Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 2 in Flagstaff

After nearly two weeks in Flagstaff I'm slowly becoming more confident in my training at 7000 feet. That's not to say that I'm not exhausted, but I'm learning to pick my battles by creating a greater distinction between easy days and hard days. Altitude has forced me to take my easy days significantly easier than I'm used at sea-level. It has also forced me to take recovery and rest more seriously than I have in the past. Without the usual distractions of home, I've managed to get into a healthy rhythm of training, eating, napping, training, eating, sleeping. It is helpful to be in a town where it is the norm to be in bed at 9:00 PM in preparation for the next morning's run. I've really enjoyed exploring the town and getting to know the hangout spots and dining options such as Diablo Burger, Martanne's, and Bellavia. I have quickly learned that Diablo Burger exclusively employs elite runners, Martanne's breakfast/lunch should only be eaten if you don't plan on running again for at least 12 hours, and Bellavia is the only restaurant in Flagstaff where you won't have to wait an hour on the weekends. There is still a great deal to see, and with trips planned to Sedona and the Grand Canyon in the near future I will be able to check a couple major sights off the list.

Last week included my first two structured workouts since coming to Flagstaff. I introduced myself to Lake Mary Rd. with a fartlek consisting of 10 x 4 minutes hard and 90 seconds rest. I started off a bit too quick and suffered the last couple of reps, but that was the reason for starting with a fartlek as opposed to specific intervals or specific paces. This was followed by a 12 mile tempo run on the same road Sunday morning. Fortunately I had the opportunity to jump into the workout with the Northern Arizona Elite crew and tag along with more experienced guys like Scott Smith, Ben Bruce, and Matt Llano. Coach Ben Rosario was also on hand with splits and fluids. Being only my 11th day in Flagstaff, I was still nervous about overdoing the workout, so I was grateful to play the part of the rookie and let the NAZ athletes set the pace. While 5:16 pace was certainly challenging, I didn't dig myself a hole. The effort was right, and it gives me confidence heading into this week's workouts.

I took a big leap in volume this week, although it didn't feel as big as it looks on paper. After taking only a short break after the track season, I'm entering this marathon training segment with a great base, so I didn't feel the need to slowly build back up. I also knew that the intensity last week would stay somewhat low, so I wanted to take advantage of the altitude by putting a good deal of time on the legs. After 145 miles last week, this week will bump up slightly to 150 before backing off for a week and upping the intensity of workouts. With only 2 and a half weeks left in Flag, I'm anxious to get more quality in before heading back down to sea-level and resuming my normal marathon training.

The day before heading up to altitude I had my blood drawn by Dr. John Howell at Portland Integrated Health and Medicine. I will will have it analyzed once again immediately after returning to sea-level in order to determine the effectiveness of the trip to 7000 feet. While this blood work is common among athletes, the response to altitude is extremely individual, so the specific results will be meaningful. I will post both the initial and follow-up blood work on my blog as soon as I return. Feel free to check out last week's training below, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates. Thanks again for reading.

Week 2 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 15 6

Tuesday 14 7 + drills and grass strides 40 minutes 21.5

Wednesday Fartlek – 10 x 4 minutes hard, 90 seconds easy 6

Thursday 14 7 40 minutes 21

Friday 13 + 8 x 200 meter hills 6

Saturday 10.5 6 30 minutes 16.5

Sunday 12 mile tempo @ 5:16 pace 4 mile shakeout



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Week in Flagstaff

After another long week of traveling, I'm finally feeling settled in here in Flagstaff. After taking much of the previous week off in preparation for marathon training, I squeezed in as many miles as I could between the flights. I started the week with a 10 mile tempo run, which sounds early to throw in, but we wanted to get some kind of hard effort in before traveling from Europe to Portland, Portland to Flagstaff knowing that I would not be able to train hard for the rest of the week. I spent a day and a half in Portland which was enough time to unpack from Europe and repack for Flagstaff. I'm living with Nick Arciniaga for the month, and I'm getting connected with the huge running community here.

I arrived in Flagstaff on Thursday, and after a canceled flight, a delayed flight, and a missing bag, I was exhausted. The evening run that night felt terrible, but each day since has been a slight improvement. The Sunday long run was the first real test, and I was pleased with how it went. There was an excellent turnout for the run, so I had plenty of guys to key off as I learned the ropes of the A1 road. Fortunately for me, the marathoners decided not to hammer the run which kept me in it and kept me from digging myself into a hole early into my altitude experience. We got through 21 miles in 2:08, respectable on the tough course, but I know these runs will be getting significantly faster. I got to tag along with veterans Scott Smith, Andrew Lemoncello, and Nick Arciniaga. It's great to be up here with guys with so much experience. My first training experience at this elevation is off to a fairly smooth start, and I'm looking forward to a high volume week with a couple of workouts thrown in. Feel free to check out last week's training below. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 1 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday off 10 mile tempo @ 4:59

Tuesday Off – traveling from Prague to Portland 5 easy shakeout following overseas flight

