Friday, July 31, 2015

Split 400 event runs / tempo 200s

Beautiful morning in Sewanee, dramatically less humid.  Dewpoints have fallen 15º since yesterday and the low 80ºs temperature felt a little less painful today, despite the lack of shade near mid day on the track.

I'm pretty much replicating my pre Nationals workout week as I am leaving for Worlds one week from today.   I start the 200 prelims on Sunday.

Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
80m strider 
Saucony spikes on 
3 starts from blocks - lane 4 - 400m start 
2 x split 400m event runs:   
300m - 40 (26/14) 1 min rest, 100m -14.25 
300m - 41 (26.5/14.5)  1 min rest, 100m -14.25 
Saucony trainers on 
4 x 200m with 1 min rest - 30.5, 30, 31, 29.5
This was a pretty tough workout, just a tad slower than this same workout on 7/17... possibly because of the stiff headwind for the first 200m..  I could have happily called it a day after each of the 3 sets, but I thought that this might be my last hard one of the season, so I persevered, hoping to add more hay to the barn.   Doing 2 event runs like this is like running a 56sec 400, and doing another 20 min later.  Not easy.   I was happy with the first one since I nailed my target splits and I felt like I had some juice left at the 300m mark.

Need to eat more and better, less than 142 after workout.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to the oval office

Today was the hottest day in Sewanee since 2012.   At sunset it was down to 84º but the dewpoint remained at a stifling 77º yielding a heat index around 90º.   Nice quiet evening under the full moon.

It's a fine line between 'doing everything I can' and 'doing too much' at this point.   Today I did over-distance and quantity, although I did just 3 x 500m instead of 4 that I had originally planned.  But I did them at a good pace to promote good fatigue on the last 100m.  I hit the 400 in around 64.  Was going to run one more but my foot started getting sore and my groin was a bit tight after last nights resistance where I really hit the adductors.   So, I walked away feeling good and strong.
Saucony Trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 500m - 79, 80, 81
Friday, I think I'll do a 4 x 200m tempo session and then get the spikes out to do some short speed and blocks.   Sunday and Tues, maybe some event runs, pacing and form.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Home... home again

... I like to be here, when I can.

Back to the quiet solitude of the Sewanee track.   Just a light workout and weights tonight.   Going to start tomorrow back to the serious training, adding 'a little more hay' to the barn.  

Felt good on the track, no issues.  I'm light, in the 143's, groin soreness is gone.   It was a beautiful sunset, a perfect 75º ...  and the track as usual was a ghost ship.

I didn't want to do anything fast, just shake the dust off and exercise the aerobic system a bit.

I ran an 800 the opposite way around the track, and a few 100m striders before I hit the weight room.

Saucony trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:31 (73, 78) 
2 X 100m striders 

I have 5 track workouts before worlds beginning tomorrow.  Wed, Fri, Sun, Tue, Thurs ... which will give Fri and Sat as days off for travel and rest.   I expect I'll keep the same long to short regime as it seems to be working for me.

This week I want to do some conditioning, but also work on technique and pacing.  Being 'self-coached', I need to be more self critical about my deficiencies.

The event run pacing work paid off at Nationals.  Looking at the video, my splits were spot on...  26/14/15.  Off of goal by just 0.29 sec.  The trick is to run fast with less effort and better technique.

Back to the oval office tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rest day reflections - Masters Nationals 2015

Masters Nationals '15 went off well.  It was hot but could have been worse.  Not too bad really on Sat and Sunday.  At the end of the meet, I walked around the field, as I usually do at the end of a championship, and thanked as many of the USATF officials and volunteers as I could.  Everyone seemed friendly and happy to receive a nod.

While waiting to get my 200m medal, I got to chat briefly with Herb M.  It was he who pushed me to a PR in the 200 and #2 world time in the semis.   In this race, we couldn't have been more evenly matched.  I won the semis by 0.13, and he won the final by 0.05.  Both races we were shoulder to shoulder the whole stretch.  We both set PRs.

