Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebrating New Year's Eve with hill sprints

I wasn't planning on working out today but after a day at an Orlando theme park, eating cake, french fries, and fried fish... I needed it, bad. My dad bought me a 'meal ticket' and the options were a bit limited and I was hungry.

So today, without a track, I ran the largest hill in the immediate neighborhood. About a 250-300m distance (measured crudely with GPS).

Half mile warmup, stretches

6 x 250m hill sprints on toes (walk down in between)

1/4 mile cool down jog

I was concentrating on good form and power. After the third one, I was feeling the familiar 'full-body pump' and the last few were hard.

Some of the recent progress on my quest to get body fat % down has been lost this week due to unusually rich food and family meals. My weight has fluctuated wildly. For example: Wednesday night - 147.4, Thursday after workout - 142.8. Friday night - 148.4, Saturday morning after workout - 144.2. Still hope to be around or below 140 lbs. by race day in one week... but, it's only the season opener and I was in much worse shape last year at this time; I didn't start competing til Feb, a month later. I've not been strict about my diet and... dinner party tonight, lobster tail on the menu.

Since I'll be traveling on New Years Day, I'll miss the annual Jan. 1 early morning run up the W Road to the top of Signal Mtn with Bill Minehan and friends in Chattanooga. Oh well, I'll have to make up for it on Monday when I get back to the track.

Happy New Year !

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Villages, FL High School Track workout - REJECTED

It was a perfect winter day in Central FL, mid 50'sº at 10 am.

While visiting my parents in FL, I decided to go to the local high school to get a workout.

The Villages High School was just 5 miles away and their track was beautiful, open, and not being used... not a soul in sight.

I did my usual 800m warmup and drills and was just about to don the spikes and run a 600m when a white pickup pulled up. It had a landscapers logo on it so I didn't pay much attention to it. Then a short fat guy got out and politely explained to me the track was closed to the public. I thought about saying to him, "wait one minute" while I took off and ran a 400m, there would have been nothing he could do.... I was warmed up and ready. But, I dutifully complied and left - rejected from the facility.

So, I did a brisk run and some floor exercises:

800m warm up, stretching, drills

20 min street run with hills

resistance, plyos - single leg jumps

Have gained some weight during the holiday. 142.8 after workout. Hard to imagine racing in one week. We'll see how it feels when I get home.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Exercising the aerobic system

This is supposed to be my recovery week, but I'm really not in great shape. And, I don't need to recover from any really hard work, because I never think I'm working hard enough. Since my pubalgia symptoms have been more noticeable this past week, a two-run week probably won't hurt.

A gray cold blustery day on the mountain. 40º and windy, but feels colder. Today, I ran on the Sewanee track, most of the time with sweats on, and in my heavy training shoes. Despite the slow times, it felt like a good workout and a good effort:

1 mile - 6:49

2 x 800 - 2:49, 3:09

400 - 74

(3 - 5 min rest in between)

I've discovered some new warmup and therapy exercises for the pubalgia syndrome. One is simply dragging each foot on the ground inward so as to provide adductor resistance. Another is to do single leg squats with the non squatting leg going out side ways on the way down, and then dragging on the ground inward while ascending from the squat.

Christmas eve and day involved massive and rich eating which I participated in. Not too much damage done however, I don't have an accurate scale, but I think I'm less than 143 lbs, and plan to eat light today. At least I did a nice moderate hike on Xmas day, so I wasn't a total slug.

I have to remember that this is only Dec., and this first meet is just a beginning and not to expect too much. I am a bit concerned that my speed is totally untested and I haven't touched the starting blocks in months. I don't quite know how my body will respond from the stress of 100% starts and sprinting. Not quite sure what I should do with my last few workouts before the meet. At least one session should be in the Murphy Center with blocks and running indoor turns.

Soon ... off to FL with the lovely Iska to visit my parents who have been married 52 yrs today.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Negative Split 400s - Christmas Eve morning

Christmas Eve morning on the track, 37º and hazy sunshine.

Wanted to be a bit cautious today since I didn't want to aggravate old injuries, but still work hard. So, I ran my 400s easy for first half, then hard for the second.

Effort seemed like 65-70% for the first 200m, then 80-90% for the second 200m.

Overall times were slower because I wanted negative splits.

Here it was:

800m warm up, stretches and drills

4 x 400:
67 - (36.5 / 29.5)
68 - (36 / 32)
68 - (36 / 32)
66 - (33 / 33)
(rest intervals: 3, 4, 7)

My weight is 140.2
(139.8 after sauna - first time under 140 since July)

Next workout will be on Monday in Sewanee.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday sprinter treats

It's hard for most people to have sweet treats during the holiday season without packing on the calories.

With my first track meet 2 weeks away, I want to be below 140 lbs when I race, so I watch what I eat. That doesn't me I'm depriving myself!

Here's a favorite dessert and drink that I enjoy, a better alternative to the traditional cakes and cookies.

Fried spiced apple:

one apple sliced
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 ounce water (or tea or juice)
cooking spray
dash: stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg
6-8 crushed toasted almonds (or walnuts or pecans)

Spray non stick pan. Arrange apple slices on pan. Mix honey or syrup with tea (or water or juice) and pour over apples. Sprinkle spices and stevia to taste while cooking slowly over medium heat for several min. Add water if mixture begins to dry up - boil water down to a thick cinnamony sauce. Serve with topping of crushed almonds.

This has about one-fifth the number calories per gram of cookies. Good, warm, sweet, tasty.


As an alternative to egg nog - which can have close to 400 calories per glass, a very delicious and dangerous bourbon drink:

1 or 2 shots of good Bourbon (I like Blanton's, Bulliet, Wild Turkey)
4 - 5 ounces of organic 2% milk
Honey, maple syrup, or stevia to taste
dash vanilla
cinnamon and nutmeg

Add ingredients to a shaker or jar with crushed ice. Shake, strain, serve. Can also be served hot. About 1/3 the calories of egg nog.

Two of these will put me right to bed. Happy Holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Resistance and plyos

Stadium stairs this morning and resistance tonight.

I'm loving a new plyo exercise: single leg leaps starting in lunge position with front leg on a 12 inch high step.

Concentrating on leaps, ab/adductor work, hams, quads, upper body, and cleaning my house.

Saturday, I'm planning on doing some negative-split long sprints. Unlike running 90-100%, these are safer.... because I can run the first 200m at 70% effort and the second 200m at 95% effort and the second 200m will only be a few seconds faster (hopefully). So, I can put out nearly full effort and not be sprinting fast enough to risk injury. I'll be shooting for repeats of 35/30 ... or something.

Stadium stairs x 26

Woke up at 8, looked at the radar... heavy rain coming. If I wanted to run the stairs, had to do it now
... so I hit the stadium at 8:20, gray skies, 47º.

My back still hurts and the ab injury is not completely gone, but I persevered ... had to do one better than last time.

26 x Stadium stair runs

2 x 100 striders on grass

Weight: 141.4 lbs

Ok, I'm home....

let it rain....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Seems that I reinjured my lower back doing Bulgarian Squats last night. Got warmed up, started working out, then got a call. Talked for an hour, then immediately started to workout again, then ... pop. A week of healing down the drain. Going to take the day off. Stairs tomorrow. ?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Philosophy lesson: Discomfort

True on many levels... not just physical. I think it speaks to values like discipline, perseverance, and the power of the human spirit.

