Sunday, September 28, 2008

Adjusted Weekly Schedule

First off, did you notice that Haile Gebrselassie won the Berlin Marathon in Germany in a new world record time? He ran a 2:03:59!! By running 26 consecutive 4:48 miles, he became the first runner ever under 2:04 in a marathon. Sure, Berlin is famous for having a flat fast course, but that is still a very, very impressive achievement.

Now, back to the original direction of this post. Last week was a pretty hard week of training, an di am getting the feeling that people are on the verge of "breaking down". Of course, we don't want that to happen, so we are going to change things up a bit this week. It is a good week to do this, as I have some teacher classes I need to attend at the end of the week, so this schedule should work for all.

So, Monday will be RollerCoaster Intervals at Sierra at 3:25. Tuesday and Wednesday will be active rest days. Both days, 20-30 min easy recovery runs on your own. Thursday will be Off-Road Ladders at Sierra at 3:25.

The next two days, I believe I have class, just not sure what time. So, these days are on your own as well. Friday will be a 60 min recovery run on your own. There is an orienteering race up in Nederland on Saturday if you want to participate in that, otherwise, an overdistance run is in order, at least 90 minutes for both genders. Run on flat trails, and focus on your form and your breathing. Sunday is just like today, a 45-60 minute recovery run.

This should be a good week of rest for us, we have stressed the body pretty good the last two weeks, not we need to let it grow back stronger. Easy run today, and see you all after school on Monday.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Great Showing!

I read that the guys running for CHS XC got 3 in the top twenty yesterday at the Dave Sanders Invite. That's pretty impressive! Great job!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Full House!

Well, I was wrong in my assumption that we might have less than a full team show up this morning! We had a full house, all six athletes ready and eager to go at 6:15! It was a pretty brutal workout, not during our normal running time, hard terrain, fast times to hit; but everyone performed admirably throughout the morning. Great job!

And good luck to the CHS XC runners this afternoon at Clement Park!


Early Morning practice

It's about five in the morning, practice starts in about an hour. Who will show up? Will we have a full house, or just one kid? 6:15 is pretty early to be running intervals, but it's the only time we can do it today.

My ski coach in college used to have 6:00 am practice on Tuesday and Thursdays. It was strictly conditioning. Sit-ups, push ups, plyometrics. He had it just to see who who show up or not. I admit, I am sure I missed a few, but god did they suck. It was always freezing cold outside, everyone was bundled up in their varsity issue sweats, and we were doing crunches. Yuk. But, my coach always got a good idea of who was truly dedicated or not. And after practice, the kids living in the dorms would do to breakfast in the dining hall, the kids who lived off-campus would go back home to sleep, and the coaches would go to Young's for coffee. I guess those practices were OK if you were a coach. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sierra Middle School Athlete of the Month

I'm starting a new feature here on Sep's Blog. Most people who read this blog think I am a high school track coach first, but my real job is being an 8th grade science teacher at Sierra Middle School. I am lucky enough there to be able to work with the 7th & 8th grade cross country team, as well most of the other sports and clubs here at Sierra. This allows me to see a lot of very talented athletes strut their stuff. So, I figured it would be a good idea to give some of them some internet recognition.

The criteria for this award is vague, the judging is biased, and the facts are probably inaccurate to a degree. However, the student chosen truly is a fantastic athlete by any standards, and deserves to be recognized. Without any further adu, here is the SMS Athlete of the Month for September.


Mackenzie is a cross country runner here at SMS. She is an 8th grader on Team Owl, and she also plays competitive club soccer. Mackenzie was chosen for this award because she placed fourth overall at the middle school district championship meet held two weeks ago. Mackenzie was consistently the fastest female runner on the team, as well as a respected role model, tireless worker, and mature leader. Her times over 1.5 mile courses were always in the low ten minute range, and she improved greatly throughout the season. Congratulations, Mackenzie, you are the SMS Athlete of the Month for September!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friday Practice

Great practice yesterday! Great job, you guys nailed it!

Let's go over plans for Friday.

We are doing repeat kilos, and the actual workout will take 50 minutes, with rest. But, we need to warm-up, do ankle exercises, waterpumps, and cool down. That adds about 20 minutes. Grand total, 1:10, let's make it an hour-fifteen, as I know one of you guys will be late to start.

Some of you expressed interest in going to the Dave Sanders Invite to cheer the XC team on Friday afternoon. I think that is a great idea, and I might tag along as well. But, we really can't skip the above workout, so here is the only solution I can think of.

