This was my first week back after taking a week off, so I've been a little sore everyday as I get back into the routine again. Once I finish this entry I'm going to head to the park to do an easy 10 miler, which will give me 53 miles for the week. My plan this winter is to get comfortable with the 60-70 miles per week range, but also be smart about it. I want to take a down week after every two up weeks. For example, next week I'll hit somewhere between 55-60 but then I'll drop down to 45-50 the week after that to refuel a little bit. I read a good article in the new issue of Running Times by Zap Fitness coach Pete Rea that discussed taking down weeks while building mileage. This is something I've always thought about but rarely did. Starting on Monday I'm going to follow the 10-week pattern that Pete Magill gave me that I used last winter, which emphasizes 3 key workouts each week. On down weeks I'll still do the key workouts but do a bit less on the filler days. I've signed up for an indoor 5K on January 29 which should be a lot of fun and it gives me something to look forward to because winter running in Ohio can get dull in a hurry. Not much more to report. Time for a little more coffee before I head out the door. Merry Christmas!
Pictured above is the Second Sole Rocky River Masters team who finished in fourth place in the USATF National Cross Country Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 11. Left to Right is: John Hopple, Ben Szporluk, Scott Snow, Rob Porter, Steven Fenster, Jim Chaney, and Damon Blackford. Last year we were 12th, so this was a huge improvement.
I was pretty happy with how my race went. While not in as good shape as I was last year at this time I ran a very focused and even paced race and just need to use it as motivation to get faster next year. After taking 6 days off post-race and enjoying some downtime in North Carolina with Bella and her brother Andrew, I'm logging in the miles again and looking forward to a very drama free 2011.
Saturday I plan on doing a very easy 10 or 11 mile medium long run and then I'll do something like 2 x 10 minutes @ tempo on Monday. After that it will be easy running and making sure I'm caught up on sleep. I always take a week off after Nationals, but this year I feel more inspired to get rolling for next year. After my rest break I plan to start prepping for 2011 a few days after Christmas. Not sure what my goal races are but I definitely want to do a fast 5K and maybe do some road miles in the summer (I know there's a good one in Columbus in July). The masters national track and field championships are at Baldwin Wallace at the end of July and I know I'd definitely like to do the 5000 but if I can get my legs moving fast, I might try the 1500 too for kicks.
I think the last six months have started to really catch up with me because my last few races have been pretty off. The last few weeks have been especially rough as I have been taking Bella to very early morning radiation treatments at the Cleveland Clinic, trying to sneak in a workout when I get back, and then working a very busy financial media job from 2pm till 10/11pm. Not trying to make excuses because everyone goes through crap in life, but watching your wife get cancer and go through a hell of a lot to finally kick it is pretty draining to say the least. Not near as bad as what she was going through, but it's very hard to watch and not be able to make things better. Thankfully, the Cleveland Clinic has. I can't imagine any other medical team doing a better job than those guys have done. Anyway, I ran a pretty uninspiring 18:16 5K this morning though in all fairness the winds were really awful in downtown Cleveland and it certainly wasn't a PR day, but since running that 17:06 in early October, I haven't really been that on. I feel great early on in races and then seem to tank a bit in the second half. Club Nationals is in 2 weeks so hopefully I can rebound and run a solid race and then I need to re-evaluate my training. Do I do more? Less? Structure my workout sequence in a different manner? Who knows? I'll figure it out. The fun part about this sport is that what works for you and what doesn't work for you constantly changes.
On a side note, part of me wants to run another 5K race next Saturday as my final effort before Club Nationals XC. I'll decide in the next day or two. Feel free to offer any advice!
Had a solid race at the Amherst Skeleton Run yesterday finishing in 17:41 for 1st in my age group and 6th overall. A much tougher course than the one I ran on 3 weeks ago so I'll take it. I definitely didn't feel quite as sharp, but I've been training really hard for Charlotte in December, so I think that was part of it. A few days before the race I ran a pretty difficult ladder workout consisting of mile-1200-mile-800-mile-400. The miles were all at tempo/10Kish effort and the shorter surges were progressively faster. Anyway, back to the race. First mile is flat and partially downhill and I did my best to hold back hitting it in 5:32. The second mile is really rough with a pretty tough gradual climb of maybe 600 meters or so leading to the 2 mile mark. I hit the 2 mile in 11:17 passing about 5 people on the hill. After that my legs were pretty rubbery but I gutted out a decent final mile.
I decided not to do another 5K on Halloween weekend and get 3 more weeks of training in for my next race, The Twinsburg Turkey Trot. This is a great combo trail/road race and the closest thing to cross country that I'll be racing before Charlotte. A course map with elevation charts can be found here. The race is managed by my teammate Jim Chaney's company, Chaney Events, and I definitely recommend it if you live in NE Ohio. I had a lot of fun there last year (unlike many races Jim will have the results up for you in minutes, not days!).
With 7 weeks to go before Charlotte, I've mapped out my final weeks of the season. Yesterday's race made me realize that I could use a few more hill workouts so I'll be doing a few hill repeat sessions in the coming weeks as well as my usual strength interval stuff. I'm going to drive out to Mastick Woods for a few trail runs as well.
As for the shoe on the left, that's the newest color scheme of the Brooks Launch, which I just got. Great shoe (see my review from earlier this year) and I hate not having a visual when I post something on this blog.
Now for the second part of the entry. Over the years I've noticed a pattern where I seem to race my best 5Ks when I'm not really training for the 5K. When I do 5K specific workouts like 400s and 800s at those V02 max zones, I seem to lose power and general fitness. It doesn't really make sense, but I seem to gain speed when I don't really focus on speed. I think there's something pretty magical about the 10K/tempo pace zones, especially for older runners. We don't recover as fast as the youngsters, so I think that may be the best way to stay consistent over the long haul. Anyway, my big goal for the fall is cross country, so I'll be at Lakewood Park again this Wednesday lacing up the spikes for some mile repeats.At this point, I'm waiting to find out if I'll be able to get into a college XC race at Oberlin on Oct. 16. That would rock!
