Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coaching

I have started my coaching career this past month. It is an online coaching service at www.cuttingedgerunning.com. The website is constantly evolving as I learn web design. I am doing the website editing myself so it will take some time, but please keep checking back regularly. I see some great potential with the services that I am offering, and hope to help many runners reach their goals.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

USATF Championships Day 4

I watched the final day of the track and field championships today with my boys. They really liked watching the races. Both the men's and women's 800m were great, and produced some fast times. Veterans Nick Symmonds and Khadevis Robinson went 1-2 in the men's 800m using great race tactics. Both should do very well at the World Championships later this summer. After the events were over we went into the backyard and practiced our long jumps.





Saturday, June 25, 2011

USATF Championships Day 3

All the races today played out as expected, except the 1500m. Both men's and women's races were crazy and completely different. The women started out with Christin Wurth pushing the pace making sure it was an honest race. Unfortunately she went out like it was an 800m and no one went with her. She went through the 400m split in 62 seconds, which is nearly world record pace. She had created a huge gap between herself and the rest of the field which was still moving pretty quick. She looked great for 1350m and may have run away with it if she had gone out in 64 instead of 62. They started to gain on Wurth with 300m to go and caught her on the home stretch. She was passed by Uceny, then Simpson, and Rowbury at the line. I thought Wurth was going to collapse with 50m to go as her legs looked wobbly. The top three women could all make the final at World Champs. I picked the winner (Uceny) but was wrong on Pierce and off by a place with Wurth. Watch the race here.

The men's 1500m was a mess. It was awful to watch. Nobody wanted to lead. No one wanted to break the wind or let others sit on them, and everyone seemed to be willing to let Lagat dictate the race. He went to the lead and then slowed the pace dramatically. The men's first lap was 66 (4 seconds slower than the women). There was bumping and shoving, and multiple times were people almost went down. Then they all started to kick playing into Lagat's perfect senario. All my picks were within a few steps of each other in the last 30m. And after a few late surges it ended up 1. Centrowitz, 2. Lagat, 3. Manzano, 4. Wheating. The reason #4 was important was because Lagat knew he wouldn't be running the 1500m at Worlds and 4th would move into 3rd. Some people (Leer who ended up 5th) took offense to Lagat's strategy, but who can blame him for wanting two win to events at USA's. Unfortunately, he turned what could have been a very fast and competitive race with one of the most stacked fields in US history, into "who can run the fastest 200m surrounded by other runners without falling down." I picked Lagat to win but not in that fashion. He was beat in the last 20-30m by NCAA champ Matt Centrowitz and Leo Manzano snuck into 3rd with a late kick. I thought Wheating would have more but he ended up 4th. Torrence was 6th (my pick for 3rd). Unfortunately, of the three runners that may be in the 1500m for the US, I think Wheating has the only shot at making the final. I hope I am wrong.

Friday, June 24, 2011

USA Track & Field Championships Day 2

Mostly prelims again today. All the 800m runners that I thought would make the final did, which should make for some great finals this weekend. Khadevis Robinson won both is heats with the slowest times, which should give him an advantage (good lane assignment and freshest legs).

The 5k finals were tonight and I was not suprised to see Bernard Lagat and Molly Huddle win. They ARE the American record holders in the event. What impressed me the most was three people Galen Rupp, Desiree Davila, and Jen Rhines. Galen won the 10k last night then came back and made the team in the 5k with a third place finish. He said he will double at Worlds. Desiree Davila was 4th in the 10k (31:37) and 6th in the 5k (15:25). She didn't make the top 3 in either event but it was a killer double and a PR in both events. Jen Rhines made the same double but was even more impressive with a 3rd place finish in the 10k (31:30) and a 4th place in the 5k (15:19). She rounded out a 2nd, 3rd, 4th place finish in the 5k from the Mammoth TC girls!

The word on flotrack was that Lagat and Solinsky closed their last 1600m of the 5k in 3:58! AWESOME!

