If you do enough workouts on the track eventually it can become difficult to come up with new and interesting ideas for what to run (although personally, I believe any time I get to run on the track its fun no matter what the workout is). Therefore, I decided I would post some of my favorite track workouts to help give you some ideas.
Today’s workout is 4 x 1000 meters/300 meters. The 1000 meters is run at or just faster than 5K pace followed by the 300 meters at mile pace. I heard of this workout in a Running Times podcast interview of Pete Rea (coach of ZAP Fitness) called Your Last Hard Workout. The podcast actually lists a few workouts that Pete uses with the ZAP Fitness team, this happens to be my favorite of the bunch.
What makes this workout so fun for me is the mixing of different paces, which is also what makes it challenging. I always seem to have a hard time getting back to 5K pace after that first 300. I really like to use this workout as part of my training for a 5K or shortly before a 10K (makes the 10K pace feel much easier). As far as rest goes, I use a 200 meter jog between the 1000 and the 300 and then a 400 meter jog between the 300 and 1000.
I hope you find this workout as enjoyable as I do. Please let me know what you think of it. Or if you have any favorite workouts you would like to tell me about feel free to leave me a comment. I will try and post a new workout every so often.
Have you made any running related New Year’s resolutions for this year, or are you one of those types that doesn’t believe in resolutions? The way I look at it, resolutions are just goals for the year. When it comes to running setting goals is major part of improving. Below are some pointers on setting running goals (resolutions).
To help explain my tips I will use one of my running resolutions for 2009 as an example. My resolution is to run sub 4:00 for the 1500 and sub 16:00 for the 5000 (either on the track or in a certified road race).
Tip #1: Make your resolutions measurable. Some common resolutions might be to run faster or further or to loose weight. While these are great goals, they are very ambiguous. This makes it much harder to stay focused on your goal. Instead you should say specifically how much faster or farther you want to run or how much weight you want to loose. Before I picked my resolution for this year I had already decided I wanted focus on developing my speed in 2009. So then by picking goals that will require me to improve my speed I now have a specific goal that I can measure my progress towards.
Tip #2: Put your resolution in writing. By putting your resolution in writing you make it a bit more official than if remains just a thought in your head and you will be more likely to stick to it. Ideally you would right your resolution someplace like in the front of your training log where you will see it everyday as a reminder of what you are working towards. I actually prefer to take it a step further and let other people know what my resolutions are. This puts a bit more pressure on me to stick to the resolution. For some people this might add a bit too much pressure. Also, I never know who might have a suggestion that could really help me achieve my goals. So by talking about them with people I have more chances to get some help.
Tip #3: Make your resolution realistic. This is probably the most important of the three tips. If you make your resolution so outrageous that there is absolutely no way you will ever achieve it you will loose your motivation very quickly. Of course the flip side of this is also a problem. If you make your resolution so easy that it doesn’t require any effort on your part to achieve it you won’t have gained anything. For me a sub 4:00 1500 and sub 16:00 5000 is a very ambitious goal. In fact, I this will now be the third year I have made this resolution (this will be my year to reach my goal, I can feel it). Even though I didn’t actually achieve these times the past two years I have made them my resolution I still honestly believe that I am capable of running those times so I have never lost my motivation to work towards them.
Hopefully you find these tips at least a little bit helpful. When you have something specific that you are shooting for it makes your running much more enjoyable and meaningful, plus it is much easier to motivate yourself to get out and train. If you are like me and like to let other people know what your resolutions are please leave me a comment stating your goals. I wish you all the best of luck in reaching your running goals for 2009.
Start of the men's race
When I was running XC in high school one of my favorite courses was always Lake Sammamish State Park. In fact, 19 years ago I had one of my all time best XC races on that course, the 1989 JV KingCo race. On November 15th at the Eastside Runners XC Invitational I got a chance to relive some of the excitement of racing on that course (at least one very similar to the one we ran in high school).
