Thursday Track Report: Staggering Through

February 22, 2018

After a brief fling into April territory the last couple of days, “Winter Lite” has returned. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Andy Maguire, Meira Minard, Jaimie Wright, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Harriet Smith, Keith Henderson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track through near freezing rain. This is the time of year when we stagger our way through a number of "false springs” until we get “real Spring”, which lasts about two weeks until we start getting “false summers”.

The FYGGs (fast, young guys and gals) ran an interesting ass-kicker today: 3X(1K-200). Start at the 1000m stagger line that’s marked in Lane 5. Run a 1K at whatever consistent pace you can manage (just under 4-and-a-half laps). Then slow-walk from the finish line to the 200 meter stagger and run a hard (kick pace) 200. Give yourself a slow walk to that 1K stagger mark again and do another set. Then another. Bwana gave an alternate workout for the SPOVAs (slower people of various ages). A downward ladder using the same idea: 1K-200-800-200-600-200. Get faster on the longer run as you progress down the ladder. And take a longer rest between sets. One lap slow jog plus the jog to the appropriate stagger mark. Whichever workout you chose, done appropriately, this one leaves you staggering!

The high volume workouts will continue for the people who give a FYGG about Spring Marathons. And Bwana will continue to to give slightly less intense options for those who are SPOVA be taking it a little easier.

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: 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: 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!