Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Days from the USA Outdoor Championships: Last Week's Training

I am preparing to head to Sacramento today for the start of the USA Outdoor Championships. It will be my first 10,000 meter race since the USA Championships last year in Des Moines. While it will be hot in Sacramento, the 10km does not start until after 9:00 PM, and it will cool to a more reasonable temperature as the sun goes down, unlike Des Moines where humidity keeps temperatures high all through the night.

My first trip to Sacramento was for the Golden West Invitational back in 2003 as a high school athlete. Getting there a couple of days early, we were able to watch the end of the NCAA Championships. Those two days were a rare glimpse of running outside my home state (or even home conference) and solidified my desire to compete at the Division 1 level. This will also be my first race back at Hornet Stadium since the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Qualifying for those meets and watching the older guys do incredible things (Chris Solinsky closing in 4:00 for his last mile in the 5km to pull away with the title for example) drove me to take my running to the next level. Rather than being excited to simply qualify for the meet, I wanted to be an All-American and shoot for a national title. Returning after 7 years, I'll be one of the veterans this time, and hopefully our 10km race will inspire younger athletes the same it did me.

I'll be trying out another twitter contest looking to drum up some excitement heading into the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Anyone who retweets the contest tweet and follows me will be entered to win the pair of Brooks Wire 3 spikes that I'll be wearing during the race. For those who can't be in the stands in Sacramento, check out the live feed for all events here.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. The workouts and volume have really tapered off since the Portland Track Festival from the previous week, so I'm hoping to feel mentally and physically fresh heading into Thursday's race. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 90 minutes off 40 minutes 14

Tuesday 9 + drills and strides 5

Wednesday 4 4 mile tempo (18:37) + 4 x 200 (29.1, 29.0, 28.5, 27.3)

Thursday 6
40 minutes 6

Friday 10 + 6 x 150 5

Saturday 10 4 30 minutes 14

Sunday 5 x 1k @ 2:57 + 4 x 200 @ 30 off



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Portland Track Fest recap and Looking ahead to the USATF Champs: Last Week's Training

Sunday at the Portland Track Festival was my first race back since the London Marathon, and it was quite a drop in distance. I haven't run a 1500 in a couple of years, so I knew it was going to be painful. I ran evenly, but I didn't have the wheels to close on the last lap and ended up with a 3:43. My PR is only 3:42.8, so I can't be too disappointed with the result given that it was my season debut. Deep down, I would have liked to get a new PR, but looking back, it just wasn't realistic. While my track training has been going very well, I needed hard effort like this to shake the rust off. It was excellent preparation heading into the 10,000 meters at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Following the 1500 I paced the 5000 meters for 5 laps at 65 seconds per quarter, which ended up making it a well-rounded training day. The meet overall was a huge success; all events went off on time, pace-makers were in place for the Sunday events, and the crowd turnout was great. All you have to do is take a look at the starlists/results to see that the Portland Track Festival is turning into one of the country's premier distance events. 

The entries are settled for the USATF Outdoor Championships, and the 10,000 meters looks strong for an off-year. By off-year I mean that there is no World Championship or Olympic Team to qualify for. You can check out the startlist on the USATF website; you'll see plenty of familiar names. It will be interesting to see how the pace plays out, but no matter what the pace is, I think fans will be in for an exciting finish. I haven't had the opportunity to race in Sacramento since my sophomore year at Oklahoma State for the NCAA Track Championships, and I'm excited to return. I have fond memories from the Golden West Invitational in high school, and two NCAA Championships as a college athlete. The weather is suitable in the later evening, the stands are big enough for an excellent crowd and atmosphere, and the warm-up facilities are the best I've encountered at a track meet. 

Airfare cost and hotel availability are also a bonus when compared to previous locations. The athletes who will benefit the most from this are those just out of school or those just on the cusp of making the championships. Since the USATF only funds the top 4 athletes in each event for travel, it is very expensive for a young athlete without support to travel to a meet like this. It's also important to note that the top 4 ranked athletes in an event usually already have some kind of travel support from a sponsor or club, so they typically aren't the athletes in the greatest need of the funding. After plane tickets, hotel, entry fee, and meals, an athlete can easily be looking at well over $1000 in travel expenses. While it is still expensive, having the meet in Sacramento will help mitigate these costs and help those younger athletes who will be vying to make US teams in the near future. 

Feel free to check out my training from last week at the bottom of the page. The workouts have continued to progress, and I've been enjoying the lower volume training. This week was a 90 mile week and is dropping all the way to the outdoor championships. 90 miles is a far cry from the 150 I was hitting just months ago, but the higher intensity of the track workouts still has me plenty exhausted. Thanks again for reading and don't forget to go see the Brooks PR Invitational at Renton Memorial Stadium this coming weekend. It will feature the fastest high school athletes in the country in a rare opportunity to see them in the same place at the same time. Also, if you'd like, follow me here on twitter for more updates. 

