Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let The Games Begin!

Well we're just about at the start of the outdoor season here in Ohio! The weather is finally warmer and we're getting in good workouts outside. Fortunately for the 400 group our indoor training at Kent State did the job and we did not lose the momentum we established from the fall.

Although we have yet to have a meet, I am confident that we've done just about everything possible to get the best performances we can this season. We have the strongest base this team has ever seen. The 6 months of distance running, strength training, intervals and initial speed work were well worth it. Greg was in New York City for all of last week with a class trip. This was planned a year ago and while it put a kink in his training schedule, did not seem to do any lasting damage. He did manage to get in three abbreviated days of running in NYC. Yesterday was his first track workout since returning. It was a tough one, four sets of 400/200 at pace with a 1 minute break between intervals, 7 minute break between sets. This is a strength workout designed to build a kick. I knew this would be a bit of a "shock" to Greg's system, being off for a week but he came through. Although he lost his lunch after the third set (sorry for the graphic detail), he was back on the line and completed the set at pace. I think he'll be back to form by the end of this week.

Spring break is next week and most of the guy are going away on vacations. The timing could not be worse. Although all will be encouraged to run while away, I'm not confident that many on the team will run and we will not be sharp for our first meet as a team. I include everyone in this, not just the sprinters. However, I am the lone coach who will be in town next week and will supervise workouts for those who are staying in town for the week. For the 400 group, only Greg and one other runner will be around but it will be a great opportunity to get in a hard week of training in an intimate setting! After next week is over, we transition to our competition schedule and focus on pure speed work. We're going after workouts that feature a limited number of intervals at high speed with rest as required. This should be a great indicator of where we're at.

As I've said before, I don't want to predict season end performances but I'm confident that the guys are in shape to do their best (whatever that is!). On a purely personal note, and one that reflects tremendous parental pride, Greg and two other guys from the 400 were elected tri-captains for the team this year. I take this as a measure of respect for the amount of work and the example this group has set for the team. This is a pure election by the team members and is not influenced in any way by the coaches. What else can I say? I'M PROUD OF MY BOYS!

More to come as we get into the meet schedule. My biggest concern now is to avoid injuries!!!!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paul Horn, Biking, and Running

This past Thursday and Friday I attended a conference about employee ownership of businesses, more specifically, ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) and one of the featured speakers was our own Paul Horn. Paul, aka Dr. ESOP, gave at least two long talks (45 minutes, and an hour) which were both well attended. The talks were informative and entertaining. To learn more about what Paul does for a living, visit his company's website: www.workplaceconsultants.net. To learn more about what Paul is doing when he isn't working give him a call or send him an email. His contact information is on his company's website.

About three weeks ago I bought a road bike, after getting Chris to approve the purchase. I'm diving into this biking thing pretty deep, so I've gone with special pedals and shoes that require "clipping in" to ride and "clipping out" to stop. I was told that I would probably fall once or twice while I learned how to use the shoes and pedals and, sure enough, at the very end of my pilot ride (a short jaunt around the neighborhood) I fell when I neglected to clip out before stopping. My next few rides went well and I felt confident that I had mastered the clipping. Of course my confidence led to another fall. While I didn't get hurt badly on either fall, when I got up from the second fall I saw that I managed to damage one of my cleats, leaving part of it attached to the pedal (Chris will appreciate that this type of damage is not a common occurence). The place I bought the bike and accessories from cheerfully replaced the cleat and I hope I've had my last fall for awhile.

Last Monday I did my first serious ride--20 miles on hilly country roads as part of small group. I was not as sore on Tuesday as I expected to be. I think all the riding I've done on the exercise bike at home has actually been helpful. Today I did 20 miles on my own on a different route that was quite a bit hillier than Monday's ride. I hope I can ride with the group tomorrow. I think I'm averaging around 13 to 14 miles/hour.

I have been doing a little bit of running. I've been to the track four or five times in the last two weeks or so. So far my fastest mile has been 8:20. It's too early for me to know if the biking and running are helping each other or not. I'm more focused right now on improving my riding than I am on improving my running.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Track!

Today I ran about 4 miles again, with about 2.3 miles on the track. I did a few more fartleks, and used my Garmin to make sure I was running under a 6 minute / mile pace for a few yards. During one 150 meter stretch, I got down to about a 5:45 pace during the latter part of the fartlek.

Maybe in a about 2 weeks I can try my initial mile run for the season!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nothing Like the Track!

The snow is gone, and yesterday, with temperatures in the 50s, and pouring rain, I couldn't resist making my first visit to the track of 2010. I ran a total of 4 miles (including the 3/4-mile to the track, and 3/4 back. Fairly easy pace, averaged 8:25/mile, but with some fartleks on the straight-a-ways. It is very hard to imagine running a 5-minute mile, or even a 6-minute mile at this point in the "season," but it was a great feeling to have the artificial surface beneath my shoes, and see the curve of the painted lane lines moving by as I ran. There's just something special about the track..............


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last Gasp of Winter Training Update

This should be the last winter training post, but you never know here in beautiful Buffalo, NY. I did some more cross country skiing in the woods recently, once in Houghton, NY and once at Sprague Brook county park.

The latter time (Sprague Brook) had about the best snow conditions I've ever been on.....soft, powdery, not too slow or sticky, and not icy, beautiful, snowing the entire time.......for those of you that live down south, you don't know what you're missing!

But, this past week, although there is still a solid snow cover, my thoughts turned to spring, and track season. I ran a 4-mile loop on Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:37, 8:31, and 8:10 minutes per mile, respectively. I felt pretty good on Friday! Today I ran 4 miles at 8:18 per mile. Next scheduled run is Tuesday.