Saturday, August 31, 2013

Training and performing - sprinting and music

Sore today from yesterday's strength workout.  Particularly quads and calves.   With my next meet a week from Sunday, I wanted to train this evening - Sat, then Mon, Wed, Fri...  but I may have to tweak that schedule.  Probably Sunday morning then Monday night.

Spending a solitary weekend getting together my first solo guitar concert in over a year.   I was just noticing the striking parallels between training as a musician, and as a 400m sprinter.   Both are similar because the requirements to prepare well are extremely multifaceted.

Both require a baseline ability.
Sprinting - fast twitch muscle fibers and natural foot speed.
Music - manual dexterity and a cognitive expressive ability, sensitivity, and aesthetic sense.

Both require fundamentals.
Sprinting - aerobic foundation, strength foundation, and good stride alignment and technique.
Music - principles of efficient movement, hand alignment, proper sitting position, use of nails.

Both require complex multifaceted training
Sprinting - tempo endurance, speed endurance, power speed, technique, event runs, etc...
Music - technique, slow practice, spot repetition, full run throughs, metronome work

Both required specialized equipment
Sprinting - training shoes, training spikes, racing spikes and accessories, racing tights, warmup suit, starting blocks, training equipment - resistance bands, weights, beeping timer, nutritional supplements
Music - instruments, strings, footstool, metronome, nail kit (scissors, glue, sandpaper, files etc..), scores, music stand, concert attire, travel case 

Both sprinting and music require: 
  • an understanding and appreciation of the culture and history
  • a curiosity to learn and get better
  • a proper warmup
  • a sense of timing, rhythm
  • flexibility and relaxation
  • technique work 
  • trial performances
  • performance experience
  • the ability to present a performance at pre determined time and place 
  • a sustained and persistent commitment
  • being healthy and injury free

I learn a lot about sprinting from music.

I learn a lot about music from sprinting.

Together they make a richer life than one without the other.  The ancient Greeks, founders of the Olympic Games ... certainly agreed.

Friday, August 30, 2013


The heat of summer is back, mid 70'sº at MTSU's Floyd Stadium at sunrise.   I came to do stadium stair sprints.

I got about 7 done and they were hard... then the women's tennis showed up and proceeded to run my set of stairs.  The coach let me work in at the end of the line.  They were only going to do 10.   Some of them were terribly lame, only managing to walk the last few.  I did some double legged bleacher hops and continued after they had left.

I also found an excellent new piece of equipment.
200m jog, dynamic stretches 
19 stadium stair sprints 
6 x 20yd weight sled sprints
The weight sled looks to be a really great addition to the strength routine.   I hope I find it out there the next time I go.  The sled weighs about 90 lbs (sled + 50 lbs).

I should probably take a day off tomorrow and do resistance bands later today.

Weight is good, 140.2 lbs after workout.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quantity + quality

A summer morning on the Dean Hayes track ...low 70's and a nice sunrise at 6:25am.   The track was wet in places.   Since there is a home football game, the parking Nazi's were already out.  I had explain my purpose to the parking attendant.  It's going to be nearly impossible to drive to MTSU later today ... damn football.   Even the freakin' band was out on the field practicing at 6:30am.

I wanted to do quality and quantity today so I ran less reps but faster, and with a short rest. At the end, I did some quality work.

Saucony Virrata trainers on 
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m - 49, 51, 55, 54  (2 min rest between) 
4 x 200m - 30, 32, 34, 33 (1 min rest between) 
300m - 46 
200m - 27.5
It was tough, especially the last 300 and 200 in the set of 4.  I seem to hurt more aerobically immediately afterward than during.   2500m of sprints was pushing it for my ankle.

Just before I did my last 300 + 200, the soccer girls came out with that prick assist. coach that previously tried to eject me.   I was going to say something to Coach Aston, but I didn't.  We ignored each other ... but the best thing was that the soccer team got a clue that I had every right to be there.

I am as light as I've been this year: 140.4 lbs after workout.

139.8 lbs. before dinner - first time under 140 this yr.

Track and Field News....