From Dean Karnazes, an ultramarathoner....

"Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

... there are three reasons why you and I should embrace discomfort, whether we deliberately choose it, or it simply happens to us.

  1. Comfort is overrated. It doesn’t lead to happiness. It makes us lazy—and forgetful. It often leads to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent.
  2. Discomfort can be a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change, stretch, and adapt.
  3. Discomfort is often a sign we’re making progress. You’ve heard the expression, “no pain, no gain.” It’s true! When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort.
The bottom line is this: you can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself—become uncomfortable—and grow. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress."
Dean Karnazes who wrote the above knows a little about discomfort. He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days! Sounds impossible, but true. He also ran 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley in 120 °F temperatures, and a marathon to the South Pole in −40 °F weather. He runs 100-170 miles per week.

For me... resistance today, stairs tomorrow, speed on Fri. I'm going to use next week as a recovery week and am planning just 2 running days. Weight is on target: 141.4.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Endurance intervals - getting lighter

I really didn't feel like running today.

After my first hard sprinting day on Sat., I did a fairly tough weight workout and some leaps. My ass was sore. Couple that with 4-5 hrs of dragging heavy tarps of wet leaves on my 'day off' on Sunday at Iska's place. I was sore today and my back still hurt from the motocross cycle trip a week ago. I took a 2 hr nap and ... enough complaining.... I hit the track at noon. It was in the upper 50's and sunny. Almost felt too warm.

400m warmup, stretches

5 x 800 (3 min rest in between) - 2:47, 2:51, 2:57, 3:00, 3:03

400m - 69

It was a little unnerving to see Noah Akwu show up at the track near the end of my workout. He's from Nigeria on a track scholarship - the fastest 400m runner in the Sunbelt conference (45.95) - he was 6th in the Indoor NCAA Finals - an All-American. It was nice to meet him and chat. His workout today was 3 x 600 and 3 x 300. He also gave me a heads up on how to run the 400m at the Murphy Center 300m track. I'm glad I was outta there before he started.

Also, I was looking at Kevin Forde's blog - he's an M45 10,000m National Champion ... also runs a 16 something 5k and a 2:06 800m. I was humbled by his 800m interval workout. He runs 8 x 800 averaging about 2:35. Geeez!

The big news is my weight. 140.4 after workout. Lightest since July.

After doing 4-5 hours of yard work we had to hustle to get to a Christmas Caroling event and didn't have time for dinner... so I went the whole day without eating and faced huge plates of chocolate chip cookies at this Xmas party ... I ate just one. That's an acheivement.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stepping it up

Quality runs today. First runs of the season at 85-90%. I'll also do resistance work today.

It was a sunny cold day at the Dean Hayes track... graduation day and I just got into the parking lot minutes before it was closed around 8:30 am. Temp was 38º at the start of my warmup.

800m warm up, dynamic stretches, sprinter drills

Nike spikes on, sprints at 85-90% effort

3 x 400m - 61.5, 64, 65

200m - 30

Clyde Hart calls these "Speed Endurance" workouts:
"This is running where the runner incurs a high oxygen debt, and there is a definite lactic acid buildup. This workout is vital to good 400 meter running. Distances that are run can vary from 100 to 600 meters. Number of repetitions is figured by multiplying the race distance 2 1/2 times; in this case this would be about 1000 meters. The recovery period will usually be around 10 minutes - this is to give the runner almost full recovery so that there will be quality in the runs. This drill is designed to help the lactic acid energy systems."
Quality over quantity, although I did run 3 ½ times the racing distance today.

It felt good to run fast again, although still not going from blocks and still not 100%. Running a 61.5 400m tells me I can be ready to compete in the meet that is 3 weeks from today at TSU. I have about 4 to 5 lbs to lose to get to race weight and a few weeks more training time, I hope to break 58 sec in my first indoor meet. It will be difficult to keep up the training and diet regimen over the holiday with travel, social eating and drinking etc... But, I need to remember, even though the season is starting soon, I am still early in my training and still need to work hard on my aerobic foundation and quantity running - endurance and tempo endurance workouts.


Weight is 142.6

My back is still killing me from that motorcycle episode on Monday, but getting better everyday. The good thing is that it doesn't hurt to run.

My ab injury is almost completely gone. The only time I feel remnants of it is when I accelerate rapidly at the start. Even though I'm tempted to run the 55m in the first meet, it's a good reason to hold off until Feb. I need to be doing some plyos to prepare for the 55m and later, the 100m.

Next workout will be endurance on Monday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Taking the high road

Injury schminjury...

I ran stadium stairs today. 25 times - the most I've ever done. I did take my time walking down after each one, but I'm noticeably stronger and lighter. I was able to run the last few real hard. I finished with two 100 yd striders on the turf. My legs felt heavy and my back hurt just putting my sweats back on afterward. This back injury will be nothing more than an annoyance and I hope it goes away soon.

25 x Stadium stair runs

2 x 100 striders on grass

Weight: 142.8 lbs

I got tired of waiting for the approaching storm and it finally hit when I was on my 20th flight. The rain was light and the temperature still warmish - around 60º - so I didn't mind.

I hope to do a long sprint workout on Sat or Sun on the mountain.

Waiting out a new injury

I've been in denial about this but ... I injured my lower back on the motorcycle trip I took on Monday. I think it's a disc/spine type injury rather than muscular. I don't think it's serious... the kind of like the pinching pain you feel in the neck for a few days when you sleep wrong, except it's in my lower back, and it hasn't improved a whole lot in 2+ days. I still think I can still exercise and it may even be good for it. I may try and run the stadium stairs later today after the rain or tomorrow. I definitely felt something in my back when I picked up my cycle after laying it down in the mud.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Endurance intervals - on the mountain

In Sewanee today, it was perfect weather for a workout.

(Updated - see below)

Temperature around 48º at noon, cloudy, a little breezy. Since I don't have any level street distances measured out here in Sewanee, I decided to run 800 repeats on the track. I wanted to run fast today, so I brought my Adidas Adizero racing flats that I hadn't used since my 5k races.

So... after completing a couple hours of yardwork at Iska's house, I hit the track at the University of the South:

Brief warmup, dynamic stretches.

5 x 800m - 2:41, 2:57, 3:06, 3:07, 3:08 - (3:00 to 3:30 rest in between)

I ran the first 800 fairly fast (75, 85) and started feeling exhausted halfway through the second 800. I relaxed and sort of got my 'second wind' and was able to complete every subsequent 800 at about the same speed, even running the last 100m on my toes.

I felt like I could have done more but I started feeling a slight pain in my lower calf, so I played it safe and quit. It was a pretty good workout and I didn't leave feeling totally spent.

My post workout weight is good, about 142 ... but I don't have an accurate scale.


Major calorie burn today -

After a few more hours of yardwork, I went on a harrowing off road motorcycle trip in extremely challenging terrain. To make a long story short, I got briefly lost and found my way back out of the wilderness after dark on very steep, rocky, and dangerous terrain. Very physically demanding. Got back just as my front tire went flat.

So .... four hours of yard work, 5 x 800m, and a 2.5 hour mountain motocross trip - all on an empty stomach. Nothing to eat all day.

I weigh 141 lbs.