Here are some strength workouts that work for me:
1) 4-5 mile repeats at 10K effort with 400 jogs (or 2-3 minutes) for recovery.
2) 8 mile progression run, starting at normal conversation pace and trying to drop 10-20 seconds per mile. If you do this workout right, you should be running somewhere between 5K and 10K pace during your last mile. I usually start at 8:00 and do something like 7:40, 7:20, 7:00, 6:45, 6:30, 6:10, 5:40-5:50.
3) 6-5-4-3-2-1-30 fartlek w/ half-time recoveries: This is one that I read about in Running Times magazine that the Zap Fitness team does. After a decent warm up, run 6 minutes at about half-marathon race effort, jog 3 minutes and then run 5 minutes slightly faster, jog 2:30 etc. Basically, after each surge you get half-time recovery, so while the reps become shorter, you have to run them faster, and you get less time to recover. This is a great race simulation, especially as you get down to the one-minute and 30 second segments at the end.
As simple as that statement sounds, there’s a ring of truth to it on almost every Outrageous Cherry recording. Smith has a genius knack for infusing subversive messages and arrangements into seriously catchy pop songs that will stay in your head for days. Like all bands that have been around for more than an album or two, Outrageous Cherry have had their highs and lows in terms of popularity. The group seemed to be riding a nice wave five years ago when Rainbow Quartz released the aforementioned Our Love, as well as the following year’s Stay Happy. Both of those records emphasized the band’s more pop-oriented side with a hit parade’s worth of peppy radio-friendly nuggets. With the backing of an influential and successful indie label known for its focus on ‘60s and ‘70s influenced artists, it seemed like Outrageous Cherry might finally achieve some long-deserved mainstream success. This coincided with the championing of the band by influential DJ Little Steven Van Zandt, who released an excellent compilation of Outrageous Cherry’s work entitled Wide Awake in the Spirit World on his Wicked Cool imprint in 2008. Sadly, Outrageous Cherry still remains too much of a best-kept secret in the mainstream, though fellow artists, such as Wilco and New Pornographers love them, the latter even releasing an Outrageous Cherry covers EP! In any case, after a brief recording hiatus post-Stay Happy, Outrageous Cherry came back with a bang on 2009’s phenomenal Universal Malcontents on Alive Records. While Alive is much more known for their garage and punk acts, the label seems to be a nice fit for Outrageous Cherry. For one thing, I can’t think of any label that has done more for Detroit artists than Alive (check out their latest signing The Sights!), and, especially its sister label Bomp! Records, formed by the late Greg Shaw, who put out numerous MC5 and Stooges archival releases during a time when no one seemed to care about either artist.
Like Universal Malcontents, Seemingly Solid Reality is a perfect marriage of all of the genres that inspire Smith, namely ‘60’s bubblegum and ‘70’s AM radio pop with a dash of psychedelic sound to keep things off kilter. To quote Smith, “I grew up on that early ‘70s pop radio when all those different things were mixed up. Things weren’t divided into different formats. Back then it was Anne Murray next to Deep Purple next to Kool and the Gang next to T. Rex. Nobody complained. If you tried to do that nowadays, people would think you were expecting too much of them. Today, it would be an act of political insurrection to play the Beatles next to Gordon Lightfoot and Kool and the Gang all in the same hour.” Seemingly opens with a bang on the alluring title track instrumental, which brings to mind the vibe of David Bowie’s “Heroes” with a hard-hitting glam guitar sound, a perfect mood setter for the excellence that follows. Much of the album outlines the contrasts that have been prominent throughout Smith’s writing career, namely, upbeat arrangements with deep, thought provoking messages such as on “Unbalanced in the City,” an account of urban alienation set to a punchy T. Rex beat. Other highlights include the Modern Lovers-like stomp of “Self-Made Monster” and “Forces of Evil,” which is laced with a sinister psychedelic guitar sound courtesy of Smith and Ray. My favorite song is the finale, “The Unimportant Things,” reminiscent of solo John Lennon, featuring one of Smith’s strongest vocal performances to date.
The photo on the left says it all. Cross Country is a brutal sport. You need to have the strength of a marathon or half-marathon specialist and you need to have the wheels of a 5K guy to handle all the surges and burst of power needed to run a good cross country race. Last week I brought out the cross country spikes and did 5 x mile repeats on a grass loop with 440 jog recoveries. The session went pretty well but I averaged about 25 seconds per mile slower than I would have done on the roads or a track. Cross country running is an entirely different animal and the only way to get better at it, is to do a lot of off road workouts. The best XC runners seem to be able to run nearly as fast on grass and dirt as they do in road races. I'm planning on doing an XC specific workout every week this fall leading up to club nationals, with the exception of weeks when I'm racing (I'll hit the track for lighter tuneup workouts those weeks). In past years I haven't done enough cross country work, so this time there will be no exceptions. Tomorrow I have a good one planned on the grass loop at Lakewood Park, a ladder consisting of mile, 1320, mile, 880, mile, 440 with 440 recoveries between each surge. The miles will be run at 10K effort and the shorter reps will be run at increasingly faster paces with the aim of finishing the last 440 at about the effort I would sustain in a mile race.
As far as racing goes, I won't be toeing the line until I run a low key 5K on October 3, followed by a much higher profile 5K on a hilly course on October 24. I had initially planned on doing the Cleveland Heroes Run 5 miler this coming Sunday, but Bella is having surgery on Friday to get her tumor removed and will be in the hospital over the weekend. Racing is definitely not on my mind this week.
Click here for more info on Painted Hills
As for what's next, I'm going to scrap the Minster Oktoberfest and start focusing on XC now. Bella's surgery is going to be on September 15, so she definitely won't be 100% to travel for the race - most likely she'll need crutches or a cane for awhile. When I initially made plans to do the Minster race we thought the surgery would be more like mid-August.
As for XC training, I need to ramp up the miles. Averaging 35-40 miles a week (pretty much what I've been doing since July 4) isn't quite cutting it. Obviously, high mileage wasn't my biggest priority this summer; helping my wife get through radiation treatment was, but that said, I do know from trial and error that hitting 50 a week is my optimum level for peak performance (my results tend to stagnate once I get around 60 a week), so I'll aim for that, while including key workouts like mile repeats on cross country surfaces and long tempos.
