April 6-18

This cycle was another learning experience. I started playing with some sprint drills and tried to organize the days a little differently, but I ended up feeling flat on the track.  I noticed that I feel peppy the day after my primary lift as long I don’t overdo it (duh) and that the drills drained me the next day more than I expected. 

I’ve been tinkering away in the log, adding in more of the technical stuff I’m doing. Just fyi if you feel like browsing through it.

Speed day was pouring rain and a little chilly. I’ve been trying to learn how to run bends better. A cue I picked up is instead of leaning into the turn (which I’ve always done), I try to keep my torso perpendicular to the ground. It helps my hips load better, and I end up getting more power from my right hip (instead of using the outer hamstring, which I pulled) and put less torque on my left (the problem hip for me).  I’ve also been working on coordinating my hamstring action at high speed (and bends).

Reading up on this stuff made me see just how little I knew about how running actually happens. I knew what it felt like to go fast, and over the years I’ve seen how you can form bad habits and create change to your stride. But I’ve never been exposed to a complete breakdown of proper form, whether it be for top speed or anything slower. Things like:

  • the right way to strike the ground and create force as quickly as possible during the support phase
  • driving the trail leg quickly forward in a linear pattern (hip and knee angle closing simultaneously)
  • coordinating torque in the upper body with the hips and doing it when the hands are aligned
  • the reasons why the torso should be upright
  • dorsi-flexing the ankles to create more tension in the joint for ground contact
  • when, how and why the hips move in all 3 planes
  • how different muscle groups function during running

Changing mechanics is a delicate thing. But this feels right. I feel more certain of how I’m moving even though its unfamiliar.

It makes me think that if you are going to be a runner, you should start with an education in sprinting first thing. Recently there has been a lot of talk about how the 800m is trending toward those with sprinting backgrounds. To me it seems that long sprinters are learning how to put in the work for the 800 better than classic middle distance runners have learned how to be efficient at top speeds. Over the last few years I’ve felt how important speed is in the event, because I started losing mine. In 2013 I was regularly going out in 50-51 seconds. Last year I struggled to go out under 53. And lets face it, its way harder to learn to coach the technical stuff than it is to write middle distance workouts. Sprint coaches watch every stride their athletes take, looking for the smallest details, integrating all that data into the plan. I’m certain I’ve only scratched the surface of that kind of detail, but with the 800 I think a little will go a long way, especially for somebody like me where this is a huge problem.

But I made mistakes this cycle, and the next two workouts were disappointing. I might try mixing up the paces a little for my next specific session. The idea behind using paces just over/under goal pace for an 800 targeted session makes sense to me and its something that I’ll be doing much more of during the summer, but for now I really am trying to use that day to build up a tolerance to 1:44 pace and was counting on the other 2 big sessions to have been enough variety to move things along. My gut tells me the last 2 cycles have been hindered by their schedules, so I’m going to take it day to day.

Something else I’ve been doing recently is watching 800m finals from the major championships. I didn’t know about Canadian Fred Williams. He was in 2nd with 50m to go in 1993!

Log:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jJEiJXfUlNo8M5xTNdVLA42TDZD6xwmH5td73c61JtI/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

 

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(Mar 26- Apr 5)

Switched things up again this cycle. Something I thought I would have to do was throw in another day of recovery between main sessions.

I tried to hit close to max velocity on the speed session. The goal was 46.0 400m pace. Hit it on a few 80m reps and the last 100m rep. That is a solid step forward. Also, alternated running curves here. Not a big fan of turning but I guess its half the race so I’m trying not to avoid it as much.

I wanted to hit at least 2x 300m reps in my 800 session at pace, and I did. I didn’t feel super fresh during. It was supposed to be more of a concentrated dose, and I felt it. My legs were burning after the first set.  800m specialists can (typically) gas our nervous systems beyond what a more slow twitch runner can, and the volume demands for the event make doing this a double whammy for the less aerobically inclined. Building up a tolerance to this stuff is tedious and in my experience hazardous.

Threw in an  aerobic maintenance session. Kind of a feel good, medicinal dose. Like Gary the Goat’s trainer once said, it gets the blood running. 5′ + 5×1′ on 30″. Once every cycle will have something like this to stay fresh through the racing season.

The specific strength training is gradually getting lighter and faster, and eventually will consist of med ball throws, box jumps and form drills, all the good stuff. So I’ve started that process this week. I’m reading the textbook pictured below, which includes a ton of technical details and applications for exercises, which I don’t have much experience with.

running textbook

Made some adjustments on the fly to the last session. Probably a mix of tired legs and unrealistic goals.  I go into workouts with 5 basic parameters:

  1. Total perceived effort
  2. Total volume
  3. Pace goals
  4. Effort Structure
  5. Recovery Structure

If I end up adjusting it will usually be recovery/effort structure first, and then would go up the list from there. Every day is an experiment, but these decisions are never easily made. A part of me feels like a chicken when I have to scale back. Anyways, it ended up being sets of 6x200m at 29-30 on 45″ rest.

Log:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jJEiJXfUlNo8M5xTNdVLA42TDZD6xwmH5td73c61JtI/edit?usp=sharing

Potential Spring schedule:

Payton Jordan May 2nd

Oxy Invite May 11th

USATF HP Oxy May 16th

Music City Distance Carnival May 31

Until next time. Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.