I asked Craig D. if his dad was indeed the famous Jamaican Olympian, and yes... in fact he was.   The man has a lot of streets and things named after him in Jamaica.  One of the greatest sprinters of all time: winner of 1 Gold and 3 Silver, he is the only person ever to make an Olympic Final in all 3 sprints.  Quite a pedigree, Herb Jr., Herb Sr. competed in the '48 and '52 Olympics.

I feel as if I'm finally learning the 400m event and also continue to improve my base speed. It was a shame that hip flexor went out mid season, I really think I could be running 11.9 100m right now. I'm still waiting to crest the hill and start getting slower.  I know it's inevitable, but it hasn't happened yet.  I hope I can be like Don M. and get dramatically faster next yr.  I'm also happy to finally join the "Run your Age in the 400m" club.   Came close to doing it when I was 54 on that Vandy track (55.11).

It seems that in general, masters track is becoming more competitive. In the '11 Nationals, 25.26 won Silver in the M50 200m. This year, all medalists in M50 ran under 24.  All of the medalists in the M55 200m this yr. would have won the M50 200m in '11  (maybe because of WMA Sacramento).  In the '12 Nationals, I won Silver in the M50 400m with a 55.48. This year, M50 400m had medalists at 53.15, 53.64, 54.35.

Kudos to my fellow Tennesseans, Dave S. who won his 5th National Title, this one in the M60 800m, and set a world record in the M60 4 x 800m relay. Sonja continued her domination in M40 distance races even though she is at the top of her age group.

I was happy to share this with my parents. The last time they both were at Nationals, I had a shitty meet and I'm happy to say I'm running way faster this year than I did that first year of Masters track in '11.   Fortunate in all respects.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

USATF Masters Nationals - 200m Final

The good news is I set a PR in the 200m: 24.48 
But I got edged out for the Silver by Herb M. by 0.05 and had to settle for Bronze Medal.

Without Alan T. having posted a 200m race this year, the three of us (below) are the top three 200m sprinters in M55 presently in the World Rankings.   Leader Don M. ran a smokin' 24.08 today and Herb also had a PR of 24.43.  The excellent track and a +2 tailwind certainly helped.

M55 200m Final
Race video

I was a bit more aggressive on the turn today and made up the stagger quickly.   Again, I fought with Herb the whole way down the the stretch.   I had him much of the way by a half step but he got me in the last few meters.   Don seemed to gain the lead in one very fast move coming off the turn and maintained it the whole way.  He has some serious turnover.

It was a great meet for me. I definitely brought my "A game" and left the meet with no significant physical issues, so I can get a bit more good training in before the World Championships in Lyon.

Going up to my training camp this week in Sewanee and will be back out on the track soon.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

USATF Masters Nationals - 200m prelims

A solid race today in the M55 200m prelims ... 24.61
#2 World Rank 

I found myself in a battle with Herb M., (son and namesake of one of the greatest Jamaican Olympians ever).  I didn't think that guy was so fast.  To my surprise, he made up the stagger on me quickly, despite one of my best starts ever, and I found myself in a dogfight all the way down the stretch.  Having to fight him off forced me to give full effort and I came within .02 of a PR.

Race video

Alan left early, and Don who is #1 in the world will likely win tomorrow.  He posted the fastest qualifying time, I was second, then Herb and Rudy.   I'm hoping I'll get in for a medal, and not get hurt.  Don looks unbeatable, having posted times in the low 24's.   I'd be happy to run the same time tomorrow as I did today.  

Overall, it's been a good meet, no matter how this 200m final pans out.

