Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Less than two weeks to the IAAF World XC Championships: Last week's training.

Gate River came and went quickly as big races always do. I am a bit disappointed with my 5th place finish this past weekend at the USA 15k Championships, but I ran as hard as I could on the day and left it all out there. I don't know exactly why I felt a bit sluggish, but I did. The heat and humidity were challenging, but it was challenging for everyone running on Saturday morning. The four athletes in front of me are excellent runners, and could have each won that race on a different day, so there was no shame there. My training has been going as well as it ever has, so I will simply count this as a slightly off day and push my focus to the World XC Championships on March 28th in Guiyang, China. I'd like to extend a big thanks to Richard Fannin, Doug Alred, and all the motivated
 volunteers for another excellent weekend of racing. It was nice to see Christo Landry recognized as the new 2012 Gate River champion as we were all given shirts featuring Yoda and an anti-doping slogan. There are few US Championship road races that haven't been affected by this issue over the last few years, and I think we all appreciated the message.

There isn't much to discuss in terms of training last week, as it was quite light heading into Gate River. As we're already less than two weeks out from the 12km XC race in China, there is really only time for one decent workout this week. I will take the time in between the two races to let all the quality training catch up in an effort to make my 5th World XC race the best of my career. Next week I'll share some memories regarding the 2013 USA Silver Medal team as well as discuss our goals for this year's team in China. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Week 17 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Tuesday 5 8 x 1km @ 2:56-2:58 w/1 min rest + 6 x 200 @ 29-30 16.5
Wednesday 9 5 14
Thursday Off, travel to JAX 7 7
Friday 5 + drills and strides off 5
Saturday shakeout + race off 17
Sunday 9 off, travel to PDX 9
TOTAL 85.5

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Less than a week to the Gate River Run USA 15km Champs: Last week's training.

We're days away from the 2015 USA 15km Championships during the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL. I'll be heading out of Portland for the long flight early Thursday morning, getting there in the mid-afternoon with enough time to get my run in along with some drills and strides. While it is nice to get the run over with before flying, running after the flight does make me feel better the following day. The weather looks to be fairly typical for this time of year: warm and a bit humid. The low for race day currently shows 63 degrees, which means it will be a little sticky when the gun goes off at 8:30 AM. Because this is a championship race, time is not important, so I don't mind challenging weather conditions when you are simply running for place. It adds an extra element that puts emphasis on patience, experience, and knowing your body.

8:30 AM is a nice start time for a 15km if you live on the East Coast. For those of us coming from the West Coast, and there are many, that is the equivalent of starting at 5:30 AM and waking up for breakfast at approximately 2:00 AM. It's not possible, for me at least, to get myself to sleep by 6:00 or 7:00 PM PST in order to make up for this. My strategy has been to stay on my own body time, which means going to bed a bit later and sleeping in later on Thursday night to make sure I get a full night's sleep, and then you just put up with a short night heading into the race. The adrenaline of race day is enough to get you going, and your job is done for the day by 11:00 (8:00 PST) after a cool-down and awards, so you can head straight back to bed!

Training went well last week as I bounced back from a mediocre mile repeat workout the week before. The 8 x 800 meter workout on the track was another confidence booster as I was able to average 2:07 with less than two minutes rest for 4 miles of work. That was followed by another 4-mile tempo in 4:41-4:42 and some smooth 200 meter repeats. The weather has continued to be outstanding, making these workouts much easier to get through than they should be this time of year.

I'm all set for Jacksonville this weekend. My fitness is significantly farther along than it was when I ran this race last in 2013 where I was 3rd, but I would argue the field is deeper this this year. There are too many names to list here, but this will be one of the strongest US road race championships of the year, and I'm looking forward to putting myself into the mix. Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 16 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5.5 40 minutes 16.5
Tuesday 5 8 x 800 meters 2:06-2:08 (avg. 2:07) w/1 lap rest (< 2 minutes) 16
Wednesday 12.5 Off 40 minutes 12.5
Thursday 10+drills and strides 5.5 16
Friday 5.5 off 30 minutes 5.5
Saturday Off 4 mile tempo @ 18:47 + 6 x 200 meters @ 28-29 12.5
Sunday 14 off 14

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Less than 2 weeks to the Gate River Run US 15km Champs: Last week's training

We are down to less than two weeks to the Gate River Run US 15km Championships in Jacksonville, so it's time to start bringing the volume down a bit. My coach, Dave Smith, and I decided to keep the volume a bit lower following the US XC Championships and focus a bit more on quality workouts. I have a huge base under me from the fall marathon training block, and the winter prep season, so now is a good time to back off the mileage just slightly. After a few weeks of mostly strength-based workouts following the XC Champs, I was looking forward to getting on the track for a 10 x 500 meter workout last Tuesday. While the workouts have been going well, I wasn't sure how I'd feel getting after it at 5km pace and below. I surprised myself. I ended up averaging 78.5 on 40 seconds rest (100 meter jog). The first half of the workout stayed in the 79 low range before gradually moving down and eventually closing the final rep in 75. It was a near perfect day in terms of weather for a workout, so I'm glad my legs were feeling up to taking advantage of it. With very little track work preceding this workout, I am very pleased to have felt as sharp as I did. Combined with all the tempo and long interval sessions, I am confident heading into Gate River and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the end of the month.

Unfortunately the Saturday workout did not go as well as I had hoped. After having a solid 10 x mile session the week before, I was looking forward to getting a little more aggressive over 8 x mile. I went to Seattle for the weekend to hang out at the Brooks headquarters and to watch some college track (what a weekend for indoor track by the way!). This meant doing the mile workout in unfamiliar territory at Magneson Park. While the gravel loop at the park was excellent for intervals, it was very windy and packed with people on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I was also feeling a little sluggish for some reason, so this all added up to a fairly sub-par workout. I haven't had a disappointing workout in months, so this is no big deal at all. I took the next couple of days easy, and now I'm feeling back to 100%, ready to nail a couple more workouts before resting for March 14th.

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

Week 15 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 5 + drills and strides 40 minutes 16
Tuesday 5 10 x 500 meters w/40 seconds rest (100 meter jog), avg. 78.5 16
Wednesday 14 Off 50 minutes 14
Thursday 10+drills and strides 5 15
Friday 10.5 5 40 minutes 15.5
Saturday Off 8 x 1 mile w/90 seconds rest, avg. 4:52 15
Sunday 16 Off 16.5