Did my last pre-race hard workout yesterday, an old school one that's popular with the Kenyans amongst others. After an easy 2 mile warm up, I did 15 sets of 1:00 hard (i.e. 5K race effort) followed by 1:00 easy. I started the workout closer to 10K effort, but was definitely moving along faster than 5K race effort by the end. This is always a good workout. It seems easy on paper, but, man, do those 1:00 recoveries start to catch up with you! There's no recovery in a race, so definitely a good simulation. I feel ready to roll on Saturday and it looks like the weather is going to be pretty ideal. I'll keep you posted.
To fully understand where Washington D.C.’s Black Tambourine were coming from when they released their first recordings in 1989, you would need to backtrack a few years earlier to the briefly buzzing C86 scene in England. The biggest indie bands in Britain at the time were the Jesus and Mary Chain, fresh off the heels of their monstrously influential debut Psychocandy, and everyone’s favorite jangle pop bedsit poets The Smiths. Those two acts inspired a wave of followers who were enamored with the Mary Chain’s impossibley catchy buzzsaw pop and the sensitive yet substantive genius of Morrissey/Marr (my generation’s Lennon and McCartney). NME magazine documented these fellow travelers on a compilation cassette entitled C86, which included the likes of the very early Primal Scream, Wedding Present, Shop Assistants, a very different sounding Soup Dragons (pre Madchester!), and The Pastels. Black Tambourine were one of the first, if not the first, American bands to respond to these heavenly British sounds. On initial listens, Black Tambourine, who included future members of Lilys and Velocity Girl, and consisted of Mike Schulman, Archie Moore, Brian Nelson and Pam Berry, come across as an American answer to The Shop Assistants with Berry’s pristine girl group style melodies soaring over an infectious noise pop sound, but that’s only part of the story. The group was totally schooled in the art of songwriting — “For Ex-Lovers Only” and “Throw Aggi Off The Bridge” are especially potent with heartfelt lyrics and fuzz galore. One clue to the band’s excellence could be their supreme taste in music. Their cover of Love’s “Can’t Explain” is mesmerizing, while the lovely “Drown” is a doo wop throwback that brings to mind something like “Beyond The Sea” or “Sea of Love.” Sadly, Black Tambourine only recording nine songs in their brief existence on a selection of 7” singles and compilations for Slumberland (one of Schulman’s first releases!), Spin Art, and Audrey’s Diary. These tracks were compiled for 1999’s Complete Recordings collection, along with the previously unreleased “I Was Wrong.” Black Tambourine, however, trumps that collection with the inclusion of six more songs, four of them recorded in 2009 by a reunited and rejuvenated lineup, which consist of two originals, as well as covers of Suicide and Buddy Holly. While Black Tambourine never made it big their status remains near legendary in indie pop circles, one only has to listen to Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Dum Dum Girls to witness this.(slumberlandrecords.com)
Here's the back story. My friend Matt and I were talking about a thread on letsrun.com, which discussed results from some late '70s NCAA cross country races that included legendary runners like Craig Virgin and Henry Rono. In the 1979 results I noticed that a guy from Cleveland State named Don James finished in 30th, an all-American performance. I looked up Cleveland State athletics on Wikipedia and found the team results from the 1977 and 1979 championships mentioned above, but sadly learned that the program was discontinued at the end of 1992, presumably due to Title IX cuts. This led to more searching, where I came across a blog published by a former Cleveland State runner entitled Mike's Cleveland Blog.The blog has not been updated since 2008, but the entry that fascinated me was one entitled "Gone But Not Forgotten."
It's a fascinating read, which chronicles Mike's competitive running career and how in summer road races during high school he became aware of the CSU program:
It was at the road races where I got my first glimpse of where I wanted to one day go to college if I were ever going to amount to a true distance runner after high school. Members of the Cleveland State cross country team were dominating the road racing scene all around me and taking home all of the shiny trophies! I did some investigating, which in those days meant going to the library and looking at old sports page clippings from the Plain Dealer. I had to become part of this tradition and prayed that one day their coach would recruit me.
To make a long story short, Mike was recruited but ended up going to John Carroll as that had been a family tradition. That didn't sit so well with Mike and after one year he recalls, "I cautiously walked up to my parents and informed them that I wanted to transfer to Cleveland State, that is, if it was okay with them. I told them John Carroll was nice, but I felt like I would fit in better at Cleveland State. They are Division I and my friends were going there. They questioned my reasons for transferring but gave me their blessing anyway."
So how did one become a successful runner training in downtown Cleveland? Mike remembers:
I had the experience of a lifetime. Something you would not expect to hear from a serious cross country runner attending an urban campus surrounded by so much cement. I mean, come on...cross country running...in Cleveland? Where are all the corn fields, the woods, and the marshy areas? How can anyone become a true cross country runner at Cleveland State?
Simple. You fall in love with the streets and bridges of downtown Cleveland. You embrace that pungent smell from the fish factory on the west bank of the flats because to CSU runners THIS IS altitude training. You learn to accept that running for your life from large stray dogs when getting temporarily lost in one of Cleveland's many fine neighborhoods is simply called speed work.
Meanwhile results from other years were posted on the LetsRun thread and Matt and I discovered the mind-boggling performances of Marc Hunter. Matt found a link that listed Marc as a two time Ohio high school champion in the mile and I found out that after college Marc represented the USA in two World Cross Country Championship races.
I had no idea that my adopted hometown's city university had such a storied cross country program once upon a time. If anyone knows more, please drop me a line. This might make for a really good article!
OK, no one will get this except my runner friends, but I ended up in Norwalk, Ohio last Saturday (long story) and came across this bar that was calling for a photo op. It was pretty dead inside, but a covers band with decent taste (Metallica, AC/DC) kept us entertained.
