm training hard enough. I wonder if all those years of training too hard has made me too cautious. I could have banged out several more 100's in under 14" today but I don't know if I would have been better or worse for it. I think it's prudent to start with caution and work up but I still wonder what level of fatigue is good or bad with sprinting. There's something called autoregulating where you let the watch decide that point. Once you become too fatigued to finish within X% of the goal then you are done. I'm still figuring all this out. Of course time will tell and performance tests are needed which is something I am lacking. Maybe I need more time trials? I do know for sure that I am faster over 40 meters but that's not a good predictor of whether or not my 200 and 400 fitness is progressing, in fact it may indicate that my programming is wrong. It's also tough to track since I do (now) 95% of all of my training on a hill at 8200ft altitude which doesn't give reliable performance data for a track race. Lot's of questions. But, I am having a blast so that's all that really matters for now.   

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday hill sprints

Today was 10 X 9" hill sprints. Deceptively difficult because I was only taking ~1:00-1:30 between each. At 8000+ ft altitude you never really catch up. I started with a comprehensive jump session and then 3 X 30 meter tire pulls.
 Here are a couple of videos. I couldn't figure out how to upload them to Google (I'm tech challenged) from my iphone but I figured out how to upload them to Twitter and then embed them. Beautiful day for once and you can see the hill where I do nearly all of my sprint training. Not ideal but I'm making it work. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sprint periodization and training ramble

   I'm 16 weeks out from my first race of the year which will be the 200 meters. I've kicked around the idea of starting with an 800 meter but in the interest of staying dedicated to the 400 I'm going with the 200. Generally, training for the 800 won't help your 400 but training for the 200 will (it depends a little on where you're coming from in terms of race focus. A marathoner will run a faster 400 if they focus on the 800, but a 200 meter runner probably won't). For a sprinter, the requirements for a fast (sub 2:00 in my case) 800 will more than likely hurt your 400 speed. As with any race, the 400 is defined by energy "systems" or metabolism or fuel. More so than any other race however the sprints require a much higher degree of nervous system economy. Training at much slower paces and higher volume inhibits, and can actually hurt, central nervous system development as it applies to sprinting. If an endurance runner has a poor Vo2 (poor economy of movement) that's OK because other systems can make up for it. But with sprints if your economy is poor there aren't any other energy systems that can compensate to a degree that will make up for it. Also to consider is the duration of the event and what even a small deficiency of movement means. I spent the entire summer last year trying to take a HALF second off my 200, so small changes in economy have a significant impact.
     Anyway, before I get way of track, I'm 16 weeks out and in what you might call a general preparation phase. The goal is to build "endurance", and remember I need endurance that carries me for less than 55 seconds (my first race is 200 meters BUT my ultimate goal is the 400), and speed. Speed in the truest sense is something that MUST be placed at the forefront of any sprinters program. Duh. For me I need more max velocity rather than acceleration. I'm relatively faster from 0-30 meters than I am 0-60 meters which means I have a poor top end. I am explosive and powerful but at top speed my economy isn't great. So in this phase my focus will be on continuing to build my strength and power, with weight room work and lots of jumping, and also to improve my 60-80 meter times. Something to consider, once you go beyond ~7"-8" then you are no longer doing true speed, you're now tipping over into the next energy system. A general idea as to what the various systems look like:
1"-8" you use alactic metabolism. As the duration indicates this is your explosive or immediate movement. You produce/ burn ATP quickly and it runs out fast. You can also call this the ATP-CP system. CP stand for creatine phosphate. Of note, when you focus on this duration you go 100% only and your recovery intervals need to complete. 1:50 up to 1:100 ratio of work to rest. This is true "speed" work. Anything over 8" is not speed work. And I base that off the truest definition of maximal output. I understand that there is "speed" relative to your event.
3"-10" After the initial couple of seconds of explosion you start producing lactate. In the 3"-10" range you can refer to it as power/ short lactic. Energy systems blend into one another so you're rarely in just one. The 400 meters, and to a lesser extent the 200, covers all of these (the ones I'm writing about today) which makes it tricky to train for. If you're weak in one area you won't run fast.
10"-20" Very much lactate, or power/ long lactic. Edges into "speed endurance".
20"-60" Lactate capacity or as I call it, my favorite. Very much speed endurance. This is by far the most painful type of training and also the most (overall) specific to the 400. Intervals are long and hard (95%-100% efforts) with relatively short recovery between reps. A workout example would be 200 meters HARD/ rest 1:00/ 200 meters best effort. Then you would rest ~8:00-12:00 between the next split 400. I read somewhere that blood lactate might only begin to plateau at ~10:00 post interval, so after that second 200 your lactate levels continue to climb for 10 minutes. Brutal. And awesome! It's also something that endurance athletes could learn a little bit from when doing threshold intervals. You can take more rest than is typically prescribed and when I coach my athletes I tend to write "rest as needed". If you do 5 X 1000 at threshold you can take 1:00 up to 5:00 rest. The more important data point is the speed of the 1000. If you take too little rest then the quality will diminish.
 Then you go into energy systems based more off Vo2 max or the traditional "endurance" training. Duration ranges from 1 minute up to hours.

