Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 x 400 meter Interval Workout

Today I ran a hard 10 x 400 meters on turf.  These felt considerably faster than my usual long, grinding intervals (I estimate they were 82-83 sec but not 100% sure- I measured the distance 3 times with the GPS and came out about 5 meters different each time).

Distance won't really matter as long as I keep it the same next time to evaluate progress- the goal will be to inch these down to 80- 81 if I can. 

I'll do another time trial of some sort on Friday or Saturday! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

15 Miles in 2 hr 07 min

Good long run today- didn't push the pace but I consider any run for 2 hours or longer regardless of pace a good one. 

It's clear that long runs provide benefits for running well at shorter distances (Why Non Marathoners Still Need Long Runs), but I am also in the camp that believes the opposite also holds true- that short intense workouts make a difference in terms of strength during the latter stages of long runs.  This is particularly true for the over 40 crowd when pure leg speed begins to diminish. 

By the way, I found this result from 2001, when I ran 16:40 for 5K in the Veterans World Championships in Brisbane Australia- my age graded score was 85% , and that's about as fast as I could possibly go at that age- 80 sec laps x 12. 

1 47085 Peters, Ron N M48 AUS 15:36.25 14:09.28 91.65%

2 47171 Faucheur, Pierre M45 FRA 15:38.85 14:31.35 89.33%

3 47077 Krempl, Marijan M46 SLO 15:41.66 14:27.37 89.74%

4 47427 Tchoumakov, Nikolai M48 RUS 15:42.61 14:15.05 91.04%

5 47045 Bowes, Phillip M M45 AUS 15:55.69 14:46.98 87.76%

6 47401 O'Hara, Robert M46 GBR 16:08.74 14:52.31 87.23%

7 47054 Zeuner, Gary T M47 AUS 16:12.16 14:48.66 87.59%

8 47024 Mahar, Ashley P M45 AUS 16:15.10 15:05.00 86.01%

9 47198 McGREGOR, David K M45 NZL 16:16.99 15:06.75 85.84%

10 47321 Santana, Juan Carlos M45 ARG 16:18.72 15:08.36 85.69%

11 47167 Maesano, Mario M47 ITA 16:20.78 14:56.54 86.82%

12 47443 Stuber, Robert M45 SUI 16:22.70 15:12.05 85.35%

13 47070 Pires, Augusto H M49 POR 16:25.22 14:46.80 87.78%

14 47330 Cushman, Thomas R M47 USA 16:31.42 15:06.26 85.89%

15 47075 Golob, Ivan M46 SLO 16:33.21 15:14.85 85.08%

16 47205 Stevens, Gavin R M45 NZL 16:33.36 15:21.94 84.43%

17 47037 Casey, Joe B M45 NZL 16:37.71 15:25.98 84.06%

18 47222 Elger, David H M47 USA 16:40.81 15:14.85 85.09%

19 47319 Lerra, Alberto Agus M48 ARG 16:41.33 15:08.31 85.70%

20 47081 Lyden, Peter A M46 AUS 16:41.95 15:22.90 84.34%

21 47017 Cowley, Greg J M47 AUS 16:41.98 15:15.91 84.99%

22 47318 Velazquez, Juan C M45 ARG 16:52.06 15:39.30 82.87%


Pre Run Snack!

This is an example of what I like to eat minutes before a long run in the winter- it's hot, it's loaded with sodium, and supplies an ample amount of carbohydrates.  To see why the sodium is important, check out Adding Salt Before May Improve Running in the Heat and  Is Chicken Noodle Soup Better Than Sports Drink?

11:26 for Two Miles and Age Graded Running Calculators

Yesterday I jogged to the Camp Humphreys track intending to run something very hard but not knowing just what that would be.  When I got there, I decided to get it over with by running a hard 2 mile time trial. 

Unless you are already racing frequently at the 5K distance, I highly recommend something like this at least once a month.  I was a bit surprised how tired my legs felt several hours later, a sure sign that the workout did it's job. 

I ended up running 11:26- basically two back to back 5:43s.   Now what?  This was a 5 lap track and I sense a little slowdown on the curves, so I figure I am in 11:20 shape right now.  If I set a goal to run 11:00, that means I have to develop the speed to be able to run a sub 5:30 mile, sub 2:45 for 800 meters, and 82 sec for 400 meters.  Then I must have the endurance to hold that pace for 11 minutes. 

Looking at the Runners World Age Graded Calculator, a 11:26 predicts me to run a 9:21 if I were 25 yrs old competing in the open division.  It also gives me an 84.5 age graded score (the ratio of the approximate world-record time for your age and gender divided by your actual time).  

I think the table is wrong!  I've reached the 84 age graded score before, but that was running my very best times in great shape, not a last minute solo 2-mile run on a short track by myself.  And I am left to wonder why the chart says I need to run 9:39 to reach 100%?  Something isn't adding up.

This calculator at based on World Masters Association data predicts a 9:30 and 85.3% as a percentage of the top standard for my age.  That makes more sense. 

I also took a peek at the McMillan Running Calculator that predicts times at other distances- and based on my 2-mile I am in 3 hour 57 second marathon shape.  Maybe with a few more long runs I could do that since my last 2 marathons have been 2:59 and 3:01. 

Getting back to training, I'll make it a point to begin working on 400s and try to get those down to 82, along with some 800 meter workouts 2:45 or faster.  I'll have to cut the volume (remember last week I did 16 x 400) to focus on speed, and I certainly need to be well rested before these intense workouts.  To avoid injury, I'll run these on the artificial turf.  And with no races on the calendar, I'll plan some sort of short race simulation time trial  frequently on the weekends. 

