Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday

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.
Pics.
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. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tuesday Lift + hill intervals

Woke up motivated. I drove into town and washed my car while I waited for the gym to open at 4:30. I had the entire car wash to myself oddly enough. Super solid lift and I felt great. I haven't lifted too hard over the past couple of weeks because I wasn't running. I'm a runner, not a weight lifter and I feel that focusing too heavily on lifting won't help a runner. Strength work is a supplement. I was in the gym for an hour and focused mostly on loaded box jumps, hex bar deadlift plus 5 X 20 meter sled sprints. I do the loaded box jumps using a 16" high box, so its low, holding 20# kettlebells in each hand. Each jump is very focused and intentional with ~15" rest between while I reset. The focus is on exploding up only. I played around with offset footing or more horizontal jumps, meaning I started ~12" or so away from the box forcing me to jump forward rather than just up and I offset my feet more similar to how I come out of the starting blocks.

 Pm) Short on time so I warmed up then ran a 200 up the hill in front of my house. Not sure what the grade is but it feels solid. I'd guess maybe 5%-6%. I hit 38". Then I walked back down and ran a max effort 100 in 15". I felt the relatively brief rest since I'm at over 8000ft altitude. I was still very much out of breath and not recovered much at all. I achieved the spectacular, dare I say glorious, butt lock which I haven't felt in a long time. I think that had more to do with the heavy hip/ glute loading I did in the gym this morning.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Masters track and field World rankings

 These are my rankings in the 45-49 Age Group (I'm 47) in the US for 2018 in the 200 meter and 400 meter.

I ran one 400 meter race this past year. I was solely focused on running a fast 200 meter and getting under 25". It took my old legs an entire summer to get it but I ran 24.7" in August. I'm officially ranked #22 in the US for the 200 with my previous time of 25.2". If they had counted my 24.7" I'd be ranked #16.

In my one 400 meter race in September I went 55.91 which puts me #7 in the US and #95 in the world. I ran this off of training for the 200 so I'm optimistic for this year where I'll be all in for the 400.

  I'm over the moon with these silly results in such a niche sport! 6 years ago I won the Leadville Leadman race and was doing 40 mile trail runs and 6 hour bike workouts. Then I took 4 years off almost completely. Now I'm ranked in the top 10 in US in the 400 meters. My ego is sparkling more than usual.

200 meter rankings 

400 meter rankings

Track plus new Merlin Magia bicycle.

  After a brief hiatus, missing the past couple of weeks due to my being a weather wuss, I wanted to do a time trial. I base all of my training off my 200 meter fitness so I felt it would be good to get a sense of where I am.
 Comprehensive warm-up as always.
 100 meter flying start in 12.2". This was still more of my warm-up.
200 meter strong but not pressing in 27.7".
200 meter in 26.6" from a 3 point start edging towards max. I had more in me but I felt the effort was OK to give me an idea.
 So I lost a little but I'm still pleased with where I am for January. This was close to my PR from early last year.

Back story- way back, about a 14 years I was a sponsored by Merlin (then Quintana Roo) and I used to get 2 bikes a year from them.
 In ~2004 I sold a frame to an athlete that I was coaching. A Merlin Magia which at the time was their top of the line titanium frame. Although I feel their Extralight was/ is still the standard. I have one of those too. The Magia is a compact design and weighs 2.2 pounds but I feel is meant for a slightly lighter rider. The Magia is pretty much the same as the Lightspeed Ghisallo for the Ti bike geeks out there. I have the slightly heavier and more robust iteration called the Agilis which is still my absolute favorite bike. Anyway, he contacted me recently and said he was done with it and would like to give it back to me. I drove down yesterday and picked it up. I'll be rebuilding it and putting on some of the many extra bike parts I have, and not that I'm a weight weenie but without even really trying it'll be sub 16.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Friday 1500 meter long run but what some people might call a hill workout.