     So, again, I'm 16 weeks out and I'm supposed to be focusing on more general preparation. Long tempo is a key workout but I'm going to take some liberties with this idea. I sort of, in my very limited scope of understanding physiology, disagree with the long tempo for sprinters. For an endurance athlete I feel that the long tempo could be the only workout you do. For a sprinter however I feel it's bordering on harmful to an athlete with a speed weakness. And this is specific to ME as an athlete. My endurance, the type you develop with efforts at 70-75%, is far from my weakness. I've been an endurance athlete for 35 years. I feel that the long tempo is good for an athlete moving up from the 100 to the 400, or for an athlete moving up from the 400 to the 800. But for a guy moving from 100 MILES down to the 200 meters, I don't like it. I feel I'd be much better if instead of a long tempo I'd do speed endurance or speed or max velocity, or a jump workout with plyo which is more my limiter.
   So no long tempo. Another factor is that I've basically been in a general prep phase for the past 5 months. So how much more do I need? I feel, and have proven, that my ultimate genetic gift is durability. I'm not naturally fast or strong or an endurance monster... but I can train hard enough to make up for those short comings. Part of that durability comes from learning (too many times to count) where my limits are and also having a healthy paranoia for soft tissue injury. Over the decades I've pushed to my limits until I almost broke, then I rested just enough to avoid an injury. It's made me durable. I also have the bone density of James Howlett. So, I think I can handle a higher load than most which means I want to blend my general preparation phase with the next phase which can be called the "specific phase".
 On that note, it seems that the term "specific training" gets a bad rap. When we communicate amongst ourselves we use terminology to convey our meaning. The word specific indicates training that requires efforts or movements similar to their event. You can assume that a "specific" workout for a sprinter isn't a two hour long run at MAF and that a specific workout for an Ironman isn't 20 meter block starts. I also think the word "specific" indicates something that directly tranfers to your race performance. Loaded back squats are not specific to running. There is a very general or ancillary benefit which can support specific training. But it is not specific and it doesn't directly transfer. If you improve your back squat by 10% that doesn't mean you are now faster. You've gained strength so completely NON-specific to the neural requirements of sprinting that it may make you slower. And if you deep squat you may have compromised the stiffness qualities of your quad tendon which will absolutely make you slower. Enough.

 So I'm going to start to bring in specific training to my general preparation. This means rather than doing long tempo I'm going to be doing speed endurance. But, there is yet another thing here. Extensive tempo can also be used as a recovery or easy day. This is something that's tough to wrap my mind around. I have it on my schedule as an option but I'm sure that 99% of the time if I need a recovery day I'll either rest completely or bike (not specific to sprinting in any way.)

