Sunday, July 29, 2007

Guitar Hero Link

I guess Guitar Hero has finally reached Colorado. If you want the definitive source for seemingly everything Guitar Hero, go to my buddy Jake Odell's blog. (I have a link for it on the left.) Sift through the libertarian stuff, and the RPG posts, and you will find two or three "insider information" posts on Guitar Hero.

It's pretty cool, actually, as I recognize a lot of those songs. I admit, I have never played it, but it does sound like it could be a lot of fun at parties! I wish that Beth and I could have gotten down to his house this summer to see them, but as you all know, family trips back East are packed to the minute with family stuff, so we simply didn't have time.

Booooo overscheduling, hoooo-raaaay understanding friends!!

Specificity and Variety

Two contradictory terms, but two terms that should be linked when one is training for any individual sport that requires strength, endurance and speed. I want to put up a quick post explaining what each of these terms mean and how they go together when designing a successful training plan.

Specificity means that to be successful, you have to do your sport. If you are a golfer, you have to golf. If you are a cyclist, you have to ride your bike. Runners run, swimmers swim. “All other forms of training are substitutes that to varying degrees fall short “ (1) Simple enough. Variety is the opposite, it means that an athletes training should be varied, the athlete should do different things; such as runners lifting weights, cyclists running in sand dunes, and golfers doing yoga. The secret is weaving these two ideas together.

The general rule that I try to follow depends on what time of year it is. Early season, I try to emphasize variety. Studies have shown that sand running, as supposed to regular track intervals, improves the aerobic fitness and muscle structure of young untrained runners; however there is no difference for more experienced runners. (2) I try to apply this by having newer runners, earlier in the summer or earlier in the winter, partake in a variety of running styles. (Through deep snow, up sandy hills, Red Rocks) In fact, I think that early in the season, it is a good idea for all runners, regardless of experience, to participate in these “cross-training” activities. Cross training has been shown to produce certain psychological benefits as well. (3) It is a long season, we all know that. To expect a runner to stay focused with intervals and track work for that long of a time is futile. That is why I stress variety early in the season.

However, as the season progresses, specificity starts to take over. We stop doing Spenst Hill, we stop going to Red Rocks, and we start doing more track work. We phase out of the weight room, and we work more on hand-offs and waterfall starts. As the season gets closer to the final championship races, we need to be very specific and focused on what we do. Now, some schools of thought say in order “to run fast, you must touch on speed every day.” (4), but that can easily lead to injury. I believe that in order to run fast, you must do something that relates to racing, and do this more and more as the season gets closer and closer to the end. Of course you will do more intervals, but you will also do more specific techniques that help you in your racing (slingshots). We will still do hills, but in combination with turnover intervals, to stress our muscles more. The ultimate in specificity is to race your event every day. That would lead to burn-out and injury of course. But you can be specific, in different ways, which lead to success on the track.

To wrap everything up, it is not one simple rule. It is a complex blending of both of these ideas that breeds success. Endurance athletes, especially middle and long distance runners relay on very multifaceted training programs. To think that a single factor relates to performance would only take away from that athlete’s experience. (5)

(1) Morton, J. (1992) Don’t Look Back

(2) Yigit, S. S., & Tuncel, F. (1998) Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 12(2), 79-81.

(3) Foster, C., Hector, L. L., Welsh, R., Schrager, M., Green, M. A., & Snyder, A. C. (1995) European Journal of Applied Physiology, 70, 367-372.

(4) Coe, P. (1997) Better Training for Distance Runners

(5) Hewson, D. J., & Hopkins, W. G. (1996). International Journal of Sports Medicine, 17, 199-204.

EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that this post could be interpreted as an attack of some sort. I want to clarify that is is most certainly not an attack. It is just an explanation of training methods, similar to the posts about hills and long slow distance running I have rambled on about in the past.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


17th place overall, right behind a couple of fifty year olds, and right in front of another fifty year old!!! Not bad at all. Now you have to listen to my painful re-creation of the race.