Wednesday 14 6 40 minutes 20

Thursday Off – travel from Portland to Flagstaff 8 easy following flights

Friday 14 5 40 minutes 19

Saturday 13 6 + drills and grass strides

Sunday 21 miles, progressively faster, 2:08 overall off



Friday, August 8, 2014

Ninove, Belgium: Ending the season with a PB

I had no idea how my legs would react following the brutal 10km course in Castelbuono, Italy the previous week. I did my best to get in a fair number of easy miles and no workouts to speak of other than a few rhythm 200 meter repeats. Each day was a little better, and on Saturday I felt ready to go again. Since I've been traveling every week for the last month, I decided not to leave to Belgium until the day before the race. The race wasn't until late Saturday evening, and it was a simple 70 minute direct flight. I opted to spend one more night in a familiar environment rather than restlessly sitting around the hotel room for another two days. The race itself was fairly slow through 5km, but this was expected as the majority of the field was only worried about running 13:30 for the European Championships. This has been the case for all European 5km's this summer, so it has been extremely difficult to find a race paced at 13:20 or better. This uncertainty is what comes with having a late track season as opposed to going for the dependable California races in April and May, so I decided that no matter what the pace was I would simply race to win. After the slow first 3km (I believe 8:12ish), the pace started to pick up the last 2km, and I looked to put myself in position with the leaders. I was with the leaders until the last 500 meters in which I was dropped pretty hard by Tahri (who recently ran 13:12). While I was hoping to get into a race where I could be pulled to a big 5km best, I have no regrets. I accomplished what I was looking for, and that was to get the wheels moving in between marathon build-ups. Coming off the London Marathon in April I was able to achieve my highest ever finish at the US Track Championships at 10,000 meters (3rd) and came away with a PR of 13:28 in the 5km. Onto marathon training!

Since the last month has been very low mileage for me in between races, I don't feel like I need much of a break. I am taking this week very easy by only run a few days and only with my wife. I'm confident I'll be able to hop right into marathon training next week. I'll be heading back to Portland on the 12th and then heading to Flagstaff on the 14th to start a month long training session. I'm looking forward to giving altitude a full go and seeing how my body reacts when I come down. I'll be heading into Portland Integrated Health to have my blood drawn and get initial readings before heading up to 7000 feet. I will then have it checked again right when I come down. Based on these results as well as how my body reacts to the changes, we will see if this will become a regular part of my training.

My down week has been spent in the Austrian Alps where I've been able to get some nice hiking in, as well as some gorgeous runs with my wife as she prepares for her first marathon in Victoria, BC in October. This part of the alps is only a few hours drive from Eva's parents' village, so it makes for an easy trip. I'm looking forward to getting back to work in another set of Alpine mountains in Arizona next week! Feel free to check out last week's easy training week below, and follow me here on twitter for more updates. Thanks again for reading.

Week 16 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 10 5

Tuesday 10.5 + drills and strides 5 40 minutes 15.5

Wednesday 9 4.5

Thursday 6 miles + 6 x 200 meters @ 29-30 w/ 200 equal jog rest off

Friday Travel to Brussels 5.5

Saturday 2 mile shake-out 5km race at Memorial Rasschaert – Flanders Cup (13:28, 3rd place)

Sunday Off – end of season off



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Castelbuono 10km recap and hitting the track in Belgium

The Giro Podistico di Castelbuono was one of the more interesting racing experiences I've had to date. Castelbuono is a special place, and one that I probably would have never visited had I not been invited for this race. Even though the race holds IAAF Gold Label status, the race organizers were very relaxed and care-free. Communication was limited as most organizers did not speak English, but this made for a fun weekend of charades. It was a true Sicilian experience with loose timetables and looser traffic laws. The small town of Castelbuono takes you back in time with an interesting mix of Arabic and Norman architecture. You are surrounded by mountains, making running extremely challenging as all roads head up for miles and miles away from the town center. It was challenging to hold back from the plentiful food available three times per day at the hotel. Breakfast meant a buffet of various sweet breads, and lunch and dinner offered a pasta appetizer followed by a main course of meat and vegetables. After the race, my wife and I celebrated with a seafood feast at a restaurant next to the castle.

As for the race itself, the field was very impressive, as expected at a Gold Label race. In spite of this I knew the challenging course would be an equalizer for me just as cross country has been in the past. The course consisted of a cobblestone loop that was slightly longer than 1km around the town square, starting and finishing in front of the castle. It was essentially 500 meters up, and 500 meters down. I consider myself a strong hill runner and made up ground each time heading up the hill, but I struggled trying to sprint back down the hill. Over the final few laps the wear and tear began to show, and my strong uphill pushes allowed me to catch and pull away from several racers, leaving me in 4th place. It was great to be able to put myself into cross country mode and focus only on the racing without any consideration of time. The brutal course has left me quite sore through the quads from the downhill pounding, but I have a week to recover.

I have one final race left in Europe for the summer before I end my season, take a down week, and then start preparing for a fall marathon. I will be traveling to Ninove, Belgium for the Memorial Rasschaert - Flanders Cup. I don't have much information regarding the field at this point, but in the past it has been a strong 5km. Regardless of the field or the conditions, I will be looking to run fast, and I'll be looking to win. There is not enough time left to postpone my track 5km effort, so I will be leaving it all on the track on Saturday before taking a short break. While Europe has not gone exactly according to plan, I am meeting my goal of competing in some shorter races before heading back to the marathon. It's been refreshing to get the wheels moving in training and in racing, and the lower volume with increased intensity over the last month has been a great change of pace.

Feel free to check out last week's training below. It was another very light week heading into Castelbuono, but there is nothing more that can be done at this point in the season other than resting. I had an excellent couple months of track workouts that will get me through my final week. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on twitter for more updates.

Week 15 AM PM Strength/Drills Mileage
Monday 11 4

Tuesday 10+drills and strides 5 40 minutes 15

Wednesday 3 x 1km @ 2:55 + 1km (37, 35, 33, 31, 29 per 200 meters) w/1 minute recovery


Thursday 8.5 easy Travel to Castelbuono, Italy

Friday 6 easy + drills and strides off

Saturday off 10km race

Sunday 10 easy 4.5 easy



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