 So here's my basic week that I'll be using for the next 4 weeks. The way I tend to coach myself is I have a set number of workouts within a week and I do them as I feel. I take different options depending on how I feel. With sprinting and the need to go near max every time there are plenty of unplanned days off. My schedule is just a loose template or guide to each week. There also is no need to change this schedule for 4 weeks. It'll take longer than that just to realize any significant compensation. On any given day I'll shorten or lengthen intervals (within the ranges of specific duration goals) depending on how I feel playing it more by ear. My tendency is to go harder and do more so I don't feel that keeping it fluid hurts me. It's entirely about listening to my body.
 And on a final note, I didn't put in my strength days. I'll do those before or after the short hill sessions.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday speed endurance

     We spent the weekend back home where it never got above 15 degrees. It's also where they don't plow or clear snow off of anything so the footing sucked. I actually went to the track hoping my spikes would provide enough traction to do a workout but it was a fail.
    Today it was 18 degrees and snowing when I started my workout and the roads were just wet, not slick. I really don't care about the temperatures, it's entirely about the footing. If I wanted to run easy for miles then it'd be a simple and familiar thing, but trying to run fast on anything but good footing would be careless.
 Warm-up- Jumping. Lots and lots of jumping. As long as you aren't super fatigued starting a workout, then often times just doing a comprehensive jump/ plyo routine is plenty. And then of course nothing prepares you for running as well as running does so I started with 4 X 50 meters. Everything today was up the steep hill in front of my house. I swept the sand off my starting line and the first 20 meters. 
 2 X 50 meters max accelerations. Which means race like starts. Since I can't set up my blocks in the road (Yet. I have an idea as to how I can do that once the tarmac thaws) that means 3 point starts.
 2 X 50 meter max velocity. Which means flying starts. I took ~40 meters and built to near top end speed and then accelerated at the line and went 100% for 50 meters. All of these were on 3:00 rest.
 Rest 8:00.
 Then 2 X 150 meters. 3 point starts at 100% effort. Pretty brutal intervals. At the 50 meter mark you're still accelerating or just topping out and you feel fine. At 100 you start looking for the finish hoping it comes quick. By 125 you're tying up trying to relax and drive your arms.
 Super happy to hit 25" low on each. Not sure I've run a 150 that fast on my hill let alone two of them. Rested 8:00 between each.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Neurotype- 100 mile to 100 meters.

     I'm writing this in rambling fashion. I've forgotten all of the stuff I learned when I got my double  PhDs in creative writing and physiology from Columbia. Just as I've blocked the most horrifying parts of that time on Hoth  when my friend found me unconscious in a blizzard and saved my life by stuffing me inside his gutted Tauntaun. Both of those are equally true.

 This is more just thoughts on my experiences in training for and racing both ultras, the 100 mile specifically, and sprints and how they differ in terms of neurotransmitters and personality type. 
  My first race back after running 100 miles was 100 meters where I ran 12.8 seconds after stumbling out of the blocks. It was my first time ever using blocks. I've improved a ton so they are no longer a stumbling block. That's sort of a wide range of effort and distance and the disparity goes well beyond the physical. The mental aspect is so different that I wouldn't even classify the two as a similar sport. The mental aspect not only varies from the idea of time and intensity but also from the chemicals involved in the brain. How you think of it and what it requires to sprint and how you feel afterward is very chemically dissimilar. Arousal before the race is even profoundly different with one being a Celine Dion song trying to relax and the other akin to lighting yourself on fire while listening to AC/DC's Thunderstruck.

These neurotypes have come about from a body builder (Christian Thibaudeau) so they are aimed at strength athletes more than runners. I look at them only as a runner so I can see the similarities and they absolutely apply. If you look at how a self coached athlete chooses their training program/ workouts or race distances you will see correlations in preference, similar to food choices, music, clothes.  Here's a basic idea of the different neurotransmitters at play and how they line up with various personality types:
1A Dopamine Seeking. High acetylcholine. Most neurally powered. Can tolerate the highest intensity loading but does best with the lowest volumes.