Millrose Invite:

Chuck Shields just invited me to participate in the Millrose Games as a part of the Phily Track Club. For the first time they will be running an M50 4x400m relay. The meet is Feb. 11, 2012. Doubt that I'll go. We'll see.

Friday, December 9, 2011

On the track - bright and cold

It was a frosty morning, I waited until 9 am til the temperature climbed above 35º. I was feeling a bit sore and weak, but I wanted to run faster today. I did, but it was unusually fatiguing. Probably because this was my first 3 run week and I've dropped considerable weight in the past few days.

800m warmup - stretches, drills

spikes on

3 x 400m - 64.5, 74, 74
300m - 50
200m - 29
(rest intervals - 3, 5, 5, 6 min)

I ran the last 200 pretty hard despite the fatigue I felt before I started. The first 400 felt smooth and not too hard but I really ran out of gas on the second 200 of the second 400, then it was just a matter of surviving. If I had kept the 3 min rest interval, the time would have been well over 80 for the third 400m. So I gave myself a few more min.

Weight is really down now. 142.2 after workout. Lightest since August.

I'm sore.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stadium stairs - raw weather edition

I knew the weather would be ugly this morning. Upper 30ºs, rain changing to snow, windy.

One look at the radar showed it would go from bad to worse so I went from in-bed to the Floyd stadium in less than 20 min. to meet my old friend - the stairs. It was drizzling when I left... which increased to a light freezing rain by the time I started. Not much time to warm up. Had to jog 3/4 way around the outside of the stadium to find the one open door. That was my warmup.

Stadium stairs runs x 16

It was hard. Back home by 8:20am.

Weight - 145.4
Going to need some significant calorie reduction and sweat to lose this last several lbs of body fat to get back below 10%. The last 5-6 lbs are the toughest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Endurance intervals on the street

This is the same workout I did last Tuesday so I was shooting to better my times. I did, by a little. An unusually warm December day, 65º, windy with rain approaching.

I felt heavy since I fell off the diet wagon at my student's Senior Recital party on Saturday. OMG... Scottish scones with currants and cream, chocolate cake, and apple pie. The scones were the best. That sort of triggered that carb addiction of mine and the next day I also over-ate a bit. Truly proves that "the more you eat, the more you want to eat" ... especially sweets and rich food. Not too much damage done though, nothing exercise and a day of really light eating won't solve.

Here it was, more aerobic foundation work. Still not running fast, but ran a straightaway 400m at 80% to end the workout:

1 mile - 6:25 (3:06, 3:18)

4 min rest

4 x 800m - 3 min rest between - 3:08, 3:16, 3:18, 3:12

several min rest

400m - (straight - in sprint form) - 66.5


Calves sore and ab injury still nagging as usual, but not debilitating. I can tell this injury will have to improve before full power starts from blocks can occur. I'm thinking 2-3 weeks.

Weight - after workout: 145.6 lbs - had actually gotten up to 149 on Sunday night.

Next workout: Wed, stadium stairs. The first time I tried these last month, I could only get 8. I hope to get at least 15 this week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Main parts of resistance workout:

Bulgarian squats - 3 x 25 w/ 50 lbs each leg
Calf raises - 3 x 30-35 each leg
Resistance Band work: Hip flexors/quads, adductors

Pushups: 2 x 35-30
Pull ups: 2 x 18-15
Reverse pullups 2 x 18
Dumbell flys / shoulder press 2 x 15

Split leg hanging ab raises, swiss ball rollout, crunches

now ...


Friday, December 2, 2011

Track intervals in the sunny cold

Tempo endurance workout, about 70-80% speed on the track.

The Dean Hayes Track felt warmer than the actual 35º at 8:15 am this morning - bright and sunny. My usual warmup left me with a slight sweat so I felt warm in my long tights.

1000m warmup, stretches, sprinter drills
spikes on

6 x 300m - 50, 51, 54, 55, 51, 49
(rest intervals: 2, 2, 2, 3, 5 min)

Still not running fast. Did a similar workout last May with times 5 sec faster (although slightly more rest in between). Maybe the effects of "Father Time."? I just don't want to push too fast since the injury is still not 100% healed. I still feel it, but it is minor and very localized to a point on the left inguinal area. I'm just not going to try aggressive starts for at least a few more weeks. With times like this for a 300m, it's hard to imagine running a 55 sec 400m again.

Weight is getting down there - 144.2 after workout.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Training strategy

Reflecting on Clyde Hart's 400m training protocol, the greatest emphasis for this point of the off season are four things:

1) Endurance (aerobic) - 800m intervals, mile and 2 mile runs
2) Strength endurance - Stadium steps
3) Tempo Endurance - 200m, 300m intervals w/ 2 min rest
4) Strength - resistance

So, the above looks like a plan for next week. Tomorrow it's tempo endurance. I'll try to get at least a half dozen 300s.

145.6 after breakfast today. (Tea, 1/2 cup bran cereal, soy milk). The weight is coming off slowly. By the end of next week, I should be down below 145.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Resistance - new stuff

Getting stronger and lighter. Felt a little ab soreness after yesterday's road work, but today it feels good. Able to do direct ab strengthening work - like hanging ab raises with no pain.

I'm including an important previously neglected exercise: calf raises on the toes (with ball of foot on a step). I think 3 x 30 with one foot at a time should be good. (so each calf does full body weight 90x). Two exercises that are targeting the ab indirectly are oblique/ab twists with resistance from lunge position, adductor and hip flexor resistance bands. I've also upped the Bulgarian (single leg) squats to 3 x 20 with 50 lbs each leg.

All the usual upper body. Did 20 pull ups today in my first set, more than ususal.

Body weight still 146 lbs., but should be below 145 by next week.

I wish I could get my dad to exercise, even just 10 min every other day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Leaving the comfort zone

It's the kind of day where no one is outside. 40º, drizzle, dark. The kind of day to be sitting by the fire sipping tea. Plenty of time for that later.

So, I got outside to do some aerobic work on the road. Feeling more fit today. Ran long intervals. Injury has not been an issue. In fact, it feels better, although not yet gone.

1 mile - 6:31 (3:05, 3:25)

4 min rest

4 x 800m - 3 min rest between - (3:17, 3:17, 3:23, 3:11)

4 min rest

400m (straight, in sprint form) - 72 sec

I expected more ab injury soreness from the last track workout, but there wasn't any, even after a 30 min 'Insanity' video cardio workout on Sun. I've invented a few excercises that I feel will help the injury. One is twisting at the waist with resistance while doing a deep hip flexor extension squat. Hard to explain.

Anyway, resistance this week and maybe a speed workout on Friday. I may do 300s on the indoor track. I feel like I may be able to go with 3 running days as planned next week.

My weight is 145.6 after workout. Losing this last 6 - 7 lbs of fat to get to race weight is hard. Will require the 'one meal a day plan' with carb and calorie restrictions, pretty much what I've been doing for the past 4 days.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday workout on the mountain

In Sewanee for the Thanksgiving holiday. Perfect weather for a track workout - 50ºs but windy.

Have felt the injury a little more this week, but it improves on off days. I guess it's something I'm just going to have to live with and hope it continues to improve over time. I wore my ab compression pants for some extra support. My calves were still sore from hiking.

Still feel very out of shape. Again, over anxious and started too fast on the first one.

