Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Looking ahead to Giro di Castelbuono

Unfortunately the 5km in Heusden did not happen for me. After very poor communication by the race director, I didn't find out until the night before that I had been placed in the 'C' heat. Given my 10km personal best and recent 3rd place finish at the US Champs, I do not know how this occurred, but politics are the name of the game when it comes to racing in Europe. I showed up to the race knowing that pulling the plug was a possibility, but I did not make a decision until the last minute. I was still hoping to get moved up once I arrived at the venue. This did not happen, and temperatures were in the 80s even after dark, solidifying my decision. All heats went significantly slower than hoped simply due to the weather. I only have time for a couple more races before preparing for a fall marathon build up, so I decided not to waste an effort last weekend. It was disappointing to fly over to Belgium and waste a down week in training, but it was the right decision, and sometimes unexpected rest is a positive thing.

Looking forward, I am honored to have been invited to the Giro di Castelbuono in Italy on July 26th. This 10km is one of the oldest road races in Europe and is an IAAF Gold Label event, meaning the field will be absolutely loaded. Looking at past results will give you an idea. The course is a very challenging 1.1 km loop through the town, and anyone who is caught is out of the race. This is my kind of race. Times are always slow, so I only have to focus on competing. I expect it to be a memorable experience to say the last.

The following week I am planning another shot at a 5km on the track. Right now the most likely option is the Memorial Rasschaert in Ninove, Belgium on August 2nd. If that does not work out there are a couple of back-up options, but let's hope that will not be necessary. This will still give time to take a full week of rest before heading to Flagstaff for a month of altitude training.

Last week's training is below. It is a low volume week due to the belief that I would be racing Saturday night. My coach and I decided to go with some over-speed work the next day which still added up to 5 miles of running on the track including the rest intervals. I'm starting to get antsy with the lower volume, but that is the nature of racing season.  I will have plenty of time for volume over the next few months. The rest is also necessary with the frequent flying I am doing at the moment. Fortunately with Prague at the center of Europe, all flights will be short and smooth.

Thanks again for reading, and I look forward to writing about my experience in Castelbuono next week. Follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 14 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 Traveling from Portland to Prague

Tuesday Traveling from Portland to Prague 6 20 minutes 6

Wednesday 5 x 1k @ 2:54-2:55 w/1 min recovery, 2 x 400 @ 62-63, 2 x 200 @ 29-30 w/ 200 meter jog recovery 5

Thursday Off – travel to Nijmegen, Netherlands 9

Friday 6 + drills and strides 1.5 mile shake-out

Saturday 1.5 mile shakeout 9 easy

Sunday 5 x (200, 200, 400) w/ equal jog recovery. 200's @ 29-30, 400's @ 59-61. Recovery jog kept at 6:40-7:00 pace Off – travel back to Prague



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The start of a month in Europe and last week's training

I made it to Europe successfully, although I must say I'm having a harder time than usual getting over my jetlag. I left Portland Monday, arrived in Prague on Tuesday, and then hopped on a flight to Dusseldorf on Thursday morning. From Dusseldorf I made the short trip to Nijmegen, Netherlands where my management company (Global Sports Communication) has their offices and training facility. I'll be spending the next couple of days here before my 5km in Heusden, Belgium on Saturday. The travel has left me completely exhausted, but I still have a couple days of easy training to bounce back, and that is plenty of time. The training facility in Nijmegen has access to amazing trails, a track, and a full kitchen; it's everything I need to help myself recover. It's not often that I am able to cook for myself the days leading up to a big race, so it is a nice bonus. As for race day, I'm simply looking for a big PR. The heats will be quite full, it looks like it will be hot, and the pacing is still unknown, so it is difficult to put an exact time goal out there. I think I am in sub-13:20 shape, but we will see if Saturday will be the place to make it happen.

I'm enjoying the short track season in between marathon build-ups, and there will only be a couple races left. After the Heusden 5km this weekend it looks likely that I will be running a Gold Label 10km called Giro di Castelbuono in Palmero, Italy that following weekend. This will give me plenty of time to rest before starting a big fall marathon build-up which will start in Flagstaff in the middle of August. This means I will be flying back to Portland for 2 days to repack, and then head to Arizona. It's going to be a challenging but exciting couple of months.

Last week's training was not particularly interesting as we did only one workout, but it is below if you'd like to take a look. We have cut back on the workouts since the 10km at the USATF Champs in order to keep the legs fresh for the remainder of the short season. Thanks again for reading, and I look forward to posting again next week after the race. Feel free to follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 13 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 10 5 40 minutes 15

Tuesday 10 + 6 x 150 meters 5

Wednesday 5 5

Thursday 6.5 6 x 200 meters @ 29 w/200 meter recovery, straight into 2km @ (69, 67, 64, 63, 60), 300 (45), 200 (28), 100 (14) w/1 min recovery

Friday 10 5 30 minutes 15

Saturday 5 + drills and strides off

Sunday 14 off



Friday, July 11, 2014

Off to Europe: Heusden 5km and Beyond.

