Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inch Leads the Way

Matt entered a local 5K and got more out of the race than he put in. Read his race report to learn how:

So I decided to sign up for a 5k when I got back from Chattanooga with the Evotri gang, and chose the Viking Fun Run because I figured it there was going to be awards for the overall winners, they had to be sweet viking trophies or goblets or something! Usually I am lured into these types of races for prize money or cool awards, its the little things :)

So Chattanooga was a huge training week for me, and the following week again was also another massive week. I was shutting it down at work because it was my last week with Terex, and was going to be transitioning into teaching. So having completed most of my finishing tasks with Terex, I had a lot of time to train...and that I did. Piling 2 huge weeks with solid intensity I figured I would be in for a rough week the following, but surprisingly my body was responding well and wanted more punishment. I had gone nearly 18 days without a full day off, and surprised I was still firing on nearly all cylinders. I wanted to try to get in one last big week, and then roll into a recovery week before my half ironman coming up on April 27th. Well, midway through the week the wheels fell off. Its amazing how well you can feel one workout, and then wake up the next day and be flatter than a pancake! I talked to Andy and strategized the plan leading up to the half, which clearly included a couple days off!

So I took the day off leading into the 5k, and went in with the mentality that I would run with the leaders for the first 2 miles, then pull away in the last mile, finishing 15-20 seconds clear of the field. Sounds easy on paper.

I woke up feeling good race morning after the day off, and thought if im going to run pretty comfortable in the race I might as well rack up some miles before the i went for a nice easy 5 mile warm up, ran the course and checked out some of the local area before getting back to the start line, stretching and toeing the line. There was a 1 mile kids fun run, and a 5k that were starting at the same time, and sure enough, every 7 year old kid wanted to be starting right on the front line haha, which was fine with me because I was going in just to have fun with it and hopefully win a cool trophy! They shot the gun and the kids and I were off.

after about 200 meters of little kids screaming and sprinting, I weeded my way through them and noticed another kid, bigger than the elementary kids, but still a "child" way out in front and looking very fluent. I figured he had to be about 13-14 years old, and definitely in the 5k, so I opened it up a bit and closed the gap. Took me about 3/4 mile, but I comfortably closed the gap and greeted the kid. We ran together shoulder to shoulder up until the mile then he started to drop back...we hit the mile in 5:39. At this point I'm thinking OK, this kid got out hard and is clearly talented for his age, lets do a little coaching and see how tough he I started to give him some words of encouragement, telling him to stay right on my tail and ill block the wind etc.

When we hit the turn around I could tell the kid was hurting, but a true fighter. He was not letting go of me without giving it everything he had, and I respected that big time! The fact that he didn't quit and say that guy is way older and coming second to him is good, ill just run comfort zone the rest of the way really stood out to me. He was gritting his teeth, breathing heavily...he was All In!

There was a short steep incline for about a minute after the turn around, and I let the kid know that if we are going to really push the pace up the slope here, then its all flat/downhill the rest of the way. I started to turn it over and with each stride he was hanging tough not letting me get out of reach.

Once we crested the hill I settled back into our early pace and kept yelling at the kid to hang tough, 1 mile left, anything to encourage him for a great race up to this point, but to make sure he finished it and wasn't satisfied with 2/3 of a great race.

His pace started to slip after cresting the hill and I was gaping him. At this point I thought to myself, what would I rather do, really lay the hammer down and go get my sweet trophy? Or do I continue to pace this kid to probably the greatest run he has ever had? I have always enjoyed coaching that age group of kids, and it was a no brainer at that point. I pulled back on the reins a little bit and let the kid close the gap and get within reach this point in the race we were probably averaging just over 5:40s through 2 miles and change, and the last bit of the race was gradual downhill. I again gave the kid some encouraging words, and he was back into the stellar pace he started out at, he came around quick and was really moving now.

As we turned on the very last road and headed home we were just over a half mile to go in the race...and I thought to myself "What do i do? Do I kick it in and drop him here? Is this race really worth anything? If I do kick it in and finish with a 17:25, do I or anyone else really benefit from this? What about my trophy?

Meanwhile I am filling this kid with everything verbally I could to keep him on pace and to finish strong. I was so stoked at how he was fighting out there, and when I looked back to see his face, the pure grit and determination to hang on, to not let the race go, to take a huge risk and stand by that point I knew what I was going to do...the kid had earned the race and he absolutely deserved the glory!

As we approached the final 300 meters, his family was in the distance and they were going ballistic! They were so happy for him, and that's when I told the kid you have less than one minute left in the race...Finish It! And that he did...he took off, I countered him stride for stride, and I looked down at my Garmin ..we were ticking off 4:40s over that last 300 meters...unbelievable!

Over the last 40 meters I took my foot off the gas and let him enjoy the moment. I could still hear his family going berserk behind me. I came in a few strides behind him, and its a good thing I shut it down when I did because the overall results showed him with a 17:41.2, and me at 17:41.7! And if that time isn't impressive enough, the Garmin clocked it at 3.19 miles for an avg pace of 5:32 min/mi!