  Beautiful weather today and the first time I've seen snow free roads in what feels like years. My first outdoor track race is in 23 weeks and it'll be the 200 meter. So my "long" run today, if you think about it, was relatively long. 7.5 times longer than my goal race distance so it'd basically be the same as a marathoner doing a 196.5 mile long run. It's math and science. Or one of those.
  My kids are home on X-mas break so I did this in on the hill front of my house (because I didn't want to leave them alone) which I have every 50 meters measured and marked.
Wu) A mix of hip mobility routine using my 20# (yes, 20 pounds) ankle weight. Jump rope. Kettle bell swings. 
Then 1500 meters done as:
50 meters uphill tempo.
50 meters down easy.
100 uphill tempo.
100 downhill easy.
150 up
150 down
200 up
200 down
250 up
250 down

Cd) 5:00 jump rope.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday 2019

  It's been about 1.5 weeks or so since I've run. We traveled for Christmas and the weather turned nasty and hasn't let up since. Me and my boys were stranded in Kansas where we had 40-50 mph winds during a blizzard (that started as rain) that dumped 10 inches of snow and closed all west bound roads. Then when we got home the temps up here in the mountains have been sub 20 degrees dipping into the negatives with even a slight breeze. I've been lifting but without running I've backed off on the intensity. The lift sessions have felt half hearted.
  I'm not concerned though. I'm 100% healthy, even healthier from a structural perspective, and my motivation is still high. The weather has just wrecked any semblance of training. I haven't forced it because I still have a good 6 months before I race and I'm fit now. 
 This week the weather is clearing out and I'll be back on it.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Saturday track. Extensive tempo

  Extensive tempo. Or "long" intervals at 80% with short recoveries.
3 X 200 on 1:30 rest. 31.2/ 29.6/ 30.6
Rest 5:00
3 X 150 on 1:30 rest. 21.0/ 22.2/ 21.7
Rest 5:00.
3 X 200 on 1:30 rest. 28.4 (oops)/ 29.9/ 29.9.

 My legs didn't feel great but they were functioning well.

 A few pics as I drove out of the mountains at first light.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday tire pulls + speed work

  I felt creaky starting out but after a comprehensive warm-up that included (always) a hip mobility routine plus strides I loosened up well.
Session:
Everything 100% max explosive starts and speed.
20 meter tire pull.
20 no tire.
20 tire.
40 no tire.
20 tire.
50 no tire.
20 tire.
60 no tire.
60 no tire.

2 X 20 meter fly.

  Interestingly enough, or not, my 40 times are relatively much better than my 60.

Then 30:00 dry sauna with hip mobility and aggressive massage/ scraping for my calves and soleus.


No pics from the sauna.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lift + weighted hill intervals

     Leg session this morning. You've heard the saying "Never skip leg day"? I'm the guy who always skips upper day. I'll do a random upper lift in between sets of legs. Today I was doing heavy cable wood chops (high cable) and my seratus anterior cramped. It didn't twinge, it full on locked and seized. I thought I'd been stabbed or hit with a Angon (a throwing spear with a long head similar to the Roman pilum, used by the Franks (The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire.)) Anyway, it was pretty spectacular.

Pm) came back this evening in the cold, dark, windy, spitting snow, to run 4 X 200 meter hill intervals in front of my house. In the interest of avoiding peaking too soon I leaned towards doing something completely non-specific to my goal so I wore a 20 pound weight vest. No speed involved, just grindy tempo efforts. Not tempo though, not really. The vest adds a component of strength/ endurance with slower leg speed. Not entirely sure if that's an effective strategy but I'll give it a go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2 days off

 Yesterday we had family in town so it was easy to rest. My legs and energy were really good on the heels of Sunday's 10 X 200. Then today I had planned on max accelerations (blocks) but Sunday's workout started to get into my head. It's early December and my only goal is to run a fast 400 meters in about 30 weeks. So I laid low and took another rest day just to reign myself in a bit. I've also decided to just run one indoor meet. I want to limit the wear and tear on my knees mainly. They've never been healthier and I want to keep it that way.   

Monday, December 10, 2018

Twitter questions

Lars asks- "Do you do any aerobic basework (z2/z3) now to maintain aerobic fitness? Or mainly z5 and up work?"