It has been a busy week with the launch of Prevail Coaching, but the interest after a little more than a week has been fantastic. I'm looking forward to a fall and spring full of PRs. We have room for a couple more runners, so if you're interested, visit the website and reach out to us at prevailcoaches@gmail.com.

This last week of training remained fairly conservative following the USA Track and Field 10,000 meter championships last week, but I did feel recovered enough for a solid 5km prep workout at the end of the week. While the rest was not short, all reps were at or under goal 5km pace. I will be looking for a big personal best in Heusden, Belgium on the 18th of this month. My travel begins Monday when I head to Prague for a few days to recover from jet-lag before heading to back west to Belgium. The organizers are still busy putting the heats together, but I'm sure I'll land in a group that can pull me along.

I plan on putting in at least one more race in while in Europe to top off my short track season, but that race has yet to be determined. My agent and I are working through a few different options, and I'll throw it on my calendar as soon as it's finalized. Racing in Europe is a tricky endeavor as circumstances can change dramatically based on one performance, even at the very last minute. After about a month in Europe I will be stopping in Portland for a day and a half before heading down to Flagstaff to give altitude training an honest go as preparation for a fall marathon. I'll be staying with Nick Arciniaga, who has clearly mastered life at 7000 feet, and I'm looking forward to some guidance. Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on twitter for more updates!

Week 12 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 16 off 40 minutes 16

Tuesday 11.5 + drills and grass strides 4.5

Wednesday 9 5 40 minutes 14

Thursday 15 x 200 @ 28-30 w/200 meter jog recovery 5

Friday 10 5 30 minutes 15

Saturday 10 5

Sunday 4 x 1km (2:40, 2:39, 2:39, 2:39), 2.5 minutes rest, 2 x 800 (2:05, 2:04), 2 minutes rest, 2 x 400 (59, 58), 1 minute rest 5



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

USA Outdoor Recap and PreVail Coaching

Before jumping into my recap of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, I want to announce the launch of my personal coaching business, Prevail Coaching. Our team includes University of Portland alum and school record holder in the 10km, Mike Kilburg, and my wife, Eva Vail, who is currently the assistant women's coach for the University of Portland track and cross country teams. This is remote coaching only, as my focus remains on my professional running
career. We are excited to take on anyone from beginners to Olympic hopefuls at any distance from 800 meters to the marathon. My goal is to take the experience that I have had being remotely coached over the last four years by Dave Smith and transfer that experience to others. I have earned personal bests for 10 consecutive years under Dave. The patient, consistent progression is no accident, and I am passionate about sharing this simple philosophy with other runners. We will not offer templates. Coaching is a give and take between the athlete and coach, and each runner is unique in terms of their response to certain types of workouts, weekly volume, and race schedules. I know the workouts of other elite athletes, but that doesn't mean that I can simply copy it and run well. I have also never had a training cycle that has gone exactly according to plan; adjustments are made based on how the body is feeling, minor injuries, and even weather. The process is far more important than the plan. Check out the website, done by Starting Line Designs, at www.prevailcoaching.com and contact me at prevailcoaches@gmail.com.

Now, on to the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. First, I am very happy to break my streak of 6th place finishes at the track championships with a 3rd place finish in a tough field. Given the temperatures and the field, most of us expected a slow pace for the first 5,000 meters, and it was. One of my weaknesses in the past on the track has been closing gaps as they form in front of me. I feel that I kept myself aware and moved up when I needed to. The fourth mile picked up significantly, and Aaron Braun, Sean Quigley, and I went with the move. Rupp and Derrick began to pull away and I was faced with a decision to hang with Braun and race for third, or go with the leaders. I was not sure where I was in terms of fitness coming off the marathon, so I opted to hang back. I saved a lot of energy not leading and felt great heading into the last lap. I was able to close in 58.1 and secure 3rd place. Looking back, I wish I would have had more confidence to go with the leaders, but I made a decision and stuck with it. My confidence is high heading into the 5km race in Heusden, Belgium in two and a half weeks. I know I'm ready for a big personal best. Everything I'm doing right now is geared toward the Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2016, and this short track season is accomplishing the goal of changing pace and training for a couple of months. I am pleased with how quickly my track fitness has returned after the London Marathon.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. It was a low week in terms of volume due to resting for the 10km and then recovering, but the volume will boost back up this week. Thanks again for reading; follow me here on twitter, and check out the new coaching website at www.prevailcoaching.com.