I ran the second 10K-specific workout of my current training cycle yesterday and this one went quite well. Again, I opted for the slower bike paths over the track, but once school is back in session and I can have the track more or less to myself, I'll do my final 10K prep work there. This workout called for a 2 mile followed by 4 x mile, all at 10K effort. I hit the 2 mile in 11:54 going 6:02, 5:52 and after 5-minutes of easy jogging, nailed my miles in 5:51, 5:50, 5:50, 5:49 (3:00 recovery between each). After a slowish opening mile on the 2-mile (like last Friday it took about 800 meters for me to wake up!), I hit everything else on the money.
As a side note, I've got some music and other blog posts coming soon. I realize reading about just workouts may be boring to any non-runners who read this!
Nice workout this morning at Lakewood Park. After a 2 mile warm up, which included some strides, I knew that this wasn't going to be easy as my legs were still feeling a little heavy from Tuesday's 800s and the heavy humidity wasn't helping. In any case I hit 4 miles in 24:22 going 6:13, 6:07, 6:06, 5:56. The first half-mile was pretty slow (3:09), but after that, I was able to settle into a threshold zone that felt 'right' and hit 91s and 92s the rest of the way before negative splitting the last mile. I'm two weeks into my training block and feel like it's only going to get better. The weather can't stay in the 80s forever, can it? Next Tuesday will be a tough one: 2 miles @ 10K pace, followed by 4 x mile @ 10K pace. I may go medium long on Sunday instead of long to be ready for that one, and then do a long run as my secondary workout at the end of next week. We'll see.
Well, actually 8 x 880 as I ran these yesterday on the marked bike path at Lakewood Park and not on my local 400 meter track. The workout went really well as I seemed to zero right into a 5K race pace effort after a slightly slower first rep. My splits were 2:52, 2:47, 2:47, 2:45, 2;48, 2:45, 2:45, 2:45. For reference point, reps 1 and 5, 2 and 6, 3 and 7, and 4 and 8 were on the same segments. Recoveries were easy 400 meter jogs. As I always seem to run a little faster on the track, I feel good about my fitness right now. I think I'm back in (or very close to) sub 17 5K shape again (usually, long workouts like this don't lie). Next up is a tempo workout on Friday before gearing up for some 10K-specific work next week. Really looking forward to the Northcoast Challenge 5-miler on Sept. 4. The past two years I've run 28:44 and 28:50 on that course, so I'd like to beat that!
Started the second week of my 10K program with a really nice 93-minute trail run this afternoon and felt great throughout even though the temps were pushing 90. I like running on trails after it has rained the night before, because it seems like something is missing if you don't at least get a little bit muddy when you're running off road. I feel fully recovered from the hard progression run last Friday and I think I have this week's plan in place. The McMillan schedule calls for 12 x 400 @ 5K pace w/ 200 meter recoveries as my key workout this week, but I think I'm going to substitute it with 6-8 x 800 w/ 400 meter recoveries, as I feel like I respond much better to longer intervals. I'm 95% sure I'll do this on Tuesday. For my secondary workout on Friday, I'm going to do a 4 mile tempo and, weather permitting, try to run sub 6:00 pace feeling hopefully very relaxed. This week should set me up nicely for the 10K-specific workout coming up in week 3.
Yesterday I ran my second key workout of the week, an 8 mile progression run on the mile loop in Lakewood Park. 8 laps on the same loop might sound kind of boring, but it's perfect for this workout as you'll soon see. The best way to run a progression is to do your first mile at normal easy day pace (it gets you warmed up) and then comes the fun part, running 10-20 seconds faster on each following mile until you hit 8 miles or can't go any faster. Yesterday, I started with a 7:42 and worked down to 7:13, 6:55, 6:42, 6:26, 6:19, 6:11, 5:58, which was a solid effort in mid-80s heat and high humidity. Normally I try to do the last 3 miles in 6:15, 6:00, 5:45, but, like everyone else, I find it hard to redline in the humidity. The progression run is a perfect workout for those training for 10Ks, cross country, and, also, longer races. It teaches you to keep running harder as you get more and more tired. I'm feeling good about my first week of 10K training, and look forward to tackling similar workouts in more ideal temps in the coming weeks.
Today was my first 10K-specific workout of my 8-week training block and it called for 6 x mile @ 10K goal pace with 3:00 recoveries. Being that it was already in the mid-80s and super humid when I got to Lakewood Park around 9:15, I chose to go by effort rather than forcing my goal pace. I ended up averaging 5:55.5 for my set, which was actually not too far off my sub 36 target pace (a 35:58 10K is 5:47 pace). Heat index calculators estimate that a 6:00 mile is more like a 6:15 when it's in the mid 80s and that doesn't even consider humidity so I'm feeling very optimistic. Glad I did this workout on the marked mile loop at Lakewood Park, where I could catch some slight cooling breezes off the lake, rather than slugging it out on the track. Splits were 6:04, 5:54, 5:53, 5:55, 5:55, 5:52. In retrospect I probably should have held back a bit more on the second rep like I did on the first, but I'm happy with the fairly even pacing. Felt like death on the fifth one, and, for a brief second, thought about making it a 5 x mile workout, but then I got mad at myself for thinking that and dialed M for Man-up and hammered the last one nicely. No matter how you pace them the last mile of a 10K almost always sucks so you just have to callous yourself to the pain. I'm leaning towards doing an 8 mile progression run on Friday for my second key workout of the week. There's something about that workout that simulates the end of a long race better than anything else.
Today was the beginning of my 8-week 10K training program and my workout went well enough. I drove out to Mastick Woods to do a 90 minute long run on the trails. Temps were in the mid 80s (probably should have run earlier!), but it felt about 10 degrees cooler than that on the shady trails. Nothing too eventful to report other than I always realize how much I miss running on trails when I haven't done it in awhile. Felt really good and I didn't push it too hard because Tuesday's 6 x mile session is my meat and potatoes workout for the week. My secondary session on Friday will be something shorter and quicker. Haven't quite decided what to do for that one yet.
