Thursday Track Report: Total Consciousness

May 26, 2016

It was the first “hot” day of the year, appropriately occurring just before the Memorial Day weekend ushers in the start of Summer. Jim Myers, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Mike Casper, Alex Wouden, Mike Martin, Callie Burke, Joel Niemann, Rich Harter, David Lloyd, newcomer Jonathan Rice, and Marty Mazur headed to the track under hazy skies. Costas Maranas got his workout in early and was finishing just as Bwana pulled up. Some time Tracker Richard Weyer was doing his own workout in the outside lane, and Mike Zimmerman, Dean Capone, Meira Minard, and Bob Shafer made a perfunctory pass by the track, but could not be convinced that it was an ideal day for a workout, probably because it was an ideal day for Zimmerman’s birthday and that group was just trying to find a dunk tank for him. Bwana suggested the feed troughs at the pig farm across the street, but that just never washes out. Never.

Jonathan is a student from South Carolina who is taking summer classes at Penn State. He’s more than used to the heat, and the workout pace, since he’s on the track team at Wofford College. Bwana gave a pretty tough, but compact workout to start the season’s heat acclimation: the Mini-Frontloader - 2 X (800-200-200-200). Run the 800 at 5K race pace, then after just 100 m jogging rest hit 3X200 at 5K kick pace (if you can) with just 100 m rest between. It’s basically a couple of 1400 m runs with short rests breaking them up. You should be still recovering from the 800 as you work your way through the 200s. Not a bad way to start the Summer!

Who’s doing the Memorial Day Weekend Double? That is, running the Black Mo 10K (or 5K) on Saturday, then the Boalsburg 3.8 Miler on Monday? If you do, then "Gunga Lagunga": Bwana hereby grants you Total Conscious on your deathbed. So you’ll have that going for you. If not, run at least one of the races. And enjoy your burgers and beer. Stay safe in your travels. And we’ll get back to training for Arts Fest Weather when we resume.

By the way, we’ll definitely be on the outdoor track next week because we’ll be warming up the track for Special Olympics participants. After that, who knows? There may be bulldozers ripping up the old track right away to get ready for a new track. If so, we may move to the high school track, because by then the kids will be done.

Thursday Track Report: Can We Go Outside And Play Now?

May 19, 2016

It was pretty nice out, with sunny skies and warm temperatures (unusual so far this month!) and low and behold Jim Myers, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Judd Michael, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur found that the PSU outdoor track was open! A big change from the last few weeks. The spotty availability of the outdoor track has been killing Thursday Track the last couple of months. Everybody is grateful to have the MSF indoor track available to us when it’s cold and blowing out, but who wants to run indoors once April hits?

Costas was punishing himself with repeat 1/2-miles, so the rest of the group decided to join in. Bwana called out 4X-1/2 Mile. That’s where you run in the very outside lane, and use the funny secret Imperial Unit markings to gauge. A half-mile is just under 1-3/4 laps in that lane. Bwana prescribed a VERY short rest, back to the starting line (a little over 100 meters). So run your half-miles at a slow 5K pace and take your time on a really slow jog to the start of the next one.

Marty Klanchar has been trying to get more information about future availability of the outdoor track. We know there’ll be construction of a new track soon, but we’re hoping to be able to use it on a more predictable schedule until that happens (and after!). Stay tuned.

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: Inside Looking Out

May 12, 2016

It was sunny and warm today, quite a break from the last few weeks. Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Marty Klanchar, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Callie Burke, Joel Niemann, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. It’s starting to look like we’re being relegated to the indoor track. The outdoor track has been shackled shut for a few weeks. On a nice day like today, a good portion of the Rec Hall crew took a look at the options and went on running in the sun. Bwana took the remainder indoors for a bit more structured workout.

Today’s track adventure came from California, Berkeley to be precise, via FloTrack’s Wednesday Workout feature. Tony Sandoval coaches Cal’s women’s middle distance runners and had them on a “Date Pace” workout. It’s a workout for the meet portion of the training season, where the ladies are put through a race pace workout of 3X300 followed by 400-800-300 at race pace, and then a hard 200 at “kick pace”. The gals run their workouts a good deal faster than us. Their 1500 meter race pace is, after all, close to 4 minutes. Bwana’s take was 3X300, followed (after a short rest) by 4 laps in lane 5 (~900m), 2 laps (~450m), 1 lap (~225m) all at mile race pace with short rests between. This workout has options for higher volume: Do the whole thing twice, or repeat either the 3X300 or the descending ladder.

After the workout, Bwana ran into Sam Thompson, who promises to join our indoor crew as his schedule frees up, and Jo Ohm, who’s always been “outdoorsy”. It’s going to be a long summer indoors. We’ll try to do some workouts at the SCASD High School track after their school year is over. Keep an eye on the track emails.

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.