Week 11 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 off 30 minutes 11

Tuesday 30 minutes + 4 x 400 @ 66-67, 2 x 200 @ 30 w/200 jog recovery 10 minute shake-out

Wednesday 30 minutes + strides 10 minute shake-out

Thursday 2 mile shake-out 10km race

Friday 6 off

Saturday 11 off

Sunday 12 off 30 minutes 12



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Days from the USA Outdoor Championships: Last Week's Training

I am preparing to head to Sacramento today for the start of the USA Outdoor Championships. It will be my first 10,000 meter race since the USA Championships last year in Des Moines. While it will be hot in Sacramento, the 10km does not start until after 9:00 PM, and it will cool to a more reasonable temperature as the sun goes down, unlike Des Moines where humidity keeps temperatures high all through the night.

My first trip to Sacramento was for the Golden West Invitational back in 2003 as a high school athlete. Getting there a couple of days early, we were able to watch the end of the NCAA Championships. Those two days were a rare glimpse of running outside my home state (or even home conference) and solidified my desire to compete at the Division 1 level. This will also be my first race back at Hornet Stadium since the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Qualifying for those meets and watching the older guys do incredible things (Chris Solinsky closing in 4:00 for his last mile in the 5km to pull away with the title for example) drove me to take my running to the next level. Rather than being excited to simply qualify for the meet, I wanted to be an All-American and shoot for a national title. Returning after 7 years, I'll be one of the veterans this time, and hopefully our 10km race will inspire younger athletes the same it did me.

I'll be trying out another twitter contest looking to drum up some excitement heading into the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Anyone who retweets the contest tweet and follows me will be entered to win the pair of Brooks Wire 3 spikes that I'll be wearing during the race. For those who can't be in the stands in Sacramento, check out the live feed for all events here.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. The workouts and volume have really tapered off since the Portland Track Festival from the previous week, so I'm hoping to feel mentally and physically fresh heading into Thursday's race. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Week 10 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 90 minutes off 40 minutes 14

Tuesday 9 + drills and strides 5

Wednesday 4 4 mile tempo (18:37) + 4 x 200 (29.1, 29.0, 28.5, 27.3)

Thursday 6
40 minutes 6

Friday 10 + 6 x 150 5

Saturday 10 4 30 minutes 14

Sunday 5 x 1k @ 2:57 + 4 x 200 @ 30 off



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Portland Track Fest recap and Looking ahead to the USATF Champs: Last Week's Training

Sunday at the Portland Track Festival was my first race back since the London Marathon, and it was quite a drop in distance. I haven't run a 1500 in a couple of years, so I knew it was going to be painful. I ran evenly, but I didn't have the wheels to close on the last lap and ended up with a 3:43. My PR is only 3:42.8, so I can't be too disappointed with the result given that it was my season debut. Deep down, I would have liked to get a new PR, but looking back, it just wasn't realistic. While my track training has been going very well, I needed hard effort like this to shake the rust off. It was excellent preparation heading into the 10,000 meters at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Following the 1500 I paced the 5000 meters for 5 laps at 65 seconds per quarter, which ended up making it a well-rounded training day. The meet overall was a huge success; all events went off on time, pace-makers were in place for the Sunday events, and the crowd turnout was great. All you have to do is take a look at the starlists/results to see that the Portland Track Festival is turning into one of the country's premier distance events. 

The entries are settled for the USATF Outdoor Championships, and the 10,000 meters looks strong for an off-year. By off-year I mean that there is no World Championship or Olympic Team to qualify for. You can check out the startlist on the USATF website; you'll see plenty of familiar names. It will be interesting to see how the pace plays out, but no matter what the pace is, I think fans will be in for an exciting finish. I haven't had the opportunity to race in Sacramento since my sophomore year at Oklahoma State for the NCAA Track Championships, and I'm excited to return. I have fond memories from the Golden West Invitational in high school, and two NCAA Championships as a college athlete. The weather is suitable in the later evening, the stands are big enough for an excellent crowd and atmosphere, and the warm-up facilities are the best I've encountered at a track meet. 

Airfare cost and hotel availability are also a bonus when compared to previous locations. The athletes who will benefit the most from this are those just out of school or those just on the cusp of making the championships. Since the USATF only funds the top 4 athletes in each event for travel, it is very expensive for a young athlete without support to travel to a meet like this. It's also important to note that the top 4 ranked athletes in an event usually already have some kind of travel support from a sponsor or club, so they typically aren't the athletes in the greatest need of the funding. After plane tickets, hotel, entry fee, and meals, an athlete can easily be looking at well over $1000 in travel expenses. While it is still expensive, having the meet in Sacramento will help mitigate these costs and help those younger athletes who will be vying to make US teams in the near future. 