In a way, this is a refreshing change from my long-distance racing focus, and I look forward to seeing how fast I can run at 5K and under.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reverse Interval Ladder Workout

I've always been of the opinion that ladder interval workouts (for example 400 meters, 800, meters, 1600 meters, then back down) were something that coaches invented to justify their salary.  It seemed logical to me that if you wanted to work on speed you ran a straight set of 200s or 400s taking plenty of rest, and if you wanted improve strength/endurance you ran 400s or 800s at a slower pace with less rest. 

Running the shorter distances faster, ladder or reverse ladder intervals offer the option to work on speed and strength in the same workout, but whether or not this translates to a better workout than straight intervals is still up for debate.  The bottom line is which workout most closely simulates your race? 

We've been having the Youth Running Club on Camp Humphreys do reverse ladder workouts, so if I'm going to dish it out then I figure I better give it a try. 

This morning I went to the .2 mile track on Camp Humphreys and started off with 11:52 for 2 miles- I felt surprisingly strong and somewhat smooth for a change.  After a long 5 min recovery I did 1 mile in 5:44, then finished up with an 800 meter in 2:48 (another 5 min recovery). 

Not a bad workout for me, especially coming off 16 x 400s on Sunday, but I still think that straight 7 x 800s in the mid 2:50s with one minute rest would have been just as effective, if not more so.

Why run ladders?  For me, the reverse ladder presented a welcome change from grinding out straight intervals- it's all downhill after that first one is out of the way.  Once in a while every runner in the middle of a hard training cycle needs to break from the norm, and ladders offer a great alternative. 

Check out the Brooks PureFlow

Ranked as Best Buy in March 2012 Runner's World, the Brooks PureFlow!  Check out the review at Runner's World Shoe Lab!  I like the innovation with the laces.   Suggested retail is $90 but this looks like a great shoe for long distance racing/ fast training.

16 x 400 Meters!

This is a workout I never would have attempted in my early running days- but now that I am older I discovered that intervals with short recovery may be more beneficial and actually easier than hard tempo runs. 

I do this on artificial turf just inside of lane one of a 5 lap per mile track, starting on curve number 4 and finishing where you would normally start on a 400 track (measured with a GPS).   After each interval I jog the 100 meters or so back in just under 40 seconds and start again.

Looking back about one year ago (see this workout), the first time I did this my focus was not on the interval time, rather my overall average pace including recovery.  I remember getting those recovery jogs down into the mid 30s brought the average pace down under 6:50 for more than 6 miles.   Today my average was 6:55 for 5 total miles. 

If you are looking for an alternative to long tempo runs or 800 meter repeats, I'd give the 400s a try, starting with 10-12 keeping the pace reasonable (5K effort), checking not only your splits but perhaps more important your average pace (you need a GPS!). 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Morning Workout!

Interview with Gerry Lindgren

The head coach, Bob Giegengack from Yale University, was kind of a pompous guy as each day he took a morning nap in the training room and didn’t let anyone use the training room while he was napping. I came in just when he was starting his sleep, so the trainers couldn’t do anything for me and told me to come back in the afternoon.  -Gerry Lindgren describing what happened after turning his ankle just days before the 10,000 meter Olympic final in Tokyo. 

MY COMMENT:  Every time I read an interview with Lindgren he comes up with another story.  Giegengack was Frank Shorter's college coach, and this is the first time I've ever seen anything negative written about the guy. 

For the complete interview, go to GaryCohenRunning.  You can also check out one of my recent posts on perhaps the most intriguing American distance runner ever.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Top High School Girls Team Does NO INTERVAL TRAINING!

The North Shore training mix is a peon to old-school thinking. It’s short on razzmatazz and long on development. It’s not the stuff of clinics, not if you’re looking for the new hot workout. The basics, through summer, fall, winter, etc., as Levy said, are: (1) Run 10 days straight, then take a day off; (2) run hills three times a week in a 65-minute road run in which you do 10 minutes on the flat, 45 minutes on a hilly route (pushing the up hills, easing off on the down hills), then finish with 10 minutes on the flats; (3) other days run 45 to 65 minutes on the flat followed by 8 x 30-second strides; (4) do one longer run of 90 minutes in the 10-day cycle.   Saturday Night Lights: Nadel and mates break training 'rules,' gain strength, feel fresh

Samantha Nadal, North Shore's top runner, who seems to be thriving on these workouts, has already run a 4:46 mile indoors- on no intervals! 

MY COMMENT:  As always, I am facinated whenever somebody breaks from tradition- and you cannot argue with this kind of success.  Lots of hills and 30 sec strides meshed with a huge areobic foundation seems to be working!  I'd like to see those hills! 

Study Shows That Heel Strikers are Injured More Frequently Than Forefoot Strikers

But in general, those runners who landed on their heels were considerably more likely to get hurt, often multiple times during a year.  -Does Foot Form Explain Running Injuries?

Does this mean that those of us who habitually heel-strike, as I do, should change our form? “If you’re not getting hurt,” Dr. Lieberman says, “then absolutely not. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

MY COMMENT:  The article clearly warns runners not to attempt transition to forefoot striking too quickly, and remember, you have to wear  light weight racing flats or minimalist shoes (I'm not sure it's even possible to learn how to forfoot strike in normal training flats).  I'd also make it a point to practice your new running form on a soft surface. 

In a related abstract Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners, barefoot runners were found to generate smaller collision forces than runners wearing shoes, even on hard surfaces. 

                Sketchers GoRun Minimalist Running Shoe

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ten Minute Post Run Massage Helps Reduce Inflammation!

When administered to skeletal muscle that has been acutely damaged through exercise, massage therapy appears to be clinically beneficial by reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis. -Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

For more on this finding read the story at Sweat Science

From now on, I will be using my Rumble Roller after particiularly hard or long workouts.