Had a really good final week of my 'unstructured' training block before I kick into my 10K program this afternoon with an easy trail run. I ran two key workouts that really emphasize finishing strong. The first one I ran on Tuesday is called the 6-5-4-3-2-1. This is a session that is done by the Zap Fitness team, who won the Open team title at Club Nationals XC last fall. After a few miles of warm up, you run 6 minutes hard followed by three minutes easy, then five minutes hard, followed by 2:30 easy. You get the idea. Each surge is one-minute shorter than the one before, but the catch is you run each surge faster than the one before while taking a shorter recovery (half of the time of the surge). I start out at just slower than 10K effort on the 6:00, but am usually running close to all out by the end. A perfect workout for teaching your body to finish fast while accumulating fatigue.
On Friday, I ran one of my favorites, an 8 mile progression run where you start at normal easy pace and then drop about 15 seconds per mile until you're running somewhere between 5K and 10K race pace at the end. This one went especially well as I finished my last 3 miles in 18:01, going 6:15, 6:03, 5:45. From having done this workout before I can guess that I'm probably in shape to break 17:00 for 5K or come pretty damn close. Definitely looking forward to a good fall because this is the best I've felt all year.
New single from Crocodiles' forthcoming second album due out on September 14. Can't wait for this!
SIMPLE EIGHT-WEEK WORKOUT SEQUENCE FOR A FAST 10K
|1||6 x 1M||3-minute jog between 1M repeats|
|2||10-12 x 400m||Run the 400m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between|
|3||2M + 4 x 1M||5-minute jog between 2M repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M repeats|
|4||3M Tempo Run or 5K Race||One simple prediction method is to double your 5K time and add 1 minute to get your 10K time. Are you on track for your goal 10K time?|
|5||2 x 2M + 2 x 1M||5-minute jog between 2M repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M repeats|
|6||20-24 x 200m||Run the 200m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between|
|7||3 x 2M||5-minute jog between 2M repeats*|
You can view the full article here. I plan to do a secondary key workout on most of the weeks as well, plus my usual filler days of easy runs/longer runs etc. Week 4, I'll be doing a 5-mile race instead of a 5K because the best race by far on Labor Day weekend is the Northcoast Challenge, which I've talked about before. At the end of Week 6, I'll also be racing a 5K.
* The editor in me noticed that on the Running Times website they repeated the Week 6 description for Week 7, so I typed in what they meant to say! :-)
Every year I plan on doing some summer racing, but then I always seem to need to refuel after my July 4 race, so I end up going into a base/strength phase until the fall. This year has proven to be no different. My traditional season opener has always been the Northcoast Challenge (formerly known as Celebrate Westlake). I have done this 5-mile race every year since I started running again in 2005, other than 2006 when we were out of town that weekend. Always look forward to that one. Fast course and really great competition - the prize money draws a lot of fast Kenyans (even masters). I've been feeling pretty strong since the Bay Days race getting in a longer run, tempo/long interval workout, and hill reps every week. I feel like the hills are already really helping. I've never liked doing them, but they definitely pay dividends! I can tell they help my form and they definitely add some power to your game. I've outlined a fall season so to speak that will conclude with the Club Nationals 10K XC race in Charlotte, NC on December 11. Before that I'll be racing a mixture of 5Ks, 5-milers and the Octoberfest 10K in Minster, OH on October 3. I did that race a few years ago when it was unseasonably hot (same day as that infamous heatwave Chicago Marathon race), but if the weather is decent, that's a really fast, flat course and ideal for my first sub-36 as a master. I also plan on running the Natatorium 5K in Cuyahoga Falls this year. I've never done that race but it's USATF certified and I've heard great things about it. Might be a good place to take a sub-17 shot.
A few life updates listed in order of importance:
3) Running The running is going pretty well though obviously taking a back seat in terms of life priorities. I'm not sweating it if I miss a day or two here and there. Strangely enough, I've actually been running better on reduced volume over the last month. I've been trying to focus on staying in tune with the main energy systems for racing well at 5K-10K each week: a) a longer run; b) something strength oriented like a tempo run or mile repeats at 10K/15K effort; and c) something faster like hill repeats. I think I'm going to do a 5K in Independence on August 7 and then definitely start my fall racing season with the Northcoast Challenge 5-miler, which is one of my two or three favorite Cleveland races.
Had one of my best races of the year at the Bay Days 5 Mile race on July 4, ending up with my best time of the season for that distance with a 29:00. Only regret was that I didn't break 29:00 - I sprinted as hard as I could when I saw the clock near the finish line! My splits were all really even (every mile was between 5:46 and 5:50) and the effort felt strong and controlled throughout even with the high temps, so I'll definitely take it. Next up is a bit of a hiatus from racing as I get in some more strength work like progression runs, mile repeats, hill reps etc. over the coming weeks. I may jump into a 5K or two later this summer, but the first key race will be the Northcoast Challenge 5-miler on Labor Day Weekend.
It feels weird just writing this, but this week, we found out that my wife has a cancerous tumor on her thigh. The medical term for this is Liposarcoma. It came out of nowhere less than two months ago. At first we thought it was just a bruise, but when it didn't go down, Bella went to her doctor. An MRI and biopsy later and we got the rather shocking news on Monday. Yesterday she met with an oncologist and had a cat scan and full body scan, and next week she'll start on a five-week course of radiation, which will hopefully shrink the tumor so it can be removed at the end of August. We're taking this day to day. I feel like I'm in one of those bad dreams that you can't get out of but I know I have to be super strong to help Bella pull through. I've never been a very religious person and I'm scared beyond belief to be honest.
This year I've noticed that I need to focus more on the 'recovery' aspect of training than I have ever had to before. When I started running again five years ago at age 40, it was easy. I trained more and got better. I ran my best masters times in 2008 at age 43 on about 45-50 miles a week with a decent amount of intensity. Last year I upped the mileage to 60-70 a week and though I ran some really good races, I didn't hit any masters PRs. I think in retrospect, the mileage on my easy days was too much, even though I ran it very slowly. This year has been up and down. I had a good winter, but then hit my first race in March feeling very flat. I rebounded with my two best races of the year so far in late March and early April, a 17:24 5K, followed by a 36:14 10K. After that I had a month with some bad stomach issues, which has thankfully gone away. I feel like I'm turning a corner again, but it's only by doing almost nothing on my easy days. I've always been the sort of person that has wanted to work hard all the time but ultimately, competitive running is about performances so who cares what my training log looks like if my races are crap?