  Nope. My only focus right now is strength and speed. The development of both are hindered by easy aerobic work. I think eventually I will need (want) to include this into my base training as my years of base erode, but for now I still retain a certain level of aerobic base. I spent decades building that base. During my Ironman days 30 hour weeks weren't uncommon. When I focused on the marathon 100-120 mile weeks weren't uncommon. So for now I don't miss it nor do I feel I need it yet.
  I program my workout intensity based off a percentage off my 200 meter PR of 24.7" (I round it to 25") so my workouts are intervals at 75% up to 100% of 25"depending on the goal for that day. My workouts involve interval durations that are too short to elicit an accurate heart rate that can be used for guidance or measurement. 


Ellie asks- "I am struggling with warming up enough to do speedwork outside. During my last two sessions, my legs just aren’t turning over. You live in an icebox, how do you get your muscles warmed up in single digits? Should I just treadmill it?"

  This one is a bit tricky and I'm not sure that how I go about warming up in freezing weather will work for everyone. I'm adapted to cold for starters. Living at 8000+ft altitude even in the summer I run in temps that edge down into the 40s at times. Here's a list of things that I do:
 First I overdress in multiple layers. Thermal tights under running pants. Base layer t-shirt, then heavy long sleeve, then a heavy thermal running jacket. Good gloves and hat.
On the drive to the track I crank the heater and overheat a bit. I raise my core temps enough that I want to get out in the cold. A large part of performance is heat. Heat dilates vessels and capillaries and increases blood flow. Every degree of increased heat improves the muscle's performance by 5%. That's of course a roughed out idea. You also want the muscles supple and cold will inhibit this. So stay overdressed and hot right up to the interval session.
 Coffee and good music.
 Grow a big beard.
 And another factor that speaks to me as an individual is that I easily get super motivated for workouts. I don't dread hard sessions. Ever. If I feel like I am dreading a workout then I don't do it because that's a sign for me personally that I need to rest. It shows a dysfunction in my recovery and neurotransmitters (hormones) that must be addressed. I'm a dopamine and adrenaline driven athlete so I need very little actual warm-up. When I'm relatively rested I'm in a constant state of readiness (which is why I'm an insomniac). If I'm dreading a session then that's a red flag. If I am very slow to warm-up and struggle to achieve readiness then more often than not I'll bag the workout. I tend to ignore muscular fatigue but I won't ignore brain/ neurotransmitter dysfunction.
 Again, my routine probably won't work for most but this is what I did to warm-up for yesterday's track workout:
  Jog 400.
  Stretch for ~10:00. I focus on my hips and hamstring. 7 Way Hips has become a must do for my warm-ups. Static stretching + dynamic. Static stretching gets a bad rap and I feel its perfectly fine and good. There are no links to static stretching and increased injury risk. I also don't think there's a link to increased performance. I do it because it makes me feel better.
Plyometrics. High knee skipping focused on not only the high knee drive but also on increasing jump height as I loosen and my foot plant/ rebound. Ankle stiffness and strength are two of the major factors in performance and I make sure my achilles is ready for some abuse. Butt kicks. Walking lunges with a 3" pause. Dynamic squat jumps. These are all to increase motor unit activation. If you feel sluggish then this is possible a critical part of getting things firing and "waking up" the nervous system.
  My take on plyometrics is that athletes shouldn't launch into a program because someone said to or you see someone else doing them. They're fairly violent and abusive to be honest, which is why they're so effective. Athletes should start with very gentle, short, and less dynamic movements and slowly increase as they adapt. I'm a pretty durable guy but there are some plyos that I will never attempt, like single leg bounding or single leg jumps. The reward will never outweigh the risk and when it comes down to it, injury prevention is perhaps the single most important aspect of all that we do. I think hill bounding is excellent. Jump rope is excellent in preparing the lower leg for the loading of ground forces and rebound (ankle stiffness), just watch your achilles for signs of tissue damage. Dynamic squat jumps not only focusing on how high you jump but also landing in a braced or locked position with your knee bent at ~45 degrees. In terms of motor unit activation that static landing will fire your muscles more than anything.
 I'm not really a fan of drills. I prefer strides for that using internal cueing to drive intent. Or external cueing if you have someone to watch you or if you can video yourself.

