Friday, June 12, 2009

Why 1000's and 1200's???

What happened to ladders? What about 400 meters and 800 meters? Isn't foot speed developed on the track? Those were some of the questions I asked Scott when we created my Peak Phase training schedule. How come I have to do 1000's and 1200's? Those are just brutal distances on the track. During the Specificity/Competition phase of training I got to do some 400's and mostly 800's. Just before the Peak Phase started I had to throw in 1 1000 meters. Now it's all 1000's and 1200's, why? During the Peak Phase the goal is to drive my VO2 max up as much as possible. 400's and 800's simply don't have the duration needed to force my heart rate into max long enough to make a difference. I keep meticulous records of my workouts and for my track workouts I log the time spent above my lactic threshold. That way I know exactly how much time I get in Z5. The track is the only place I see any numbers above 174 which is my lactic threshold. As crazy as this may sound it does work. My max heart rate on my 1200's has risen 2-3 beats in 4 weeks. I also know this works because I have had VO2 Max and threshold testing at Seattle Performance Center 4 times since working with Scott. My VO2 has gone from 46 to 62 due to his coaching.

I begged Scott to give me at least 1 800 meter each track session to get my legs spinning. He agreed but didn't feel it was necessary. On Tuesday my track session consisted of 1X800, 3X1000 and 2X1200. On paper that didn't look so bad and since I am not a track person I really don't have a good gauge of what that kind of workload will feel like. After my inner athlete made up we hit the track for by far the best track session I can remember having. All my times were fast and solid. I was shocked as much as I was elated to have this experience. Given how I felt the prior week I was not expecting to see such great results. At times I felt like was just running aggressively. Compared to my normal account of my track session which is more like needed torture this was strikingly different. My times were:

800 = 3:11
1000 = 3:59
1000 = 4:06
1000 = 4:02
1200 = 4:49
1200 = 4:52

When I got home to log my data I had spent over 20 minutes above lactic threshold. That's a lot! If I was to race a 10K I would spend only about 4 minutes in that range and rest hovering around lactic threshold. Why do I care? Because data does not lie! Data always brings my emotions back in check? Fear and doubt are strong and powerful emotions that for me can always be shelved when I have data. Kind of like two doors in my mind. One opens to doubt, fear and anxious feeling. The other to data and benchmarks which can quickly put a pad lock on the other door. Don't get me wrong....I can use a crow bar to get it open when I want, have my pity parties, lower my expecations and become filled with negative thoughts. As Hardrock closes in and my healthy fear of the course, the altitude and the very long days (plural!!!) and night creep in I need the data to quiet the riot and stay focused on what's really going on with my training.

My inner athlete feels back in the game but I need to continue to nurture the fragile relationship. Tomorrow is serious BS! The workout is 2X50 min. running followed by 1X50 power hiking. The workout will be around 24 miles with over 7,500 feet of climb. Sunday is 6.5-7 hours and about 33 miles. We are running to 3 Corner Rock via the PCT. This is sweet run.

On the fashion front Day Glo is back in style! Be prepared to see the bright colors on a trail near you soon. :)


  1. Nice work on that track workout! That's just awesome. You are going to tear up Hardrock.

  2. I love your thoughts on your Inner Athlete. Soooo true and I can definitely relate. Mine started to rebel a week before my taper and started to feel like I was hitting the burnout stage. 1200s – What a workout. I’m going to try this after Mohican race. You are going to kick butt at HR. You’re looking good – Looking strong.

  3. Thanks for sharing so much of your training! Your very inspiring!

  4. You carry an amazing training load! Very impressive. I can barely get up to 60 miles per week without feeling exhausted. And I don't think I can get my HR that high - not sure I even can any more if I really tried (without barfing first!), and I'm a little nervous about pushing it that hard. Maybe with a year or so of consistent training?

    Glad to hear you got over your funk. I figured if you gave your body a little rest it would come around.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy it!


  5. Awesome on the tough track workouts! I feel the same about data and measurable goals. I can't stand it when I don't have the data. Give me data data and more data please!

    Do you use a Garmin to track your data? I'd love to hear about your gear and tricks for manipulating it.