A lot of really good masters runners I know and have read about (including national record holders like Jim Sorensen and Rich Burns) take at least one day off a week and that's something I've started to do. I have one more race this summer (July 4) before I go back into base training mode and get ready for some hopefully fast fall races and a strong performance at the club nationals XC race in Charlotte.
Definitely a much better race than two weeks ago, so I'll take it, especially since this course had a lot of twists and turns compared to the much more out and back layout at Diemer. I ran 17:39 and was 11th overall and first in my age group in a really competitive race at Crocker Park today. Kind of hot and humid, but nothing unusual for this time of year. A lot of prize money was at stake for the top 3 male and female runners, which always brings out the really fast youngsters. The top 2 guys were both at 15:11, separated only by a few tenths of a second. Too bad there was no masters money! Anyway, I feel like I'm back on track again, especially after a really bad interval workout on Tuesday that felt like death. I'm planning on doing a 5-mile race on July 4 and then taking a racing hiatus until Labor Day weekend. I always like to regenerate in the summer when it gets too hot for fast racing and get in some good base work. If I'm antsy I may jump into something low key in August. Plan is to get back to doing those longer progression runs and hill repeats, which will help build the strength for cross country nationals in Charlotte, NC in December.
Oh yeah, one of the fun things about this race is that if you beat 1984 Olympian Brian Diemer, you get a free donut. Brian is the guy in the middle in Red, running with a guy who wears a cardboard sign, which says something like, Beat Brian and Win a donut!
My workouts have been going really well since my 5-mile race on Memorial Day Weekend, so I'm pretty optimistic about running a good race at the Diemer 5K on Saturday. Since that race, some of my key workouts have included 12 x 400 @ 82 (5:28 pace) with brief 200 meter recoveries last Wednesday; a 12 miler last Saturday with the last 3 miles in 18:54 (going 6:26, 6:20, 6:08); and 6 x 800 meters at 8K race effort with 200 meter recoveries on Tuesday (I averaged 2:51 for each of those feeling quite relaxed). I feel like I've got my bases covered as far as endurance, strength, speed and power goes, so hopefully on Saturday it's all systems go.
I still have a way to go to get where I want to be this year, but I feel like I've crossed a hurdle. Those stomach issues I had for about a month are pretty non-existent and I feel really good heading into the Diemer 5K on June 12. I don't know if I'm fit enough to beat my 16:58 at Diemer in 2008, but I'd like to top the 17:12 I did last year.
As for the motivational link, Running Times magazine compiles an extensive masters national road race ranking database and the 2010 standards have been published. To be included in the database, one must have to hit the following times. For my age group (45-49), I need to hit 16:55 for 5K, 28:00 for 5-miles and 35:15 for 10K. I think all of those are doable though it's going to take some solid, consistent training. Right now my best times for 2010 are 17:24, 29:13 and 36:14, so that's my motivation as I head out the door each morning.
I'll get around to writing a review of this, but for the time being here's a photo of the Raw Power box set! 3 CDs, a documentary DVD, a Japanese 7" single, postcards and a 50-page book with tons of great photos.
The workouts have been going well lately and I'm looking forward to having a good race on Saturday. I'll be doing the Eagle Run 5-miler in Avon. It's supposed to be a fast, flat course and the weather forecast is looking good. After 80s all week it will only be a high of around 73 on Saturday. My two key workouts last week were 5 x mile with 400 meter recoveries on Tuesday @ 10K/15K effort and the Friday session of 8 x 400 in 80 seconds (5:20 pace) with quick 200 meter recoveries that I mentioned in the post below. This Spring has kind of flown by but I think I've set myself up for some good summer racing.
Another similar workout that Moneghetti devised, which has been coined the Mona Fartlek, is a session of 2 x 90 seconds, 4 x 60 seconds, 4 x 30 seconds, and 4 x 15 seconds with equal time float recoveries. I have done this a few times in the past in the winter and this one definitely kicks your butt if you do it right.
I've been trying to simplify things myself. One can find a staggering amount of training information on the internet these days, including a million and one different training programs for all events. Most road racers are full time workers with a lot of life responsibilities. It's not always practical to have a fancy training program with multiple phases when you're just training for a dozen local races every year. What seems to work for me is a weekly mix of three key workouts: a long easy to moderately paced run; a threshold workout in the 10K-10 mile race pace zone; and something faster like hill repeats or shorter intervals.
Can't wait for this! Seriously, Creation Records is my favorite record label of all time and was one of the main inspirations for me when I started Elephant Stone Records. Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, House of Love, Swervedriver, Primal Scream, Oasis, Boo Radleys, Adorable, and so many more ...
Had my best week of running in like a month, so I'll definitely take it. No real rock star workouts, but a lot of high quality consistency. Did a nice set of 6 x 1000 meters on Wednesday and came back on Friday to do 16 x 200 averaging around 36/37. First half was all 37's before getting into the 35's and 36's near the end. The effort felt reasonably relaxed, definitely not a struggle, so hopefully with a few more sessions like this, 5:20 pace for a 5K (sub 16:40) will feel attainable. Successful 5Ks aren't all speed though, so today I worked the opposite spectrum and ran a solid 10 mile progression run on a hilly 5 mile out and back segment at the Rocky River metro park. I started easy at just under 8:00 pace and worked my way to sub 7:00s for the last 6 miles, including a final mile of 6:20. Effort felt relaxed and I didn't really push it like I have done with some progression runs in the past as I've got some tough sessions planned for Tuesday and Friday this week as I get ready for a May 29 5-mile race.