 

 

 

 

March 11-25 2019

After my “long run” a couple weeks ago I had a little heel pain that ended up sticking around for longer than expected. I’m not entirely surprised that something like that crept up considering I’m starting to introduce serious track work now. I took to the pool for a few days and have been seeing an Athletic therapist to continue straightening things out top to bottom (body structure, movement, programming)

Currently this should be the usual training micro cycle structure:

  1. Gym: (upper body + core + nervous sys. prep for speed) + Cross train (XT) if feeling good.
  2. Speed session + XT
  3. Gym: power lifts/plyo progression + XT
  4. (easy run or XT + easy strides) + Recovery session (roll out, mobility, prehab)
  5. Specific session + XT
  6. (Gym: movement quality progression/tissue health. non impact.) + XT
  7. (easy run or XT + easy strides) + Recovery session (roll out, mobility, prehab)
  8. High end aerobic session + XT
  9. LR progression
  10. off day

The nervous system prep stuff you’ll see written in the log as “chops” and “matrix” which is shorthand for low weight dumbbells in a flowing standing dynamic routine that hits a bit of everything. I use day-before easy strides to prep for the other 2 main sessions.

Speed session warm up will look pretty much like this:

  1. mobility/activation
  2. 5′ jog
  3. dynamic movements/drills
  4. 2-3x 30 step hill sprint. I use this in lieu of low hurdles dribbling. Its form work, with the added benefit of fast twitch fibre recruitment
  5. 2-3x progression sprint. You could call this a 30m fly.

The speed session I did this cycle was pretty tame. Coming back from the heel and still learning coordination at high speeds, I didn’t really push it. Trying to stretch out the distance I can move at below race pace but I can tell the process is going to be very touchy feely. Instead of setting time/distances/recoveries/total volume, I’ll have a loose idea of those factors and be very attentive to “form”. This time of year and especially with my history of injury and mechanics, its still about skill development. Sucks to say I’m still learning basic runner skills after 13+ years but its the truth.

Specific and high end aerobic session warm ups will differ from above with longer jog and some 1-3′ pickups. After an abbreviated sprint routine I’ll do 1-3 efforts at 6-15 race pace, depending on the day.

The specific session this week was designed to be a long grind without a complete break for the system to reboot. As its early days for this kind of work, the pieces are small so the pace can be accurate. The cycle before was very similar but I had long set breaks. That will be an alternating pattern I repeat often: flirting with my limit for a relatively long time or pushing just past that limit in concentrated doses. There has and will be flexibility in that pattern but its an accurate if simple summary.

I tried to do the H.E Aerobic session on the 23rd but the legs weren’t having it so I came back the next day. The goal was a good bunch of evenly paced 500m reps at ~80. I haven’t touched the track this year and so everything in this zone has been by feel. In fact I did this session backward in lane 4. Without overwhelming you with context, the pace of these sessions will continue to progress down. In the near future they will consist of roughly the same volume (~3-4km) at something near 1500m pace give or take.

Link below is training log:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jJEiJXfUlNo8M5xTNdVLA42TDZD6xwmH5td73c61JtI/edit?usp=sharing

 

Log

Decided to fire up this baby again.

A little update. I moved to Hamilton in late November and started coaching myself. The decision to move was financial (Ma! The meatloaf!!). The coaching change I made for a few reasons. I enjoy doing it. I think I do a good job. I want to coach one day, so it is good practice. I needed to shake things up and I felt ready to take on that challenge.

The reason for the blog revival is because I think people may find the process of coaching myself worth following and I’d like to create a space for discussion about the details of it all. I’ll post my log here regularly, with the link to the document so you can browse what I’ve been up to the whole season. It will look a bit messy.  I wouldn’t say I’m a fast learner. It would be more accurate to say I am very good at knowing when something is wrong, like a squirrel. SO, you’ll notice I tinker constantly. Feel free to ask what things mean if you are curious. Feel free to judge harshly and criticize. Feedback is good! I don’t get my workouts from heaven (unlike a certain self coached marathoner) but I do rely heavily on instinct (I’ve been studying up to fill the in the gaps though). I switched to longer micro cycles in January.  I wanted more recovery to accommodate a higher volume of intensity and resistance training. Put very simply, I think that the bigger, higher quality sessions are key to getting over this plateau. Basically all of the RT is associated with mechanics in some fashion, duh! I leak energy when I run (have you ever seen my last 100?) and I’m prone to tendon injuries that take FOREVER to heal. So, for the sake of running fast and hopefully preserving a much longer relationship in this sport, I needed to be in the gym more. So, more stuff means more recovery. Simple! Been dealing with a bad left hip (and knee and achilles) since forever so I’ve been careful about turning left. I’ve worked hard to get it ready for track work and so far so good but we’ll see. I used the curve treadmill to avoid turning left for a few months. Loved it!

People who know me know I can talk more about running than the kid in Jurassic Park talks about dinosaurs, but I’ll cut it off there for now.

See link below for the log. There are 3 tabs. One is the log. The 2nd (YTP) is where I sketch upcoming cycles out and the bulkier RT. The 3rd (Auxillary) is where I store a bunch of other stuff I use. Have fun!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRN6k_zzHFdjWq4cE8m2Xxrt8iOHBS0__bWqzhFJ2-M1SEqiKnUCgkv6hPl0uTUSgA6KxKrCD40IU1L/pubhtml

Also, maybe a lame and unnecessary addition but I like the idea of posting what I’m reading/listening/ watching currently:

Books: 

City of Golden Shadow- Tad Williams

Acceptance- Jeff VanderMeer

Becoming A Supple Leopard- Kelly Starrett

 Music:  Colossus- Walt Mink

Movie: Battle Angel Alita was good!!