1500m finals tomorrow and Lagat will be there. An awesome field on both sides. Men's race includes Lagat, Wheating, Torrence, Leer, Manzano, Lomong, and Centrowitz. The Women's race has Anderson, Simpson, Rowbury, Hasay, Uceny, Pierce, Wurth, and Follett. It is anyone's race.

My picks:
Mens: 1. Lagat 2. Wheating 3. That is tough but I am going to go with Torrence, but I also like Leer (Go SCIAC).
Womens: (This is really tough) 1. Uceny 2. Pierce 3. Wurth although Katie Follett has had a great season...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grandma's Marathon

The 35th Grandma's Marathon was this weekend. Grandma's will always be a special race for me as it was my first marathon under 3 hours, and at the time it was a 17 minute PR! I bettered my debut marathon time of 3:15 in L.A. 2004. I was very naive to the marathon and believe I went into it undertrained. My only gauge of my fitness level leading up to Grandma's was a local 20k race around the brutal Red Rock loop outside of Las Vegas that I ran in 1:24, and I had paced Andi to a 3:38 LA Marathon 3 months earlier.
My goal was to run a BQ (3:10 at the time) and I settled in with a pace group. I didn't know anyone else running but had family there waiting at the finish line for me. The Grandma's course is unbelievable. They bus you 26 miles north of Duluth, MN to Two Harbors and then you run back on the lakeside road with Lake Superior on your left the entire time. After about 3 miles I remember thinking, "This feels slow, I am going to run ahead of the pace group and see how I do. Then if they catch me I will just have to hang on." I went through the half in 1:28 and realized I was clicking off 6:30 to 6:40 miles consistently. The pace group never caught me, my last mile was my fastest 6:04, and I finished 2:58:37.



Grandma's is a fast course with great competition. My sub 3 hour finish barely cracked me into the top 200 runners, and this year would have been no different. This year there were 18 guys under 2:20, a 42 year old ran 2:29 and a 52 year old ran 2:43. Two Americans, Jeff Eggleston and Matt Gabrielson, ran 2:13. Michael Wardian, who just finished 11th and was first American at Comrades Marathon (5:52:51), a 50 mile race in South Africa, came out to Duluth 3 weeks later and ran an Olympic Trials Qualifier in 2:17:49.

The winner of Grandma's was closing in on the finish line this year, crossed what he thought was a timing strip, and stopped 60ft short of the finish line. People were yelling at him to continue and once he realized that he wasn't done, was caught by another runner and they sprinted to the finish. The leader still won the race but only by .2 seconds!

Jennifer Houck, a 27 year old up and coming American marathoner was 5th in a PR of 2:33:01. She has run 5 marathons now and gotten progressively faster each time. She is also a Physical Therapist! Look for her at the Olympic Trials for the marathon.

Results

First day of US Championships is in the books. All the prelims seemed to go well with only a few expected people missing out on advancing. Eric Flores, hammer thrower from my alma mater, CLU, had a nice first throw but fouled his next two throws and did not advance. His first throw put him in 10th and top 8 made the final. Khadevis Robinson, now coach at my other alma mater UNLV, easily won his heat in the 800m to advance.

The women's 10k was awesome since Shalane pushed the pace early and lead almost the entire race and broke 31 minutes. Kara Goucher and Jen Rhines rounded out the top 3, but Desiree Davila and Magdalena Boulet came in 4th and 5th respectively and both PRed by over 30 seconds. It was a great race.

On the other hand, the men's 10k went out super slow. Actually it strung out and then after a few laps the leaders put on the breaks. At that time Sergio was in last and when the breaks went on he was literally pushed up into 3rd place. He stayed in the top 5 for a few miles and then they started throwing in some killer surges and finally Galen closed in I think 1:54 for his last 800m and won the race. It was a risky way to run as a few guys who had a chance got out kicked at the end. That is what happens when you leave it up to a kick. You either got it or you don't. Sergio ended up last in 29:17.

5k final tomorrow night (Lagat vs. Solinsky).