Last Big 100m of the year

The Diamond League 100m race in Zurich today will feature eight sub-10 sec sprinters:  Bolt, Gatlin, Rodgers, 3 other Jamaicans ... and the return of Walter Dix who was injured in the USA Championships.  The 400m will feature a rematch between LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James.  It's going to be a great meet.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

spike up for speed endurance

I did a ladder down speed endurance workout today in an effort to maintain speed and work on form in the last 100m.   I got to the Dean Hayes track a bit later than I wanted, about 6:50am.  It was a beautiful sunny day and in the upper 60s and not too humid.  My student Jacob joined me, but he wasn't in shape and puked after the second run.  He stayed with me though.
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony Showdown spikes on 
500m - 79  (63/16) 
400m - 64
300m - 46 
200m - 28.5 
100m -13.5
It was a good workout.  The last 100m felt good and everything seemed to work right.

The track team distance guys and girls were there, and toward the end of my work out, the girls soccer team showed up.   I didn't hear from the assist. coach that previously ejected me from the stadium.   I was hoping I'd see him.

Still fighting this cold, woke up at 2:30am and felt bad, sore throat, coughing, but felt better after I slept a few more hours.  My ankle feels ok so I'm thinking about doing stadium stairs tomorrow.

My weight is up a bit because of that vegetable and fish stew.  I was 146 after dinner and now 142.2 after workout.  Heh... 4 lb loss in just 12 hrs.

I cleared up the issue with my health insurance wellness contractor, Healthways.  They had the audacity to move me out of the preferred "healthy" group to the standard more expensive group.  It was because I didn't fill out an online self reported health form.  It's a bogus system.  What person is going to self report to their insurance company that they are unhealthy?   I sent them my health data and they still denied my appeal!  I then bitched to anyone who would listen threatening to take this to the media. The put me back into the preferred group.  I sent them this training blog.  Maybe they looked at it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Back on the track at St. Andrews Sewanee this beautiful morning, 64º with clear skies and breezy at sunrise.

Surprisingly, I am still quite sore from my races 2 1/2 days ago, sore in the haunches, like I had been doing plyos or something.  Also, I have a sore throat.  When I hit the track, I did not feel like working hard, nevertheless, I did.

I did my usual 4 x 500m workout but this time, instead of the customary 6-10 min of rest in between, I did it as a tempo endurance workout with strict 3 min rest.  So that, combined with my soreness and the slow hard track, made this a hard one, harder than these slower times would indicate.   At the start of my last 500m, my heart rate was still over 130.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 500m - 89, 91, 93, 95 (3 min rest)

Yesterday, I did some hiking and a one-set resistance workout including some single leg squats.   I need  to focus on strength training, event runs, speed endurance, and keep doing these tempo endurance workouts.   Not sure what the next 'pain du jour' will be.

Been disciplined with my diet.  141.4 lbs after workout.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Well, it's a start

Disappointed in my performance at my first meet.  I mean, I won the 400m, but I was hoping for a faster time.   Hard to know how I really did with my time being simply called out at the finish line in whole numbers... but I thought I crossed the line before the race clock hit 58.   But the guy with the watch said my times were 58.0 for the 400m and (about) 25.5 for the 200m.  

It was a real loose meet in pretty bad conditions.  No bathrooms, wet soggy track with debris on it, about 80º and very humid and steamy.  

It was a time trial for me, no competitors, although my heat was full.  No one else ran under 64.  My friend Bill M. was in the lane just to my outside, I made up the stagger on him in the first 60m.   My first 200m split was right around 26.  Maybe too fast for my level of fitness.  Hard to believe I slowed so much as to run 32 in my second 200m.  But, it is what it is.  Just a wake up call that if I am ever to run under 56 again, I really have to be lighter, stronger and in better shape.   I was a bit heavier today, thought I should eat some carbs this morning.  Weighed 143 when I left for the meet.

I wasn't going to run the 200m, but I did, with just 20m rest after the 400m.  In the 200m, there was a real sprinter, a 25 yr old African guy who ran in college.   He ran about 23, and I ran about 25.5.   I finished second.  I thought I felt something in my ham, but no, it was just flopping around a bit and was not sore after the race or the next day.

These times were not exact, but it was a good exercise and workout.   Not as fast as I thought I was, probably good.  Need to do better before my first FAT timed meet in 16 days.   I'm planning of some weight training tonight and back to the track tomorrow.   Not sure what to do, probably 500s.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pre-race day

The comeback edition. 