1000m warm up, stretching, drills

spikes on

4 x 400m - 69, 80, 81, 80 (2 to 3 min rest in between)

200m - 30 sec

Ran the 200m with a fairly aggressive start from down position. The first few steps is the point of greatest stress on the ab.

I want to run faster with more rest in between but that is NOT what I need right now. Next workout will be longer distance, probably 800s.

I've been supplementing the workout with a cardio routine called "Insanity" on video which I've not yet been able to keep up with for the full 40 min. Also the usual resistance.

Not sure of my weight, but I've eaten sensibly this holiday and am probably no more than 147 lbs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Indoor Track Schedule 2012

Here is a possible schedule for me for this indoor season. Three local venues: TSU, MTSU, and Sewanee; and then the Masters Nationals in Bloomington, IN.

This schedule comes with a few caveats.

#1 - I will need permission to run at MTSU from Dean Hayes (which he has given me previously, but I have yet to run at MTSU due to injury and a schedule mix up).

#2 - What race do I want to run and against who? Sewanee is only good for the 55m - and I could actually beat some people. But, I do not want to run a 200m or 400m race on Sewanee's 160m oval. MTSU races are NCAA Division I which means I will essentially be running alone, up to 4 sec. behind the slowest competitor in the 400m, but MTSU's 300m indoor track with it's long sweeping turns at the Murphy Center (pic above) could render some really good indoor 400m times. Only 3 turns instead of 4.

#3 - Depends on my health and injury status. I'm inclined to believe injury would be more likely in the 55m and 200m. My ultimate goal for the indoor season is to be healthy enough to run all 3 sprint events at the Nationals (60, 200, 400).

TSU's Ed Temple Classic is on a good 200m track and is a big meet. It will be my first meet of the season and I'm leaning toward just the 400m and no other races to be safe.

The indoor 400m is completely different from the outdoor in terms of strategy. It is almost impossible to pass after the first 200m since the runners cut to the rail after the second turn on a 200m track. Almost all passing done in this race is in the last 60m straight to the finish. I have no idea what a 400m race is like at the Murphy Center. I suppose it's possible to run it entirely in lanes on the 300m track. I may go scout it out at the first MTSU meet on Dec. 10. I wish I was ready to run, but no way.

Not that I will run in all of these, but these are the possibilities:

1/7 - TSU - Ed Temple Classic
1/21 - MTSU
1/29 - TSU Invitational
2/4 - MTSU or Sewanee
2/11 - MTSU
2/25 - Sewanee
3/16-18 - Bloomington, IN - USATF Indoor Nationals

Today, I did upper body and hip flexor resistance. Still sore in the left medial ham. Ab feels better. Will probably hit the track in Sewanee on Sat morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dodging rain - road miles and resistance

On a rainy warm early afternoon, I waited for a break in the rain to hit the pavement. Quite sore in the glutes and medial hamstrings from yesterday's 2 x 20 Bulgarian squats with 50 lbs, I decided to go three miles. Not a great effort but a good sweat and some necessary calorie burning.

Light stretches

3 miles - 23:38 (7:52 pace)

I've not exhibited much self control on diet - I attended a nice wedding on the mountain with Iska and didn't spare the skillet apple pie and German chocolate cake. I was 152.4 on Sunday night, several 'evacuations' later, I was 4.4 lbs lighter in just 12 hrs. - 148.0 Monday afternoon.

After workout today I am 146.2

I don't think workouts like this are particularly helpful so I'm going to keep the mileage to 2 miles or less in the future. Bill Collins recommends occassional 3 mile runs in under 24 min in the off season.


Quite sore in the upper medial hams and glutes. Felt 'the injury' a little more than last week, probably due to the speed workout. Still not bad. Comes and goes. May wait til Sat for my next track workout.

To my nephew Kris who completed his second Phily Marathon!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Spikes On!

For the first time in over 15 weeks, I tore around the track with my spikes on... and it felt good. Still not running fast, no more than 75%. But it felt good to run with sprint stride again ... and no pain.

I felt a lot of apprehension while packing my spikes and getting ready to leave. "Am I ready for this?" I was a bit nervous, and my hamstrings sore from Wed resistance, so I decided to do a good warmup and then decide. The Dean Hayes Track was bathed in brilliant sunshine on a cold breezy upper 40º's morning. In the first 100m of my first warmup lap I decided it was a 'go' ... it felt good. So after an 800m warmup, a few dozen leg swings and sprinter drills ... on with the spikes and off with the sweats.

800m warmup, stretching and drills

5 x 400m - 2 min rest in between - 73, 76, 83, 87, 86

The last 2 were mean. Fatigue dropped me off my toes on the last turn of the last two 400s - I was not able to maintain good form the whole way but I made sure I got it back for the last 100m straight. The first one felt great and easy. I think I could run a low 60's 400m right now but I won't be going there for at least 3 weeks. My splits were lopsided as usual ... 34/39 and 35/41 on the first 2. Next time, I'll try for some negative split 400s, even if they are slower overall. Next running day - Mon or Tues, probably do a mixed workout of foundation and long sprints, 800s and 400s. Week after next, I will move to 3 days a week of running if all goes well.

Weight is beginning to come down - 146.6

I hope to be consistently below 145 by Dec and race weight by Jan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Just one set of lower body resistance bands, Bulgarian squats x 20 w/ 50lbs, and upper body - pull ups, pushups, dumbell flys, rowing, shoulder press.

My injury seems related to the adductors... when doing adductor work with bands, that is when I feel the injury the most, but it's not bad and it goes away with more exercise. It's weird. I don't feel it in my groin like most adductor injuries, I feel it in my gut.

So... I did 2 sets of those.

Light workout. Don't want to be sore since I may put the spikes on Friday. It's supposed to be very cold though, probably only in the 40s by mid day.

Ate too much last night, 148.8 today. Let's see if I can be below 145 after workout on Fri.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More aerobic foundation road work

Not fun. It never is. Although it seemed like I was running slow as ever, my times are coming down a bit. Great weather to run. Cloudy, showers, mid 60s.

Will probably stay with this Tues. and Fri. running schedule.

No track today, maybe Friday. Today was blacktop.

2 miles - 14:34 (7:23, 7:11)

4 min rest

1/2 mile - 3:20

3 min rest

1/2 mile - 3:29

I was going to do another 1/2 but the last one sickened me and I thought I was going to shit my pants, so I copped out.

It will get easier when I drop this 8 lbs of fat. Amazingly, I didn't gain much weight this weekend in Sewanee. Amazing since Iska had a party Friday and I love to eat with her.

I'm 146.2 after workout.

So far, since my return to running, a lot of aches and pains afterward. Feet, ankles, and the injury is still causing mild soreness. Again, it does not seem to be getting worse.

I still feel really out of shape.

Resistance work tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Road work

More aerobic foundation work. It was hard although I can say I didn't push myself to the max.

2 miles - 15:01 (7:29, 7:32)

6 min rest

1 mile - 7:12

The last mile felt like slow motion, tried to run the last quarter on my toes but lasted only 200m.

Lot's more work to do. Injury still with me but not getting worse.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Return to the track - 11/8/11

I could have done this workout on the street but I decided to hit the track.

It gave me a feeling of being 'back into it' ... although my fitness level is pretty lacking. Beautiful morning on the Dean Hayes Track at 7:30 am., 57º.