Since I have to be in the building for PLC training at 7:30, that means we need to start practice in the morning at 6:15 sharp. Not "get to Sierra at 6:15", but "be ready to warm-up at 6:15". I will be on the track ready to go at 6:10, hope to see all you guys there!

So, practice Friday is at 6:15, not 3:15. Any questions, shoot me an email!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nike Cross Nationals Information

Here is what is going through my brain right now.

Trip Facts. The race is Saturday, November 22nd. It is a two hour plane ride. We will be returning on Sunday, I only want to miss one day of school. (Friday the 21st.) We will race very, very fast.

Airplane tickets. I would like to leave Friday morning, I found a $200 round trip flight on Frontier that leaves at about 7:00 in the morning Friday, and gets us back to Denver at about 10:00 Sunday morning. Perfect.

Tentative schedule. We would land in Phoenix at 9:00 on Friday, we get the rental cars, drive to Tempe, tour the course, grab some late lunch, the check in at the hotel. Go out for an easy dinner Friday night, relax in our rooms, and hit the hay early. Race Saturday morning, swim in the pool Saturday afternoon, another relaxing evening, then fly home early Sunday morning.

Rental cars. Beth and I will be going, so we will get two larger rental cars. Three female athletes, three male athletes, two big cars, no problem.

Hotel accommodations. I have emailed Katelyn's mom to try and set up some hotel accommodations for us, she's got insider information. :) More details on that to come. But, we won't be staying at the Ritz-Carlton, so get that out of your heads!

Parents/family. I would love to have your families come along to watch you race. Considering we are going down for a quick weekend, and it is a relatively short ways away, I think it would work out well. If they want to get airline tickets, if they want to get rooms at the hotel, great! If any parents out there do want to come, please let me know. Since there is a such a small number of kids, having families there would be no problem at all.

Race registration. Since I have all of your paperwork, (except a certain Vargo!), I will use that to register you.

Final word. I understand a lot of you have told me you want to go to race, but you have not told me that you are going, for sure. You need to talk to your parental units tonight, and we need hard and fast commitments by tomorrow. I do not want to buy a plane ticket to Arizona, then find out no kids are going, or reserve two rental cars, and discover that only two kids are going. Getting three hotel rooms for one athlete is not a good move. So, when you fully commit, then I can start the process of reserving rooms, cars, registrations, etc. I need to talk to Coach Hawk about exact payments, but I can say now that you will be responsible for your own airplane tickets. All of the other payments is still to be determined. We will do our best to make this as affordable as possible, but some expenses simply cannot be covered by the WTAFC.

Any questions, please email me as soon as you have them, and I will see you athletes tomorrow!


Disciplined Training

I just finished crunching the numbers for this weeks workouts. RollerCoaster Intervals tomorrow, long hill run on Wednesday, kilo repeats on Friday. Same workouts, but the stresses within the workout are changing as the weeks go by. We might reduce the rest between intervals, or increase the number of intervals. As your race times get faster, we will increase your speed goal times. All of these modifications make the workout more stressful, and make you a faster racer!

The key to all of these workouts is to run them the way they were designed to be run. RollerCoaster intervals work your lactate clearance system. Training your body to get rid of lactic acid more efficiently is very important, and if you run the workout too slow or too fast, then your body does not reap those benefits. Kilo repeats improve your body's ability to get oxygen to your muscles efficiently. Again, running these intervals too fast or too slow does not get you the maximum benefit of the workout. Run with discipline, run with consistency, and that leads to running fast!

There are tools that allow runners to monitor their intensity. Heart rate monitors, blood lactate monitors, treadmills; but the simplest way is to wear a good digital watch. So, Coach Hawk and I went out yesterday and bought a couple of nice Nike digital watches that can be programmed to beep exactly when we want them to. They will beep when you need to run fast, they will beep when we want you to run slow. So, we will now be doing all our intervals by the watch, and you must pay attention to the beeping. Eventually you will learn to run by feel, but for now, we will let technology help us out. (And you don't get to keep the watches afterward!)

The new weekly schedule is posted to the side, NXN race information coming up soon!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fast Racing!

Well, we had some fast racing this morning at Sierra. On a rolling course that could be described as having two moderate hills, and not a lot of downhills, we had two runners shatter twenty minutes, by placing in the top three. We also had three runners going under twenty four, a whole bunch of middle schoolers whipping the ol' coach, and that coach re-discovering some long dormant speed. Here are the results:

Derek blazed to the victory in 17:05, even saying he could have run faster in a group. Wow!!

