Thursday Track Report: Things Are Heating Up!

February 15, 2018

It was warm and humid today, with temperatures in the 60s, as John Domico, Judd Michael, Meria Minard, Michael Goldfine, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Jaimie Wright, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Seth Senior, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, newcomer Maz from Bahrain, and Marty Mazur headed for the indoor track. We had quite a few days like this last January and February, with the temperature sometimes flirting with 70. It’s nice to get our first really warm thaw at this part of what has been a colder winter.

Things sure heated up on the track. The fast guys (and gals) wanted to do a lot of 400s with low recovery. Bwana went along with them, though not quite at their level. The workout was 2 sets of 5X400. Run the 400s at a little faster than 5K race pace, but keep in mind that the rest is really short. Just slow-walk the 40 meters or so to the stagger line for the next 400 start. After 5 reps, take a longer rest (a lap plus the stagger), then do another set. That’s a tough workout. The best thing about it is that for that kind of volume, it’s over about as quick as it can be!

Things are looking up for spring. The long range forecast, while calling for some ups and downs, does not show a return to sub-20 degree days or big storms. That’s good (if we can believe it!). People have marathons to get ready for! If you’re running a marathon this spring (or, really, and long-ish race, even a 5K), and you’d like to help your neighbors in need, consider signing up for the Marathoners For Medicine (M4M), which raises money for the Centre Volunteers in Medicine. Details here: 

Thursday Track Report: 84 Lumber

February 8, 2018

It was cold with a mix of sun and an occasional blustery flurry as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Dan Coughlin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Ryan Murray, newcomer Ken Knappenberger, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. With yesterday’s snow day, Bwana wondered how many of the Crew had run out to the hardware store to pick up a new shovel, or better yet a snow blower.

Speaking of hardware, Bwana’s idea for today’s workout was to do a downward ladder: sets of 5-4-3-2 laps in Lane 5. You know the drill. Rest is a 1 lap very slow jog or walk. Do each set with consistent lap times, but decrease the lap time as you go down the ladder. Start at about 5K race pace (the 5-lapper is close to 1200 meters) and finish with mile kick pace (that last 2-lapper is just over a quarter mile). Bwana lumbered through that workout, almost blowing a gasket on the last rep, while some of the faster group doubled down on last week’s 400-200 sets: they nailed 3 or 4 sets of 800-400 with low recovery between the 800 and the 400. They definitely did not lumber through theirs!

I don’t know how else to frame this, so I’ll lay it on the level: This weather is screwing up my training. I am plumb sick of winter. I can’t wait until we can go back out to the IM fields, follow the chalk lines, and construct some new workouts outside.

Thursday Track Report: Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves

January 25, 2018

It was cold and sunny outside, meaning ideal track-hack conditions inside. Dry air greeted John Domico, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Andy Maguire, Ron Cunfer, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Logan Madill, Harriet Smith, Harriet’s Harem (a couple of younger guys who look like they run on one of the PSU Club teams - I’ll get their names next time), David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur at the MSF Indoor Track. Tom Cali, still recovering from foot problems, stopped in with Meira Minard just long enough for Bwana to harangue Meirkat to sign up for next week’s 3K at the end of the Indoor Mile Series. The Masters Women’s time in that race is the only low hanging fruit left among Series records, and Meira, who owns the mile record, would do that longer race justice.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves (or we’d be looking at our own backsides on the oval track). We still have this week’s Indoor Mile, which is tomorrow, to get past. Bwana purposely gave a "light option” for today’s workout: NX400. For those not racing the mile, do N=6 or 8 at mile race pace. For those racing the mile, do 2 at mile race pace, and 2 a little harder. The fast group, including at least a few running tomorrow’s mile, did at least 8 of them with pretty much no rest. I’m sure at least a few of them saw their own backsides. I hope they can hang together in tomorrow’s race.

As I said, we have tomorrow’s mile, then next week’s choice of a mile or a 3K to finish the Series (some people do both), then it’s time to get ready for whatever we’re doing in the spring, be it 5Ks, marathons, or just long, pleasant runs with the birds chirping around us…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Thursday Track Report: French Quarters

February 1, 2018

It was mild for the first day of February. Time to get ready for the last Indoor Mile. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Mike Casper, Andy Maguire, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Jim Laudermilch, Logan Madill, Ryan Murray (FKA Red Beard Guy), Ron Cunfer, and Marty Mazur headed to the track under cloudy skies.

As usual, there were two groups. The faster, high volume crowd did some sets of 600s. Bwana’s group did 600s, too, but broken up: Do a 400 at mile race pace. Then take 15 seconds or so of heavy breathing while you walk up to the stagger line in Lane 5 before starting a hard 200 at kick pace. That’s one set. Take a lap very slow jog between sets and do 4 to 6 sets (or just 2 or 3 as a tune-up if you’re running a mile race the next day). The French have a word for the way you feel after that. Something like “Merde!"

Once the indoor miles are over, what are we going to do? Get ready for spring marathons or spring 5Ks, depending on your preference. Jim Laudermilch is running a marathon in New Orleans in early March, a couple of weeks after Mardi Gras. He’ll miss the party, but at least he won’t have to chug booze out of a stripper’s shoe every mile just to navigate his way through the French Quarter. This will be Marathon #31 out of 50 in his effort to do one in each of the 50 states. He’s been at that since 2009 and at the rate he’s going, might be able to finish by about 2023.

Thursday Track Report: You Can't Put It Off Forever

January 18, 2018

It was sunny, but cold, though not as frigid as our recent weather has been. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Mike Zimmerman, Rob Shafer, Seth Senior, Harriet Smith, Josh Litofsky, Red Beard Guy (I'll get his name next time), Dan Coughlin, Jim Laudermilch, Rob Peterson, Keith Henderson, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the Indoor Track while Meira Minard and Mike Weyandt feigned being on course for an outdoor speed workout.

Our one week off between Indoor Miles would not be spent pretending to be doing something we should be doing. A hard track workout is what we needed, and a hard track workout is what we got right down to! Even Megan Marshall, coming off an injury, and lately bereft of her Indoor Mile record, was working out. Bwana’s plan was a workout that can be of benefit to those getting ready for either an Indoor Mile or a Spring (we can hope) 5K. It’s essentially 4X800(-ish): Run 3 laps in Lane 5. That’s a bit less than 800 meters. After a couple of laps rest, run 4 laps in Lane 5 (more than 800 meters) in the same time per lap. Rest again, then move out to Lane 6 and keep that same lap time, though going 4 times the stagger farther. After another rest, finish by running 3 laps in Lane 6 with whatever you have left. The pace you start this workout at depends on what you’re training for: If for the mile, run at a little faster than mile race pace; if for a 5K, at a little faster than 5K race pace. This workout can be scaled up (and slowed down) for longer races. The trick is to keep the pace you are aiming for.

Next week’s workout will be a quick, low volume tune-up for those running the next day’s Indoor Mile. The same the week after for the last Mile. Then we get back to the regular chaos, and the wait for Spring!