Thursday Track Report: Maundy Thursday

March 24, 2016

It was warm, sunny and breezy as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Mike Casper, Costas Maranas, Marty Klanchar, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Dean Capone, Kevin Becker, Rob Peterson, Mike Renz, Andy Maguire, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Tony and Marlee Kwasnica, Ally Kiefer, Rick Ducharme, Callie Burke, Dan Coughlin, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track on Holy Thursday

Bwana has gained a lot of disciples of the track over the years (decades!). And for what Bwana thinks are good reasons. It’s a way to throw a change-up into your workout regimen, to pick up the pace. It’s a great bunch of people. And track really does help you get faster! Besides, Bwana’s burden is light, his yoke is easy. He doesn’t make you do something you can’t do! Today’s “mandate" was a new creation, a different twist on the “front-loader” workout: 1200-(3X600). The front loading is provided by the 1200 at 5K race pace. The rests are short (200 meters after each rep, including the 1200!). Do your 3 successive 600s at the same pace for the first (if you can), and faster for the latter two (if you can). You are basically running a 3K with a few short rests thrown in, and you’re recovering (just a little each time)) from your 1200 as you proceed.

Attendance at the track has been up for the last several months. Today we had nearly 30. Let’s keep this up. Go and make track disciples of all!

Thursday Track Report: Greening Up

March 17, 2016

It’s already greening up. I mean it is St. Patrick’s Day, and John O’Domico’s birthday, but those of us who have been around this town for a few years recall the St. Patrick’s Day Snow Storm of 2007, and other mid-March blasts of the Old North Wind. We remember that some of the worst storm’s in Winter come in March, and that Winter didn’t end last year until April. But it was mild, sort of sunny (with passing sprinkles) and humid as Jim Myers, John Domico, Lance Bland, Dan Coughlin, Davis Michael, Marty Klanchar, Meira Minard, Mike Renz, Bob Shafer, Mike Martin, Seth Senior, newcomer Matt Masullo, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track. The long-range forecast has us thinking (knock on wood) that this amazingly mild Winter could be over.

The Crew has been taking the secret side entrance into the “officially” closed outdoor track the last two weeks. In a few months, the track will probably be torn up, to be replaced for the 2017 Big 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. But for now, it’s good to run on a quarter-mile track after spending all Winter getting dizzy going 8 loops to the mile. Bwana called the Default No-Brainer Workout, which is number one in the dusty book of track workouts, the one we always opened the outdoor track season with even back when all we had was an outdoor season (i.e. pre-MSF). That is: 400-800-800-400. Run your reps at 5K+ pace, but make the second half of the workout faster than the first. Rest: a generous, slow 400 between each rep.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to stay outside awhile. Spring is here. There are a lot of races, and a lot of good weather coming.

Thursday Track Report: The Easiest Group Run

February 25, 2016

People are catching on. Another big turnout for Thursday Track. Tom Cali, Lance Bland, Judd and Davis Michael, Costas Maranas, Meira Minard, Mark Lee, Mike Renz, Rob Peterson, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Tony Kwasnica, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, Matt Soroka, Callie Burke, Peggy Plunkett, newcomers Rick Ducharme and Ally Kiefer, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, Joel Niemann, David Lloyd, John Sheakoski, Amy Blake, and Marty Mazur headed for the indoors, and were thankful for that since it was cold, blustery, and sleeting.

One reason people are catching on is that Thursday Track is the easiest group run. Why? I mean, you’re supposed to work hard, right? Yes, but you get to do it at your pace, and you never lose sight of the group. They’re either right ahead of you, or right behind you by at most 100 meters (or 200 when we’re outdoors). So many people show up for a run with the Rec Hall group and find themselves gasping for breath as the group recedes toward the horizon. Or they come to one of Bwana’s weekend runs and realize they haven’t run that slow since they learned how to walk. But Thursday Track, despite its intimidating name, is not like that. You run the workout at your pace. Chances are, with the turnout we’ve been getting, there’ll be somebody about your pace, or maybe a little faster. If you like a challenge, try to keep up. But if not, just do the workout. The company is great.

So what kind of fun did Bwana have in store today? One of the indoor regulars: 3X3X300. Run the 300s at mile race pace. Not too fast, because you only get less than 100 meters rest between each 300. Do a set of 3, then take a longer rest. Make it 3 sets, and you’re done. And, easy-peasy, you’ll be faster, whatever your pace is, with Bwana to thank for it.

Thursday Track Report: I Got My Bracket Philled Out Early!