Spira training shoes on.

400m warm up, stretching, drills

3 x 800m: 3:23, 3:35, 3:45

400m: 1:30

3 min rest in between all

One day of weights and one day of rest before the next running workout. Can still feel the injury but only when I first start to run. Not much afterward.

Weight is 147.2. I feel heavy.

Monday, November 7, 2011


The Friday workout, Saturday hike and "Insanity" exercise video has left me a bit sore in the hams this Monday morning, so I'll take today off and return to the track tomorrow for some 800m repeats. Beautiful weather. I could feel the injury a bit more yesterday but it was localized and not bad. Weight is coming off. Haven't been real strict with diet yet.
Weight is 147.6. I need to be careful and take 2 days rest in between running.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sick stairs

It took only 2 flights up the stadium stairs to realize I'm not the same guy who was running these stairs 4 months and 10 lbs. ago.

I was really excited about returning to the early morning workout routine this morning, so much so that I kept waking up early, like 4:15 am, 5, etc...

But, after arriving at MTSU's Floyd Stadium at 7:30am, I soon found it was 'no picnic.' It was a gray 48º and I began with a brisk 400 around the stadium, probably too brisk. I then did a few drills and hit the stairs. It was much harder than I remember. After 5 stadium stair runs my lungs were burning and I could feel my hip flexors and glutes pumping. I couldn't believe how much more difficult it was than when I ran 20 of these in July. After 8 stair runs, I was a quivering sickly mess and all I could do was manage a 200m cool down jog. I was done in 30 min. The good thing is that my injury is fading. It wasn't an issue. I can still feel it slightly but my Monday run did not aggravate it despite my glutes and hams being sore from the workout.

Here was today:

400m - run on grass

8 stadium stair runs

200m - cool down jog

Later today I will do some resistance bands and upper body.

Weight: 148.0

On Wed after work I stuffed myself at dinner and that was 'the breaking point.' After dinner I weighed 153.6. I ate very light yesterday and after workout this morning I am 148.0 - 5.6 lbs lighter than I was just 36 hrs ago. I estimate I have 10 lbs of excess adipose. My diet has started. I realize I will need to do a lot more aerobics and general fitness if I ever hope to run a 400m race again. I don't want to risk injury by doing more than 2 running workouts a week for at least next week, then I may expand to 3. I have some good workout videos my friend gave me that have aerobic and power components, so I may supplement with these: 'P90x' and 'Insanity.'

The good news is that I can run. My injury is healing.

- November: Aerobic foundation, power, and flexibility work
- December: Begin long sprints with spikes on the track
- January: First competition - Jan. 7 - TSU Ed Temple Classic (400m?)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nov. 1 - THE start

Hitting the road for my first run in 3 months felt weird.

Donning my Spira training shoes, long tights, and support garb, I did a brisk mile run. It felt OK. I could still feel the injury, but just slightly. The run felt moderately hard considering my 151 lb weight. I ran some of it on my toes.

So, here's my first training log of the new season:

1 mile run: 6:55

lunges, dynamic stretches, upper body, lower body resistance bands, Bulgarian squats 2 x 15 w/50 lbs, squat jumps

I still have a long way to go. My diet sucks and I keep saying, "I'll start tomorrow." Well, today is tomorrow. I wanted to do more today, but I'll just be conservative. I won't even do a full sprinter warmup yet. If I don't rush it, it should be at least another month before I put the spikes on and hit the track for some real sprinting.

I need to get into the weight room and also into the stadium for some stair runs and striders on grass. Regarding the on campus parking situation, the only time to do that is before 8 am and it's usually freezing at that time. I'll plan to do that on Fri. Maybe by next week I'll be able to start pushing and get some aerobic foundation work. Right now, I'm in a testing phase. I expect some soreness from this first workout.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Almost there

For the first time in months I can do situps, hanging ab raises, even hold an 'L position' without pain. I'll give it another week to rest and will be on schedule to start running in November. Rest has been the best therapy.

My weight still sucks, hanging around 150.

I look back and see all the posts where I say "time to end the vacation"... "return to fitness"... etc... The fact is that I haven't yet adopted a consistent training and diet regimen.

I'm determined to get my butt going in Nov. I'm in terrible shape but there is still plenty of time before the season gets going.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hill hikes

Hiking some steep mountain trails in the Smokies is a good way of firing the glutes. I did two consecutive days of vigorous uphill hikes. Slightly sore afterward.

Still on target to begin running once or twice a week in Nov. The injury responds best to rest, so I'm going to take 10 days and rest since I'm busy preparing for a concert and need to focus on that.

Absolutely gorgeous weather in the Smoky Mtns this past several days ... 80º on Mon and Tues.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Test run

Baby steps.

After an abbreviated dynamic stretching regime and some strength exercises, I did a test run.

Here it is:

Dynamic stretches

2 x 15 - double leg squat jumps

2 x 25 - Bulgarian squats - no weight

2 x 400m - jog, sprint jog

It felt ok. No significant pain, but I could still feel "it". I applied the pressure point in between 400s and it helped. Looking forward to trying the inguinal compression wrap.

Feel like I'm on target to start running in Nov. Ready to run some stairs. Hoping to get into an early morning workout regime on the track again. I am terribly out of shape and over weight, but the injury is definitely better, almost gone. The next 2 weeks will be busy with a wilderness vacation - boating and hiking, and preparation for a concert in IL.
I definitely won't be ready for any Dec. meets but maybe by Jan., an indoor 400m may be possible. I am essentially 2 months behind in training and will need to do a lot to establish an aerobic foundation if I ever hope to run a 400m.

I think this injury issue will subside with fitness and weight loss - consistent and careful training.

Weight is 149.6.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time to end the vacation

Taking a new tactic, as coach Page recommends, just address my general fitness, do not stress the abs in any way. Obviously the therapy has reached some diminishing returns and the longer I go without therapy, the better and more healed I feel.

This past weekend with Iska was a weekend of sedentary luxury with a big, rich, carb-infused Sunday breakfast out that included apple crepes, muffins and potatoes. I weigh 152 lbs but the good thing is that I feel almost healed. I can do double leg squat jumps with zero pain.

Sometimes I think this thing is just a nerve issue. Experimenting with some pressure points and massage, when I deeply rub the inguinal canal area, it almost always allieviates the pain. I still think this is athletic pubalgia, I get a general feeling of soreness and 'tugging' on my pubic bone and lower pelvis when doing exercises, although it seems to be mostly in the left inguinal area.

I desperately need some diet control and some cardio tonight. Stair stepper machine, at least 25 min tonight, some weights, and a light dinner. I have a vacation trip this weekend at the lake, and a concert in 2 weeks, so gym time is limited. I hope to walk or run stadium stairs next week and then start some grass running in Nov.

More experimenting with pressure points has yielded results. For example, when pressing on the left inguinal area and engaging the abs in a leg lift, the pain disappears.

This makes sense with what I've read on a page from the UVA Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, Their definition of Sports hernia includes a nerve issue:
Athletic hernia: weakness in the transverse fascia (posterior wall of inguinal canal) which may allow localized bulging that compresses the genitofemoral and/or ilioinguinal nerve causing a chronic activity related pain in the groin and it’s surrounding structures
They also mention: "shearing forces across pubic symphysis" ... which explains the 'tugging' I feel on the bottom of my pelvis, and "Slow onset of dull and aching pain ...deep pain."