 1B Dopamine Seeking. Low acetylcholine Also neurally driven, but more explosive than the 1A. More "athletic", where 1A uses brute force to accomplish a task. Many track and field jumpers.

 2A Adrenaline Seeking. High GABA. Very outgoing due to a desire for affirmation of others and low social anxiety. Does well with a mix of neural and muscular training. Can be difficult to taper and prepare for high competitions.

 2B Adrenaline Seeking Low GABA. More of a "bodybuilder" type. Higher anxiety and reward dependent. Not generally a great athlete, has to work very hard to be good at their sport and is often a more supporting player. Doesn't tolerate a lot of intense neural work well.

 3 Serotonin seeking. Overproduces cortisol. High anxiety and seeks predictability. Makes good endurance athletes since this type of work is highly predictable. Doesn't do well with neural work, since they have the weakest nervous system.

  These neurotypes or personality types are general observations in different athletes and there is no  cut and dry rule on each. Although I do feel that our personality types (hormone dominance) do choose our ideal natural discipline. Me for instance. I'm a type 1 yet I did well at Ironman and ultras. I consciously chose those sports but my true happiness always came from intensity. I just happen to be durable enough (from starting strength training from an early age) that I was able to do a crap ton of volume (for the sport), up into the 30-40 hours a week range for years, and mix in a crap ton of intensity which was/ is my type 1 personality showing through, which is similar to a person craving a piece of cake. I crave(d) intensity for a hit a of dopamine which is tougher to obtain on a 5 hour run or bike. A 200 meter sprint is an immediate fix. But it ultimately led to massive under performance in Ironman because of constantly being tired. I suspect I may have been a more natural Olympic distance guy.

  You can mix, or find a mix of, the various types within an individual but there will always be an underlying preference that indicates the neurotransmitters that we're seeking. As a coacher of athletes for the past 20 years as I learn more about the chemical side of personality I am trying to correlate or classify athletes with this in mind. I have an athlete who over the past 3 years has gone from focusing on 100 milers to wanting to run a fast 5k. He then switched to Ironman and has been able to do massive amounts of volume. Yet this past Saturday ran a solo 16:30 5k  time trial on the track. He's always up for and enthusiastic for intensity. He was also a professional golfer which, believe it or not, is very much a type 1 athlete in that it's risk seeking both in the sport itself and as a chosen profession. And if you think about golf from a neural pov it isn't that much different from a sprinter. You line up and need hyper focus for just a few seconds. Then you take (maybe) a risk in your shot and then you're immediately gratified with success. Or that's what you're seeking anyway.
 Definite Type 1-2 tendencies. His type 3 side comes into play, in my opinion, more from the novelty side of Ironman and also the significant challenge it presents. Ignoring neurotransmitters for the sake of the challenge or discipline is a whole nother blog post in itself. Craving desert (sugar cravings can also be a sign of high cortisol levels) but not allowing it because of the satisfaction of being disciplined is a mobius strip of psychology. Anyway, his recovery and ability to absorb massive volume is very good which isn't necessarily a type 1 trait. He's just as happy banging out 200's on a track as he is riding 6 hours on a trainer. So he's a mix and as his coach I need to be aware of this and recognize that he will thrive more if I don't go by the book with periodization and allow some satisfaction of his underlying cravings. The good thing is that I recognize this and I also see how destructive a durable and motivated athlete can be to themselves.

  Understanding an athlete's neurotype should not only help to steer their race choices but also steer their periodization. Polarized training for example is a good choice for an athlete who enjoys intensity, or a type 1-2. They may need a long, focused period of Z2 or easy mileage but if they get bored and aren't enjoying it then I say don't do it or at the very least allow some workouts that are "fun" for them. You could also extend this concept over to the workplace and examine the productivity of employees. I guarantee the most productive people are the ones who enjoy their job. 

