Thursday Track Report: Smokin' J's

June 14, 2018

It was sunny, warm, dry and breezy, though not as sunny, warm dry, and breezy as being in a boat off the Amalfi coast of Italy. That was Tom Cali’s excuse for not being at the IM Fields today. Everybody else had to think of some other excuse not to be there. Bob Cornwall, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, CJ Wagner, Dan Coughlin, Elsa Hansen, Rich Harter, Ryan Burke, Michael Pate, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur couldn’t think of anywhere they'd rather be, so headed to the IM Fields.

As promised last week, Bwana has been dreaming up new workouts. Due to the layout of the IM Fields, finding something like a 400 meter stretch is a bit of a…stretch. Here’s what Bwana came up with: Do a “J". Not what you’re thinking. Nothing illegal. Run one long side of the IM Field rectangle, then the short side, then half the next long side. You can tell where the finish is by the field lights. Stop at the middle one. Not quite the “U” that we’ve sometimes done that adds up to around 600 meters. The “J” is around 440 meters. Today’s workout was 4 Js with a rest to get you back to the start (about 220 meters) after each one, followed by 4 laps of pushing the long straights (about 260-270 meters) and resting just the short sides. Everybody survived and nobody got in trouble with the law.

Next week it’ll be “officially” astronomical summer. Hard to believe that just 6 weeks ago we were still seeing flakes!

Thursday Track Report: Steep Ladder

June 7, 2018

Nice May weather is back. We never really had it in May (or April, for that matter). It was either cool (or cold!), or it was hot and humid, uncharacteristic for the season. But today was nice! Sunny, high 60s, not humid. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Mike Weyandt, Cheryl Capone, Jaimie Wright, Rich Harter, Mike Zimmerman, Ryan Burke, Logan Madill, Elsa Hansen, Monica Acosta, newcomer Michael Pate, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the IM Fields.

Bwana has been trying to add new workouts to our portfolio for the IM Fields. Last week we ran a version of the front-loader workout. Today,  Bwana decided to try to figure out a downward ladder. It was a little on the steep side: Start with a two-lapper of the perimeter of the fields. That’s about 1320 meters, over 3/4-mile. Run it at a good 5K race pace. Then take a long, one lap jogging rest. Follow up with a one-lapper (660 meters) at about mile race pace. Take another long (one lap) rest, and finish by running two laps of the long straightaways at a hard kick pace, resting only on the 60 meter short edges of the field. That’s 4X270. Altogether, that’s over 3K of pretty hard running. Bwana will work on less steep variants of this ladder, but for now try not to hurt yourselves stumbling down the stairs!

It was good to take advantage of a relatively mild day to do long reps. As summer progresses, we’ll end up doing a lot of our workouts with more short reps than long.

Thursday Track Report: To L and Back!

May 24, 2018

IIt was sunny and warm, but thankfully not too humid, a great day for an almost-summer track workout. Oddly, the turnout was down significantly from last week. Maybe people were taking off early for the Memorial Day weekend? John Domico, Tara Murray, Meira Minard, Mike Casper, Andy Maguire, CJ Wagner, Monica Acosta, and Marty Mazur were the Crew today.

Bwana was rolling over ideas for a new workout on the rectangles of the IM Fields as he drove to the track, but upon arriving he found there was already a consensus that he could take his ideas and go to L with them! Domico, seconded by Tara and others, wanted to make a return trip through those gates that say “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here!”, even though we’d just gone through them two weeks ago. Bwana said, “Ah, what the L!”. Off we went, without Virgil as our guide. The workout is: Run an “L” on the rectangle. Distance 330 meters, Then rest the next side of the rectangle. Rinse and repeat. Eight or so times. The kicker is that the rest alternates between a long side of the rectangle (270 m) and a short side (60 m). Try to maintain a consistent mile race pace despite the varying rests. The varying recovery really messes with your head, but situations in real races, that deliver varying doses of terrain and challenge, are like that!

We might be able to run on the Penn State outdoor track next week. It’ll be open for Special Olympics and Dave Eggler, an official, usually waves us in to warm up the track for arriving athletes. I’ll let you know soon!

Thursday Track Report: Call The Movers!

May 31, 2018

It was mostly cloudy and humid, though thankfully not as grown-ass summery as it was earlier in the week as John Domico, Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Rich Harter, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Rob Shaver, Jaimie Wright, Ryan Burke, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, newcomer Erin Loy, and Marty Mazur headed for the IM Fields. We had a nice group today, including a newcomer, though the arrivals were sporadic with people jumping into the middle of the workout. The summer re-schedule due, to Rec Hall’s parsimonious summer hours, has really messed us up!

Even though we’ve done the workout Bwana prescribed today before, Bwana has not yet given it a name. The workout is a variation of our Front-Loader workouts that we do on a track: Do a set with a long rep to start out. Then, with minimal rest, do a rotation of short reps (with minimal recovery between) where you are essentially recovering from the long rep as you progress through the shorter ones. Today, we did a big “U” (three sides of the IM Field rectangle, with two of those sides being the long ones - about 600 meters). You run the “U” at a 5K race pace or better. After a short-side rest (~65 meters), we did 4 X 1 long side (270 meters) with 65 meter rests. Try to haul ass on these, say at a faster mile race pace. That’s one set. After a longer slow-jog rest around the whole field, do another set. Total volume at pace is over 3200 meters, so not a bad workout. Bwana will call that one the U-Haul Front-Loader from now on. Some people were really truckin’ during today’s workout, even the ones with a hitch in their stride! Bwana was definitely the trailer!

Per an earlier email, we’re going to stay at the IM Fields for much of the summer. Our usual summer venue, the HS track, will be sporadically closed due to infield replacement. I’ll let you know if and when we move to that venue.

Thursday Track Report: Straight, No Chaser

May 17, 2018

It felt, for a change, like the season: mostly sunny, kind of humid, but not too hot, with a light breeze and lush green grass under our feet. Just like mid-May. John Domico, Tom Cali, Bob Cornwall, Judd Michael, Mike Casper, John Pringle, Tara Murray, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Mike Martin, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Elsa Hansen, Monica Acosta, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the IM Fields. A few of that group went off to do their unsanctioned workout. The rest went straight into Bwana’s workout.

Today we did a straight-up bunch of straight-aways. Each long end of the IM Fields is about 270 meters long. Six of them is just over a mile. So the workout was to do two sets of 6X270. The short ends of the field (about 65 meters) at a slow jog were the rest. Keep up a mile race pace on the long straights. Between the two sets take a long rest of once around the IM Fields (about 660 meters) at a slow jog. The volume of just over 2 miles was a pretty good workout for a humid day. Everyone worked hard today, and Bwana in particular, trying not to finish last on each rep. Mostly he was chasing, with no chaser behind him.

When Bwana got back to his suburban worksite, Amy Blake was finishing her run. She and Marty Klanchar had done some speed repeats in Autumnwood Park. She looked like she had worked as hard as Bwana, and when she showed me the splits on her watch, she proved it! Try to make the track workout if you can, but if you can’t, be straight and roll your own!