Change into spikes and then do ~20 meter to 50 meter strides on the turf until I feel ready to go.   Yesterday it took me 2 X 30 meters.
 Then I'll typically do at least 1 timed 100 meter just to dial in pacing and effort. This is more warm-up but I also use this to determine how I'm feeling/ performing on the day. Yesterday I didn't feel I needed it because I was going to be running more by perceived exertion (PE) rather than strict splits.   Then I strip off the running pants and possibly the jacket and go.

  One final thought on training in the cold. There is of course a physiological need to stay warm, but that's fairly easy to achieve. In my opinion the overriding thing needed is attitude and motivation. If you aren't motivated to run in freezing temps then don't. The reason for doing quality is to achieve a quality workout. If it's too cold for you to achieve that then run on the treadmill. That's what its there for.
  With that said I believe there is a certain level of toughness or grit that adds to the overall qualities of an athlete. You can embrace the cold and change your attitude to one of challenge acceptance. Rather than dread the cold treat it like you would a tough workout and go into it enjoying the challenge.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday 10 X 200

Extensive tempo- 10 X 200 meters averaging 30.7".
My only goal was to run 200's strong but relaxed and get them all under 33". Once I started to struggle I'd end the workout. I never struggled but decided to end it at 10. I lifted hard yesterday and my adductors were feeling a little tight and my legs weren't exactly fired up, but for tempo they don't need to be. Which is why I didn't even consider doing a speed session.
 I broke the sets up into twos:
200 meters
Rest 2:00
200 meters
Rest 4:00
 A way to improve or build onto this will be to take less recovery between all.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Insomotivationia. Lift + max acceleration.

  Went to bed at 8pm last night and woke up at 1:30 ready to do something. My calves were slightly sore but it was from the treadmill 2 days ago more than yesterday.
 Nasty weather with 18 degrees and freezing fog/ snow. Clouds probably more than fog. First in the gym at 4:30 and felt great immediately. Lifting is probably my favorite exercise which is ironic because I'm pretty skinny. I've never over eaten enough to gain weight.
 Comprehensive leg lift with upper chest (cable crossovers) as my only upper body. Warmed up a little with leg extensions, 7 Way Hips, then strides. Then did 3 X 20 meter sled sprints + 3 X 30 meter starts/ max accelerations. Then nearly an hour of various heavy leg lifts and core exercises. Then finished with 4 X 20 meter heavy sled (I consider "heavy" to be 100 pounds) then 4 X 30 meter starts/ max accelerations.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday. Dirt track 5 X 150

 I opted for a dirt track today, one of the very few tracks open to the public and the only one that I know I can access during school hours. Good temps and low wind.
5 X 150 meters hitting mid 20.x" for all. Rest intervals of 3:00. These would be called "speed endurance" for a 200 meter runner and run at 95%-100% effort (speed) with relatively short recoveries (endurance). Earlier this summer I was hitting these in high 18's, low 19's on a rubber track so I'm pretty happy with the session today. Legs were definitely fatigued but firing.
 A few pics. The dirt was really soft which I like. It's slower but I think the added cushion is beneficial for training.






Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday 5 X 400 meters.

 Treadmill tempo. I wussed out after my day got away from me and it got dark. Plus it's like 6000 below zero with hurricane force wind. I opted for the treadmill to get the run in. Tempo is ~75% effort so nothing crazy, more an endurance run than intensity. 3 miles with 5 X 400 on 1:00 easy. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Monday lift + max acceleration

    Today was a lift and max accelerations. The gym I go to has a push sled and a gymnasium covered in artificial turf so I was able to complete 5 X 20 meter weighted sled pushes + 5 X 30 meter starts/ accelerations. In the interest of developing explosive speed and acceleration I don't load much at all on the sled. I'm more interested in speed of movement rather than raw power or strength. For that I have a big truck tire and harness that I do hill sprints with. It weighs ~75 pounds with a sandbag in it. With that my strides are super short and choppy. With the lighter sled I can still obtain the correct body position (angles similar to the first 10 steps out of the blocks) yet my stride length and knee drive more closely resembles sprint starts.