The race was in Calhan Colorado, which is about 35 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. In other words, in the middle of freakin' nowhere! Driving there was a blast, as Zach and Steven and I got to see the Peyton High School. Check out their enrollment numbers, that is about the size of Sierra's track team!!! When we rolled up to the trailhead where the race was, i think we were all expecting trees. There were none. It was open, hot and dusty. Perfect running conditions! (sarcasm.)

We were pretty early, so we decided to walk/run the trail as our warm-up. It was a 6 km loop, and we only saw a few other people on the course while we warmed up. I knew the race was going to be tough at this point because the hills in the warm-up were not kicking, but certainly hitting gently, my ass. It was hot, my throat was raw, and I was getting a headache, and this was just the warm-up! Uf-da.

When we got back to the start line, Steven and Zach's families were there to cheer him on. (Mine were still back in NH) That was nice, and so was Steven's dad letting us take the Volvo! (Thanks Mike!) We changed into our race clothes at the car, I had to strip my sweat-soaked T-shirt off to put another T-shirt that would get sweat-soaked in the first kilometer, I put on my lucky red headband, and off to the start line!

There was a good crowd at the race, maybe about 50 people or so, and this great old cowboy with a pink bandanna was running the show. He was funny, to say the least. Gun goes off, everyone hits "start" on their watches, and down the hill we go.

My first kilometer, I tried to hold back, even though it was mostly downhill. I didn't want to put myself under with 5km to go! I passed through in 4:15. The second km, with a few little kicker uphills, I went through in 4:20. The third KM, with a much more significant uphill, long and gradual, I went through in 5:15. Then, I pulled my groin. Fatigued groin, as Roger Clemens would all it. Great, I guess good training for a race is not watching TV, golfing and napping. Fantastic. The fourth kilometer, which was a really tough uphill, I dragged my fatigued groin through in 6:30. Ouch. Remember, that's a kilometer, 1000 meters, not a mile, and I went through in 6:30. I suck. :)

Fifth km, I picked it up a bit, going through in 5:05 or so, then the last kilometer to the finish, I really pushed hard, and it must have been short, as I got through that one in 2:59. Total time, about 27 and a half minutes, less than ten minutes behind Steven (1st place in 20:05) and Zach (3rd place in 21.37). I made good on my challenge, although if it had been a ten km race, I would have been struggling to make the deadline!

Luckily, Steven's mom's camera died right as I was passing her on the course, so she couldn't get a photo of me racing. I probably look like this though.

After the awards and the post-race feed, we all decided to go to the El Paso County Fair down the street. With our race numbers, we would get in for free!! Sweet! Suffice to say, no one was paying admission, so our race numbers really weren't necessary. We pigged out on giant turkey legs, cheeseburgers, and candied apples. We all ate a little too much, as we couldn't finish the candied apples. But, I bet some deer in the City of Peyton is enjoying them!

Since I didn't win anything in the race, no prizes for 17th overall I guess, I tried my hand at a couple of carnival games. I played the one where you throw a ping-pong ball into a mini-fishbowl. If you win, you get a fish. Suffice to say, I won!
I won a diseased goldfish, and I know it was diseased because it died less that 18 hours later. Stupid goldfish. Oh well, R.I.P. Teva the goldfish.

So, that was our trip to the big race. It was a painful race, I was red-lining it the whole way, but it was still fun. Maybe next year I will train a little more for it!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Little late


This weekend has been a blur for me! Beth and I got brand new windows for the entire house, and it took literally all day Friday and into the late night Saturday to get them put in. It was a project where every new window presented a new problem, but they got done and they look great! Even got a new dog door put in the side of the house for Otis, and we built him a super cool ramp to get in and out.

Then, on Sunday Beth and I worked all day to paint all the new sills and get everything cleaned up. I still have to put up the bamboo blinds on the top floor, but I am hoping my brother can come over to help me out with that.