 I had written a bunch more on this but was going in circles and rambling way off track so I cut it short here. I feel there is real potential in understanding neurotypes and what types of training will yield the best results.
 If you're interested in learning more from the Master himself then check out Christian Thibaudeau over at T-nation. Like I said, he's a bodybuilder and his perspective is from that view point BUT there is real correlation in runners and endurance athletes. We have the same hormones and neurotransmitters that guide everything we do.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday 3 X 100 meters

 On my hill, 3 X 100 meters at max effort. I went in with no goal other than to get maximal stimulation with the minimal number of repeats. To get the most out of the least you have to give each interval 100%. The idea here is based more on the electrical (CNS) rather than the metabolic. 
 Swept the sand off the first 20 meters of road. 3 point starts. Focusing on stomping the ground after the first 20 meters (increased ground force = increased drive) and good arm swing. Head down, chin tucked for the first 20 meters. Good dorsi flexion in my ankles and sweeping back before ground contact.
 All on 4:00 rest. Probably should have taken more.
 Hamstrings and glutes started to ache after the third 100. I'm certain that a 4th would have been slower. Maximal stimulation with just 300 meters of running. Perfect. Huge neural demand/ stimulation with minimal metabolic/ hormonal stress = minimal recovery.

 I have about 5 pages of writing done on a blog post that might be forthcoming. It's a long ramble  about personality types in running. Ultrarunners VS sprinters specifically and the chemical/ neurotransmitter differences and how it applies to preferred training and race distances. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Speed work

  5 X 40 meters. Measured out on the soccer field with my handy wheel measurer. I brace my starting blocks up against a corner fence post so they don't slip.
 All on ~3:00 rest. These are of course hand timed which means they aren't very accurate but I think I'm at least consistent. I use a starting block app on my phone and hit my stopwatch button at the gun. That 5.5 is about as fast as I've ever run 40 which is a good sign for February in terms of my speed.
 Then I finished with 2 X 10 meter fly.
 Then I lifted pretty hard with a focus on loaded box jumps and starting block box jumps. Basically get down in the 4 point position and then start/ jump onto a a box.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday track fail

  From the start my legs felt great. Loose, fluid and springy and my rhythm was great. Then when I started the workout I sucked.
 The loose plan was split 300's of 200 meters aggressive/ 1:00 rest/ 100 meters hard.
 First 200 in 27.04/ 100 in 14.3. Glutes started to cramp, legs felt like wood. I pushed pretty hard yesterday (and the day before. And the day before that) so I should have expected it.
 Switched it up after a 10:00 rest trying to get my glutes to unlock and ran:
100 in 14.2
100 in 13.07
200 in 29.0 (tempo)
200 in 29.4 (tempo)
 I probably could have banged out 29" 200's for quite a while just by muscling them but I was working harder than I wanted so I bagged it.
 Ultimately I just wanted to get on a track in nice weather and run fast/ hard so this was a great workout regardless of the fail. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday 8 X 200

  First Boulder summer series track meet is in 19 weeks. That's a really long time to prep for a 1 lap race. I feel like I almost need to focus on something else like cycling for a few weeks. 
8 X 200 meter hill tempo on 200 walk/ jog recoveries. 2 miles total. This would be called extensive tempo and is a "general prep" or base period workout for a 400 m runner and, interestingly enough, also an in season or build period workout for an 800 runner.
 I wore my Garmin today. Nice graph.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday leg violence + central governor ramble

 Am) ~1:00 lift. Solid loaded box jumps holding 20# kettlebells. I told myself I would stop jumping. I didn't. 30 meter prowler sprints. Lots of other weight lifting thingies. I also tried the Concept II rower for the first time and think it may be something to include in future sessions. Seems an adequate modality for suffering.