200m prelim - 24.61

Friday, July 24, 2015

USATF Masters Nationals - 400m Final

The preparation paid off.
M55 400m National Champion: 55.29

Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville at race time was 91º with a heat index of 104º, very humid.   The blue Mondo track was very nice, but too hot to walk on with bare feet.   So, glad the infield was natural grass.  It was the kind of day where I didn't feel like warming up too much, very easy to get tired in the heat.   So I warmed up an hour before race time and chilled out for 15 min in my car with the A/C on.

I definitely executed better this race.  No serious rigging and my splits were as planned, about 26.2/29.  I won the race on the home stretch.

There were 3 guys in this race that had beaten me previously.  Tyrone was in lane 7, me in 5, Ben in 4, and Rudy in 3.   I got a decent start and accelerated to cruising speed and remained undaunted as Ben passed me on the back stretch.  I stuck to my race plan.   I stayed with Ben around the turn and noticed he began suffering about the 250m mark.  I came off the turn strong, even with Ben...  and with Rudy and Tyronne close behind, I surged ahead.  I looked to my left twice expected Rudy to be comin'.   No one there.  I won by several meters, almost a second.

It was my second fastest 400, and a good time to produce it.  It ranks me #2 in the world right now and it's the first time I've officially "run my age" in the 400m.   More significantly, it is faster than I ran at Nationals 3 yrs ago in '12.  If the conditions weren't so brutally hot and humid, I might have been able to PR today.  Was the kind of day where I'd ask myself, 'how did I get myself into this?'

Now, to have some fun in the 200m prelims tomorrow.   Feelin' good, healthy.   Glad my parents were here.

Race video

Thursday, July 23, 2015

400m prelims cancelled

Severe thunderstorms ruled the evening here at the USATF National Masters Championships in Jacksonville, FL.  Tomorrow will be a timed final.   I'm ok with it as long as they seed the finals properly and I get in the fast heat.   If it turns out as expected, I'll probably be running blind to a number of my toughest competitors as they will be on my inside.   Anyway, looks like a good heat with 8 guys 58 and below.

It was fun chatting in the parking lot with some of my fellow masters.   As the storms approached, we chatted until the lightning became too close for comfort and retreated to our cars.

I just knew this meet would be like this.  What happens if it storms again tomorrow at race time?   I wouldn't mind racing at 10pm.  Forecast calls for 80% chance of rain most of the day tomorrow, and this being FL, you know there will be lightning.   I've raced in rain but the USATF guidelines prohibit a race from being staged until 30 min after the last observed lightning or thunder.  Good luck with that.   I knew Jacksonville was a bad idea.

Kudos to my fellow Tennesseans Sonja (W40) and David (M60) who won National Championships in the 800m today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It's been cooler here the last few days, around 83º late afternoon on the track with plenty of humidity. Heat index only about 90º.   I did several starts from the 400m start and as per Randall's suggestion, I did a 350m event run.
Saucony trainers on  
400m warm up stretches, drills 
100m strider 
Saucony spikes on 
100m strider 
6 x 30m from blocks on the 400m start lane 4 
350m event run from blocks - 48 (26.25/40.5)
Was shooting for 47 but came up short.  It was about 56 pace.   Was a tad slow on the first 200m, still not happy with my form or fitness.  I've been bothered by a minor left groin soreness.   Even a day off on Sunday didn't make it disappear and I'm hoping a day off tomorrow will.  It's not bad.

Off to Jacksonville tomorrow for the USATF Masters Nationals.  400m prelims are Thurs evening around 6:30ish.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

300s and 200s

Again on the track during the hot part of the day, but it wasn't really super hot... 87º with a dewpoint of 75º, heat index 97º.  That is about what it is in Jacksonville right now, due to showers in the area.
After a warmup and 2 x 100m striders, I was dripping.

Did a lighter workout today, not quite as fast as the previous.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup stretches drills 
2 x 100m ~ 13.5 - 14 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 30m from blocks 
2 x 300m event runs from blocks (400m start) - 40.5, 41 
2 x 200m - 26, 26.5 
2 x 30m from blocks
The first 300m was right about race pace, or the slow end of race pace which I think is 40 - 40.5.   I recovered from it fairly quickly and felt I had enough left to bring it home somewhere around 15 for the last 100m, which would be sub 56.   I have to be at 40/15 or less for PR.

