Thursday Track Report: Sporadic

May 5, 2016

It was cloudy and cool, continuing the return of Spring that we missed when June was here last month. Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, Tony Kwasnica, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. With the PSU track kids working on exams, the PSU outdoor track was closed. Most of the Rec Hall Crew took one look at the padlocks and decided an indoor workout was not for them. It looks like we’ll be spending more of our time indoors the way things are going. Maybe that won’t be so bad when it’s 90 degrees and hazy in a couple of months!

Bwana had the small group that stayed do a variation of the Front-Loader workout: Break up a long repetition by front loading the first part with a big share of the distance. Then, after a very short rest, do the remainder in small pieces, each with a short rest and getting faster as you go. Today’s Front-Loader: 3 laps in lane 6 (about 700 meters) followed after a 120 meter rest by 3X300 with a short, 120 meter rest between each. That’s running 1600 meters, about a mile, with short breaks. Pace should be 5K to mile race pace. Bwana said the ideal was to do the whole thing twice, though he doesn’t think anyone took him up on it.

As I said above, it looks like the outdoor track’s availability will be sporadic for some time. If you get to the track on a Thursday and don’t see anyone on it, head to the indoor track!

Thursday Track Report: En-"lite"-enment

April 28, 2016

April is back (just in time for its coming exit), and with it, cool, “lite” showers. Good! We need the rain. Tom Cali, Lance Bland, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Joel Niemann, Mike Martin, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, newcomer Ritchie Hume, Alex Wouden, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur got themselves to the track. The indoor track. Nice that it’s there on a day like Thursday.

Bwana showered some group attention on the newcomer, Ritchie Hume, who was interested in some running philosophy, particularly regarding the marathon. Bwana was skeptical that the group could enlighten him much given the paucity of our talent in that arena. Only several hundred marathons run among regular Thursday trackers, including some nationally ranked placements. But, naturally, Bwana would test the idea empirically by giving the “lite” version of a marathoner’s workout: 4 X 3 laps (lane 5) run at 5K to 10K race pace. On the indoor track, 3 laps in lane 5 is around 680 meters, so the rep lengths were short of the usual 800 meter volume, and the number of reps short of the usual prescribed volume (6-10) as well. But this was just a taste. Since many of our marathoners are either in recovery from Boston or tapering for Pittsburgh or Poconos, a taste is all that was appropriate. After the summer swelter, we’ll pick up the volume workouts again just in time for Hume to ramp up for his chosen debut at Philadelphia.

Good luck to the runners who’ll be heading to Pittsburgh this weekend and to the Poconos in a couple.

Thursday Track Report: Track Syllabus

April 14, 2016

The semester is waning, but there’s still a lot to learn, and not just about running. Do they teach the Golden Rule anymore? There was a lesson at the track today. A lesson about putting on the other person’s shoes, and treating them as you’d like to be treated if your fortune were different. The Marathoners For Medicine were having their Media Day at the track, partly as a send-off for those in the group heading to the Boston Marathon. “M4M” (saves syllables) raises money for Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), a local free clinic for those who can’t afford health insurance. Honorary Coach Greg Fredericks was there with Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Marty Klanchar, Mike Casper, Tara Murray, Meira Minard, Michael Goldfine, Joel Niemann, Dan Coughlin, Mike Renz, Seth Senior, Mike Zimmerman, Bob Shafer, Alex Wouden, Mike Martin, Callie Burke, Doug Schunk, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur, all of whom are either running for or donating to the M4M team. The photographer was having trouble herding Bwana’s flock, many of whom displayed a worrisome fragility (4 syllables), groaning and fretting about pulling a muscle to be one of the “crouching” subjects. It took long enough to get everyone in the frame that Bwana had to start using multi-syllable words (always questionable with this crowd) to pass the time.

With the photo shoot in the can, it was time for today’s lesson, and it involved a big word: monotonically. Six syllables, almost a sentence in one word. (For some, the workout ended up being a sentence!) With the aid of Hill Queen Emeritus Tara "Ultra T" Murray, Bwana had everyone do a downward ladder: 1000-800-600-400-200, starting at 5K race pace and monotonically increasing the pace as you descended the ladder (while also decreasing the rest, monotonically). It’s a tough workout, but satisfying, since it gets easier as you go. And it’s not as tough as it would have been if Tara had lived up to her moniker and had us run a monotonically ascending ladder!

Bwana will devote the last paragraph of his weekly epistle in exhorting you to donate generously, nay munificently, to the M4M team. And if you’re up to it, you can join the team for one of the later Spring marathons, half-marathons, or ultras. Details on how to sign up are here:

Thursday Track Report: Track Erupption

April 21, 2016

It was a beautiful day, as it has been for a good week or so since the snow stopped flying. Jim Myers, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Randy Jepson, Marty Klanchar, Costas Maranas, CJ Wagner, Dean Capone, Mike Zimmerman, Alex Wouden, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, Rob Peterson, newcomer Jeff DeLotto, Rich Harter, David Lloyd, Joel Niemann, and Marty Mazur headed for the track under mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures.

The NVRC Boston Marathon survivors were at the track to give their report and limp through the workout. They had a great time in Boston, but the weather was not their friend. Cool near the shore (downtown), but that was the end of the race. For the first half, the temperatures were too high for good marathon times. From elites on down through the field, most runners, it seemed, ran positive splits. Tom Cali did do the Happy Valley an honor by placing 4th in his age group. Great run, Tom!

Most of the top US runners were not at the marathon. They were either recovering from the Olympic Trials or saving themselves for the Olympics. Galen Rupp proved he could handle the heat with his victory in LA. But could the Thursday Track Crew handle one of his workouts? Bwana caught a FloTrack archive video of Alberto Salazar putting a younger Rupp through his paces. The workout was NX(600-400-300-200) with short rests. Galen ran N=3 at some ungodly rep paces (600@1:26; 400@ 58; 300@43; 200@26). Bwana told the Crew to do N=2 at their own 5K race pace. So each rep is a 1500 broken up with short rests. A tough set of short, downward ladders. Nobody rupptured anything, so the workout was a success.

Thursday Track Report: Bandits At 12 O'Clock

April 7, 2016

It’s a confusing time of year. Somebody swapped March and April. And now we’re dealing with where to have Thursday Track. The outdoor track is “closed” except that it’s been “open” for the last month, except for today when it was closed up tight. Still, a few rebels did a no-no and found their way in, perhaps by tunneling, I don’t know. A crew of James Deans (and a Jane) were banditting around the track, while the well-behaved availed themselves of the indoor facility. Meira Minard, Seth Senior, Davis Michael, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Mike Casper, Marty Klanchar, Alex Wouden, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur all did workouts today in various places.

Bwana had the indoor crew do some repeat 3 lappers in the outside lane with 1 lap rests. That’s around 700 meters per rep. For this workout, consistency is good, and the distance is short enough so you can do 5 or 6 of them (though we didn’t). Pace should be mile race pace.

It’ll be hard to know when the “closed” outdoor track is open. But if it’s closed, we will use the indoor track at all times. No banditting!