Keagen took it out fast, and held that pace for the whole race, beating his previous best by one minute with a 18:15.

Lots of male and female middle school XC runners went under 21 minutes, including both seventh and eighth graders.

Kelli, Melanie and Katelyn ran a solid 23 minutes, even having to stop to assist some runners along they way. :)

And the ol' Coach, yours truly, slapped on the Trion-Z, and scorched the course in 21:22, his first competitive 5 km race in a very long time. Now that we have that data, I am can start running some intervals and tempo runs with the team!!

Great job this morning everyone, we helped raise a lot of money for Sierra, and I think everyone had a ton of fun! Thanks to the race organizers, all the volunteers, and the mayor of Parker for providing the play-by-play.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tempe Race

At the start of the year, we decided that we would go to the Nike Cross Nationals as a track club. That race is two months away now, and we need to really set some things in stone. Airline tickets, hotel accommodations, rental cars, all of that stuff needs to be taken care of.

I hope all of you are going to be at the 5 km race tomorrow at Sierra, I have signed up and am looking to break 25 minutes in the race. :) Can we talk about the race in Arizona tomorrow at Sierra?

See you all at practice today. Off-road ladders!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tax Breaks

I try to stay away from political debate, it seems to me as both sides woudl do an allright job by me, but I saw this chart online, and I thought it was really interesting.

In all of my TV watching, you see lots of political ads, from both sides, and it is hard to figure out exactly who is telling the truth and who is not. Well, the Tax Policy Center, a non-profit watchdog organization, I assume, put out this chart graphing the tax plans of each candidate.
(From the Washington Post)

It seems like Obama has a huge tax increase to the rich, and McCain has a huge tax decrease for the rich. And vice-versa for the poorest in the nation. I like this chart, as it allows you to cut through all the comerrcials and rhetoric and really see what each candidates plans are. Both candidates are for tax reductions, how much of a tax cut seems to depend how much you make

Monday, September 15, 2008

RollerCoaster Intervals

1:08 2:07
1:08 2:07
1:09 2:07
1:10 2:04
1:08 2:07
1:09 2:06
1:08 2:07
0:51 N/A
1:10 2:08
1:14 2:01
1:15 2:08
1:16 2:13
1:13 1:57
1:18 2:12
1:10 2:30
0:59 N/A
1:13 1:51
1:15 1:53
1:16 2:05
1:15 1:47
1:20 1:45
1:20 2:54
1:19 1:49
1:00 N/A
1:18 2:57
1:24 2:51
1:23 2:53
1:23 2:51
1:23 2:52
1:21 2:54
1:26 2:49
1:06 N/A
1:18 2:57
1:24 2:51
1:23 2:53
1:23 2:51
1:23 2:52
1:21 2:54
1:26 2:49
1:06 N/A
1:18 2:57
1:24 2:51
1:23 2:53
1:23 2:51
1:23 2:52
1:21 2:54
1:26 2:49
1:06 N/A

The above table is from today's RollerCoaster Intervals at Sierra. Each double column is an interval with rest. (The first colum is the interval time, the second is the rest time.) These are tempo intervals, ones that should be run at about 85% of max pace. We are trying to build up towards doing these with as little rest as possible.

The key to these is consistency. Consistency in both the speed period and the rest period. If you are consistent with your first intervals, than the later ones will be easier and more beneficial to your fitness. Even going a few seconds too fast at the beginning can come back to bite you at the end. If you are inconsistent, than your body is not getting the correct stress, and will not benefit from the workout as much.

This is a work-out that should be preformed just below your lactic threshold. Going any faster does not work that specific physiological system as well. Again, consistency and discipline are the key here.

I believe watches will make this work-out a lot easier to perform. Running consistently by feel is a learned skill, one that is made easier with the help of a good watch. Don't worry, I'm on it. :)

Next week, we really need to be closer to our goal times, and more disciplined with our rest periods. Practice makes perfect!!!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Practice Time Change

Sunday night, Pats are 2-0, good times all around.

Remember, with Sierra XC now over, practice is now at 3:15 at the middle school for Mondays and Fridays.

Saturday is the Sierra MS 5 km race, I encourage you all to participate!

See you all tomorrow!


EDIT: We decided as a team that Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, practice will start at 3:25 at the middle school. Meet in my room.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sierra 5 km race

This year at Sierra, we have moved the 5 km fundraiser race from the spring to the fall. This is the only fundraiser that Sierra is involved in, so the more people we can get running, the better! The course is on the roads out behind Sierra, not a lot of hills, so it should get some fast times!

