Sunday, September 6, 2015

off season speed

Kind of surprised myself this evening with some brisk sprints.   Just the second time on the track in 3 weeks, ran faster than expected.
Saucony trainers on 
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 61.5 
300m - 42.5 
200m - 27.5
Considering I've gained 5 lbs and am not running, not doing too badly.  I set my goals at 64, 45, and 28, and beat them all easily.   I have this perception that I am running slower than I really am, timer doesn't lie.

This is the season for the TN Senior Olympic District meets.  It's necessary to do these to qualify for the state meet.  I don't feel like competing right now, it's been a long season.   So, I've abandoned the Senior Games and decided not to participate.  I asked them if they could give me a bye into the finals, they didn't respond so... whatever.   I remember past Senior Games 400m races where I'd win by 80m ... over second place.  It must not feel real good to have your family in attendance and see that. I think they're probably better off without me. As Paul B. said, it's the 'minor leagues'.


  1. Great to have found your site. I actually found it while googling something about transitioning from distance running to sprinting. I'm intrigued by your story. Were you a sprinter at one point in time who then moved to distance running and then back into sprinting?

    I grew up playing hockey, soccer and rugby and I've never really considered myself explosive, but I think that might be more mental than physical. I'm definitely built like a sprinter and have substantial power and strength (although I realize this doesn't necessarily translate into speed). But I've never trained for speed at all; I've always only trained for endurance. So I'm debating whether I want to continue just doing endurance training on my own, or whether I want to train with a masters track club for the 400m.

    Could you give me a little more about your background, your move from endurance to sprinting and how you've found running track and sprints specifically, rather than distance (I'm 36 by the way). Thanks!

    1. Katie, As far my innate abilities, I am and always have been a sprinter. Was a regionally successful sprinter in HS, ran one yr indoor track in college. Never really worked hard at it until I became an elite Masters. I dabbled with 5k racing and trained seriously for it. Managed to win a few local races and worked my butt off to get to the mid 19s at age 48. Good, but not elite. Then I discovered I could enter small college track meets unattached and started running the 100m. Hurt myself and tried a 400m. 1st ever was 56.71 and I realized this was a race I could run. I still love to run the 100/200 but the 100m race has produced injuries for me. I expect to continue racing college meets in the upcoming season. I've learned a lot about training and I'm self coached.

    2. William, this sounds great! I'm still so on the fence about whether to pursue the 400. I also really enjoy just getting out to run every morning, doing longer intervals and hills/stairs/plyometrics a couple times a week mixed in. The one challenge I found with sprinting is that because it is so intense, it seems the recommendation was to run only two days a week (max three). I like having endurance and running fast (I'm not sure if I'd call it speed! My fastest 400 coach timed in training was 1:05:00 after six weeks of training).

      I ended up just training on my own from August on (not quite sure whether I'd stick with sprinting). So I did a bit of a mix and had fun doing 600m repeats on Mondays (more a middle distance type work out) and then 10x100 on Wednesdays and 6x200 on Saturdays (at 85% full speed with proper sprint technique), and then was doing weights on Tuesdays and Thursdays; but that's about all the 'sort of sprint' training that I've done this summer. But I've just been training on my own. Our club starts training again next Monday and as I said, I'm debating whether to train with them or to just keep doing my distance with some interval days on my own.

      The only race I've ever done is a 25k trail race (2:13:45). I ended up finishing fourth in my age category and 16th overall which was surprising and encouraging. So I'm in this weird position where I like both sprinting and trail running/distance running. I would suspect, given my build (I'm 5'8" and 138, with 16% body fat), that I have more fast twitch muscle fiber (I also did that 1 rep max test where you take 80% of your 1 rep max and see how many reps you can do of it and if under 5 I think, you're majority FT, I was able to do 3.5 reps which would indicate FT). So my greater physiological potential might be there. But running distance and trails is also relaxing and the trail racing community is a totally different ball game and not so competitive. There's also the fact that while I see to be able to run forever, when I start trying to run distance along side speed, I end up wheezing hard like an asthmatic for most of my miles (this happened in xc mountain bike racing and in my trail race -- I kept going but with not a lot of air -- even with having trained really pretty hard with intervals, I'm just not sure i've got the aerobic capacity for higher speed endurance given my body). So who knows! Anyway, thanks for sharing! Your story has given me both inspiration and food for thought!

    3. Competitive masters sprinters where I live simply don't exist, so I always train alone unless I'm doing foundation then I get a young 800/1500 guy to sometimes come out with me and kick my butt on 600 repeats. The vast majority of masters 400m guys would never do 600m repeats with limited rest. As a endurance athlete coming down to the 400m (I am the opposite), you might try a short to long approach and try to develop foot speed and turnover. (50s and short stuff). Be careful and learn how to warmup thoroughly and definitely do hip flexor and adductor strengthening resistance bands (higher rep). The 400 is a bitchin' race, it hurts every time. It hurts the most when you go out too fast. I sometimes like 'the idea' of running a 400 than actually doing it. It is a multifaceted event that takes experience and very careful pacing. I NEVER train on the track without my beeping timer. You have to be able to know how to run a race pace 200m within 1/2 sec of a specific target goal time. A half second too fast, and you'll rig in the end, too slow, not a great time. It's a rhythm, sometimes you hit it just right. Hard to be consistent. Event runs are important near competition time.

    4. Yeah, this is what my coach had me do two years ago when I was training with the club: go from short to long. This made the biggest difference in my stride and technique. It's the first time where my strength and power seemed to allow a transfer to real speed.

      I'm nervous to make the commitment because I've never really considered myself a sprinter and I'm pretty sure sprinters are born rather than being made. But it's hard to tell where my real potential lies because I have never really attempted to run fast; I was drawn to longer distances in xc in the fourth grade and never really changed course (well, my body might have, but not my mindset!). Do you think that if you're naturally fast, even if you've been running distance regularly for 15-20 years, that you'd see evidence of exceptional speed right away? One of the women on my team ran 100/200 at a Div I NCAA school and said, she thought she saw potential for me to run the 1 or 2. I know it might sound kind of shallow; but I'm pretty competitive and want to compete at something I know I have a reasonable chance, if I train and rest hard, of doing well in.