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.