Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A month from the USA Track and Field Championships: Last week's training

There is a lot of great track and field heading to Oregon over the next few weeks starting with the Prefontaine Classic in a couple of days, followed by the NCAA Championships, and then the Portland Track Festival. I'm pumped to watch the first two and compete in the third.

Last week we decided to test the waters a little bit with a 3 mile + 3 x 1 mile workout on the track. My coach, Dave Smith, and I wanted to see how my body would do with a few miles at 10km pace, and I was pleased with how smooth it felt. 4:15 isn't flying at the end of that particular workout, but I felt tremendous doing it. I'm ready for a couple of monster workouts which will be perfect timing heading into the USA Track Championships next month in Sacramento. I had one already this week that I'm excited to share on next week's blog.

Dave will be in Sacramento with a couple of guys from the Oklahoma State team, so it will be a great opportunity to catch up and see him in person. Coaching and being coached remotely certainly has its difficulties, so I take any chance I can to see him throughout the year. I get many questions about the logistics of our coaching relationship. It would much more difficult, if not impossible, if we had not spent 5 and a half successful years together in Stillwater. During that time he learned what type of a runner I was, the intensity and frequency of workouts my body could handle, my racing strengths and weaknesses, and what type of motivation I responded to. At the same time I learned what his expectations were and what type of effort he was looking for in each of our various workouts. I believe all of this would be outstandingly difficult to achieve in a remote setting and without the help of older guys on the team. I don't mean to say that now I've got it all figured out and wouldn't benefit from having a coach and training group here, but I'm saying that having that initial base together makes the relationship work. The training I do today is essentially the same that I did in college with increasing intensity and volume, so I know what Dave expects from me every time I step out the door. He writes a calendar for me, we talk after every hard workout, and I've continued to run personal bests under him since I left Stillwater. This year marked the 10th consecutive year with a PR. While I haven't made any huge single jump, I wouldn't trade a decade of consistency for anything. Here's to another decade.

Below is my training from last week, and continue to post my track workouts throughout my short season before beginning a fall marathon build-up. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 6 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12.5 5.5 + 6 x 150 in spikes 40 minutes 18

Tuesday 5 3 mile (4:46) + 3 x 1 mile (4:28, 4:24, 4:15)

Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14

Thursday 12 miles + drills and grass strides 6

Friday 15 x 200 @ 28-30 w/200 meter jog recovery 7

Saturday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17

Sunday 19




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Weeks until the USA Track Champs

Each workout is feeling better as I start to round into track form. After putting together 500 meter repeats at goal 5km pace, I'm becoming confident that I'll be competitive at the USA 10,000 meter Championships in Sacramento in 5 weeks, and I'll be ready for a big 5,000 meter PR in Heusden come the middle of July. My 5km PR is one of my weakest at 13:32, and I know it's ready for a big drop this year. This short track season is exactly what my mind and body needed in between marathon build-ups.

It's amazing how quickly the body can adjust from marathon fitness to track fitness. During the height of my marathon training I struggled to run 32 seconds for 200 meters on the track, and just yesterday I was doing my last mile repeat at a quicker pace. The first few weeks felt incredibly rusty, but the legs are now catching up to my brain. Dropping the volume by 15% makes all the difference. It's hard to believe I'll be hammering out a mile at the Portland Track Festival in just 3 and a half weeks. The great performances at Payton Jordan, Oxy, and the NCAA conference meets have me jacked up. The next two weeks will have some higher intensity workouts, and I'll throw them up on the blog as I get through them.