Beautiful night at the Dean Hayes Track, full moon, 76º at 9pm.  Just wanted to run a little, warm up and start from blocks.

I did 2 race pace 200s, aimed for 26.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
900m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 80m striders on grass  
Nike Superfly R3 spikes on 
3 starts from blocks on the curve 
2 x 200m from blocks (400m race pace) - 26.5, 26
2 starts from blocks on the curve 
The second one was harder.  The first one was easy.  If I could follow a 26.5 with a 28.5, that would be a way to a 55 sec 400m.

Hand-timed meet in Chattanooga tomorrow night.  It's supposed to be hot, 90º during the day.  Hope I'll see some competition and it's not just me and my friend Bill M.   I think I should be at least in the 57s if I run a smart race and don't rig up.

I feel ok.  142 lbs after workout.  I should be good to go.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fast under the full moon

I'm definitely back.  

Quality sprints.

Tonight at the Dean Hayes track under a full moon, it was a beautiful 74º and humid.   I invited my student Jacob to run with me on even split quality sprints.  Jacob was a sub 50 400m guy in high school and is just running again for the first time.  He ran the last 200m of my 400m with me and the last 100m of my 300m.

I donned my backup meet spikes... the green Puma Bolt spikes with crowns.  After a good sweaty warmup, I programmed the timer for 14/15/14/15.   I was at around 98% effort in the last half of my runs tonight.

800m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 58 (29/29) 
300m - 42 (14/14/14) 
5 block starts
The 400m might have been 57.5, I think I crossed just ahead of the beep.   The first 29 sec 200m felt very easy.  I feel I can cut 2 seconds of that first 200m, and if I can keep the same second 200m, I'd be back in business.   It's still early and I haven't yet run any 200s below 27 in training.  The blocks felt good too.  Moving my back foot back about an inch gives my 'animal start' more balance and allows me to crowd the line even closer.

Today was my final appointment with foot Dr., Jeff Willers.  Xrays showed complete healing and I'm glad there is no screw in my foot.  The ankle arthritis is not as bad as it was, and if it gets bad, he can inject it with steroids.  I'm having minor surgery on my thumb on Sept 10 but that shouldn't prevent me from training for more than a day or 2.

My weight is 141.6 after workout, lightest I've been this year and ready to start my season.  Tomorrow is my first 'pre-race day' in almost 9 months ... been a long time in coming.  It will be an evening all-comers meet under the lights in Chattanooga.  Hope it doesn't rain.   I may go to the track again tomorrow night to do a warmup and some striders and starts.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ladder down speed workout

St. Andrews track in Sewanee was 69º, cloudy with the occasional Sewanee 'mizzle'.   I spiked up today with my Nike Superflys to do a fast ladder down with recovery.

800m warmup, stretches, drills 
Nike R3 Superfly spikes on 
500m - 78 
400 - 60 (28/32) 
300 - 44 
200 - 27

The first 2 were hard but the 300m was not exhausting, and I had enough left to sprint a good 200m.   Overall, these sprints were done at about 90% effort.

Tuesday evening I will do some brief speed work and some block starts.   A good warmup and maybe an event run.

I ate a lot this weekend, so I'm probably a bit heavier but the good news is my ankle felt good today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

even more 300s

A nice, mostly cloudy 66º at the Dean Hayes track this morning at 5:50 am.   A little humid and the track was wet, but not a bad day.   My student Brad came out to join me again for some 300s.

I was a lb heavier today so I one upped the workout from last time.
        Saucony Virrata trainers on 
        500m warmup, stretches, drills 
        7 x 300m - 51-54 with 2 min rest
I was only going to do 6, and I ran my 6th like it were my last one, in 51.   But, as we were walking, my timer beeped the 30 sec warning that my 2 min rest was about to expire and I said to Brad jokingly, here we go again, he said ok ... so off we went.  I was still breathing hard when we started #7.   I still made it in 54 ... but it hurt.

I know it's still early in the season, but I feel like I should be running faster.   Not sure what my Sunday morning workout should be.   Maybe some negative split 400s with recovery?  Some fast 500s?  We'll see.