Yep, that's it. Interesting to read what UVA says:
"No imaging will show/diagnose an athletic hernia ... but good for ruling out other diagnoses"
I just found out that I'm going to have to shell out of my pocket over $400 for that freakin' MRI that showed NOTHING. ($350 deductible)

Knowing that compression on the area significantly reduces pain, relief that continues even after I stop the compression, I wonder if I should consider an inguinal support belt when I return to running? Worth a try.

I feel more positive and some progress after last night's cardio work. Should be running soon.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Not much progress

Feel like I'm not progressing. Feel some ab pain after therapy so I need to take a step back and do more isometric stuff, holds and work with no weight. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to train like I once did. I've slacked off on my cardio. I feel like I'm getting soft. Just skipping in place with the Core-x bands for a minute is pretty sweaty work for me. I've been working with the Swiss Ball and doing slow single leg presses with no weight.

Sometimes I wonder if doing nothing at all would help me more.

I still expect to be running in a month or so. I may start with sprint jogs on grass and stairs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Butt Busting

I was happy to make contact with top collegiate sprinter Johnny B. He has had surgeries for athletic pubalgia and has rehabbed himself. He's been a great source of info and advice.

One thing JB recommended emphatically was busting the glute. Bulgarian squats he recommends highly, saying it was the one exercise most helpful in getting him to run again. He recommended 85lbs ... doing 4 x 8, or something. I've been doing 40 lbs. 3 x 25. It is a butt buster and almost immediately makes my abs feel better... normal, and I don't know why, but it does. Combined this with the Swiss Ball Core-X exercises, and after a workout I can run slowly with good sprint form on my toes with no pain. Its only when I do a sloppy loose jog without warming up, I feel a little pain.

JB advises against high rep Bulgarian squats. The fatigue could result in loss of form and knee stress. I will take his advice. 8 reps more weight, good form.

Still hope to be back on the track by Halloween. I may be running stairs even sooner. Stairs don't bother me.

Just starting to bring my weight back down from a post season high of 154.
146.6 this morning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Slowly getting better

I've been doing the Core-X Rehab system for a week now. It's specifically designed for rehab for Athletic Pubalgia. It is quite different from any exercise regime I've done because it involves a lot of thinking and a unique resistance band aparatus connected from the lower thigh to opposing wrist . Paramount is maintaining a 'neutral spine' and tightening the inner core (everything ... the abs, kegel, sphincter) while doing the exercises. Some of the foundation exercises are as simple as turning the torso and progress to marching and running in place. Other exercises use the Swiss Ball which I have ordered. It's deceivingly difficult and fatiguing. See video.

I do feel a difference. I can run in place with no pain but jogging while landing on the heel still hurts a little. Running on the toes is less pain, particularly when tightening the ab. I'm still at least 4 weeks away from any meaningful running or sprinting. It still hurts to simply hold a bent knee hanging ab lift, but I can do full lunges without pain.

In addition, I'm doing stair stepper aerobic machine - every other or 3rd day. I feel very out of shape and weigh about 150 lbs... but I intend to change that soon. I'm hoping to do a big hike on Sun will be having an MRI Monday to rule out any other possible injuries. My next Drs. appointment will be a week from Mon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Return to the pursuit of fitness

Sunday, I started on Mike Boyle's regime of rehabbing the abdominals. In 4 weeks there has been zero improvement in my injury. If I wasn't an athlete, this injury would not be an issue. It doesn't hurt when doing anything in normal daily life, although I do feel it when standing on one leg to put my pants on, or making a sudden reaction movement. I know it hasn't improved because of the way it feels when I try to run a few steps. The pain is never severe, just nagging. It's definitely coming from the inguinal ligament /canal area.

The rehab workout involves lots of glute, psoas, abductor, and some adductor work. Mostly repeated isometric holds and single and double leg squats. Today, I did 20 min on the aerobic machine at the gym (a Stairmaster-type machine). After two days of rehab, the affected area goes from feeling good during the workout to just slightly sore afterward. I always start each workout with by warming my body in the hot tub and doing static hip and groin stretches.

I've been learning many anatomical terms and doing quite a bit of research. It's a very complex injury and it's hard to know how much is too much. Since a month of rest has done nothing to improve my condition, a proactive approach seems necessary. One source says,
"Take the time to rehab proactively. The tendency is to just rest and maybe cross train a bit until the pain goes away. The athlete and support team erroneously assumes that the issue is healed because the pain is gone, and beings to train hard again, leading to a recurrence. Instead of just resting and haphazardly cross training, an athlete needs to address tissue quality, length, and function of the tissues above and below the injury site at first."
That is what Boyle's regime seems to do.

It looks like my Core-x rehab order was received and I should be getting it within a week.

It feels good to finally get some cardio in. I plan to do cardio at least every other day. I have developed band of fat around my middle - per normal for most humans - and have settled in at around 150 lbs. Was 149.2 after workout today. Hope to get my weight back below 145. I just feel so much better at that weight. I never had shoulder pain doing pushups and upper body when I was lighter - but now it's starting to return. Fat just ages a person. Makes me feel old. This past month has proven to me how being sedentary and 'food sport' eating habits are addictive ... the more you eat, the more you want to; the more "ass time" ... the harder it is to get off your ass. It's making that initial change that is the hardest. That change, I made today. Now I need to maintain it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

USA 4x100 FAIL ... again. Jamaica - WR

Why does this seem to happen a lot to the USA?

4x100m relay World Finals.

Jamaica sets another world record... even without Asafa Powell.


Doc Patton collided with Britain’s anchor, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, as he came in to make the final change to Walter Dix. Patton flipped on the track and left Dix wondering WTF???!!!

Dix would have never caught Bolt, who ran a blistering leg, but the US was deprived of a Silver.


Hail to the USA women 4x100 - they did it right:

The highlight of the meet was the mens 200m Final
Usain Bolt -19.40 - fourth fastest 200m in history
Walter Dix - 19.70 - his season's best (.01 off his PR)
Christophe Lemaitre - 19.80 - France national record (2nd fastest ever by a caucasian)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rehab the ab

'Rehab the ab' is what Dr. Hoadley essentially said. Hoadley claims a specialization in this area. After an exam, he did not feel my case was serious. I did forget to ask him a few questions. Specifically, I wanted to ask if there is a possibility of pain due to soft tissue damage beneath the muscle dome in the lower ab. I also forgot to mention that the pain seems far greater during split leg activity, like laying on my back doing a running (bicycling) motion with my legs. Dr. Hoadley gave me a prescription for physical therapy and a sheet of his protocol that would take someone with advanced sports rehab to decipher. It has elements of cardio, range of movement/flexibility, and strength. He also suggested an additional 4-6 weeks off from running.

During the exam Dr. Hoadley applied pressure to the connecting points of the muscles at the pelvis and none were exceptionally painful. There is some pain on the left side and just above the pubis, but some of the pain seems deeper. Like near my bladder or something. Some sports hernia sufferers complain of spermatic cord pain. I wonder if that is what I'm feeling? It's weird. Sometimes just a sudden quick movement like reacting to the phone ringing will cause more pain than doing a sit up. I also feel a little pain from the bottom of my pelvis as well (under the testes).

