No, I'm not planning on furthering my education, but as I approach the 45-49 age group I'm approaching my running like the transition from high school training to college training. In some ways my 40-44 masters 'career' was like high school. I trained solidy, raced well, but 'could' have done more. My main concern when I started running again at age 40 was to try to make this a lifetime sport and not crash and burn like I did after high school. In retrospect, I think I played it a little too safe. Now, I'm starting to feel motivated to really push my limits and see how many seconds faster I can push this body before I inevitably start to slow down a little. My training with my new coach Pete Magill is all about higher volume and higher intensity than I had been used to and I seem to be handling it really well. In college I was a dumb ass and thought I could party hard and run hard like Prefontaine or something, but truth be told most of us can't handle that kind of lifestyle. Hard training is serious work and that combined with a full-time job means that I need to rest a lot or else I'll get sick and/or injured. This past week I did 63 miles with a couple of really tough workouts that I didn't taper for at all. Today I did two sets of a 3-5-8 fartlek (3's and 5's at 5K effort, 8's at tempo w/ 3:00 between each rep) on the back of a 13 mile long run Saturday and two runs totalling 12.5 miles Sunday. Legs were sore but the effort was strong and I recovered quickly from each surge. This is exactly what I need to keep on doing to lower my 5K-8K-10K times and also to improve at cross country. Cross country is all about strength and hanging on even as your legs turn to garbage near the end of the race.
I'm feeling like I'm in the best shape I've been as a masters runner and am really looking forward to the Brian Diemer 5K on June 13. My mileage is up at around 60 miles a week and I've been running some really good quality workouts as well. Last week I did 16 x 400 all at 81 seconds with 100 meter jogs and this week I did a tough ladder consisting of mile-1200-mile-800-mile-400 with 400 jogs and hit 5:44, 4:07, 5:44, 2:41, 5:45, 76. I was especially happy with that workout as it was a typically windy day at the Rocky River track, which made it tougher to accelerate on the shorter reps. What I like about the new program I'm on is the variety. Each week I do something strength oriented, like the sessions I mentioned and I also do something a little more speed oriented like hill reps with long recoveries and last week I did some technique drills. The main thing though is keeping up the volume with lots of very easy running inbetween. It looks like the plan will be to do a 3K time trial about 2 weeks before the Diemer race. I really wish I could find an open track meet to run a 3K or 2 mile, but that should give me a good idea of where I'm at. A good rule of thumb is that what you can do in a 3K by yourself without tapering etc. is probably equal to the pace you'll race at for 5K when rested up. We'll see. After Diemer the focus will be races with really competitive masters fields like Johnnycake in mid-July and the Northcoast Challenge on Labor Day weekend (both 5 miles).
Yeah I know the title is a weak Happy Mondays pun but over the last few months I have been working muscles which I haven't worked much since like high school. Yesterday I did a whole series of technique drills (stuff like high skipping, high knees, butt kicks) that made me realize that while I am very fit, I'm not so athletic. Definitely need to keep these drills in my training schedule. Between that and doing consistent hill repeats over the past few months, I can tell that my abs are tighter as well. I seem to be sore all the time except when I'm running! Anyway here are the Happy Mondays...
Ran 53 miles this past week. Easy recovery running for three days after my XC race until Thursday when I did hill reps. Those went better than ever. Felt some spring in my strides and fantasized I was a miler for maybe 5 minutes (I'm not!). Saturday was 96 minutes (probably about 13 or so) on the trails and Sunday was 8 miles easy. This week will be a step up in volume and intensity as I get ready to assault my masters 5K PR on June 13. Today I did 16 x 400 on the Rocky River HS track with 100 meter jogs and hit every single rep at 81. The effort felt pretty relaxed throughout the workout and I never felt like I was overextending myself. I tried to keep it at what felt like 5K effort. I was really happy that I was able to run this workout after a big weekend of mileage for me and a hard session on Thursday on top of that. The strength is definitely coming around. If you have the time/energy to try to step up your training I highly recommend Coach Magill!
Had a lot of fun running a very low key 5K cross country race in Oberlin yesterday. It was a really great course, about half grass and half woodchip trails. Only problem was that because of a lot of rain over the last week, certain parts of the course were flooded, but that's what true cross country is supposed to be about. I knew the race would be interesting when the pace golf cart gut stuck about a half-mile into the race! As I went past, the driver and another guy were pushing it out of the mud (they managed to get it going again, only to get stuck later). I ran really well and made myself hold back a little early on as I have seemed to die a little at the end of my other XC races I have done. The strategy worked well. The first half of the race felt almost too easy but as soon as I hit some more segments of the course with a lot of mud and knee deep water, I was feeling it. I ended up finishing 3rd overall and 1st master in 17:58. The guy who won the race was Oberlin College's top guy (mid 16's I think) while second place was my friend Graham Wellman (who is also Oberlin's XC coach) who ran 16:50ish. I was more than a minute ahead of fourth place so the race was a very good experience for me to get my XC pacing down. As a final note, thanks to Graham for throwing a very fun post-race BBQ at his house!