Thursday Track Report: Earning Our GED

March 9, 2016

It was warm, sunny, and windy as Tom Cali, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, John Sheakoski, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Bob Shafer, Dan Coughlin, Joel Niemann, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. Spring Break, the traditional week when everybody who is here in town has gotten used to winter being almost over, and everyone who goes away hopes that it really WILL be over when the get back. History tells us that this is almost never the case, and this year is no exception. The forecast calls for 3-6 inches of snow and a whole lotta cold for the next few days. So it was a good idea to try to get in an outdoor workout while it’s still nice! The Penn State outdoor track is still closed and the MSF is indoors (and being set up for an archery tournament), so it was back to school. High school.

The State High track seemed longer than a quarter mile in the wind. Bwana gave an easy workout: 400-800-800-400 at mile race pace with 1 lap rest between reps. In earlier days, when the tracksters couldn’t decide on a workout, this was know as the Default No Brainer. But we couldn’t call it that today since we were back at school to get our GED. We all tested out fine and headed home to sharpen our snow shovels.

Next week will be the last Thursday Track workout with Bwana legally young enough to get a GED. That is, under 60. So be ready for some kind of 60-themed workout.

Thursday Track Report: False Spring

February 23, 2017

We’ve been enjoying a False Spring. Pretty much all Winter, actually. It’s been in the 60s and 70s most days for the last week. If this keeps up, it would go down as Punxsy Phil’s biggest FAIL ever. But, so as not to jinx it, I’ll not mention the weather again for the rest of this report, other than to say it was sunny and warm as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Michael Goldfine, Jaimie Wright, Bob Shafer, Megan Marshall, Seth Senior, Mike Martin, Dan Coughlin, Mike Zimmerman, Josh Litofsky, Joel Niemann, Monica Acosta, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

Despite the fair you-know-what, the Crew had to stay indoors. There had been reports that the outdoor track was open, but apparently that was only for the teams. I don’t think Penn State wants the track sullied by the hoi polloi until the Big 10 Championship race that will be held here is past. By the time Bwana go to the track, the Fast Guys were already well into their workout and it was hard to lasso them to find out that they were doing Yasso 8s, 10 of them. That’s a high volume workout, appropriate for Spring marathon training. While the Fast Guys (and Jaimie) are mostly training for Spring marathons, most of the rest of the Crew are looking forward to campus 5Ks and other shorter races. Bwana gave the rest of the crew less than half of the Fast Guy volume: 3 sets of 2 laps-3 laps with 1 lap between reps and two laps between sets. Do the first set in lane 5 trying to maintain the same lap time as you go from 2 to 3 laps. Then, do the next set in lane 6, trying to maintain that same lap time on the slightly longer laps. Finish off with a set in lane 5 with whatever you’ve got left.

Bwana will have Thursday Track over Spring Break as long as the MSF is open.He’ll have more on that later.

Thursday Track Report: Turf Wars

February 9, 2017

It was a snow day: schools closed, University on 2 hour delay, so attendance was down a bit. Still, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Mike Casper, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Monica Acosta, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track despite the weather.

The Fast Group / “Slow” Group split seems to have become a permanent thing. There’s always been a range of speeds, but now the “fast guys" (and gals) are doing different workouts. The faster guys make up their own workout, usually about the same volume as or a little more than Bwana’s general workout, but much faster. (Almost as fast as Bwana was doing his reps 20 years ago!) Today, the fast group did 200-400-600-800-800-600-400-200, about 4K of volume. Bwana called for N X 400 at mile race pace with about 220m rest. Now, just because there’s a permanent fast/slow split doesn’t mean that people can’t move between them. It’s not like gang turfs or anything like that. Monica Acosta is obviously feeling her oats. Today after the first 400, done at Bwana pace (high 90s), she started doing each rep significantly faster. She wanted to feel out her limits and ended up doing an 82 on her 6th rep. That’s bumping into “fast guy” turf!

Bwana doesn’t know why people would give up an indoor workout on a day like today. On the way back to work, he saw John Pringle and John Domico hoofing it in the windy cold on a desolate stretch of campus. Come in from the cold!

Thursday Track Report: Making A Hash Of It

February 16, 2017

Cold and windy outside means a good turnout inside. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Jaimie Wright, Jo Ohm, Megan Marshall, Mike Martin, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Seth Senior, Elsa Hansen, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur came to the Multi-Sport Facility, and decided to warm the place up.

The Fast Guys had already gotten a start on 3 sets of 3X400, which seems to be their go-to workout lately. Bwana’s workout was a change-up. Instead of a lap-based workout, he’s been doing metric workouts the last two weeks. Last week it was NX400; this week: 4X800, with about 300m rest, and aiming for consistency. The crew was VERY consistent, keeping them all within about 5 seconds. The track is 200 meters in Lane 1, but those in charge want us to use the outer lanes. To do metric distances in the outer lane 5, you just need to know where the handwritten hashmarks are.

The NVRC is on Twitter now. I’ll try to post the workouts there (AFTER we do them). That way, you can do the workout on your own time if you can’t make it on Thursday, check out the Twitter feed: @nittanyrunning. I’ll put the workouts under this hashtag: #ThurTrack (#ThursdayTrack gets you somebody’s music).

Thursday Track Report: The Curve of Suck

February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day. Phil says it’s going to be another 6 weeks until winter goes away. Well, it got here 6 weeks late, so that figures. A big group of Phil’s cousins, John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, newcomers Jeanine and Kristen, Monica Acosta, Elsa Hansen, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur, eager beavers all, showed up to see what Bwana was dishing out.

Actually, Bwana doesn’t dish out to the “Fast Guys” so much anymore. They come ready with their own workout ideas. Today it was 3X3X400 at some Fast Guy pace. Meira was one of the guys today, and the two newcomers, Jeanine and Kristen, somehow got mixed up with them, at least for a couple of reps. Bwana’s group did almost as much volume, and it gave him a chance to talk about the Curve of Suck. Bwana’s workout was a downward ladder: 5-4-3-2-1 laps in lane 5, with 2 laps rest after the 5 lapper and 1 lap rest after each succeeding rep. The idea is to maintain a consistent pace on each rep, starting close to your mile race pace, and then bump up the pace on each succeeding rep. The Curve of Suck goes like this. The 5 lapper, tough as it is, is not the worst rep. Suckiness goes up a notch on the 4 lapper because even after a couple of laps’ rest, you’re still recovering, and 4 isn't that much less than 5 laps, percentage-wise. Plus, you should be going a little faster. The 3 lapper is only a tad less sucky, because though you’re going a third less distance than in the previous rep, you’re doing it on half the rest. But going into that last lap of 3, you at least feel like you can turn it on, rather than just dragging your butt in. Finally, the 2 and 1 lappers feel like the downslope, though you really should be sucking wind and practicing your kick pace. Once you’ve done this workout and are familiar with the Curve of Suck, it’s not one you look forward to. But suck it up and do it! Those last couple of reps are fun. The payoff!

Speaking of payoff, everybody is working hard! It’s a good thing, too. Spring 5Ks and marathons are just around the corner. Well, 6 weeks, anyway.