Here is the information, you can sign up at the Sierra front desk anytime during normal school hours.

5 Annual 5K walk/run

Saturday, September 20, 2008
9:00 am

Registration: Sierra Middle School Main Office

Students (6 - 17) $10.00 ($15.00 day of the race)
Adults $20.00 ($25.00 day of the race)
Five and under - Free

Hope to see lots of families out enjoying Colorado in the fall! Thanks for your support of public education!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Don't Call It a Comeback

Wow, Lance is coming out of retirement, (and out of the gossip rags) to re-unite with his old race director and race the Tour de France again!

Check it out here, at!!

I am stunned at this, I never would have guessed he would be willing to put himself through the rigors of preparing to win this race. He signed with Astana, who has an awesome team, but he has always had teams around him that will do anything to help him win. Will an all-star team of Contador, Horner, Kloden, Leipheimer, et al, be willing to help Lance win another TdF? I bet we see a lot of those guys head on out of there, to be leaders on other teams.

Is Lance the new Michael Jordan, someone who comes out of retirement past his prime to try and prove he is still the best? Or does he still have what it takes to beat the best in the world? I mean, he did come in second at the Leadville 100, but that is a lot different than the Tour. I know he knows what it entails, but but the question is why?

The TV network Vs. is pumped, so is, as well as Trek bikes. Heck, all bike shops across the country are probably rejoicing about this. So, maybe it is a good thing for cycling, but my humble opinion is I don't want the legend of Lance to be tarnished, and he seems to be putting himself up for a big chance of that.

But hey, guess where I will be every morning for the month of July! Glued in front of the big screen listening to Paul and Phil wax poetic about Lance hammering past those Euros!!!


P.S. Can anyone tell me the significance of the post title?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

RMOC Course Setter - 1, WTAFC Coach - 0

What a crazy day it was yesterday, all day long! I am totally hooked on this orienteering thing, but yesterday was tough, really tough. Let me try to explain.

The drive down there took FOREVER! I tried to lead us on a shortcut, but that would have taken us over a really rough jeep road, (thanks for the advice Mr. Forest Ranger), so with our new route, we arrived at the course much later than we anticipated. That was OK, we figured out as we parked on the side of the road, as the course setter was late, and the courses had just been set up as we arrived.

Once we got our camp settled, we all registered, paid our fees, and got some compasses to get a little refresher on orienteering. The directors were too busy, so I gave the team some quick tips and then we were off. We all went on a beginner course to start out, and with the exception of one flag, we went through it very, very well. The course was 1/2 on-trail, 1/2 off-trail. The one flag that stymied us, it happened because we didn't re-orient ourselves once we got to the top of the hill. That was a mistake we learned from, so we all felt confident moving up to the next course.

After a little break with some frozen Vitamin Waters that Keagen smashed up for us, we split into two groups to tackle the Orange course. We figured it would not be too hard, it was only listed at 2.9 km long. But, it was all off-trail, so good compass skills were a must. The team split into two groups, Kelli, Katelyn and I, and then Keagen and Tyler took off 15 minutes after us. I can't speak for the boys, but I can relate the long strange trip the girls and I took.

The first flag, we found no problem. Second flag, the map said it was in a bunch of rocks, and the ladies and I found that with little problem. Third flag, uff-da. It was a problem We got to the tongue plateau that the map said it was on, but we wandered around for thirty minutes just trying to hone in on the actual checkpoint flag! It was only really through dumb luck that we spotted it, as I was sitting down catching my breath staring right at it when Katelyn came up behind me and said "Is that it?", pointing in the exact direction I was staring. So, we got the third flag, and then took of for the 4th, which looked like the easiest one on the map to find. Well, twenty minutes of wandering around looking for that flag, we all got very frustrated and decided to head back to camp. We could find the area that the flag was suppose to be in no problem, but we couldn't zero in on it. More experience and practice are needed, I guess. And sticking to some more beginner courses. :)

Yep, we gave up. I felt horrible about it, but we could have been in the woods for hours, and that is no one's definition of fun. Once we got to camp, we all started worrying about the boys team. They left after us, and they didn't have the experience that our team did, they could be out there for hours! Plus, some jerk slammed into Kelli's side view mirror on her parked car, shattering the mirror, and not even bothering to leave a note or an explanation. If that guy is reading this, karma's a bitch, so watch out. So, the day was rapidly taking a turn for the worst, and attitudes (especially mine) were getting sour.