Achy ankle is the same, weight: 143.4 after workout.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

vital signs improve

Early July:
Blood pressure 130/90
Pulse 72

Now, after 4 weeks of training:
Blood pressure 111/71
Pulse 54

Tempo endurance 300s

A wonderfully cool 64º morning on the Dean Hayes track at 5:40 am.

I was joined by my student Brad for a tempo endurance 6 x 300m workout with timed rest.   This workout was the same pace as last ... about 17sec / 100m, but with 2 min rest.

This felt good, not as hard as the 10x200m workout, maybe because I'm lighter and more fit.   I was able to maintain a fairly consistent speed on all my 300s. My last one was the same speed as my first one.   If it weren't for my ankle, I would have done more.   Brad did ok, staying about 5 sec behind me on every run.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills, walking (waiting for Brad) 
6 x 300m - (51-54 sec) 2 min rest interval
With my first race a week away, I think I better keep with the foundational tempo endurance on Friday and Sunday, maybe do the same workout but faster or with negative splits.   Then, an event run in spikes and some blocks on Tues.  Tuesday morning I have appointments with my foot and hand Drs., so maybe an evening workout on Tues.

Later in my mini season, after this first meet, maybe some power speed work in spikes, short intervals. 50m from blocks.  And more event runs and negative split 300s, 400s.

I'm almost at 'race weight', lightest I've been this year: 142.6 after workout.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How much should I race?

I just found out I could add another meet if I want to drive 2 hrs to Jackson, TN on Sept. 21.   It's only $20 and it's a nice blue track.  This would mean running 4 meets in 4 weeks... 4 consecutive weekends.    Shall I make up for lost time?  This is just another hand-timed senior meet.   Too much?   Coach Page said, 'the best training is racing'.  Then again, I'd like to be relaxing in Sewanee on the weekend.  But this is why I train.

Hmmm... nice blue track.....

Sure... why not.

Tempo endurance 200s

This kind of workout has it's own 'special' type of pain.  I rarely do these, but should do them much more.

71º, sunny and humid at Sewanee's St. Andrews track at 6:30am.   Beautiful morning with fog rising out of the valley.

10 x 200m with one minute rest interval strictly timed.  I integrated the rest interval into my beeping timer so I wouldn't cheat.   I was knackered after 6, but somehow I did 10 with not much loss of speed.   I stayed close to the goal of 34 sec 200s.  My last 200m was right on target, 34.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
10 x 200m - 34 avg (32-36) with 1 min rest

If my ankle wasn't an issue, I think I could rest and do it again, but I don't want to push it.  2000m of sprints is a decent days work.   Tempted to run these in spikes but it's good not to.  One good thing about this type of workout, it takes less time than those long sprint / long recovery workouts.  I should do some tempo endurance 300s and work up to some power sprints (fast - short).   This workout makes me realize that it takes more effort and is more tiring to run with good form, which should not be a surprise.

Friday, August 9, 2013

hot spike speed workout

I can sprint.

My first quality speed workout in spikes since I started track workouts just 3 weeks ago...  it was encouraging.  

Due to a conflict that interrupted my workout, I had to return to the track at 9:30am to warmup a second time and train in awful heat and blazing sun.   By 10 am it was 83º on the Dean Hayes track with a heat index of 91º (a dewpoint of 76º - terrible humidity).

800m warmup, stretches, drills 
Nike R3 spikes on 
400m - 59 (28/31) 
      -- workout interrupted (see previous post) -- 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Nike R3 spikes on 
2 x 300m - 42.5, 43 
2 x 200m - 27.5, 28

Considering this is after just 3 weeks of workouts after 7 months off, not too bad.   I can still sprint.  Now, I need to go back to the grind of quantity sprint repeats with limited rest.   On these and many of my previous workouts, I've been liberal with the rest in between.

Ankle is only a little sore and not worse.  It felt ok during workout, almost no pain.  Calves and groin a little tight.  Closing in on race weight.   143.8 after workout.  

Will probably take the weekend off and play guitar.  Next workout probably Monday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

more... but slower

Same workout as last time, 4x500m, but my slowest yet.   Maybe because of the lack of recovery time from my Mon. night workout, the stiff head wind I was running into twice (1st and last 100m), the wet track, less recovery in between, and the lack of fuel in the tank.   I ate very small yesterday.  Finally losing the weight.  Was 144.0 after workout.