And I gotta get it all done today, because tomorrow I am actually going to try and race!! (Yep, you read that right.) Steven and Zach and I are heading to the El Paso County Fair for a 6km trail race. I am throwing down the gauntlet now. I predict I will finish no more than ten minutes behind those two! They haven't been going to Red Rocks, I am have (if only doing ten stairs a day, but still...) So, I hope you are reading this, Zach and Steven, you are going to be getting chased!!!! :) :)

So, I assume that most of you are up at Western State Running camp right now, which is fantastic! I used to go to the O.T.C. in Lake Placid all the time for summer training camps are they were always such a blast! If you have been running on the schedule that I have been suggesting all summer, this should be your easy week, but don't worry about it, just have fun, go with the flow, and get some great miles in at altitude this week at camp. The recovery week can be next week, all of you are in such fantastic shape that you can easily handle two big weeks in a row!

If you didn't go to the Western State camp, and you are in town, then I think you should train lightly this week. I think that you should stick to the regular schedule, and take today off. Since it is a recovery week, you might want to go easy tomorrow as well. Wednesday, we will still be going to Red Rocks, if anyone would like to join us. (When I say us, it is because there is a good chance that Coach Hawk will be making an appearance.) Thursday and Friday should be slightly longer runs, maybe 45-60 minutes, to work on form and technique. Saturday, get some speed work in, longer intervals, maybe 3 minutes or so, and then Sunday should be a nice easy over-distance day, keep working on that base foundation.

Since we are getting closer to school starting, this will be the last week of work-outs I am posting. If you are running XC, then you should train with the XC team starting the 2 weeks before school. This summer will have been a good two months of solid training, which is what I have planned for in years past, and it will propel you into the XC season. If you are not running XC, and you want to keep training, I would love to help you out. Just respond on the blog, and we can get together and work out a schedule for you. I hope this is a satisfiable solution for everyone reading this, as this weekend has been tiring in other ways a well.

One final thing, I truly do appreciate the fact that everyone has been so dedicated this summer. It really does make me smile when I see so many kids show up to Red Rocks, or go to camp, or text me about the hours they spent running this summer. I know you did it for yourselves, and I am very happy that you are learning to do what you feel is best for you. It really does make me feel good. Thanks.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sunday is for Overdistance

As usual, Sunday morning or evening is for running a long, long, long time. Nice and slow, but continuous.

I alluded to perhaps being around the Bluffs Sunday to set up some water stations, but after reading the CHSAA guidelines, I realized that would be a bad thing to do. The rules are pretty clear about no Sunday contract, even if it is out-of-season, so I will be not around to help you in your work-outs.

But that dosen't mean you shouldn't get that long run in! Have fun, beat the heat, and stay hydrated!

Monday, July 16, 2007

One last thought

I forgot to mention, on Tuesday, if you are going to XC camp at the school, that's fine. If you are not going and you want to run up in the DTC, then that is fine too. Remember, you need to do what is best for your training, you are in charge!!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random Thoughts

Did anyone watch the TdF this morning? We saw that Micheal Rasmussen ride when we went a couple of years ago, but he has gotten ten times faster. He was FLYING up those mountains today, dropping some of the best athletes like they were dragging anchors. Amazing! If you are not watching the Tour, you really should. It is just phenomenal to witness!

Beth and I walked/ran/ski-walked the Bluffs today. If you get bored of running uphill, throw in a good session of exaggerated ski walking, it will keep your heart rate up, work your muscles, and give you a mental break from running!

Went bike riding with Coach Laster last night, he is going to work with us this winter and spring, and I am very excited about that development. I have a good idea what his role will be, and it will definitely make our team a lot stronger!

Last week was a medium level week, this week should be really difficult and stressful on your system. It is your last "hard" week of the summer, as school is creeping up on us faster than we think!

Monday, July 16th.--As usual, day off. Let your body recover from Sunday's long over distance day.

Tuesday, July 17th--What about meeting at my house again, 7:00 a.m., and going for another long run with some hills thrown in. I thought that was fun when we did it last month, we can try and go for a little longer this time.

Wednesday, July 18th--I will do my absolute best to not be late to to CHS Wednesday morning at seven for Red Rocks. Promise!

Thursday, July 19th--O.K. We have just done two hard days, so this day needs to be easy. Try and run for 45-60 minutes, super slow, super flat. This is a delicate balance, as this is our hard week, but we don't want to overdo it either.