Matt and Friend at the finish line.
The kid came up to me after the race and thanked me for pacing him, which showed a lot about his character. An appreciative kid who laid it all out on the line...I hope my kids are like him because that is picture perfect!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Chris

Finishing us out is Chris with lots of great info, answering"What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?" In cased you've missed it, InchSaraRobMichelleSarahJPStu, and Charlie have all provided answers.

My favorite sets (as opposed to more general workouts) are always done in groups. I have always thrived athletically when part of a strong team. For years my primary training strategy has been to seek out the strongest athletes in each discipline and train with them as often as possible. Although I am not actively coaching triathletes now, I dug into my workout sets for a few of my favorites.

For a main set I really like this classic sprinters set from my high school days. Attribution goes to Jim Runkle who coached the Peoria Woodruff High School team and the C.I.A. club team I swam on.

The basic block for this main set is:
75yd rest 10 sec
50yd rest 5 sec
25yd rest 45 sec

This doesn’t look too bad on paper, but it is meant to be done all-out. Each block totals 150 yards. If you can string 10 of these together without yakking, you’ll come out the other side a better triathlete!

OK, switching gears to long course training for this one. Over time this workout has become a key benchmark during my Ironman training. This is not a base-phase workout. In fact, the only time you are likely to successfully complete it is during your build or peak phases. Again, I think this looks quite manageable on paper. It is the last hour (and specifically the last 30 minutes of that hour) at 80-85% of Functional Threshold Power (FTP) that always gets me. I’ve probably done this workout 10 times and successfully completed the whole thing twice. A word to the wise is to stay within the ranges early on! Credit for the basic structure of this workout goes to coach Mike Ricci from D3 Multisport.
20 minute easy warm up
1 hour at 65%
1 hour at 70-75%
10 min easy at 50%
1 hour at 75-80%
5 min easy at 50%
1 hour at 80-85%
15 min at 90%

Cool down.

With run workouts I am a big believer in teaching your body to run fast when you are tired. Much of what I do is designed to be faster at the end than the beginning. I try to negative split all of my long runs and tempo runs. I also incorporate some harder efforts into all of my long runs. The track workout below uses decreasing distances to help teach your legs to turnover when fatigued.

15 minute easy warm-up
1600m @5K pace
400 very easy jog
1200m @3K pace
400 very easy jog
2X800 @2 mile pace
200m jog between the 800s
4X400m @ mile pace

1 minute recovery between quarters10 minute cool-down

Monday, April 22, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Charlie

Charlie's up! Read below to know how he answers,"What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?" In cased you've missed it, InchSaraRobMichelleSarah, JP, and Stu have all provided answers. 

My favorite workouts lately have been the progressively longer runs that my wife and I did with our third daughter Signe in preparation for the Louisiana Marathon. We have 4 daughters and have encouraged each of them to run a marathon with us while they are in high school. With 4 children we've really enjoyed some one-on-one time with each of them preparing for their marathons. We intentionally do not set any time goal - it's all just about running together and soaking up the day. They have each finished the marathons with such a sense of accomplishment - the experience of setting a big goal, preparing for it, and successfully completing it has really taught them a lot about life in general. So many people have things they want to accomplish in life but never figure out how to do it. Hopefully this marathon experience will teach our daughters to dream big, go after those special things in life wholeheartedly and not give up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts - Stu

Now it's Stu's turn to answer, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?" In cased you've missed it, InchSaraRobMichelle, Sarah, and JP have all provided answers. 

My favorite workout is always the long run, it is a great way to end the week.  In the past, my long runs where at a (relatively) very slow place, often as slow as 9+ min pace.  This last session, my long runs were just :45 seconds slower than my race pace.  With my race pace at 7:30, my long runs were 8:15 pace.  I felt so much stronger and on race day, I had a lot more confidence since my long runs were closer to race pace.  I'm always near my home on long run days, so often this is a workout where I get to see many of my friends along the way.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Team Q&A - Favortite Workouts: JP

Read on for how JP tackles the question, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?" In cased you've missed it, InchSaraRobMichelle, and Sarah, have all provided answers. 

I LOVE riding bikes.  I like to imagine myself as Tom Boonen, taking rough roads and giving them the beating they deserve.  My favorite ride is called the ABP ride.  Always Be Pushing.  Three hours of hard, honest riding. Nothing crazy, but always switched on.  For swimming- I honestly don’t try to think about it.  I think I have blocked it out of my head.  I just show up at master’s and do it. For running, I just like runs when I feel floaty.  I can’t predict it but when I have the feeling I just roll with it and run fast. As you can see, I'm not much of a thinker.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Sarah

Following up on Inch and Sara, Rob, and Michelle. Sarah now let's us know, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?"