I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I have managed to avoid jury duty once again. After deferring it due to London, they sent me another summons while I was away in Europe for today, May 21st. A letter from myself, and Jesse Williams at Brooks, will hopefully have them off my back until after the 2016 Olympics. The training can continue uninterrupted. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 4 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 12.5 5.5 + 6x150 in spikes 40 minutes 18

Tuesday 7 10 x 500 w/100 meter jog recovery (78-80)

Wednesday travel from Prague to Portland 14 40 minutes 14

Thursday 11.5+drills and 6 x 150 in spikes 5.5

Friday 10 mile tempo @ 4:59 off

Saturday 8 9

Sunday 19 easy
40 minutes 19



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back to the track: Post-marathon training

I'll be heading back to Portland tomorrow after a great European trip, and time well spent with Eva's family. Fortunately we will be back in Europe in July, so the farewells were not too difficult. I now have 3 races set for the summer starting with mile at the Portland Track Festival in mid-June, followed by the 10km at the USA Track Championships in late June, and then a 5km in Heusden, Belgium in mid-July. I'll try to squeeze in one more race in Europe before starting a fall marathon build-up, but I'm still working on exactly which race that will be.

After taking one week completely away from running, I have been ramping back up over the last 3 weeks. After putting my body through the marathon, and then taking a week off, it takes some time to get the legs feeling back to normal again. It has taken more than two weeks, but I'm now ready to start bringing the intensity up to track season levels. This afternoon will be the first test with 10 x 500 meters on the track with a 30 to 40 100 meter jog recovery. I will try to start in 80 and work down from there, but the weather is not looking ideal. I'll let you know next week how it turns out, but for now, feel free to look over my first 3 weeks of training since the London Marathon. With a huge base under me I'm anxious to start cranking some track sessions as we are only one month from the Portland Track Festival! Thanks again for reading, and for more updates follow me here on twitter.

Week 1 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage





Lawn mowing 5 hours 0

Lawn mowing 3 hours 0


Week 2 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 5 off

Tuesday 8 off 30 minutes 8

Wednesday 9 off

Thursday 10 + drills and strides off 30 minutes 10

Friday 10 off

Saturday 11 5

Sunday off off



Week 3 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 9 + drills and strides 5

Tuesday 9 5 40 minutes 14

Wednesday 15 x 200 meter hills 5

Thursday 14 off

Friday 10 5 30 minutes 15

Saturday 14 off

Sunday Long run with fartlek (5 min,4,3 / 4,3,2 / 3,2,1) with equal rest off


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

Tuesday 15 x 200 on track @ 28-30 5

Wednesday 14 5 40 minutes 19

Thursday 4 mile tempo @ 19:05 + 6 x 200 @ 28-30 5

Friday 11 off

Saturday off 18

Sunday 12 5.5+drills and strides 40 minutes 17.5



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Traveling and Training

A little over 3 weeks has passed since the London Marathon, but it feels much longer. I spent about 10 days in Prague before the race, and after relaxing for a few days in London, I made it back to Prague. My old teammate from Oklahoma State, Dan Watts, now works for the London Marathon, and we were able to spend some quality time catching up. It truly is a small world. 
The in-laws in London
My wife, Eva, couldn't make it to Europe until about a week after the marathon, but her parents made the trip to come support me in London. For those unfamiliar with Central Europe (like I was before meeting my wife), Prague is very close to Western Europe; it's only an hour and a half flight to London. I spent the day after the race in the hotel room bed ordering rooms service (fish and chips!), but the next day meant a sightseeing excursion with Eva's parents. This was as painful as expected, climbing up and down stairs and enduring the general agony that comes from walking after a marathon. It was a wonderful experience, but I was ready to leave and meet my wife at the Prague airport.

Future Sunday Lunch
Eva and I always try to take advantage of my down time at the end of the season, and this year was no different. Unlike after my past marathons, we didn't quite have the time for a long backpacking trip, but we did manage a short road trip through Central Europe. From Prague we made our way to Eva's parents' village, about an hour and a half south, near the Austrian border. The village consists of about 200 people, and the running is fantastic. There are many old dirt roads connecting villages which used to be the only option of transit before wider paved roads were available. There is a village or town every few kilometers, so each run feels like an adventure as you explore unique places during every training run. Every village and town has at least a small chapel and often a full square, hopefully including a castle. The area is rural, but not rural in the US definition. In the US, rural brings to mind vast expanses of vacant land dotted with farms. While the Czech rural areas feel underpopulated, another small cluster of agricultural homes is not far away. The relatively new push for locally sourced meats and vegetables in US towns and cities has been a way of life for centuries in the Czech countryside. It is expected rather than trendy. Variety is not available, but the quality of local foods is excellent. Speaking of local food, the featured picture will soon become a meal when we return in the later summer. Eva's parents raise rabbits and use the meat for a variety of dishes, including rabbit sausage.