Pm) I headed out to jog easy for 4 miles. Ended up seeing that the soccer field had a strip of dry turf and did 6 x 40 meter max speed sprints. Then on the way home I spotted a dry-ish stretch of road. It's a stretch I've scouted previously thinking it would be good for downhill, over speed work. A very gentle ~1%-2% grade. Today it happened to also have a 20-30mph tail wind. So I did 3 X (maybe) 80 meter assisted sprints. Holy crap. Once you get up to speed, and I was sprinting at max, it becomes an exercise in trying not to eat pavement. I ended up being able to control it better but it never wasn't violent and on the edge of out of control. I called it after 3 when I realized I might be getting lucky that I wasn't breaking or tearing something. Or hadn't tripped and left half my skin on the road.
 Then I jogged 1 mile.
 Then finished with 4 X 200 meter hill intervals dodging patches of ice and snow. Since this entire workout wasn't planned I didn't really have a goal. So I just ran hard. #3 was finishing at max effort and I ended up with tunnel vision at the end. #4 was pushing to max effort from the start and needing to sit, rather than fall at the end. The recoveries were walk/ jog back down so only maybe ~2:00 or so which is about 8:00 shy of proper recovery and being at 8200+ ft altitude and going well into the red, I couldn't breath after #4. I don't have asthma but I'm thinking this is probably what it's like having an attack. Gasping and struggling for air realizing you aren't getting it and then realizing you aren't going to get enough to keep standing.
  I've talked about this hypoxic state previously on the ATC podcast, and not to sound too masochistic, but this place or this state is a pretty amazing and interesting place to be. To get there is very difficult and the reason for that is because our bodies have a hard wired mechanism to prevent it. It's sort of a fight or flight mechanism but more what Noakes called the Central Governor Theory.  It's something that has fascinated me ever since I learned of it and I've long sought out ways to experience it. I've sat in dry saunas for upwards of an hour which I still feel is the best way to experience it in a controlled environment. The sauna also allows you to feel the various stages of distress or intensity starting gently, more a whispered warning, up to extreme, more a scream deep in the lizard brain. It may sound hokey but if you get a chance, just go and sit in a dry sauna until you feel the need to get out... then stay for another 30:00. Anyway, today was all central governor and I love being in that place. I feel that the only way to understand it, and thereby learn to override (?) or at the very least become comfortable with it, is to be there. Then when you're there to recognize it and then try to understand what you're feeling and thinking. The beginning is largely just basic pain management. Pain is a signal that tells your brain to knock off whatever the hell it is making your body do. Most people listen to the signals. But what if you don't? You head into another stage and I suspect that it feels different for everyone. It probably also has something to do with, or changes based on, oxygen levels and body core temps. Today it was 25 degrees so my body core temps weren't a factor but had it been 100 degrees I imagine what I felt would have been different. Ultimately though the only way to find out what happens if you ignore the first warning signals is to ignore the first warning signals. No different than becoming familiar with various paces or efforts I think its important to also experience various stages of the central governor.

 And here's a bit of what I'm currently listening to whilst trying to hurt myself.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday (sort of) split 400's on the bike.

  I couldn't bear to, nor could I, try to run split 400's (which is on my schedule for the day) on a road covered in ice so I decided to do it on the bike. You can't generate the sustained watts on a bike (no one/ few (?) can) to simulate running at 400 race pace. So the crossover isn't there in terms of muscular stimulation. Cycling is of course muscularly different than running anyway. Split 400's when run correctly are mostly about lactate tolerance and you can elevate lactate to similar levels which was the goal today. I decided to also throw in some off the bike strength stuff which I've been doing during bike sessions since the 90's. 1996 to be exact.
Wu) 5:00 easy spinning. Then kettle bell swings, bulgarian split squats in the TRX, isometric squat rounds for 40" on/ 15" off. Spin on the bike for 10:00.
 Then 3 rounds of:
45" best efforts/ spin easy for 1:00/ 15" MAX output with cadence 95-100 revs. Brutal.
Spin for 5:00.
Off the bike to 40" iso squat/ TRX split squats as 15 concentric reps followed by isometric hold to failure/ 20 KB swings. Spin easy for ~2:00 or so. Then hit the next round.
  Good workout. It felt good to be on a bike. I watched The Punisher whilst riding.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday track

  The weather is going to turn again so I headed down early to get a track session in. The track I prefer isn't open during school hours and with school out today it'd be the last chance this week. There's a dirt track I can hit mid-day but I imagine with all the moisture it's going to be pretty rough and sloppy.
 ~25 degrees to start so I wasn't able to shed many clothes and opted for double layers all over which made running fast just slow and hard. No planned structure other than I wanted to run at least some hard 200's. Legs felt tight and tired from the go and I didn't manage to break 30" for a single 200. Hamstrings started to get crampy after #5.
 Felt great to be on the track in spikes again though!
100m- 15.5. Ugh, not a good sign.
5 X 200m with every one in 30.x" no matter how hard or relaxed I ran. One of those days.