 Then I went into various leg lifts. Something like this:
Hex bar deadlift jumps- 85#. My new favorite lift. Similar to a pin squat, sort of. But there's a jump. And it's not a squat.
Loaded Bulgarian split squats in the Smith rack. Final set was 100# X 5 reps. 
Box jumps focusing a little more on the drop/ landing.
Front squat. Final set 150# X 5.
Single leg back extension. Somewhat of a hamstring eccentric.
Heavy cable wood chops- reps of 5. These are brilliant in every way.
Rear deltoid fly.
Isometric hip extension- 10", heavy loaded. This is essentially a back plank spanning between two benches with just your foot and upper back touching. This hits the upper hamstrings/ glutes (hip extension) 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Saturday Track 4 X 100

  Chilly start to the day. It doesn't happen often but it was warmer at my house (at 8000ft) than it was down in town (at 5400ft) but still a beautiful morning. The track was frosted but not slick. GZ came over to keep me company, and it was the best company. I haven't seen George since the summer track series in Boulder so it was great to catch up.
 The workout was 5-6 X 100 meters at 95%-100% speed. I started each with a rolling, 3 step start. No blocks since I did a max acceleration session on Thursday. Today was was about max velocity and short speed endurance (phosphocreatine system) Rest intervals were a little shorter because it was cold.
Splits:
12.7
12.6
12.8
13.0

 I ended it at #4, and could have called it at #3, because I felt and saw on the watch (autoregulation) that I was starting to slow. Neural fatigue for sure because muscularly I felt solid. In a session where a major component is speed you won't benefit from continuing to grind out intervals at slower paces. For a session like I ran yesterday where the goal wasn't neural stimulation but rather more metabolic and strength then it's OK to grind for more. To a point.
 I'm super happy with the 12.6 interval. This time last year I was months away from this speed. If I can keep it rolling up until the first track meets of the Summer I think I'll be in a great spot.
 A couple of pics courtesy of GZ.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday 5 X 200 meter hills

 38 degrees and breezy at 8200ft altitude. Great running weather though. Today was extensive tempo or longer duration intervals at ~75% with shorter rests. If I'm on the track then I calculate 75% of my 200 PR and run by time, but since I don't know my race best on this hill I went by feel. Relaxed and pretty light effort for the first few and I hit 47", 44", 45". Rest intervals were jogging easy back to the starts in 1:30-1:45. The short rests caught up to me on the last two and I hit 47", 49". All the prescriptions and programs I've been using never factor an athlete running at 8000+ ft altitude and I tend to ignore that aspect too. I should take longer recoveries but for a tempo run by effort (not time) it was fine. And just for fun I brought my altimeter on the run, 312ft of climbing for the 5 X 200 meters.
   I cut it at 5 reps because I'm on the track tomorrow running a speed endurance session, something specific to the 200 meters. The goal will be 5-6 X 100m at 95-100% efforts. Super fun workout! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday speed work/ block practice

 I took yesterday off because my hamstrings were sore from a crazy solid lift on Tuesday. Pretty sure it was concentric hamstring curls that did it. I've gotten completely away from concentric hamstrings and have just done eccentric or isometric. I can't recall the last time I did leg curls but it's been at least 2 years. Not sure why I decided to do them.

 Today was speed work on a soccer field. I set my starting blocks up in a corner butted up against a low concrete border. Then I measure (I went full dork and bought a measuring wheel thingy) out distances on the diagonal. I wear spikes and I really like the speed work on the artificial turf mainly because of the reduced pounding on deceleration. Trying to slow down when you're sprinting is pretty violent.
 I ran 3 X (30, 40, 50 meters) on 3:00 recovery. Then finished with 2 X 20 meter flys. Looking back at my summer logs my 30s and 40s were slightly faster today. Hand timing yourself out of blocks though means the times are close at best. They could be several minutes off.
 Then I went to the gym and did shoulders then dry sauna for 30:00.