74º and muggy on the Dean Hayes track at 5:40 am.   It had rained during the night and the track was moist.   Everything was moist.   Not real hot, but a tropical mugginess.

Saucony Virrata trainers on 
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 500m - 85, 89, 90, 92 
100m - 14
Felt exhausting as usual.  Frustrating that I'm not running faster but at least I'm doing it.  It was hard to get myself to do that last one.   I put the spikes on and ran a 14 sec 100m to finish.  When I'm running in the 55's, I'm running an avg. of less than 14 sec per 100m.   Hard to imagine doing that now.

Not sure what to do Friday.  Maybe a ladder 400, 300, 200 or something.  I do want to start running faster and I need to do some resistance work before I go out again for 'protection'  later today.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New meet

I just found out that the Sept. 8 meet in KY is the Senior Games State Meet ... and it will be electronically timed (FAT).  So, I will likely go.

This may be the only opportunity to get an official time this season.   Unfortunately, they are running the 200m and 400m races back to back so I'll probably just run the 400m.   Kind of early to risk the 100m & 200m with the TN District meets coming up the next weekend, where I'll need to qualify for the state meet.

If I had a lot of $ to waste, I'd like do the Huntsman World Games on Oct 7-9.   It's an expensive meet, would have to fly to Vegas, rent a car, hotel, etc... it's in St. George, Utah.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday night track

Same as last time ... 500s.

Mid 70'sº at sunset on the Dean Hayes track.  3 days since my last workout on Friday morning ... giving the ankle a rest.   These 4 x 500m workouts are a bitch.   Every bit as hard as the 5 x 800s, since they are truly sprints.   I am working multiple systems here, strength, endurance and speed.   A good all purpose workout.   Unlike the 800s, I can definitely feel it in my hams and calves, they are all on my toes.

Coming off a weekend of socializing, I certainly didn't lose any weight... but I fortunately didn't gain much.   I did this workout about the same speed as my previous.   It was 10º warmer and I did it all in flats.  On my first 500, the 400m split was about 66.  The others were 68-71.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 500m - 84, 88, 89, 88 

At some point I need to start pushing some 300s at 45 sec and less... and some 200s at 28.  Maybe next week or at the end of this week.  Also some negative split 400s under 64.  Maybe try a ladder down to maintain speed.  2 weeks from tonight might be a good time for an event run test.

I really shouldn't be taking this 'mini-season' so seriously, but I would like to give it a good shot, and that means, getting down to race weight.

Ankle sore as usual but better than last time when I pushed it to the limit with spikes on.

weight: 145.2 after workout

Friday, August 2, 2013


Sprinting faster.   All these runs were in sprint form, running faster than previous workouts since I've been back.   65º under a stunning sunrise sky at the Dean Hayes track.

Breaking the jinx..

This 4 x 500m workout is the same workout where I broke my foot in Dec., so I was a little spooked about this one.    I am 6 lbs heavier and running in flats, so I didn't expect to run my usual 83-84 avg.  However, the first one was pretty fast.  
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
700m warmup, dynamic stretches, drills 
4 x 500m - 84, 89, 88, 87    (87 avg)
To completely break the jinx and give myself some motivation, I put my Saucony spikes on for the last 500m, the same shoes I broke my foot in.   It felt ok.  I decided to try a 200m fast ... about 28 pace, but after 150m, I pulled up with ankle pain.  

This was a similar pace to my 3/11/12 workout, right before I won the Indoor Nationals, but I also did 5x200m in that same workout.   I think my ankle issue will prevent me from training in spikes a lot and putting up a lot of sprint mileage.   Hope it improves.   Frustrating, because everything else seems to be working.

Since I'm taking the weekend off for some visiting and social stuff, I'm going to also do a resistance workout.  Starting to get my sprint body back on....   big ass and calves, thin waist .... but what do I have to do to get these last 5 lbs off?   Very difficult.  Eating small and no carbs for 2+ weeks.  Still 145.8 after workout.  No real change in a week.  Guess I'm going to have to fast a bit and give up sugar in my tea.