Nick Symmonds recommended this little finger watch during one of his recent Youtube videos. Pretty cool. 

Yay. Winter. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday hill intervals

 Our weather has been horrid. Back when I was doing tons of volume it didn't matter. I just bundled up and went out and slogged through miles. Poor footing I just slowed down and kept it easy. Now-a-days my intent is much different and I sort of need to include some quality in each session. Even my long runs are tempo intervals. The past few days however I couldn't even do that. Friday was ~8" of new snow, on top of the 12" we just got, and I ran by a snow plow that had gotten stuck. In 10 years living in the mountains that was a first. Yesterday we had 30-40mph winds and sub freezing temps. Today it's sunny and a balmy 42 degrees with light winds. The roads are still crap, stretches of packed snow/ ice and TONS of sand. I managed to find a somewhat clean 50 meter strip and swept it clearer and was able to do quality today.

Am) 45:00 lift with my son. He recently turned 12 and that's the age minimum at my gym so he's been coming with me. He has zero interest in running but is jazzed to lift. He did the Murph WOD a couple months ago and loved the lift parts, hated the run. I've kept him entirely on the skill of movement and education (the why and what muscles) side of the sessions. He loves it.

Pm) 4 X 200m hard. Last week I ran 8 X 200m in 45"-48" as a long tempo session, today was pushing more to speed endurance. No watch, I just wanted to hurt. I did.
 Then 4 X 50 meters, 3 point starts and max intent. 100% effort. These felt amazing, it's been awhile since I've gotten to sprint! Then 1 mile easy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


My knee is solid. It just needed a few easy days of not beating the crap out of it. I've said many times that intensity is violent. Weak things break too so I need to step back in the weight room and do some basics. The basics tend to not be as advocated as some of the more plyo-ish exercises which is why I've veered away from them.
 Today was 4 miles easy. Or as easy as I can go living where I do. I finished with a remarking of the 300 meter hill I live on. I have it measured every 50 meters and it's where I've done probably 84.7% of all of my quality training.
This is my neighborhood. Not a flat 20 meters anywhere and it's all between 8000-9300 ft altitude.

Looking back down from the 250 meter mark 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday lift and the last few days

  Meh lift for me this morning. My left knee is a little inflamed with what me and Google have determined is arthritis. It's very mild but it's there and it makes me flinch when I consider my health. Pretty much my only goal in taking on this sprint thing was to get and be healthy and strong for the future so this makes me nervous. Pretty sure I pissed it off with jumping so that'll no longer be part of my regimen. I torqued that knee severely back in (iirc) 2010 a couple of months before I first ran the Leadville 100. Pushing a merry-go-round of all things and then struggled to hold some semblance of training for the race. Once I could bear load I'd run ~30 miles in pain and then take 5 days off or just bike. Then repeat once my knee settled down. Anyway, I suspect that knee is compromised and will need to be babied. It's not bad at all, just a mild ache/ burning and it's not in the joint itself but more on the medial tibial plateau.
  Yesterday I actually did a proper "long" run for the first time in forever and even wore a HRM. 3 miles in 28 minutes with my average HR at 143. I was a bit surprised as I expected something more like 35:00 and HR 150+. I did that in part to take it easier on my knee and also because the roads are still covered from the foot of new snow. It was interesting wearing a HRM (or even just a watch) after not wearing one for so long and the affect it had on my thinking. Not a good thing either but more a distraction and an added stressor.