Start of the women's race
You couldn’t have asked for a better day to run the inaugural 5K Eastside Runners XC Invitational. The weather was cool yet sunny and thanks to the rain earlier in the week there was no shortage of mud on the course. Based on the turnout for the races (I haven’t seen the final results so I’m not exactly sure how many runner there were, I’ll up date this post as soon as I see the results) I would say the first running of this Invitational was an overwhelming success. The mud, sand, soft grass and sharp turns made this flat, fast course challenging enough to have a real XC feel to it. And the Eastside Runners did an excellent job designing and marking the course as well with all aspects of running the meet. Also, there was a great mix of runners competing. So the more advanced runners had plenty of competition up front while at the same time it was a great race for beginners to get to experience the joys of running XC. Hopefully this race will continue to grow year after year. Who knows, maybe it will inspire a few other running clubs to put on XC races and eventually we could maybe have a mini club XC season of race here in the Puget Sound area.
For more photos from the Eastside Runners XC Invitational please check out the NWRR flickr site as well as some photos from Eastside Runners.
Below are the top ten finishers in each age group. For full results please see the Eastside Runners website.
1 Chirstina Sayed 33:15
2 Janessa Darr 24:46
High School Girls
1 Kelly Brown 21:48
2 Carlie Boyle 23:16
1 Kayti Kredel 19:55
2 Marie Kiekhaefer 21:19
3 Stephanie Kiracofe 22:17
4 Margaret Hanscom 22:24
5 Stephanie Sackman 25:13
1 Rose Wetzel 18:20
2 Lia Slemons 18:26
3 Susan Ashlock 18:33
4 Megan Johnson 18:45
5 Erika Daligcon 19:22
6 Andrea Garvue 19:49
7 Claire Hoffman 19:55
8 Camille Connelly 20:03
9 DiDi Martiniello 20:08
10 Erica Pitman 20:09
Masters Women 40-49
1 Karen Steen 19:01
2 Alyssa Tower 19:05
3 Christina Ashby 19:45
4 Shelley Neal 20:02
5 Carla Darr 20:09
6 Francie Faure 21:30
7 Heather Slee 21:50
8 Molly Hurd 22:05
9 Erin Finnegan 22:08
10 Julie Westcott 23:20
Masters Women 50-59
1 Debbie Newell 24:40
2 Sabina Hawkins 25:49
3 Sherri Prather 28:40
4 Antonette Zagala-Bishop 35:59
5 Sherry Stout 43:05
1 Landon Petterson 19:00
2 Robert Sekinger 22:55
3 Jake Howe 23:34
4 Troy Horn 25:44
5 Parker Hansen 26:26
High School Boys
1 Aiden Irish 15:55
2 Taylor Guske 16:48
3 Andrew Van Ness 17:22
4 Chad Skiles 17:41
5 Michael Milbank 18:47
6 Nick Howe 18:58
7 Nolan Welfringer 20:54
8 Mitch Gogert 21:07
9 Neil Vincent Roberts 21:42
10 Carsen Dean 24:02
1 Mike Sayenko 15:12
2 Brian Conrath 15:16
3 Jon Murray 15:18
4 John Timeus 15:26
5 Caleb Knox 15:39
6 Yon Yilma 15:50
7 Brett Winegar 15:57
8 Jon Hickey 16:02
9 Ahrlin Bauman 16:03
10 Scott Halliday 16:11
Masters Men 40-49
1 Tony Young 16:01
2 Sean Messiter 16:39
3 Kevin McGinnis 16:54
4 Paul Abdalla 16:57
5 Carl Winter 17:06
6 John O’Hearn 17:06
7 Bob Brennand 17:19
8 John Guza 17:24
9 Doug Babbit 17:48
10 Lance Logan 18:00
Masters Men 50-59
1 Michael Smith 17:03
2 Henry Wigglesworth 17:39
3 Mark Billet 17:53
4 Denis Villeneuve 18:34
5 Frederick Motteler 18:36
6 Michael Allison 18:41
7 Bob Prather 18:45
8 Jerry Zyskowski 18:55
9 Win Van Pett 19:09
10 Chuck Dooley 20:37
Masters Men 60+
1 Jim McGill 22:25
2 Rod Brown 24:24
3 Steve McCracken 26:04
4 Gary Wright 32:27
To be a runner you have to be very determined and focused if you want to get in the necessary training to be your best. However, when it comes to choosing what types of races to run the extremely focused mindset of most runners can some times cause problems. I have noticed that a lot of runners tend to latch onto a particular race distance and focus on it year after year. They may throw in a race of another distance every now and then but more as a training run than an actual race.