Feel free to check out my training from last week at the bottom of the page. The workouts have continued to progress, and I've been enjoying the lower volume training. This week was a 90 mile week and is dropping all the way to the outdoor championships. 90 miles is a far cry from the 150 I was hitting just months ago, but the higher intensity of the track workouts still has me plenty exhausted. Thanks again for reading and don't forget to go see the Brooks PR Invitational at Renton Memorial Stadium this coming weekend. It will feature the fastest high school athletes in the country in a rare opportunity to see them in the same place at the same time. Also, if you'd like, follow me here on twitter for more updates. 

Where                                  Renton Memorial Stadium
When                                    June 21st, 1:30pm-4:30pm (doors open at noon)
Why                                       Come watch the fastest and deepest high school meet of the year in our backyard!!
                                                1000 technical PR Invite t-shirts to the first spectators arriving
                                                Come Meet the Brooks Beasts
Cost                                       $10 per person, kids 6 and under will be FREE (all proceeds go to the Renton School District)

Reply on Facebook                                          Meet Entries                                      Blog

Week 9 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 10 + drills and strides 5 40 minutes 15

Tuesday 3 mile tempo @ 71.0, 4 min rest, 3 x mile (4:17, 4:15, 4:13) 4

Wednesday 12 easy off 30 minutes 12

Thursday 30 minutes easy, 6 x 200 (29-30), 25 minutes easy 5

Friday 8 5

Saturday off 8+drills and strides 40 minutes 8

Sunday 2 mile shake-out Race 1500, pace 2km @ 65 for 5000 meter race



Monday, June 9, 2014

NCAA Champs, PTF, Brooks PR Invite, and USATF Champs: Last Week's Training

I mentioned it last week, but there are some great meets in the Pacific Northwest over the next few weeks. The NCAA Track and Field Championships kick off this week in Eugene, the Portland Track Festival (PTF) is approaching this next weekend (June 14th and 15th), and the Brooks PR Invitational is going outdoor this year and is set for June 21st at Renton Memorial Stadium. High school athletes are running much faster than when I was in high school (already 10 years ago now!). Running PRs of 8:30 for 3000 meters and 3:53 for 1500 meters left me a wide range of full-ride scholarship opportunities, but these times are now commonplace. It was also not as common for the best high school athletes to get together at the national level at the same venue. The Brooks PR Invite is truly going to be a treat for track and field fans. I'm sad that I won't be making the trip to Seattle because I'll be departing soon after for Sacramento for the US Outdoor Champs, but I'll definitely be watching it on tv. The information for the race is below.

Where                                  Renton Memorial Stadium
When                                   June 21st, 1:30pm-4:30pm (doors open at noon)
Why                                     Come watch the fastest and deepest high school meet of the year in our backyard!!
                                            1000 technical PR Invite t-shirts to the first spectators arriving
                                            Come Meet the Brooks Beasts
Cost                                      $10 per person, kids 6 and under will be FREE (all proceeds go to the Renton       School District)

Reply on Facebook                                          Meet Entries                                      Blog

I'm also excited to head down to Eugene for a couple of days and cheer on the Cowboys where they are looking for a historically high team finish at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. It will also be an opportunity for me to see my coach, Dave Smith, for the first time since the fall.

My track work in preparation for the Portland Track Festival (mile) and USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (10,000 meters) has continued to progress on a weekly basis, and I'm excited to test out my fitness over the next 5 to 6 weeks of racing. I don't get to race often in Portland, so the mile next weekend will be a rare opportunity for me to enjoy the local atmosphere and have the support of family and friends. The Portland Track Fest has become bigger, deeper, and faster every year. This year will be no different.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. I'm particularly happy with my ability to close the Tuesday workout with a 4:13 on my 7th mile of the workout. I'm ready for a solid 10km. The miles are easing down with the aim of a light week heading into the USA Track and Field Champs on June 26th. It had been 6 weeks since my last day off, so I decided Monday was the right time for a rest day. My plantar was a little sore from all the spike work lately, so it was a good excuse to lay back. My daily volume for the week was still quite high, but the day off pulled my weekly mileage down to a more reasonable level on my way into racing season. Each week will get lighter in terms of volume for the rest of June. I'll check back in next week after the mile at the Portland Track Festival. For more updates, follow me here on twitter.

Week 8 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday off

Tuesday 3 mile tempo @ 70.5, 3 min rest, 4 x 1 mile (4:25, 4:22, 4:18, 4:13)   5

Wednesday 14   off 40 minutes 14

Thursday 11.5 + drills and grass strides   6

Friday 8 5 x (200, 200, 400) in 29-30 and 59-60 w/equal jog recovery

Saturday 11.5 4.5 40 minutes 16

Sunday 16 off