Wow! My second race mishap of 2010. After barely making the start of the Meteor 10K, today I actually did miss the start of the Ambulance Chase 5K, but thankfully due to chip timing I was able to run the race, starting about 5:00 after everyone else and passing a sea of walkers and runners, finishing in a respectable chip time of 17:53 for first in my age group. Not the race I wanted to run, but if nothing else a good, albeit expensive Vo2 max workout. Here's what happened. Before I set off to due my warm up, I gave my wife my bag, which had my racing flats with chip attached to one shoe and my singlet with my race number. She, for some reason, thought I was wearing them already. I told her that I would meet her at the starting line, but since she thought I had everything I needed she was further down on the course in a spot to cheer me on. It was cloudy so I wasn't wearing my prescription shades, so my eye sight wasn't the best. When the race started and she saw I wasn't there, she ran to the starting line where I grabbed my flats, threw on my singlet and set off in mad pursuit. I didn't time it so the splits made no sense and I didn't realize they were running a different course. At one spot early on when I was just passing walkers I thought I was supposed to turn right, but everyone was going straight. I stopped for about 5 or 10 seconds and asked one of the walkers if this was the 5K run and she said she thought so, so I started running again! All and all, this was a good effort. I think if I had been in the actual race, I could have run maybe 30 seconds faster today (a friend who usually beats me by about 30 seconds was 16:59 today). I feel like I definitely started out a little too hard as if I were behind on a 4 x mile relay leg or something and I was trying to chase everyone down. Not sure what's next but I may jump into another 5K road race next Sunday in Rocky River instead of doing the XC race in Oberlin. I'd like a good road 5K benchmark one month away from Diemer. I'll chalk today down to Mercury Retrograde.
No, that's not a drug reference, just a play on the name of the 5K race I'll be running on Sunday, the Lakewood Ambulance Chase. I was originally going to do a 5K cross country race in Oberlin that day, but I just found out that that race is on May 9, so I decided to jump into a road race this weekend as I was mentally prepared to race. I've done the Ambulance Chase three times and each time I ran a personal best. In 2005, my first year running after a long layoff, I ran 18:32, which was the first time I raced sub 6:00 pace for 5K. The next year I ran 17:41, lowering my PR from 17:52 the previous fall. In 2008 I ran 17:18, which was a 4-second PR. Six weeks later I broke 17:00 for the first time at the Brian Diemer 5K, running 16:57.6. This year I'm thinking I can hit something in the 17:10-17:20 range for sure. I ran 17:24 a month ago and feel like I've made some strides since then. We'll see. If I'm in that range, I think I have a good shot at getting back under 17:00 again at Diemer. Rainy forecast, but as long as it's on the warm side, I'm cool with that.
I've been pretty lazy on this blog lately, but I promise that some more music reviews will be forthcoming. I definitely plan on picking up the deluxe edition reissue of The Stooges Raw Power that is coming out this week and I still need to get the reissue of Catherine Wheel's Ferment, which includes as bonus tracks their rare covers of Mission of Burma, Scott Walker and Husker Du. On the live front, Bella and I saw Detroit's The Sights play at the Beachland on Saturday night. They had been on hiatus for about four or five years, so it was really nice to see them again. The main singer and lead guitarist Eddie Baranek is as amazing as ever. A true showman with his James Brown moves. The band is definitely moving along from their mod and power pop roots into a more rock 'n' roll direction, not unlike how the Small Faces morphed into the Faces.
As for my running,everything is going well. I had a few days last week where my stomach was feeling kind of off, so I didn't run as much as normal, but I'm feeling really good today as I write this. Looks like that Oberlin XC race is going to be on May 9, so I think I'll jump into a 5K road race this weekend and look for some improvement on that 17:24 I ran at the end of March.
I'll sign off with a Sights video from their last full-length album The Sights, which came out in 2004. Time for a new album!
Had a really good week of running post-Meteor 10K. Took three super easy days after the race and then on Wednesday did a mid-week long run, going two hours on the trails in Mastick Woods. Yesterday I ran a 6 mile progressive tempo and really nailed it, running 37:55 with splits of 6:54, 6:42, 6:28, 6:15, 5:59, 5:34. This is always a fun workout to do because the goal is to run each mile 10-15 seconds faster than the one before and then trying to hit the final mile at 5K effort. It teaches you to hold back early on and discipline yourself before the final drive to the finish. I call it the Kenyan run because workouts like this are a staple for many of that country's elites. Of course, they probably finish their runs at like 4:20-4:30 pace! I've been feeling really good over the past month and I think it's largely due to a slight tweak I made in my training program. I'm not doing anything different in my workouts but I have been spacing out my hard workouts so that I get two, sometimes three easy distance days in between. In the past I've been guilty of trying to cram everything into the traditional 7-day schedule, but now I've been working on a 10-day pattern where I try to do a long run, tempo workout and interval/hill workout or race, with all the filler days being easy aerobic runs. So far, so good ... I think!
Next up is a 5K cross country race in May. That will be a nice change of pace and Oberlin's XC course is really nice. I've decided that my Spring/early Summer goal is going to be to PR at the Diemer 5K in Grand Rapids on June 12, so I'm 99 percent certain that I won't be doing the USATF 10K six days before that. It's just too hard to focus on two races so close together.
Despite a much less than ideal warm up due to some unforeseen construction delays on the way to the race, I managed to run a really good 10K this weekend. My buddy Stephen, who I was staying with in Ann Arbor, was kind enough to drive me to the race and cheer me on and played superhero duty by dropping me off just in time so I could pick up my number and get in a few minutes of easy jogging before meeting him to hand off my sweats just before the race started. Knowing that I wasn't as warmed up as usual my plan was to be very conservative early on until I felt properly warmed up. I cruised the first mile in 6:00 doing the usual weave around all the people who went out to hard (it didn't help that the 5K and 10K started together). I picked it up slightly after that and rolled into the 2 mile mark at 11:54. Ideally I would have wanted to be more like 11:40 (as my pre-race goal was 36:00) but I didn't panic. I pushed it a little more the next 2 miles while holding back enough to blast the last 2 miles. That plan worked well as I hit the 4 mile mark in 23:38 before doing the last miles in 11:20. While I didn't quite hit 36:00, I ended up with 36:14, which I was extremely happy with.
While I was satisfied with my race performance, I wasn't satisfied at all by the race organization. When a major four lane road is under construction only a few miles from the race course, reducing traffic to one lane, shouldn't that be mentioned on the race website? Michigan Avenue was a zoo. Some of the people in the marathon and half-marathon ended up starting up to 15 minutes late (thank God for chip timing). Last year the 5K and 10K were on Saturday and the half-marathon and marathon were on Sunday. This year all 4 races were on the same day. There is not enough public parking in Dearborn to accommodate that and they certainly didn't rent more Porta Potties - a lot of guys were peeing in very public places!