USATF Championshilps

USATF Championships start today with mostly preliminary heats. Sergio Reyes is running the 10k tonight at 7:55pm PST. It should be streamed live on www.runnerspace.com.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

High Mileage

The idea of high mileage for all runners that use their aerobic system as a primary energy source for their race distance is an idea made famous by Arthur Lydiard. His ideas of long slow distance and training are commonly misinterpreted. One of his most famous athletes, Peter Snell, was running 20+ mile long runs before his double gold performance in the 800m and 1500m at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Why would someone run 20 miles when their event is less than a mile? To maximize your aerobic sytem one must continually stress it to continue to improve. Everyone running 800m and up should have a weekly long run as part of their training.

On the other hand, runners can become WAY to obsessed about mileage. Ryan Hall wrote in a recent post, that he used to go out for a 2 mile run before the week was out just to hit his magic number of at least 100mpw. He goes on to write that now in his running career exact mileage has become less important. What he finds most beneficial now is "hard, quality workouts followed by adequate recovery and even making sure to over-recover." That doesn't mean that Ryan is running less weekly mileage. It just means that he knows that the recovery is most important, and that those 2 extra miles my hinder his trainng more than enhance it.

It is still important to keep track of your mileage. You can tell when you have done more than you are used to and may need a recovery week or an extra recovery day. My advice is schedule your "workouts" first, meaning long runs, tempo runs, and intervals. Then fill in with other easy runs that will challenge your aerobic system and facilitate your recovery not impede it. Also, continue to challenge your aerobic system by doing a "little bit more than last time." For example if you were running 30mpw without trouble, then increase to 35mpw during the same stage in your training.

Have you ever wondered what a 140 mile week looks like? Nick Arciniaga recently posted on a typical 140 mile training week during his marathon training. Check it out. At first 140 miles sounds insane right? And it is, but when you think about how Nick trains it is not as much as you think. He has it split up into 13 workouts over 7 days. Nick averages some where between 9 and 10mph on even a long run or recovery run, sometimes faster. If he averaged 10mph over the whole week that would be 14 hours of running a week. That is 2 hours a day. If someone who averages 6mph on their training runs ran 2 hours a day they would run 84 miles that week. That would be a lot of running for them too but it would be an equal training stimulus for them (140mph is to Nick as 84mpw is to 10min/mi runner). It would take the 10min/mi runner 23 hours/wk to run 140miles!!!! Now that is insane!

Nick can run 100mpw in about 10 hours of training. It would take me about 13 hours/wk. Even at top marathon shape I am lucky to get in 5-6 hours/wk.

So Nick runs 2 hours a day. What does he do the rest of the day? All the little things to make sure he is recovered enough for the next workout. Must be nice.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Texas A & M Core Training

Texas A & M just won the men's and women's NCAA Div I National Championship for the 3rd straight year. They also had 46 All-Americans in men's and women's track & field. This may be one of the main reasons. Listen to their strength and conditioning coach. She mostly works with sprinters but the rules apply to everyone.

"Hold your posture while applying force to the track."

"If I can apply more force [to the track] over a longer period of time, I am going to win the race."

"Get as strong as humanly possible without getting bigger."

Watch more video of The Pros in 2011 on flotrack.org

Saturday, June 18, 2011

10 mile run

I will be coaching my oldest son's soccer team in the fall and this morning I had a training course for all the coaches. It was at the Lancaster Soccer Complex, and after doing a google map from my house found it to be almost exactly 10 miles away. I decided I would run there and Andi said she would pick me up after my class so I left the house at 6:40 am to make it in just in time for the 8:00am class. I remember about half way there, running by a digital sign that had the temp at 72 degrees. It was most certaily above 80 for the last few miles. There is no break from the sun on Ave M. The run was tough for two reasons. First, I haven't run that far in a while, and secondly, I haven't run in that kind of heat in a while. I carried an Ultimate Direction water bottle (with hand straps) in each hand. They are great for carrying fluid on the run.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I ran today! (5 miles)