Weinersnitchel in Vienna
From Rodinov we made the short 2 hour drive to Vienna. When traveling I usually end up judging a city on it's "runability" since that will make or break my experience there. No matter how beautiful the architecture or how impressive the museums, if I can't go for a run, the experience is lessened significantly. Fortunately Vienna has a great park (Prater) sitting right alongside the expansive city center. Vienna is very flat, and this park is no different, but it offers a wide variety of soft and paved paths. Some are even marked each 100 meters, and a track sits just outside the park. It gets busy during peak morning and evening hours, but it's nice to see so many people taking advantage of the area.

Next stop, Budapest. After another 2 and a half hours of driving, we arrived at our small AirBnB flat in the city center. Budapest is also a "runable" city. Two large parks in the city limits offer great running opportunities, although there is no track open to the public without a paid membership. There is also a river path along the Danube which connects Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava. The park I spent most my time in was called Margaret Island which actually has a lane of track circling the island that is 5km long! This park would certainly get boring after a bit, but for our short time in Budapest it was perfect. We also managed to make it to a traditional bath house which the city is famous for. Since this was aiding in my recovery, do I get to count it as a tax write off?
Budapest Riverfront
The biggest surprise for us was the quality of Hungarian wine. I'm certainly no wine expert, but Hungary does not come to mind when considering European wine. I don't think it's terribly easy to find in the US, so we will be bringing some home. Their heavy Cuvee was great alongside a plate of traditional Hungarian Goulash, or any of their other famous paprika laden dishes.

After a quick stop in Bratislava, we were back in Prague. While I do have some bias, I still feel Prague is the most beautiful and most runable of the Central European capitals. The network of hilly parks overlooking the city is tough to beat. Once such park, Ladronka, has a paved and packed gravel path running parallel and marked each 100 meters. The top loop just so happens to be exactly 1600, surely by accident; it's the best mile repeat surface I have ever been on. This park also happens to be within a few minutes of a track, and near one of the biggest parks in city limits in Europe (Divoká Šárka). All of this is within a 7 minute bus/tram ride to the city center. I love this city and can't wait to come back and use it as a hub for some summer European racing.
Prague Castle

We squeezed a lot of sightseeing in over the last couple weeks, but I've also squeezed quite a lot of running in. After taking one week completely off (not counting an acre of lawn mowing in Rodinov) I started with a slow 30 minute run and built up over the next 10 days. Last week I already managed to get over 100 miles, and I'm starting to feel back to normal. It normally takes about 2 to 3 weeks for me to feel like myself again after a marathon. I'm getting excited for a short track season, but I feel like I have a ways to go to feel comfortable at the quicker pace that will be required to be competitive at the USA Track and Field Championships in Sacramento on the 26th of June. As of right now I plan on tuning up at the Portland Track Festival in a one mile race 10 days before the USA champs to really shake the rust off the legs. This would be a great opportunity to try to break the 4 minute barrier for the first time in my career. I'm not sure, but I don't too many people have broken 2:11 in the marathon and 4:00 in the mile in consecutive races! We'll see if I can get the legs rolling again over the next month and a half. I was really fired up after watching the races from Payton Jordan. How tough is the 5k and 10k team going to be to make next year for the World Championships? Wow.

This post is already starting to drag on, so at the beginning of next week I will post my first 3 weeks of training coming off of the marathon, and I will hopefully have the summer racing plans mapped out. I'm also finalizing details on a block of altitude training in Flagstaff before a fall marathon. Nick Arciniaga has been generous enough to rent out a room in his house for the duration of my stay, which will likely be one month. This will be my first serious attempt at altitude training, so it will be extremely beneficial to be around other marathoners who have been doing it for a long time. More details to come. Thanks again for reading!