Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Webb, Mottram and Mike

According to my wife I escaped being dragged into the vortex by mere seconds this morning. Apparently our son Finn roared to life just as I started my drive to the parking lot of the strip mall, which is about as close as I can get to the high school track without a parking permit. An easy two miles out and back, then a change of the shoes and I'm off for a last mile of warm up before reaching the track. The high school team was just finishing up (must have been a quick one as it was only 6:45), so I amused them with some skips, butt kicks and strides on the infield while they cooled down. Eventually they started to scatter and I took to the track for my first of three 800's.

I did this same workout last week and hit 2:27, 2:27 and 2:26, and I was hoping to be a little faster this time. In an email from Mystery Coach he wrote "...with good weather you'll probably find yourself in the 2:25 range with less effort than last week but remember relaxation first. Let your legs carry you to the faster times don't muscle your way to them (Think Mottram not Webb)."

Maybe it was the good result from Sunday rattling in my brain, or perhaps it was the nice run I had yesterday, but for whatever reason I took off like a shot. The problem is, this is supposed to be a building-type of workout where my last repeat is the fastest and hopefully the most relaxed, so starting this fast would probably cost me. 36 at the turn, 72 at 400, then stop the watch at 2:23. I don't think I've ever run an 800 this fast, and it would be hard for me to top. I guess running the second 400 of it with one shoe untied must have helped. An easy 800 jog found me at the line for number two, and this time I could feel the legs start to fill at about 300 meters. Seeing 73 at the halfway mark validated my thinking that I had slowed a little, so I really concentrated during the second lap on just tapping the ground and pushing off again quickly. 2:24.

I was back to walking now for the first 50 as I tried to catch my breath, and then I continued on with my recovery 800. As I neared the line this time I decided to take advantage of an extra lap of jogging, as it seemed I could use it and the coach had mentioned using anywhere from 800-1600 for the recovery if need be. I spent the next lap trying to relax and clear my mind of any anxiety over hitting a specific pace, though I really wanted to dig my way back to 2:23. With a push on the watch I was off again, and by the first 200 I was starting to feel it. After getting around in 72 I once again pushed through the first turn, but by the time I made it out onto the straightaway the limbs started to tingle, the legs got heavy, and I just couldn't stay as smooth as I had for the first two. I started muscling through it, like Alan Webb (plus 18 seconds a quarter), and a surge through the last 100 landed me again at 2:24. I wish I would have eased into the workout more, but hopefully I'll get it right next time and finish faster.

Three slow laps on the dirt around the ballfields on campus and a jog back to the car gave me 10 miles on the day, and also revealed a little tweak to the left hamstring. I blame the skipping, that stuff will kill you. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about, though I'll monitor it tonight during 6 easy miles with the Running Shop gang.

The rest of the morning was perfect, as Kiera had timed it so that my waffle came out of the iron just after I arrived home. Afterwards she got her run in, Haiden and I had time for a bicycle ride to school, and everyone lived happily ever after. Yes, I'm feeling good.

Training: 10 miles, w/3x800 in 2:23 (800), 2:24 (800), 2:24 (800)


Bench said...

Hey good session. Keep going with the fast relaxed running, it's the way to get quicker. Like a hydrofoil, it's easier when you stand up and run off your hips.

I certainly find it helps when I run tall, speed follow good technique... try walking before skipping, maybe.

Phil said...

Yeh .. you gotta watch that skipping. Great workout. The kids on the track team must have been amazed by the "old guy" streaking around the track.

Thomas said...

Last week was already smoking fast. This week you're even 3 seconds faster. That's awesome speed, even if you got it slightly wrong with the first one.

runmad said...

Just a very general comment...

I don't claim to be an expert on the Lydiard system (I'll leave that to Nobby), but it seems that you are too beholden to the stopwatch. I've followed your blog from the beginning, and there have probably been only a handful of runs when a time wasn't attached to the end of a posting.

The general gist of the Lydiard system is to "run how you feel." Sure, knowing your time for certain runs is important, but I think for at least two (or three) runs a week you should leave the watch at home and just run how you feel and not worry about time.

Mystery Coach?

Mystery Coach said...

runmad, Quite the opposite I don't set times for Mike to run, if anything he probably has learned to "run how you feel" in the last year. I give very general speed advice to him and tell him what effect he should be looking for. You can thank Garmin for the wealth of running data that he provides in his blog.

Eric said...

Baloney. Lydiard had watches on his guys and gals just like any other coach. The stories about him not timing some workouts are true, but those were specific situations where the times were irrelevant and the effort is what mattered. Not using a watch just emphasized the goal of the workout.

Recording the fact that you ran X miles in x:xx:xx on any given day is not in any way untrue to Lydiard's principles. And it's not very useful to look back at a log that says, three days out of seven:

"Ran for a while. Felt pretty good. Not sure how far. Not sure how fast."

"Ran a bit less than yesterday. Wasn't feeling the best. Not sure why."

"Really feeling strong today. Not sure why, as I have no objective information at all in my log since I smashed my watch..."

Marc said...

Skippidy doo dah - Great workout. I'm sure you'll get it right next time, though 2:23, 2:24, and 2:24 isn't exactly getting it wrong considering last week's workout.

Abadabajev said...

2:23 800m very nice.
that's a 4:54 mile. Impressive.

Bench said...

Thanks for the comments, just a note on my walking comment.

with the walking as opposed to skipping try to slow your running down to the point that you can hold a position where you're at fun knee-lift and about to toe off. skipping also really good as long as you move from slow to fast. hope this helps

Homeslice said...

That's fast stuff...a little more conservative start and you'll be flying.