I have not run in a month. I have been staying up too late and not getting up early enough for a run. The weather has been good. I have missed some great days for running. I have been working on my website and brainstorming ideas with little to show for it. I was hoping it would be up and running over a month ago, but my web guy has not had time to work on it and I am hoping to take over the work myself very soon. I did have a friend work on a logo and finalized a domain name and here it is (yes that is me in the logo)!
When I take time off from running, even a month off, I start to think about "the good times" meaning when I was running well and really fit. It wasn't too long ago, only a little over a year ago, that I PR'd at the marathon distance and 10 mile distance, and ran my first ultra. The key to these PRs was the training that was happening a year before that. It was maybe the best year of running that I have ever had. It started with the training and build up for my 30 mile run on my 30th birthday. I started really training for that in May 2009 after the OC half marathon (1:27:22). I slowly built up my mileage and ran 30 miles in just over 4 hours for my 30th birthday. I continued to consistently build on that base with my wife as we ran the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2009, and even more intense after that for California International Marathon where I PR'd (2:57:11). I took it easy for a month after that and started really putting in some long miles on the trail for LD50. Two weeks before that race I PR'd at the Charlottesville 10 miler (62:01). I went on to meet my goal of a sub 9 hour race at Leona Divide 50 mile in April 2010.

The keys to this level of fitness I attained were consistent Long runs (30 mile birthday run, a spontaneous AV marathon and Twin Cities Marathon became LONG training runs), and long tempo runs. I was at the point where I was running a 10 mile tempo run at 65 minutes.

I am far from that level of fitness right now. Like I said before, I have not run in a month and minimal running this year. I finally got out for a run today. I left the house at 6:45am and ran 5 miles (down to Lane Park, two laps, and back). It was so much harder than it should have been. I hate that first run back, but I was glad to be back. One good thing about time off is that those little nagging injuries have more time to heal. My right calf felt really good today. I rewarded myself by wearing a brand new pair of ASICS 2150s that have been waiting for me in my closet.

We spent the early afternoon at the beach (pictures to come soon).

Shout out to my friend and colleague Ron Gallagher, who was quoted in an article in the most recent Triathlete Magazine in an article on compression garments.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watch the race!

I finally got to watch the HS dream mile and I am amazed by the effort of Lukas Verzbicas! (My internet at home is on the fritz). Those conditions were so tough. Of the 5 HS boys to break 4 min, that was the worst weather for sure. I say take 2-3 seconds off that in ideal conditions. Props to Elias Gedyon for the move he made with a lap to go. He would have been under 4 too in good weather, so would Mudd. The class of 2011 may be the best since 2001 (Hall, Ritz, Webb). It will be fun to see where they all are in 4 years, 8 years. We may have just watched a bunch of future Olympians. Jim Ryun and Lukas Verzbicas are the only HS boys to break 4 minutes in a HS only mile!

Watch the race here.

Post race interview with Lukas here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

He did it!

I knew Lukas Verzbicas was a special talent, but he sealed the deal today by becoming only the 5th high schooler ever to break the 4 minute mile! I honestly thought there might be 2 or 3 kids do it today but it sounds as though windy conditions made it awfully hard to get it done. Congrats to Lukas! What an amazing year this young man has had (Footlocker xc champ, Nike Cross Nationals champ, National 2 mile record holder, and now sub 4 minute miler). I look forward to following your career for many more years.

Watch more video of adidas Golden Stripes 2011: Dream 100 & Jim Ryun Dream Mile on flotrack.org

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thirsty Thursdays!

What was your toughest workout ever?

Watch more video of Saucony Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels on flotrack.org

Quote

“Life isn’t about how you survived the storm, it’s about how you danced in the rain.” --Nick Karnazes (father of Dean Karnazes)

Just surviving the storm right now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

California State Track Meet

I finally looked at the results from the California State high school track meet and there was some phenomenal performances. California always has many of the top track athletes in the country. I think it is a combination of good weather for year round training and a HUGE population of high school kids. When my high school came out to CA for meets from neighboring Nevada, even the top kids from my school seemed to be only above average.

