Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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





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





Wednesday 14.5 Off 40 minutes 14.5





Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides 5.5
17





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





Saturday 11.5 6 40 minutes 17.5





Sunday 18 Off
18





TOTAL


120

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Tuesday 11.5 5 + drills and strides 30 minutes 17





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





Thursday 14 5 40 minutes 19





Friday 11.5 30 minutes + drills and strides
17





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





Sunday 18.5

18.5


Off

TOTAL


104



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Less than 5 weeks to the USA XC Championships

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

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

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

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

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





Tuesday off 9+drills and strides
9





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





Thursday 11.5 Off 40 minutes 11.5





Friday 11.5 30 minutes + drills and strides
16





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





Sunday 18

18


Off

TOTAL


105

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Run Happy in 2015

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

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

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

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

Monday 12+drills and strides 5.5 40 minutes 18





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





Wednesday 10 7 40 minutes 17





Thursday 12 5 + drills and strides
17





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





Saturday off Off – travel from Prague to Portland
0





Sunday 18

18


Off

TOTAL


104

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays and Happy Training!

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

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

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

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





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





Wednesday 14.5
40 minutes 14.5





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





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





Saturday 11 5 40 minutes 16





Sunday 18.5 Off
18.5





TOTAL


120

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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





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





Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14





Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides 5.5
17





Friday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17





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





Sunday 20 Off
20





TOTAL


121


Friday, December 12, 2014

NYC follow-up, vacation, and 2015 plans

It's time for a long over-due follow-up to the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. After every marathon I have had the desire to separate myself from running for some time, but the difficulty with internet connections in South Africa exacerbated it this time around.

First, a huge thanks to Mary Wittenberg, David Monti, and the rest of the New York Road Runners for another tremendous experience. They have an extremely challenging jog organizing the elite athletes right in the middle of the world's biggest marathon in one of the world's biggest cities, and the entire process was flawless. I feel that I have more to prove on this course, so I hope to be back many times in the future.

My goals heading into the race were to defend my title as top-American, top-10 overall on a good day, and top-5 on a great day. I accomplished the goal of top-10 but fell short of the others, although it's no shame to be beaten by Meb Keflezighi with the year that he is having. The man does not age. The weather wasn't ideal, but of course, this is something every runner has to deal with, and it can end up being an equalizer for someone like myself in a race full of so much international talent. Wilson Kipsang was about 8 minutes off of his PR while I was less than 5. The wind kept the lead pack together for longer than it would have under ideal conditions. I was still with the leaders at 30km before they made their final strong move to the finish. The entire race up to the 30km mark was run as a Fartlek. Leads would change and someone would push the pace for a few minutes, and then it would slow right back down. I'm proud that I had the confidence to go with these moves as long as I did. This was a step forward for me in my racing tactics. Immediately after the race, I was disappointed that I did not try to continue with the pack for longer, but as I look back now and recall how badly I was suffering the final 2 miles in the park, I know I made the right decision. I would have liked to place higher, but it just wasn't happening on that day. I fought and gave it everything I had over the last 10km. Nick Arciniaga was a huge part of that. We took turns with the lead once the lead group dispersed until the final few miles where it was every man for himself. I was fortunate enough to come out ahead this time around, but I will certainly not make the mistake of underestimating him at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.

After the race I took 2 full weeks off from running, although this down time did include a great deal of hiking in South Africa. I didn't take much time off after the London Marathon or my track season this year, so the break was appreciated. My wife and I met my in-laws in Prague, and then headed for Johannesburg. From Johannesburg we headed straight for the Drakensberg Mountains where my wife and I had planned a 5-night trek. This was the most challenging trek we had attempted to date as there were no trails, high altitude, and little cover. Unfortunately the weather got the best of us and we had to turn around on the 3rd day. The first day included incredibly dense fog which rendered our map and compass useless and put us behind immediately. On the second day we were pounded by rain and wind which found it's way into every crevass and soaked even our water-proof gear, tent, and sleeping bags with temperatures only just above freezing. The rain and wind continued through the night, and we became worried about the possibility of hypothermia and decided to make one hard 12 hour push back to the start. While the weather ended up clearing up, I'm still sure we made the right decision given the situation. The views that we did get were unbelievable and unforgettable.

From Drakensberg we traveled to Durban where my training began again slowly. Next stop was beautiful Cape Town and wine country, where we surprisingly ran in Luke Puskedra and his wife Trudie on their own post-NYC Marathon vacation. After thoroughly enjoying the southwest region, we headed back to Johannesburg and spent our remaining days exploring the wild animals of Kruger National Park. This included an overnight stay at a game lodge where my morning run was alongside gazelle, baboons, and giraffe. Near this same lodge I was given a ride home at the end of my second run as the manager was concerned about the sun going down and the inevitable hippos that would be leaving the water to feed on grass.

South Africa is an extremely diverse country geographically and culturally. I felt like we were only able to explore a sliver of what the nation has to offer, and I hope to return in the future. It is definitely on my radar for a future winter altitude training camp, potentially as soon as 2015/2016 before the Olympic Marathon Trials.

From South Africa, we returned to the Czech Republic where I was stay until just after Christmas (the 27th). As long as the weather holds out, and so far it has, the Czech Republic is a fantastic place to train as I have mentioned before. While Prague is incredibly beautiful and full of excellent running
though it's parks, the villages are a truly unique experience, and one that I was able to share with my old Oklahoma State teammate, Dan Watts and his wife Ceci. Last Saturday we ran a local cross country race which my wife's family helps to put on for it's 15th consecutive year. The small race features only about 100 people, but it is a supportive, encouraging, and fun atmosphere. My prize for 1st place included a bottle of Czech wine, champagne, and a coupon for a free Christmas tree at a nearby lot. While my wife's parents usually prefer to cut-down a tree from their own forest, they are considering the easier route this year. It's refreshing to get back to the basics at a small community race and remember why I love doing what I do.

Next up are the USATF Cross Country National Championships in Boulder, CO on February 7th. I am looking to focus on shorter distances through the spring before returning to the marathon in the early fall in preparation for the Olympic Trials in February of 2016. We are a little over 8 weeks out from the US champs, and I already feel my fitness coming back very quickly. My first two weeks back training consisted of nothing but easy jogging and strides at weeks of 60 miles and 85 miles. My 3rd week is posted below. I realize week 4 is almost over, and I will post it early next week. I'm happy to be back into my normal groove and look forward to posting my weekly training for the rest of 2015. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 3 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 14.5 travel from South Africa to Prague
14.5





Tuesday off 11.5 30 minutes 11.5





Wednesday 11.5 5.5 + drill and strides
17





Thursday Fartlek (3min, 2, 1) x 3 w/equal recovery 4.5
17.5





Friday 11 5.5 30 minutes 16.5





Saturday Local XC race run as a tempo (7.5 km) – 11

11





Sunday 16

16





TOTAL


104