A few times I ran out to try and see if I could call the boys in, the girls did the same. No luck. The clock kept ticking. 3:45, 4:00, 4:15. It was getting later and later, and we all knew we had a long drive back to Parker. We all just kept hoping the boys would come jogging down the road, finally realizing that the intermediate course was just too hard for them, and we should try again next time. We overheard the race director commenting on how proud he was to have set courses that had more non-finishers than finishers. This wasn't "Intro to Orienteering" anymore, this was the big time! Even I had to give up on the Orange course, and I am not saying I am an expert, but giving up is not in my vocabulary.

Just when I was about to ask the meet director to start sweeping the course, to start looking for my two rookies, when who comes bounding out of the woods? Keagen and Tyler, drenched in sweat, covered in thorns and scratches, but successful in completing the entire Orange course, all seven checkpoints!! I was shocked, proud and shocked some more! I couldn't believe they did it, but they persevered and never gave up and made it though. Amazing, I was so proud of them, and I was so relieved that they were safe and sound and off the course. That was by far the highlight of the day, but now we had the long car ride home.

We decided to take Rampart Range Rd. the whole way back to Sedalia. It was twenty miles of pounding washboard dirt roads, but we figured it was a better alternative that driving back to Woodland Park, then back down to southern Colorado Springs, then all the way up to Parker. It was relatively narrow road, but great scenery and we went past the Devil's Tower trailhead. (We might be heading back there again later this fall.) Getting onto the pavement was a relief to everyone, and then we zipped right home.

I think we finally dropped everyone off at their houses at 6:30, making it an 8 hour day for all involved. Whew! Why do these orienteering guys put these races out in the middle of nowhere!?! Next race we do, it's up in Nederland, behind Boulder. Much more accessible for us, I believe. So, I can't wait for the next one in October, and I hope we get some more kids to come along!

This is the type of terrain we had to try and navigate. More brutal than the picture suggests.

This is an example of a checkpoint flag we had to try and find. The RMOC course setters like to hide them, which makes them almost impossible to spot!!

Here is a shot of Kelli & Katelyn coming back to see Beth after they tried to find the boys on the Orange course.

This was at the beginning of the day. I was trying to give the kids a primer on navigating and reading a compass.

The ladies and I trying to figure out how to attack the Orange course. Maybe we should have figured out a different plan of attack.

So, they day was long, and it was up and it was down. However, I want to throw out a huge shout-out to the kds wo came along for the ride, Kelli, Tyler, Katelyn, and Keagen, Orienteering is a great work-out, perfect for the goals of WTAFC. But the biggest shout-out goes to my awesome wife Beth; who helped with the driving, the navigation, she was watching camp while we were lost in the woods, she made sure we got home OK, and kept spirits up throughout the day. She is an awesome lady, and I am so glad she supports all of the endeavors I embark on. I love her to death, and am eternally grateful. Thanks doll.


Weekly Schedule Changes

Good morning everyone, orienteering re-cap a little later today, but I wanted to get the weekly schedule out as early as possible.

Since the middle school has a race in Castle Rock Monday, we are going to flip-flop Mondays and Tuesdays work-outs. Logistics dictate that, and in the long run, the switch will make no difference at all.

So, now the schedule looks like this:
M-Active Rest Day
T-Rollercoaster Intervals
W-Long Hill Run
T-Recovery Run
F-Off-Road Intervals
S-Middle School District Meet
(You are all needed to help out with the races down in Larkspur on Saturday. A little "giving back" to the running community you live and train in.)

The 800 m time trial on Friday went very, very well. Everyone seems to be progressing very well with their training, and even through sickness or slight injury, the fitness is showing through. I have crunched some new numbers based on this data, and the intervals and long runs are going to be very regimented, to allow for maximum fitness gain.

In other news, our boy T-train out in Iowa came in the top 25 at the Waterloo Half Marathon!! Impressive, as he ran something like a 1:30 or so. I guess that job at the pre-school is making him run faster in his races! :)

Are the Patriots on today? Ummm... I don't know.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One More Orienteering Post

I just signed up for two races on Saturday at the Orienteering Meet. I signed up for the Green course and the Red course. I signed up at the RMOC Saylor Park page. Registration closes at midnight Thursday night, so be sure to sign up soon. Since the races were so quick, I suggest signing up for two races. I will be checking the pre-registration page Friday to try and figure out the best way to get all of us down there. I know one athlete has already committed, any others? Let me know.