Body feels ok, just the sore foot, little groin soreness, but good to go.  I may go to the track tomorrow to stretch and run around in the heat, nothing fast.   Supposed to be hotter tomorrow.  One more light workout on Tues before Nationals.  86º right now at 6:30pm with a dewpoint of 75º, heat index of 95º and with a slight breeze  ... it is completely comfortable.

Friday, July 17, 2015

split 400 event runs / tempo 200s

Again, working out deliberately in the hottest part of the day, it was 'only' 86.5º at the Sewanee track, but with a dewpoint over 70º, heat index over 90º.   Still, didn't feel so bad, (until after running).

I essentially did 3 sets with rest in between.  Wanted to do a second set of 200s but my foot started hurting so I left it alone.

Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 30m starts from blocks 
2 x 'Split 400s' - 300m event run at race pace /1 min rest / 100m - 40/14.2,     40.3/ 14.5
Saucony trainers on  
4 x 200m w/ 1:15 rest - 29, 29, 30.5, 29.5
I definitely learned from this session about pace.  I had always been influenced by Latif's 'how to' video on 400m race plan.  He says you must recommit or attack at the 200/220 meter mark.  Whenever I do that, I rig in the end.  It's too soon.  That's what I did at Nationals in '12... I was leading Tyronne by 10m at the 200m mark and he came back to beat me.  I need to be patient.  This race is won in the last 80m, almost always.

The reason these split 400s are so good is that in my present state if fitness, I don't even feel much fatigue until 15 sec after completing the 300.  Then, I start breathing really hard and it's not much recovery time before a 100 at full effort.   My first was right where I want to be, about 26/40 for the 200/300.

I'll do less my remaining workouts, before nationals ... ready to taper.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

tempo 300s / 200 event runs

So much for heat tolerance training, it was cooler today at the KCD track.   A mere 80º and only moderate humidity.   A good day to suffer some tempo 300s.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m with 2 min rest - 47, 47.5, 48.5, 48.5 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x 200m event runs (400m race pace) - 26.3, 26
As usual with the last rep of a tempo series, it was brutal.  I recovered pretty quick and got the spikes on for some 200m event runs.  My goal was to run at 400m race pace, maintain good form, be as fast and relaxed as possible with the least amount of effort.  I noticed my first one was slightly slower and my second one was faster, better form, less effort.  I tend to 'toe-out' too much with my inside foot running the turn, could be the source of my groin strains.

May take a day off tomorrow and do one more volume workout on Fri before tapering down.

I finally decided to post my last weeks race on Masters Rankings, despite my disappointment in my race.   I see the Senior Games National 400m Champion in M55 ran more than a second slower than I ran last weekend, I guess I could've done worse.  I really do not think it was my 'A-Game'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

event run

Normally a day off from the track, I felt ok today and go out for a brief event run.  I think I need more event pacing, and going out to blast a 400m at race pace on an off track day is a good idea, as I have run so few 400m races this yr.   Also, the need for heat acclimatization.  I went out at 3:30 pm to the KCD track.  It really felt better than yesterday even though it was warmer, much less humid. Temperature was a sunny and breezy 93º with a dew point of about 67º,  heat index around 96º.
Saucony trainers on 
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m event run - 56.75  (26.75/30) 
3 min rest 
2 x 100m with 2 min rest - 13.5, 13.5
I was slow on the opening 200m, caught a gusty headwind on the backstretch.  Felt ok, no rigging but not especially fast.   To complete the burn, I did 2 more 100s at near full effort with limited rest.