I'll get another chance to ask questions when I see Dr. Rummo, a sports medicine guy at Vanderbilt on Thurs. He's team physician for the local NHL team, the Nashville Predators. Hockey is a sport where they see a lot of sports hernias.

I'm pissed off at this Core-X company.... since I ordered the Core-X Rehab program last Monday, never got a confirmation email, sent an email requesting confirmation to their customer service, called 3 times and left messages with no response. It's probably one guy who is running the thing, has just gotten behind. Very unprofessional.

I did some resistance band work the other day and wow, my hip flexors are sore. I took quite a different approach. Different because: 1) I'm using lower resistance 2) slow controlled movements feeling the negative (instead of explosive), and 3) consciously keeping the abs tight throughout, 4) 20-30 reps instead of 45-60. It really makes the ab feel better. As J.B. said, I need to also start doing glute work, squats.

I also polished my wood floor in my foyer and have been able to create a very functional slide board... (a therapy that Mike Boyle recommended). Here is a vid of a slide board.

Well, today is the start of the holiday weekend and it's nearly 100º today. I'm a pig ...weigh 151 lbs. The more I eat, the more I want to eat. The less I exercise, the less I want to. I must start doing something. Perhaps Stairmaster? Biking? Elliptical? One thing I really must do is start a healthy regular diet and exercise, and also start practicing guitar... that's what I'm supposed to be doing with concerts coming up.

I'm looking forward to seeing the result of the 200m Final at the Worlds. In the semis - Bolt ran 20.31 without trying. Lemaitre ran 20.17 and tried like hell, his season best. Dix ran 20.37 and let up. Sorry to see Shawn Merrit beaten at the tape in the 400m final. It was close.

As a testament to how slow I am, the first 200m split in the men's 800m world final- 23.81 is way faster than I've run a 200m this year.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Off season slump, still not recovered

My abdominal pain persists when attempting to jog or do abdominal exercises. The symptoms seem to indicate a "sports hernia" - the medical term: athletic pubalgia. According to info I've read, the injury may result from an imbalance in strength between the core and lower leg muscles. It is not detectable as a lump or breach in the abdominal wall - like a traditional hernia. My physician cleared me of a hernia early in Aug. Since then, I continue to have pain, not severe or acute, just annoying.

Everything I've read about sports hernia seems to point to my symptoms:
  • the pubis (pubic tubercle) being the main site of muscle/tendon disruption
  • pain at the insertion of the conjoined tendon at the pubic tubercle with mild exercise
  • pain is deep, not accute, and hard to pin-point the exact location
  • pain migrates to different locations in the area
The pain is most obvious when doing a left lunge and seems to be not in the adductor, like a classic groin injury, but just above the pubic bone in the lower abdominal. It seems to be more on the left side.

I contacted and made an appointment with Dr. Jeff Hoadley, the regional expert in this injury. I'll be evaluated next week. His treatment protocol calls for 6 weeks of physical therapy and if that does work, possible surgery - which I am not too keen on. I recall the story of Bill Collins severely rupturing his hamstring, (so severe that a 'pop' was actually audible according to his book). Collins was told by 2 physicians he would never run again, in any fashion let alone sprint or race, and that he would need surgery to repair his tear. He refused surgery and rehabbed the injury himself in 2 years. He went on to set world masters sprint records after the devastating injury.

So, I need a plan for rehabbing this injury. I do miss running but I need to remember, I never started really training last year until January and had a decent first season. So, if I must delay training until Nov., so be it. There's a lot of info on rehab out there.

Whatever I do, cross training needs to begin soon as I am getting fat eating the 'forbidden foods' ... including desserts. I'm nearing 150 lbs and I have definitely added a small layer of fat on my middle.

The surgical option to a sports hernia is not somewhere I want to go. As strength coach Mike Boyle put it:
Surgery should be the last resort. ... some therapists theorize that the forced lay-off and attention to rehab post-surgery rather than pre-surgery is what actually helps. If athletes were willing to take time off and listen to the trainers and therapists, innumerable surgeries could be avoided. I have seen at least three professional athletes who were scheduled for surgery avoid it by committing to a proper rehab program of exercises and soft tissue work.
This article on sports hernia prevention and rehab is the best and most complete I can find. It contains so many exercises I've never heard of. I need to get a slide board. With this info, I wonder why I am going to the Dr. since I'm pretty against surgery. I also got a response from a Nashville Dr. Rummo, who is the team physician for the Nashville Predators NHL team. He also has offered to evaluate me. I may see him for a second opinion.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Periodization plan for sprinter weight training

Here's a general weight training plan for sprinters I found. Here's another - even more specific. Both seem to be in this general plan:

Four Phases:

1. Muscular Endurance: 12 reps x 3-5 sets - 30 sec between sets

2. Hypertrophy: 6-12 reps x 3-5 sets - 60-90 sec between sets

3. Muscular Strength: 6 reps x 3-5 sets - 2-5 min between sets

4. Power: 3-4 reps (done explosively) x 3-6 sets - full recovery in between

Obviously, there is little info here, no time frame, no event specificity. This is just a shell of a plan, an introduction to the concept of periodization. Perhaps just a general plan of progression. I would think this is meant for 100m sprinters, with the goal toward power, rather than sprint endurance. I don't think it would be in my best interest to lift near maximum weight for 3 reps with my legs, especially in a leg curl or extension. Perhaps better for upper body, but maybe ok for seated squats.

I'm not particularly sold on lifting heavy as I think it puts undue stress on the joints.

Power does translate to speed. Case in point... Look at the physical build of Brit sprinter Pat Logan on the left in this photo - (from left to right: Logan, Michael Sullivan and Willie Gault in the M50 World 100m Final). Logan ran 11.62 100m and is a short guy (like me). He won the Bronze behind Gault, just edged out by .02 for Silver by Ken Eaton. Logan looks like a fireplug - powerful build, massive thighs. Obviously some weight training there.

Looking at earlier pics in the sequence, surprisingly, it looks like Sullivan beat Gault out of the blocks. (Sullivan looks pissed off for missing a medal in the group photo. I know the feeling).

I'm planning to do 3 days of weights during the fall. Right now, I'm doing daily upper body and swimming. Nothing heavy, but I am seeing results. Push ups, pull ups, dumbell flys and shoulder press, etc...

I tried a 1/2 mile jog today but the ab still hurts. I think I strained it a little leaping around on rocks during a weekend hike. It's not bad, it felt better after my jog than when I started.