Remember to bring some cash to pay for your races. I will bring a big cooler with ice, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks, this is going to be more of a festival type atmosphere, I think, as it is a bigger race. I am also going to bring some camp chairs, so I can sit down after suffering through the Red course. :) You are more than welcome to bring some gear as well, we will find room for it.

I did some research on Google maps, and found that if we head down to Colorado Springs, then head back up to Saylor Park, it will be about two hours and ninety miles. If we go over Rampart Range, then down and follow the Platte River, it is about 60 miles, but 2.25 hours of driving time. Even though one section of the road to the Platte River is a pretty steep downhill, I suggest we go that way. Much more scenic, less miles, and no back-tracking! The less miles we drive, the better! (When we went to Hawaii this summer, we had to fly to Chicago first, then to Hawaii. The back-tracking of two hours one way was a tough pill for me to swallow. but since we were going to Hawaii, I managed.)

The starter opens the race up at 12:30 pm, and the last time we went, we were so extremely early that the signs to the parking lot hadn't even been put up yet! So, I say that this time we aim to show up at 1:00 or so, as we don't need any beginners instruction, and that will hopefully insure we find the place the first try. I suggest we leave from the Lamar's Donuts parking lot at 10:30 on Saturday. It will be a slower drive taking the shorter route, but we can always jump in the river if we get too overheated. :) I printed out directions and maps, we can figure the driving situation out at Lamar's.

I am going to email the race director again to see if we can maybe borrow some compasses, but I would suggest getting one of your own if you plan on continuing to do these races. (And through WTAFC, you will have lots of opportunities to compete in these races.) You can get them at Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, or even R.E.I. Getting your own will make you a better racer, as you will be more confident knowing your own compass.

So, get on the RMOC web page, get registered, and get ready for some fun. It should be a beautiful day on Saturday, and the more racing we can get in, the better.


P.S. Stay hydrated!

EDIT: The link for the RMOC site does not seem to be working. Try this one, for the main schedule, and then scan down to the Sept. 6th, race. Then you can register there. If that does not work, you can always go to the RMOC website in my "Links To Check" section and navigate through their homepage.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

WTAFC Schedule & Reflection

Well, after about a month of piloting the WTAFC, I feel a need to reflect. I will be honest, I feel like the training has been excellent, but the continuity and direction of the club has been lacking. That is in no way any of the athletes fault, it falls squarely on my shoulders. AS I said to Coach Hawk in a text message on Saturday, I feel we have been like a ship with no rudder. In other nautical metaphors, the sailing has been great, but I am not sure where we are going or where we have been.

So, yesterday, Coach Hawk and I sat down and tried to figure some things out. We knew from the past month what workouts were good, what should be tossed, along with lots of other information about what type of training suits the WTAFC the best. That, along with all of my binders from the past four years, plus stacks and stacks of books on training and running, we hammered out a pretty darn good schedule.

The schedule is based on progression from week to week. We will do similar workouts every week, just make them harder in some way as the season progresses. We might do more intervals, or faster intervals, or have less rest, or run steeper hills, or run longer distances. There are a million ways to increase the difficulty of a work-out, we just needed to set it up so we can measure the increase in difficulty to make sure we are headed in the right direction.

A key to all of this is good record keeping. Not just by the coach, but by the athlete as well. I encourage all WTAFC athletes to get a digital running watch! This will be crucial for your Wednesday long runs, for checking yoru resting HR, and for doing intervals away from the group. I understand some of you hate wearing a watch, but I am asking you to give it a shot for the next ten weeks. This will make your training more precise and meaningful, allowing you to progress faster in your fitness.

Ever few weeks we will be participating in some road or trail races. These races do have an entry fee, and the WTAFC will not cover that. (Since we did not ask for any money in the beginning.) Although all of the workouts and races are optional, we would hope you can make it to the races. Not just for the sake of competing, (although that is very important one's training) but also for the coaches to use the races as a benchmark, to gauge improvement and progression. How else will we know if you are really getting fitter if you never truly test yourself? And races are the best way to do that. Live competition will bring out the best in you as a runner, not time trials or interval sessions, but real races.

I will continue to post the workouts in the sidebar of this blog, but I feel a million times more confident about it now. I feel we have a rudder, a direction; we have checkpoints built in to assess improvement; and we have an end goal (Nike Cross Nationals in Tempe on the 22nd). All of these things might not change how WTAFC looks on the outside, but it does affect the inside and allows us to proceed with a purpose. Plus, it makes me sleep a lot better at night!

See you Wednesday after practice for a long run. Bring your watches!