I'll be honest, I've been ignoring swimming lately - really, really ignoring it.  One of my choice workouts when I do get to the pool, though, is a 600 warm-up (200 swim, 200 kick, 200 swim) followed by 10 x 100 at race pace with 20 seconds of rest. Cooldown is a final 200. For biking, one of my favorite workouts is a 20 minute warm-up followed by 3 x 10 minute intervals at half -ironman pace with 5 min recovery between followed by a cool down to total 1:30. For running, hands down my favorite workout is grabbing a friend and going out for 2+ hours. We talk, laugh, and enjoy strengthening our friendship. The fact that we get a great run in while doing it is just an added bonus. I'm always amazed at how fast I actually run with a partner. It’s not uncommon for me to hit paces on a long, slow run that I can’t hit during my attempts at solo tempo paces!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Michelle

We've heard from Inch and Sara, and Rob. Now Michelle lets us know, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?"

I know everyone is going to think I'm leaking out on this question, but I really am NOT! I have NO favorite workouts. There is no workout that stands out in my mind that compels me to feel love or adoration! However, workouts that I REALLY look forward to and literally can’t sleep the night before over are testing sessions. This is when I determine my state of affairs at the time. If it’s at the beginning of the season, they are used to plan workouts and set up goals. If it’s done as the season progresses, they are used to gauge progress. All very important elements of training. So, no, they are not my favorite but, yes, the ones I most look forward to.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Robby

We've heard from Inch and Sara, now Rob gets to answer, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?"

I can't lie. I love swimming. There are so many great sets, but one of my favorites that it's easy to riff on is a pyramid. Recently, my preferred size is 100/200/400/200/100. You can play with these values to match your current strengths and even add some toys to make it fun. Or, you can use a pull buoy on the way up and just swim on the way down. Mix in some kicks, too. Start fast and end slow on the way up and reverse it on the way down; the possibilities are pretty close to endless. On the bike, I usually just ride, but if I have any fun, it's to act like a dog and chase vehicles as they pass you. Or, chase after a telephone pole in the distance, etc. On two feet, tempo runs are my go to. (Just like Sara!) A good way to get the heart pumping and build some endurance.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Team Q&A - Favortie Workouts: Sara Z

We're continuing our team Q&A asking the team, "What's your favorite workout in each discipline?" Inch kicked us off. Next up, Sara Z:

For swimming, I like a good hard set in the middle or at the end of some 200s descending. My coach has set this ridiculous time that I’m chasing, and even though I’m not there yet, it keeps me on my toes. For me, 200 is far enough that I can’t go all-out but I definitely need to push hard, so I think it’s great to simulate the end of a sprint or olympic race when I’m really trying to push the pace.

On the bike, I have to say I've seen great improvement with hills. I have a love/hate relationship with hills. I love what they do for my riding, but I HATE riding up them and I curse them while I’m climbing. Lucky for me I don’t live on the right side of town for many hills (ha! take that hills!) but this summer I really want to head east a bit so I can get some good work in on them.

And on the run, nothing beats a good hard tempo run. 2 miles to warm up, 2-3 miles at tempo, and 2 miles to cool down. It doesn't take more than an hour and is a good quality run that kicks my butt and makes me stronger, so I’m a big fan of that.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Team Q&A - Favorite Workouts: Matt Inch

We're kicking off a new question in our Q&A series. This time we asked the team, "What's your favorite workouts for each discipline?" Matt Inch starts us off:

SWIM: Picking my favorite swim workout was pretty easy. Growing up as a swimmer, I have had the luxury of having many coaches with many different training philosophies which in turn provides many different workouts. My favorite of all time is 10 x 200. Back in my prime in high school I could hold a 2:20 interval, coming in between 2:05-2:10 for each 200, but as I aged and picked up two other sports to train for, my interval has gone up a little bit, but could probably still hold 2:40-2:45. Maybe it’s time to give this workout a go!

BIKE: Biking is a hard discipline to pick a favorite workout because there are so many varieties of sets. If I had to pick one it would have to be my frequent freshman year in college workout. Get back from class, jump on the trainer, turn on the PlayStation and spin and play Madden. It sounds tacky, but playing video games while biking on the trainer helped big time for me. It kept me on the trainer longer than if I was just watching TV or listening to music. Playing 2 games would have had me on the trainer for 90 minutes, which would feel like an ironman bike to me without the distraction of the game. As funny as it sounds too, playing sports video games really has indirect intervals built into it! Whenever the ball was snapped I would find myself with a higher cadence and power because I felt like I was in the game actually running the ball. It seems outrageous, but these trainer video game sessions back in the day really kick started my cycling career!

RUN: Similar to biking (minus the video games) I have had a lot of coaches with lots of workouts to choose from, but there is nothing better in my mind than repeat miles at the track. Anywhere from 3-7 of them with an 800 easy recovery jog between. Repeat miles are grueling but so rewarding in my eyes. Especially because I am constantly converting all my runs into my min/mile pace. So what’s better than to see your true min/mile pace than run hard miles on the track. Bring it on!

Enjoy, and let me know how these workouts rank on your all-time favorites!