Friday, July 20th--Another 60 minute run, but make it a creative run. Every ten minutes, stop and do some type of calisthenics. (push-ups, tuck jumps, sit-ups)

Saturday, July 21st--This needs to be your easy day, to rest up for tomorrow's over-distance day. Run for an easy 20-30 minutes, just to keep your legs loose.

Sunday, July 22nd--Go to the Bluffs and try to do one more lap then you have ever done. Go early in the morning, and really try and push yourself. If you have only ever done three laps consecutively, then try and get four. Or if you can only do two laps, try to do three. This could be your longest day of the summer, so be prepared! (Maybe I can make a guest apperance for sag wagon support!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Few Simple Rules

1. Try to avoid back-to-back high stress days. Work-outs that really drain you, (Red Rocks, Long Intervals, Over-distance) should have an easy day in between them. Every once in a while you will do two of these on consecutive days, and then you should definitely take a really easy day afterwards.

2. Long runs can be hard or easy, just add or subtract hills! A 60 minute run along Cherry Creek is easy. A 60 minute run around the Bluffs is hard.

3. If you are feeling burned out, or sick of running, that is normal; get your activity in by riding your bike, hiking, swimming, basketball, anything to get that heart rate up and give your running muscles a rest ever once in a while is totally fine.

If you did intervals on Tuesday, and Red Rocks today, go super easy tomorrow, do an easy long run Friday, cross train on Saturday and over-distance on Sunday. You want to gt fit, and to get fit requires stress and rest.

And as always, focus on good form when you are running!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Fantastic Work-Out

Here are some pictures from our trip back East. This was specifically from a hike Beth and Otis and I went on.

I will admit, on this trip I did a little too much eating and not enough exercising, but it was very fun nonetheless. I played a little golf (poorly), I went for a bike ride, we walked Otis quite a bit, and certainly ate my three square meals a day!

One morning, Beth and I decided to go for a hike in the White Mtns. of NH. My old stomping grounds, when I was in high school, these were the trails I lived on for two or three summers. We chose an easy hike, the hike up to the Zealand Falls hut. (That's the back country hut you see in the picture.)

A few mistakes were made, like parking three miles from the actual trail head, and forgetting bug spray, but those instances only added to the day. We ended up hiking/running ten miles altogether, getting some great pictures, and throughly exhausting our legs.

So, three hours, ten miles, hiking/jogging (jogging the flat parts of the trail), multiple snack breaks, and icing our feet in the mountain stream at the bottom. I would say that is the perfect description of an over-distance work-out. Too bad I can't get myself to that every week. (or maybe I can!)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Quick Work-Out Post

Wow, what a trip. More details later, as it was a really good time. I am very glad to be back in Denver though, even if my "To-Do" list is 15 items long! :)

This is a quick post, with the work-outs for this upcoming week. I hear XC camp starts this week. Remember, my work-outs are only suggested, not the law, and you can choose with your own free will to train however you want to.

Here we go:

Monday--7/9--Day off. Monday work as usual. Especially if you went for a long run on Sunday the 8th. Gotta let those muscles grow back stronger! Get some general stength work in, push-up pyramid, circuit work-out, etc.

Tuesday--Long slow distance day. Let me say this real quick. This is when the long slow distance days pay off. I know they can get boring, I know they can get tedious, but when everyone else gives up on them, if you stick with them, it will pay off tremendously! Try to run for 60-75 minutes, and focus on your form and your arms!

Wednesday--I am planning on going to Red Rocks. If you are planning to show up Wednesday morning, let me know!

Thursday/Friday--One of these days, go to the Bluffs and get a long run in, at least two laps, preferably three. The other day, go for a short run, but do some longer pick-ups. Maybe 1/4 of a mile to 1/2 of a mile. Only run for about 30 minutes this day, with 3-4 pick-ups thrown in to work on speed.

Saturday--Easy day. 30 minutes run, nice and easy. No speed, no hills, do the Monfre shuffle.

Sunday--As usual, over-distance day. Push yourself, I know it is hot, but wake up early and get it done!

More postings tomorrow!