These days it seems like the marathon is the race that gets the most attention. From beginning runners to experienced runners, that attitude that the marathon is the ultimate racing goal is spreading. Although, its not just the marathon, no matter what the distance you will find runners who have convinced themselves that it is the only one for them. While its true that it usually takes several tries at racing a certain distance to get the hang of it, if you keep running the same race over an over eventually your progress with hit a plateau at best or you could even start getting slower if you are racing the same distance too frequently (you see this a lot with frequent marathoners).
My suggestion is to try running some races that are completely different that what you are used to. Not just throw in a few 5K’s or a half-marathon here and there, but to take a full year and really switch your focus to a new type of racing. I hear a lot of marathoners say that they can’t race the shorter races because they can’t handle the speed work. And a lot of runners who focus on the shorter races say they can’t handle the higher mileage needed for a marathon. While I’m sure there are some runners out there who truly couldn’t handle some faster paced training or higher mileage, in most cases the problem is that the increase in intensity or volume is don’t too quickly. This is why I suggest dedicating a whole year to trying something new. If you have a full year to gradually adjust your focus in training you can take your time and avoid the injuries that come from sudden changes in intensity or volume.
When I was little my dad decided he wanted to run a marathon. So he started training like crazy and he ran a couple marathons. But the main thing I remember about his experience was him saying that after he ran the marathon he saw huge improvements in his 10K times. That always stuck with me. And in 2007 I decided to switch my focus to the marathon and give it a try. I’ve always been a shorter distance guy; my favorite event is the 1500 meters. So speed came much easier to me than endurance. I slowly built my mileage up to almost 90 miles per week, the most I had ever done before was about 60 per week. Eventually I realized that I actually enjoyed my 20 milers. When race day came, even though I didn’t have a great race, I still really enjoyed the experience and look forward to trying another marathon sometime in the future. But more importantly, when I returned to focusing on my shorter racing I found that I was way stronger and my times began improving by quite a bit.
So if you are constantly running marathons or other long races, try taking a year to focus on some 5K’s (or even do some track and XC racing) and you will be amazed how the speed you develop during this time will make your marathon pace feel much easier when you return to that distance. And if you are always sticking with the shorter races, try focusing on the half or full marathon for a year and then when you go back to your shorter racing you will find that you are much stronger and able to hold faster pace for longer.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this training method, or if you have tried it in the past let me know how it worked for you.
I want to start by saying that in my opinion there is no such thing as an ideal stride that is best for everyone. Individual runners will have to find their own ideal stride. For a good example of this just look at elite runners. Haile Gebereselassie lifts his feet very high off the ground and lands mainly on his toes. While Abdi Abdirahman barely lifts his feet off the ground at all and lands very much on his heals. Yet they both have had a great deal of success with their particular running styles.
Humans are made for running (I mean that literally, check out this article that talks about how running shaped the evolution of humans) and therefore your natural stride will most likely be your most efficient stride, or at least quite close to it. By that I am talking about if you tend to land more on your heals or your toes or anywhere in between when you run. A natural heal striker will most likely always find running at least slightly more on his heals to be more efficient than landing on his toes. That’s not to say that you can’t and shouldn’t work to improve the efficiency of your stride. Running is like most things in life, the more you do it the efficient you will become.
One thing to keep in mind when working on improving your stride is your stride rate. It has been found that the most efficient stride rate is right around 180 steps per minute. Once again, since everyone is different, the ideal number will be slightly different for each person. A good experiment to try is when you are out on a run and in a good rhythm along a flat stretch, count how many times your right foot hits the ground in one minute. Then double that and you have your stride rate. If your stride rate is way below 180 you most likely are over striding and probably landing mostly on your heals. And if you are well over 180 you are probably chopping your stride while running up on your toes. By focusing on either shortening your stride and increasing your turn over or lengthening your stride, which ever way will get you closer to that 180 steps per minute, during your runs you should eventually start to feel like your stride is getting smoother.