As suggested by coach Page, I'm hanging out outside as I write this in the 92º weather, and with a breeze, it feels just fine.  The difference in dewpoint of 5º makes a huge difference in comfort and oxygen intake.   I hope Dad will do the same and spend some time outdoors if he hopes to survive the bleachers in Jacksonville.  

Tonight I do weights.

Monday, July 13, 2015

morning speed endurance

In the heat, a volume speed endurance workout on a hot black KCD track late morning.   The temperature was about 86º with a heat index of about 93º.   I ran 500m repeats and then some.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 500m - 80.5, 82.5, 85, 83 
150m - 19.5 
2 x 100m - 13.5, 14
I cheated a bit by getting in my car to cool down in between reps.   The heat and chemical smell coming off the black track was bad, hard to breath.   At least the field in the middle was real grass.  I ran with a white cap on and sunscreen.

Jacksonville is going to be considerably worse.  The 400m finals are scheduled for 4:30pm on Friday, 7/24.   Yesterday at 4:30 in Jacksonville, it was 103º with a heat index of 111º.   Today's track conditions would be "chilly" in comparison.  I've never raced in conditions like that so it should be interesting.

Going to lift tomorrow, track Wed and Fri.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Failed to execute

Took a risk and went out fast in the 400m today at the USATF IN Assoc meet.  Too fast.  Totally rigged in the last 30m, and by the time I crossed the finish line, I felt as if I were moving at walking speed, literally.   I 'received the piano' ... big time, and it kicked the shit out of me.  Not a pleasant experience.  Took a long time to recover, felt drained for the rest of the day.

Nevertheless, my time today of 56.23 is presently #1 in the USA M55, #4 in the world.   I don't even want to post it in the Masters Rankings, I know I can do better.  Really disappointed.  A 400 race always hurts, but it's interesting to note that poorly paced races where I rig up definitely kick my butt more than the PR races where form is maintained and properly paced.

The meet was tiny, one heat of everything.  Men, women, people of all ages running together.  A few hurdle events had just one person.  So... there was very little time between the 400m and 200m, about 40min.   I was going to skip it, I was spent ... but I jumped in the 200m at the last minute, ran a predictably slow 25.38.

Not the kind of meet I wanted to run just before Nationals.  But, I learned.

Some of my other excuses include: 1) 100% of my track workouts have been at sunset, just not used to running in the morning.  2) Didn't sleep enough the last 2 nights.  About 4 hrs each night. 3) Racing alone, far ahead of everyone with no reference.  I had only myself as a reference, and I just failed in my race plan.

Moving forward... I'm assuming many of the championship races will be run in the morning so I am going to start training in the morning, and get to used to being on the track at that time of day.  I really hate to be exposing my self to the hot sun, but at this point, I need to get adjusted.  Sunscreen.

I also need more event runs and pacing practice.  

5 more workouts until nationals.  Need to rest Sunday, groin is sore.  Don't know why, but it's always my left groin.

Enjoyed meeting some fellow masters at the meet today:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Speed / event runs

Beautiful night at the Sewanee track, 76º and nice at sunset.   Did a brief quality speed workout in spikes with blocks.  
Saucony trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
    from blocks in lane 4:   
2 x 50m  
100m - 13 
3 x 200m event runs at 400m race pace - 25.8, 25.8, 25.6 
100m - 13 
2 x 40m starts
I ran the 200s at 400m race pace from blocks with a beep start command, about 90-95% effort.   Happy with the pace, pretty much nailed it right where I wanted to be.  The last one I pushed a bit harder.  I just need to bring it in at 29 and I'll be in PR territory.   Just have to execute, plan mental reminders to relax and maintain form.

A little amusing to see the TN Sr. Olympics 200m M55 event was won at 28.01.  Wish I could've been there.   Let them have their fun.... Jim Mathis's records are safe.          