Fasting today and tomorrow for my colonoscopy on Thurs. My weight tonight is down to 144. Should be down around 140 by the time I have the procedure.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mental preparation for the 400m

I found this lecture on 400m training and preparation from Lee Evans, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist whose world record stood for 24 years - 43.86 - and is the 7th fastest performance of all time. The 400m is a race that needs to 'learned' as well as 'trained for.' And, as Evans notes, much of the pre-race preparation is mental:

So mental preparation is important and I tell athletes this. You just don't show up for the race and just say 'you are going to run as fast as you can.' You can develop a certain magic, perhaps a spiritual oneness of mind-body coordination. To me, this is what preparation is physically and mentally.
I was a little different than most of the others. On the night before the big competitions I would be in bed by eight o'clock in the evening and I would stay in bed in the morning after a good night's sleep. In the morning I would sit up in bed, close my eyes and practice visualization. I would see myself winning the race from each of the lanes one through eight. I would see myself run every step of the race. I would see myself have a perfect start. I would see myself run the first 100 meters fast. I would see myself run the second 100 meters with the longest stride possible, and In the third 100 meters I would feel myself run as fast as I had ever run In my life. In the last 100 meters I would see myself maintain the speed, which I had generated during the third 100 meters. I would run this in my mind over and over again at least fifty times. I would not just visualize the race; I would begin from when I would leave my room and I would go downstairs or take the elevator. I would get on the bus. I would go to the warm up track and I would go through my warm up. I would do four laps of warm up and I would stretch. I would do 3 x 100 meters and about three-fourths speed. I would make certain I would not be diverted by anything such as a girl friend or by buddies who might come over to ask how I was doing. I would always tell them I would talk to them after the race. My head was on straight and I tried to keep it that way. By concentrating on what I had to do I knew that I could win and set a record. I set eight World Records during my racing career and each time I did I can remember going through this mental practice, spending the whole day In my room. In fact it became very boring and I did not like it at all and I was glad when the race was over with. I would just sit or lie there and concentrate on how I would push hard out of the blocks, I would have a long low lead arm. I would make up half the stagger- distance on the runner In front of me during the first 50 meters and then I would catch up with him and on and on and on. I would think and concentrate all day and when I would actually go to the stadium I still had this mental set. When the starter would shoot the gun I felt I was detached and no longer a part of the race. I would lay off the shoulder of the runner In front of me and try to hold on to this runner who is running like mad and I was the one who was running like mad, but I was not there any more. I am in another place observing, the same as a spectator observing. Perhaps I placed myself in a hypnotic trance (I really did not know what it was) but I knew I could do that when I could take the time to do it. I did It out of the competitive desire, I wanted to win very badly because It was something I had worked very hard to get.

Evans is an advocate of running near even splits, running the first 200m one second over your 200m best and the second 200m one second slower. If I could do that, it would translate to 26.3 + 27.3 = 53.6 ish. Sounds impossible. Knowing that I'm a 100/200 guy trying to be a 400 guy, I really need that aerobic base. I would love to see what my 400m time would be if I had that aerobic base I had developed when running 19+ min 5ks. I think that type of training is the hardest. Also, I need to be able to improve from the other side as well improve my 200m speed. I need to get below 25.

Evans is also a big advocate of running 500 repeats and 'split intervals' (Hart mentioned these as well) ... like:
300m - 1 min rest - 100m - rest 3:30 min- 3x
150m - 40 sec rest - 50m - rest 2 min - 6x
500m - 35 sec rest - 50m x 4 w/ 35 sec rest - rest 6:30 - 2x
800m of sprint 50m / jog 50m - rest 4:30 - 3x

It's been 2 weeks and I'm still not fully recovered. My ab still hurts but the hip/groin is better. (Troublesome stomach aches continue). As predicted, I gained 10 lbs. I was up at one point after a big meal to 151, but I've settled in at about 147. I really feel it. Just climbing the stairs feels a whole lot different. But, I am starting a cleansing diet tomorrow of raw fruits and vegetables in preparation for my fast on Wed and colonoscopy on Thurs. As soon as I start training, my weight will drop to the low 140s, which is nominal.

Here's Michael Johnson winning the 1993 World Championship from lane 3, being very patient, running the first 200 in about 21.6, and smoking the field in the last 200 with a nearly even split of around 22. in the last 200m. Note Bada from Nigeria (in green) in lane 6 - going out too fast (20.9) only to finish fifth.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pre-season foundation work

Foundation work, primarily aerobic running for sprinters, is a controversial topic.

Some say that such work is detrimental to speed and can cause conversion of fast twitch muscles to slow twitch.

Clyde Hart says that new thinking prescribes as much as 40% of early season training toward aerobic foundation and he even encourages a few days a month of long distance cross country runs to 'refresh the base' ... even during the competition season.

I don't really see how this could be detrimental if the apropriate strength and speed work were not compromised.

In Bill Collins' book, he prescribes mileage foundation for September workouts. Quantity rather than quality. Some of these first early season workouts include: 3 mile runs in 24 min, 8 x 400m at 90 sec with 2 min rest, 15 x 300m with 2 min rest at ~ 70 sec., 2 x 2 mile run in 17 min with 8 min rest. Each week, similar aerobic runs are prescribed but getting faster each week. He prescribes these runs twice a week through Novemeber and one per week all the way through Dec., gradually introducing more and faster speed work. He also suggests 2 consecutive days off every week, 3 running workouts and 2 weight workouts ... a lot less ambitious than Clyde Hart's grids that include 5 days of running and 3 days of weights on the same days as running.

Hart says it's better to undertrain than overtrain. Somewhere in between Collins and Hart, there probably lies a happy medium. Collins, however is specifically conceived for masters sprinters, where Hart is for collegiate athletes.

Since I adopted the routine of early morning training, I think I could carry that through the fall and do weights/resistance in the evening. I seem to be able to get enough of a variety of upper and lower body resistance at home from the convertible pullup bar, resistance bands and dumb bells. I probably won't need to go to the gym more than once a week, more later as my weights increase and reps go down toward competition season.

What I've planned is to workout on the track early, be back at home by 9 ish, nap / rest /practice guitar and go to work at 2pm, work until 6 or 8pm.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Training strategy of Clyde Hart

One of the most recognized training grids for the 400m is from coach Clyde Hart. He has coached ten sub-45 400m sprinters including Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner. Arguably, the most successful 400m coach in history.

I will later examine other training plans. This plan is geared toward the college athlete and some modifications shoud be made for Masters athletes.

Hart divides the season into 4 sections:
  • Off Season: September - December
  • Early Competitive Season: January - February
  • Mid Season: March - April
  • Late Season: May - June
Each of 8 different types of workouts are balanced appropriately through the season. Examples here.

Speed endurance: Runner incurs a high oxygen debt. Runs distances of 100-600 meters. Total distance is 2 ½ times racing distance (1000m). Rest 5-10 minutes.

Tempo endurance: aerobic workout that helps increase oxygen uptake, which helps
shorter recovery time. Doing the run slower helps runner learn tempo and rhythm. Emphasis is on quantity, not quality. Rest will be short.

Strength endurance: activities that last longer than 10 seconds in duration with some type of resistance running. Long hills, stadium steps.

Endurance running: pure aerobic running. Runs of 15-45 minutes. 6 x 800m with 3 min rest.

Power Speed: speed of muscle contraction is emphasized. Fewer than 10 seconds in

Event running: runs that teach runner how the 400 should be run.

Speed: full speed runs of 30 to 150 meters. Rest is usually long.

Strength: general and specific strength development. Traditional weightlifting. Polymetric used as needed.

Basic 400m training principles by coach Hart

Clyde Hart 400 Meter Training Program pdf
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Specific workouts and detailed information:


Been off for more than a week from running. The ab soreness persists but has improved. Still, some hip and groin soreness. I am swimming daily and focusing on upper body. My pectorals are really getting big. As predicted, I've gained several lbs, hanging around 146 - 147lbs. Next week I have a colonoscopy and will need to fast a bit. I will welcome that. I've been living on peach-cherry crisp and maple salmon jerky ... with sweet tea. As a result, the usual problems of acid stomach, slower bowel movements, sluggishness, etc... have resulted from eating carbs and sugar.