Equally screwed up are the results. While the times are correct, currently there are a bunch of slower 5K finishers times mistakenly listed in the 10K results so while I think I know my age group result, the overall place is wrong. As of now, nationally ranked masters champions like Sam Torres (50-59 age group) and Doug Goodhue (60-69 age group) are listed as not winning their age groups on Saturday. I checked the names of some of the people ahead of them (the race website lists what races individuals registered for) and they were all 5K runners whose times got mixed into the 10K results! They did this last year too and it took a while for the results to get sorted out. Hopefully everything gets smoothed out.
A good idea might be to start the 5K at a different time and have it finish in a different location so that the overall results don't get so jumbled. Speaking of that the finish was kind of a zoo as the faster 10K runners had to weave around slow walkers. This isn't meant to be an elitist rant. I don't have any problem with anyone doing a race, but make it easy for everyone by not having finishers of one race get mixed in with people in another race. I felt like the race organizers were being greedy by trying to cram too many runners in too many races in an area that couldn't hold that many runners. At $31 for the 10K and much more for the marathon and half-marathon, I felt the runners deserved better.
On a positive closing note, the 10K course is awesome. It's scenic, virtually flat, and USATF certified. That's why I made the trip to do it. If the race organizers plan to do the four races in one day approach next year, I'll definitely give it a pass.
Four albums into their career and The Legends have somehow topped their excellent debut Up Against The Legends with Over and Over. While borrowing somewhat liberally from The Jesus and Mary Chain's patented Psychocandy-era noise pop formula, these Swedes (actually as far as the recordings go, mainly the work of one man, Johan Angergard) create sunshine pop with substance. Songs like "Seconds Away" and "Always The Same" (see video above) will stay in your head for weeks. Anyone who digs The Raveonettes should investigate immediately.
Everything has been going really well since my 5K race last Saturday. After three easy days post-race, I did a really good tempo/faster pace combo workout that I borrowed from local speedster Tim Budic. The idea is to get in a tempo at about 30 seconds give or take slower than current 5K race fitness, then jog an easy mile before doing a hard mile. I decided to do this on the track at Rocky River High School so I could carefully monitor my pace (i.e. make sure I wasn't going too fast for the tempo portion). I did 5 miles on the track in 30:36 feeling really smooth. My splits were 6:13, 6:07, 6:07, 6:06 and 6:03. Pretty much exactly 30 seconds per mile slower than my 5K race four days prior. After taking an easy mile jog (within 2 laps I was feeling pretty good again) I threw off my t-shirt (hey it was like 60F!) and hit the mile perfect going 85, 85, 84, 83 for a 5:37. This workout has me feeling really good about the Meteor 10K in Dearborn on April 10. With the hay pretty much in the barn after that workout, I did an easy 1:45 trail run (maybe 13.5 miles?) on Saturday and Tuesday I plan on doing a tempo workout that Pete Magill had me do last year, which I really liked. 6-8 sets of 800 @ tempo, 200 jog, 200 hard, 400 jog. The tempos will be really easy and the 200s will provide some turnover without overdoing it.
Moose didn't receive quite the buzz that other Brit shoegazers of the early 90's did, but they certainly deserved to. Their early singles compiled on the US release Sonny and Sam and their debut album proper XYZ contained some of the traits of the then hip dreampop scene, but their sound was more timeless than their contemporaries, as they incorporated elements of 60's country (beating Mojave 3 to the game by about four years) and 70's AM pop. Moose's main duo of Kevin McKillop and Russell Yates were definitely schooled in the art of classic songwriting. This deluxe reissue on Cherry Red Records is a must purchase since it contains the original album as well as the seven songs from Sonny and Sam. If you've never listened to Moose before I'd recommend starting with those tracks so you can get an idea of how they progressed on XYZ. Seems like a lot of the old videos have been pulled from YouTube, but hopefully the link above stays up for awhile!
I'm pretty jaded with most 'new' bands, but Brooklyn's A Place To Bury Strangers have grabbed my attention with two excellent albums and a fuzzed out noise fest of a live show that outdoes the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and, to be honest, most of the first wave of shoegazers (I'm old kids and I saw most of the 'legends' from that era). Combining a relentless fuzz pop attack with a dark edge that brings to mind some of the heavier goth groups like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, A Place To Bury Strangers are a nice antidote to all that uber-sensitive twee pop that's coming out of the indie scene these days.
More like Jog Into Winter as it was about 25F when the gun went off! That said, it was one of those beautiful sunny days with very little wind and after jogging most of the course for my warm up, I knew this would be a fast early season race as it was virtually flat. I felt really good in my warm up and after a few strides I was anxious to go. As usual I locked right into my 5K pace instead of sprinting out like most people do, but by the mile mark I was clearly in second place, running alongside a high school runner who also went out conservatively. We hit the mile mark in 5:38 and I felt really good so I tried to push it ever so slightly more. The kid stayed with me and we sort of jockeyed back and forth and rolled into the 2 mile at 11:14. I still felt really good (where was all this sharpness 2 weeks ago?) and decided that I needed to try to pull away sooner rather than later as I didn't want it to come down to a kick at the end. I pushed hard for about a half mile and for awhile I thought I opened a gap, but the kid pulled up to me again and gapped me a little. I caught him again with about 200 to go and tried to outsprint him, but he just had more wheels than me and beat me by a second. In any case, I ended up with a 17:24, which I was really happy with. Much better Age-graded performance than the 5 miler 2 weeks ago. I was 3rd overall and first in my age group. Really enjoyed this race in Independence. The course was great and well marked and it was accurate. People who wore Garmins had it right at 3.12. That doesn't always happen with Cleveland races!
Next up is the Meteor 10K in Michigan in 2 weeks. Last year I ran 36:06 for my PR and I would REALLY like to get under 36 this year. Feeling good and motivated.