In this, my first workout as an official member of M55, I've noticed the biggest difference between being a masters sprinter and a young sprinter.   When I first arrive at the track and start jogging, I feel old and decrepit.  But, after that warmup, dynamic stretching, drills and a few striders ... I feel transformed into a lean mean speed machine.  As a youth, warmups were really unnecessary.   I never pulled a hamstring in all my high school athletic career.  I was primed to sprint at any moment.   Not now, I have to go through the routine.   Priming those energy pathways and loosening up the old musculature and connective tissue.  It still works after all these yrs.

Weight is good 141.6 after workout.

welcome workout to M55

World Track and Field
Nice to see Gatlin continue to dominate the fastest men in the world... beating both Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay today in Lausanne.  Also, great to see Allyson Felix win again over the much taller Dafne Schippers.   Speaking of height ... it's nice for us short 400m guys to see that the new US Champion, David Verberg is just 5'6".  And, it was nice to see a pro athlete - Sonja Richards-Ross do a 400/200m double today at the Diamond League meet.   You don't see that very often.

I'd really like to see more of the youth talent like Bromell, Prandini, and DeGrasse racing with these dominant 30+ sprinters like Gay, Powell, and Gatlin in the Diamond League.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Spiked up tonight at the Sewanee track for a quality workout.   400s with recovery;   76º and pleasant at sunset.  I took my time in between reps, 20 min or so.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
50m striders 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 400m - 57 (27.5/29.5), 57 (27.75/29.25), 57.75 (28.25, 29.5)
Running all in lane 6, I set my goal at 58 (28/30) and beat it every time.  The first 200s were deliberately loose and easy - not race pace,  while the last 200s were 90% effort concentrating on form.  

Interesting that the second one felt easier than the first, even though I started with my heart rate close to 120.   It was oe of my fastest set of 400 repeats ever and they weren't near 100%.

I have this theory that energy pathways need to be stimulated and worked a bit to operate efficiently, which is counterintuitive ... since the last thing you want to do before a 400m race is expend energy.

I should be able to knock off 1.5 seconds from the front end of these times without being 'handed the piano' in the end.   Nervous about racing a 400m right now since I've only run one outdoor 400 this season (56.22).  Last year at this time, I had run several.

Weight is good, 141.8 lbs after workout.

Monday, July 6, 2015

tempo 200s +

Continued beautiful weather at Sewanee on Sunday eve ... low 70's at sunset.  Been without internet all weekend so I'm posting this now on Monday.  After 3 days of rain, can't complain about the weather, temps never getting much above 75º and mid 60ºs at night... great for early July.

Did the usual 2x4x200 workout with 1 min rest, except this time I took less rest between sets and it kicked my butt.   I rested, then put the spikes on for 2 fast 150's.  

Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 29.5, 29, 30.5, 30 
5 min rest 
4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 29.5, 30, 32, 33 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x 150m - 20, 20

I definitely did not recover much between sets.  My heart rate was still above 120 bpm when I started my second set.   It was hard.   A good 1900m  of sprints.  I took 2 days off from the track to let my foot recover on Fri-Sat.  Will do weights tonight, and track Tues and Thurs.

Feel in good shape, was 141.4 after workout, my resting heart rate is 50.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

event run / speed endurance

Decent July weather at the Dean Hayes track, 79º humid and breezy at sunset and I had the place to myself.  Wanted to run fast tonight and get some volume so I started with the race pace 300m event run.

Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 50m out of blocks 
300m event run from blocks, turn-straight-turn, 400m start - 39.75 (25.75/14) 
Saucony trainers on 
2 x 500m - 83.5, 80 
300m - 43

This doesn't look like much but it was a ball buster.   The 300m event run was all out race pace.  The pace was about where I should be to bring me in close to PR time.  Lot's of recovery was required before I started my 500s.  The first I ran relaxed, the second one - hard.    The last 300m sprint was hard - at 90%, it brought me to my knees.  It was nice to get the spikes on, felt good, but I only wore them for the event run, wanted to not put pressure on my foot.

Very light, 141.7 after workout.