March 3, 2016

March is here, and that means Spring really is just around the corner. And what does the weather do this week of this exceedingly warm Winter? Revert to “Kill Phil!” (Punxsy Phil) weather. Cold, brutally windy earlier in the week. Today, no wind, but still a day to be thankful for the indoor track. Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Marty Klanchar, Michael Goldfine, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Andy Maguire, Rob Peterson, Mike Renz, Mike Zimmerman, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, Matt Soroka, Callie Burke, Peggy Plunkett, Rick Ducharme, Kyle, Adam Ilgen, Rich Harter, David Lloyd, Amy Blake, and Marty Mazur headed through temperatures in the high 20s for the warmth of the MSF.

Adam Ilgen, who has class most Thursdays this semester, has been doing his workout early and saying “sayonara” about the time we all get to the track. But Adam was good for a suggestion. He did 5X800. The Repeat 800s workout is one of the most adaptable and best all around workouts for most distances, from a 5K up through a marathon. How you do them and how many depends on the race you're training for. Many marathon and half-marathon training programs revolve around a high volume of consistently run 800s at a bit faster than race pace. For 5K training, do them a little faster than that. Mixing the proper rest in depends on pace, but in every manifestation, consistent or controlled pace is the key. With March Madness coming up soon, Bwana’s workout was his favorite “Bracket 800” workout. On the indoor track, 800 meters is about 3-and-a-half laps in lanes 5 and 6 where we usually run. Run 3 laps in lane 5 at 5K race pace. Take a very slow 1 lap rest, then run 4 laps in lane 5 in the same per-lap time. So you’re adding volume at pace. Rest again, then move out to lane 6. Do 4 laps there (each lap is slightly farther) at the same per-lap time. So you’re picking up the pace a bit. After another rest, finish the workout with a 3 lapper in lane 6 as hard as you can go, especially on the last lap. Your kicker. It’s all we had time for, but for a good half or marathon workout, do this workout *twice* (or more!), at a slightly slower, but consistent pace.(You might need to work up to this one, but it’ll pay off!)

Next week is Spring Break. Bwana doesn’t know if we’ll have access to the Indoor Track, but he’ll find out and let you know. Till then, stay safe if you’re going somewhere, and get a run in, even if it’s on the beach!

Thursday Track Report: One Of Life's Little Mysteries

February 18, 2016

Bwana’s been getting crazy turnouts for this Winter’s Thursday Track workout. Nearly 30 runners, including a newcomer, showed up for this week’s fun. As the brilliant sun tried to warm the outside air, Tom Cali, Judd and Davis Michael, Lance Bland, Costas Maranas, Marty Klanchar, Michael Goldfine, Andy Maguire, Meira Minard, John Wilcock, Mark Lee, Joel Niemann, Mike Casper, Callie Burke, Mike Renz, Bob Shafer, Seth Senior, Kyle, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Matt Soroka, Ron Cunfer, Rich Harter, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, newcomer Peggy, and Marty Mazur headed for the track.

The track is an impenetrable mystery. To many, the fact that some people enjoy running in circles is a great imponderable. And to some of those few who do enjoy the track, the many markings and lines are puzzling, despite the fact that there are web sites that explain them in detail. And on our own MSF track, there are the cryptic “unofficial” marks, numbers that are penned into the white line separating lanes 4 and 5. A moment’s thought reveals that they must be the starting lines for runs of varying lengths: 300, 400, 600, 800, etc. But how many laps? And where’s the finish? The answer to the last is obvious: the Finish Line! And to deduce the answer to the first, keep in mind that the indoor track is 200 meters long in lane 1, and successively slightly longer in each lane out from there. So a run of 600 meters in lane 5 must be a bit less than 3 laps. To run 600 meters, find the “600” mark (just after the first turn), run from there to the Finish Line, and then add 2 laps. The mysteries of the rest of the numbers fall out in similar fashion. Today, the Crew concentrated on the 400 meter mark, an old standby that we haven’t done in a while. Find the “400” in lane 5 most of the way through the first turn. Run the rest of that lap and one more. Take a 1+ lap rest and repeat for a total of 6X400. Run at 5K+ or mile race pace. Consistency is more important than pace.

The mystery of when Winter will wind down is starting to creep upon us. Unfortunately, even when the weather turns good for good, we may not be able to ponder the puzzles of the outdoor track markings, since, due to coming refurbishment work, it’s unknown when that will be open again. We’ll just have to keep rubbing our chins indoors until that mystery is cleared up.