Four performances in particular caught my attention in the distance events.

First, Amy Weissenbach an 11th grader from Harvard-Westlake won the girls 800m in 2:02.04! That time is the 15th fastest female American time so far this year! All the women faster than her are professionals. She is faster than any NCAA runner so far this year (NCAA championships is this week)!

Second, Jantzen Oshier a 12th grade boy from Trabuco Hills ran the 1600m in 4:00.83. He has lead the list of top boys milers in the country all spring but 4 flat is incredible! He will be in the High School Dream Mile this weekend with Lukas Verzbicas (who just smashed the HS 2 mile record in 8:29), Billy Orman (who won the AZ 3200m in 8:48), Elias Gedyon (8:50 at CA state 3200m), Amar Moussa, and the Rosa twins. The question may not be who will break the 4 minute mile, but how many?

Elias Gedyon is my third highlighted athlete. He was second to Oshier in the 1600m at CA state in 4:04 and won the 3200m in 8:50! That is possibly the best double in the country. The last person to win both at the CA state meet was Meb Keflezighi!

Finally, Sarah Baxter, a 9th grader from Simi Valley, won the girls 3200m in 10:13! How fast will this tiny little girl me in 3 years? Amazing! The great thing about her is that her parents and coaches seem to be holding her reins back and not extending her seasons by adding more and more races, even though she probably could win all of them.

Congrats to all these kids. They are truly amazing! See all the CA state track meet results here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why US track and field is still behind?

The United States has some of the top runners in the world, no doubt. In my opinion, we have the talent pool to win or have Olympic medalists in every event. The problem is that there are too many other more popular sports with greater notoriety that pull great athletes away from track and field.

I opened a recent issue of Sports Illustrated and was reading the Faces in the Crowd page when I noticed two great athletes. Mac McGuire (wonder who he was named after), ran a 47.8 400m split in his HS relay anchor leg to win the Texas state championship. He is also a team leader in goals scored for the state champion soccer team and an all-state kicker for the football team. He will be playing SOCCER for Boston University in the fall.

Alyssa Lombardo ran a 56.9 400m for a district record in PA. She won the 100, 200, 400, and 800m at her league meet. She is an all-state athlete in track and soccer. She will be playing SOCCER at Stanford next year.

Mac’s 400 split is equivalent to a 1:45 800m time and a sub 4 min mile. With the right endurance training this kid could be a top NCAA middle distance runner.

Alyssa’s 400m time is equivalent to a 2:03 800m and a 4:13 1500m, both of which would be top NCAA times.

Give them 4 more years and they could be Olympic hopefuls in track. Instead they picked soccer. Most likely they will not be Olympic soccer players or even professional soccer players. They probably did get athletic scholarships and who can blame them for taking the money to play and get a college education, but with those times I’m sure they could have both received scholarships to run track. I am not faulting either of these kids, but athletic American kids have so many options that the track talent gets only a small drop from the pool.

There certainly is more pressure on track athletes when it comes to performing in competition. If you have a bad day on the soccer field your teammates can pick up the slack and still win the game. Have a bad day on the track and you will get dusted! No one can help you run faster in the open 400m except yourself.

Luckily, US track and field gets an Andrew Wheating every once in a while to drop soccer and become one of the top mid distance runners in the world! In the mean time we will all just have to wonder how far Lebron James could have thrown the discus? Or How far Michael Jordan could have long jumped or high jumped? Or how far a young Vladimir Guerrero could throw the javelin? Or how high Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin could pole vault? Until the minimum salary for team USA track and field pushes 7 digits we will never know.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thirsty Thursdays are back!

Flotrack started a new series with Coach Jack Daniels, PhD. This week was about mental fatigue. I have heard him tell this story about the runner in South America before and it is a great one.

Take it one mile at a time, one lap at a time, one step at a time. It is a simple act of puting one foot in front of the other. Don't make it more complicated than it is, and remember the faster your run the faster it will all be over!

Watch more video of Saucony Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels on flotrack.org