If you have any stories of how you have been able to improve your stride to become a better runner I would love to hear them.
Entrance to Moran State Park
Here in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have an almost endless supply of beautiful locations to run. One of the most beautiful of those locations is Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Just a little over an hour long ferry ride from Anacortes, Orcas Island is a perfect location for a weekend running trip or even just a day trip. Once you are on Orcas Island the best place for running is Moran State Park.
- Trail around Cascade Lake
Moran State Park is a little over 5,000-acres in size and has nearly 40 miles of trails, most of which were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930s. While running the trails within Moran State park you will enjoy views of lakes, streams, waterfalls, Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, Canadian Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountains. These trails are especially good if you like hills. There’s not a lot of flat terrain in Moran State Park. However, you can find some routes that aren’t too difficult. The 2.7-mile loop around Cascade Lake only has small rolling hills. At the other end of the spectrum is the trail to the top of Mount Constitution. This trail gains over 2,000-feet in 4.3 miles. But when you get to the top you will be rewarded with some of the best views you will ever see.
If you would like to try running in Moran State Park but don’t want to do it by yourself there is always the Orcas Island Fat Ass 50K and 25K
in February. This run provides a great course around the State Park, a t-shirt and a post race party and concert. Plus, if you sign up early enough you can even spend the weekend at Camp Moran, the Park’s retreat center (and where I spent a week in 6th grade as part of Robert Frost Elementary School’s outdoor education program, good times).
- View from the top of Mount Constitution
For more information on Orcas Island and Moran State Park visit these websites:
Whether you are trying to make it onto the Northwest Runner Best Times List or just looking to set a PR that you can be certain is legit, it is always nice to run a race where the course has been certified. Here is a list of all the races I could find in Washington with certified courses for the rest of 2008. I will also post this list on the Race Schedule page of this site. I will do my best to keep the list on the Race Schedule page up to date. Please let me know if there are any corrections or additions that need to be made.
Leavenworth Marathon and Half Marathon – http://www.leavenworthmarathon.com/
Rotary Run at Salmon Days 5K and 10K – Issaquah – 10K is PNTF 10K Road Race Championship – http://www.promotionevents.com/RotaryRun/info.htm
City of Hope 5K – Seattle – http://www.cityofhope.org/giving/fundraising-events/walk-for-hope/seattle/Pages/default.aspx
Fall Frolic Foot Race 5K and 10K – Kennewick – http://www.3rrr.org/?f=4002&activityId=386
Spokane Marathon, Half Marathon and 5 Miler – http://www.spokanemarathon.us/
Sun City Half Marathon and 5K – Yakima – http://www.hcrunners.org/
Race Judicata 5K – Seward Park, Seattle – http://www.active.com/page/Event_Details.htm?event_id=1602854&assetId=cc936cdc-ca56-48fa-b0db-7350990cbf95
Pumpkin Push 5K – Seward Park, Seattle – http://www.pumpkinpush.com/
Tri-Cities Marathon – Richland – flat and fast – http://www.3rrr.org/?f=4002&activityId=369
Fowl Fun Run 10K – Mount Vernon – flat – http://skagitrunners.org/fowlfunrun.shtml
Columbia River Classic 10 Miler – Richland – http://www.3rrr.org/?f=4002&activityID=375
Watch Your Speed 5K – Fircrest
Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon – http://www.seattlemarathon.org/
Christmas Rush 5K and 10K – Kent – flat – http://www.ci.kent.wa.us/arts/page.aspx?id=1424
Jingle Bell Run 5K – Westlake Center, Seattle – http://www.seattlejinglebellrun.org/
The 12K’s of Christmas – Kirkland – http://www.12ksofchristmas.com/
Christmas Marathon – Millersylvania State Park, Olympia