Where                                  Renton Memorial Stadium
When                                    June 21st, 1:30pm-4:30pm (doors open at noon)
Why                                       Come watch the fastest and deepest high school meet of the year in our backyard!!
                                                1000 technical PR Invite t-shirts to the first spectators arriving
                                                Come Meet the Brooks Beasts
Cost                                       $10 per person, kids 6 and under will be FREE (all proceeds go to the Renton School District)

Reply on Facebook                                          Meet Entries                                      Blog

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 10 + drills and strides 5 40 minutes 15

Tuesday 3 mile tempo @ 71.0, 4 min rest, 3 x mile (4:17, 4:15, 4:13) 4

Wednesday 12 easy off 30 minutes 12

Thursday 30 minutes easy, 6 x 200 (29-30), 25 minutes easy 5

Friday 8 5

Saturday off 8+drills and strides 40 minutes 8

Sunday 2 mile shake-out Race 1500, pace 2km @ 65 for 5000 meter race



Monday, June 9, 2014

NCAA Champs, PTF, Brooks PR Invite, and USATF Champs: Last Week's Training

I mentioned it last week, but there are some great meets in the Pacific Northwest over the next few weeks. The NCAA Track and Field Championships kick off this week in Eugene, the Portland Track Festival (PTF) is approaching this next weekend (June 14th and 15th), and the Brooks PR Invitational is going outdoor this year and is set for June 21st at Renton Memorial Stadium. High school athletes are running much faster than when I was in high school (already 10 years ago now!). Running PRs of 8:30 for 3000 meters and 3:53 for 1500 meters left me a wide range of full-ride scholarship opportunities, but these times are now commonplace. It was also not as common for the best high school athletes to get together at the national level at the same venue. The Brooks PR Invite is truly going to be a treat for track and field fans. I'm sad that I won't be making the trip to Seattle because I'll be departing soon after for Sacramento for the US Outdoor Champs, but I'll definitely be watching it on tv. The information for the race is below.

Where                                  Renton Memorial Stadium
When                                   June 21st, 1:30pm-4:30pm (doors open at noon)
Why                                     Come watch the fastest and deepest high school meet of the year in our backyard!!
                                            1000 technical PR Invite t-shirts to the first spectators arriving
                                            Come Meet the Brooks Beasts
Cost                                      $10 per person, kids 6 and under will be FREE (all proceeds go to the Renton       School District)

Reply on Facebook                                          Meet Entries                                      Blog

I'm also excited to head down to Eugene for a couple of days and cheer on the Cowboys where they are looking for a historically high team finish at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. It will also be an opportunity for me to see my coach, Dave Smith, for the first time since the fall.

My track work in preparation for the Portland Track Festival (mile) and USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (10,000 meters) has continued to progress on a weekly basis, and I'm excited to test out my fitness over the next 5 to 6 weeks of racing. I don't get to race often in Portland, so the mile next weekend will be a rare opportunity for me to enjoy the local atmosphere and have the support of family and friends. The Portland Track Fest has become bigger, deeper, and faster every year. This year will be no different.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. I'm particularly happy with my ability to close the Tuesday workout with a 4:13 on my 7th mile of the workout. I'm ready for a solid 10km. The miles are easing down with the aim of a light week heading into the USA Track and Field Champs on June 26th. It had been 6 weeks since my last day off, so I decided Monday was the right time for a rest day. My plantar was a little sore from all the spike work lately, so it was a good excuse to lay back. My daily volume for the week was still quite high, but the day off pulled my weekly mileage down to a more reasonable level on my way into racing season. Each week will get lighter in terms of volume for the rest of June. I'll check back in next week after the mile at the Portland Track Festival. For more updates, follow me here on twitter.

Week 8 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday off

Tuesday 3 mile tempo @ 70.5, 3 min rest, 4 x 1 mile (4:25, 4:22, 4:18, 4:13)   5

Wednesday 14   off 40 minutes 14

Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides   6

Friday 8 5 x (200, 200, 400) in 29-30 and 59-60 w/equal jog recovery

Saturday 11.5 4.5 40 minutes 16

Sunday 16 off



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Less than 4 weeks to the USA Outdoor Track and Field Champs: Last Week's Training

Another solid week of training in the books, and we're one week closer to the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The clock is ticking, and I still feel like it hasn't been long since the London Marathon, but the track workouts are really coming into form now. It should end up being perfect timing heading into the short track season. I think all distance runners would like more time to prepare for their events and have enough time to put in as many high quality workouts as possible, but often times there are benefits to a shorter training season. Many times in the past during the middle of a training block I have found myself wishing for more time, and then, out of nowhere, the workouts start clicking exactly as you had hoped they would. When this happens, and there are still 4+ weeks until the event, you run the risk of overtraining and getting stale. Even though I need a couple more great workouts to have my full confidence heading into the 10,000 meters in Sacramento, I also know that if I can hit them in the short amount of time I have left that I will be heading into the championships feeling fresh and ready to take on several races without much recovery time in between them. The Portland Track Festival is also less than 2 weeks away where I will run the mile in a deep field, and reintroduce myself to that desperate, lactic feeling of a short track race. I'm confident that I will be competitive in Sacramento, and I'm confident my 5,000 meter personal best is going to take a big drop in July. That is all I can ask for during a short track season in between marathon training blocks. It has been a welcomed mental relief to get back on the track and increase the intensity while decreasing the volume before I start building back up into marathon training again in the late summer. Feel free to check out last week's training below. I had one of the better track workouts of my career yesterday which I will share in next week's blog. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Monday 11.5 5.5 + 6 x 150 in spikes 40 minutes 17

Tuesday 6 10 x 500 w/100 meter jog recovery (80 down to 76)

Wednesday 14 off 40 minutes 14

Thursday 11.5 5.5

Friday 11.5 5.5 + 6 x 150 in spikes 40 minutes 17

Saturday 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile (70, 67, 65) 5

Sunday 19