Monday, January 31, 2011

Cold Weather Plans

Good evening everyone, I have finally recovered enough from my vertigo to be able to sit up and not spin around the room. Out of all the wacky diseases I have had (scabies, vertigo, hives), this one ranks right up there with the most maddening. You simply cannot do anything when you have vertigo. You still have your appetite, but you can't sit up to eat. You get thirsty, but drinking anything makes you feel like you will puke. The only relief is lying down, as still as you can, even if you're not tired. As you can very well imagine, that is difficult for me. But, I outlasted the virus, I am feeling a thousand times better, and hopefully this will be the last of my ailments for a while.

Getting to the matter at hand, it is forecast to be a whopping minus six degrees all day tomorrow in Parker, with a slight wind from the north. Those are fantastic conditions to run in. Seriously, if you dress appropriately, run with a little bit of caution due to some icy spots, and keep your pace steady, there is nothing to prevent you from training in sub-zero conditions. Scan about halfway down this page for some good tips on dressing for the cold, but remember, dress in layers, two to three layers is needed for training in cold temperatures. Now, this is a family friendly blog, but gentlemen, remember to layer up everywhere, freezing your reproductive organs is muy doloroso. I can speak from experience, unfortunately. Maybe we should buy some of these with CHS T & F logos. (Image safe for work, but slightly disturbing.)

I have always thought on extreme cold days, it was better to be a little overheated than underdressed. Try to get out there for 45-60 minutes. Keep all exposed skin covered up and protected from frostbite. Once you get warmed up, you won't even notice the cold! After you run, when you get back inside, do a push-up pyramid to keep your general strength up. We determined those only take 3-5 minutes to complete, and they will do wonders for your overall fitness if done regularly. As for gymnastics tomorrow, they will be postponed. Coach Tom is postponing all of his classes, so we will make it up later in the year.

I remember a ski race I had in high school that got postponed by the cold. It was in Fairbanks Alaska, and they made us coat any exposed skin with vaseline before we could start. It was gross, but that's a story for another day. It's not vaseline face-coating weather yet, so get out there and get some miles in!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UNH Ski Coach Interview

My ski coach from my collegiate days, (and one of the most influential figures in my life) did a quick Q & A with

This was what I thought was the most enlightening was the last paragraph, which I have reproduced here. (Emphasis mine.)

FS: How do you approach training with your skiers? It’s a big question, but are there certain aspects that you emphasize to your athletes in your overall philosophy?

CS: That’s definitely a big question. The best thing that any coach can do is to press for consistency for a full year. The second item of importance is on summer training. That is biggest increase in a skier’s training hours. You can come to practice during the school year and get it done with your team, but it’s also really important what you’re doing when no one is watching. What we have learned adapted for training is how we do ‘focus’. If it’s a volume week, we will do less intensity and up the hours; if its intensity, we get the sessions done. Back in the 80’s we would get our 4×4 workout in for the day, but also try to throw in an extra hour for distance. Now when we do speed sessions with our athletes, we do not tell them to go ski for two hours after that. It’s a day by day task, but we have learned how to improve that weekly focus. Again, with current day technology, we also have more resources- Professor Dain Roche used to ski for UNH, and now offers some valuable knowledge. We are always tweaking our program, seeing results and getting feedback from our skiers- how training feels for them, working with academics on top.

You can read the whole article at this link: Cory Schwartz Interview, and I encourage you to check it out, it gives a great perspective on making that jump from HS to college and how to be successful at it.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Karma on the Highway

Coming back from the race yesterday, Berthoud Pass was pretty sketchy. That didn't stop people from trying to pass one or two cars at a time on the way up though, which was not the safest thing to do. I can see passing on the straightaways, but sneaking by on the switchbacks, that's not cool. Plus, right at the top, as the lanes were merging, this giant white SUV with a "Southeast Motors" temporary plate tries to get around me. I had not choice but to slow down drastically and let him in, even though it was clear the lanes were merging. A little white knuckle driving for your author here, on top of a stressful drive to begin with.

On the way down the pass, once you reach Berthoud Falls, the switchbacks stop and the road opens up a bit. It was still very snow-packed and icy though, but that didn't stop an Audi A4 with skis on top from illegally passing bunches of cars in an effort to get to the highway before everyone. Just cutting people off, and then flying down the hill to Empire. Crazy, dangerous, and a little scary to watch.

I-70 was wide open though, no snow, no ice, perfect roads. There was a bit of traffic however, so it was only 65 miles an hour back to Denver. Cruising along, right after Floyd Hill, there the Audi A4 with skis on top, pulled over by a state trooper. Not even five minutes later, the white SUV with "Southeast Motors", pulled over by another state trooper. We had forgotten about those two maniacs, but there there were, about to get expensive tickets. I'm pretty sure stateys don't pull you over on the side of I-70 to give you a warning.

You know how you always wish there was a cop right there when someone drives like an idiot? Well, road trip karma caught up to these two drivers, it was pretty satisfying to see.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Monday Circuit Workouts

On Monday, we move away from the distance aerobic running, and move into more speed work with strength. We will be doing JJ Circuits. These are done on the track, without watches, as hard as you can. The incorporate speed and strength into a single workout. (But we will be doing lunges and Myrtl routines afterwards, don't worry.) I like these workouts because, if done correctly, they are super efficient in terms of getting a high quality workout in that hits lots of different branches of training.

I would be remiss if I did not give Jay Johnson all the credit for devising these workouts, he is a great coach and here is a video of him showing us what will do Monday. Dress appropriately, we willbe out on the track no matter what!


Self Indulgent Blog Post

I try not to put myself too much on this blog, as I feel that most of the notable accomplishments are done by the athletes that I am lucky enough to coach. However, ever since Coach Whitenack challenged me to compete in the Warrior Dash this summer, I have been training quite regularly. (You can check out my training at if you are really bored.) My wife Beth got me a sweet Garmin GPS watch, I jog to my daughter Chloe's daycare and jog home with her twice a week, and I have been trying to nordic ski every weekend as much as I can. That, plus whatever else I can fit into the busy schedule I keep, has brought me to this weekend, the Devil's Thumb Ranch annual Devil's Chase, a 17 km cross county ski race.

I was going to compete in the 30 km race, but realized that 30 km of racing was just too much for the level of training I have been doing. So, I set my goals of top ten and under an hour in the 17 km race. It turned out to be a pretty windy and snowy day, but Beth and Chloe and my brother Adam and I set out Saturday morning to Devil's Thumb Ranch for a day of racing. Below are some pictures Beth took, along my cheesy captions.

First feed, at about 6 km. I needed that Gatorade badly!

Yelling at my brother for the water bottle.

The finishing straight, totally into the wind.

Coming into the finish area, showing some pretty good V-2 technique.

I dittched the hat, it was roasting my skull. I do need a haircut, don't I? My brother said my 'fro slowed me down.

At this point, I had been suffering for about 5 km. It was brutal.

The lunge for the line. Hopefully that classic old school New Hampshire racing suit saved me some seconds.

Support crew Beth and Chloe. They hiked 5 miles on snowshoes to watch the race.

Support crew Adam, the gatorade man.

I was pleased with the outcome. I got ninth place overall, with a time of 1:12:56. It was a brutally tough race. Much harder than the Warrior Dash, for sure. There were many points where I was just trying to get one leg in front of the other, and hope for a second (or third, fourth or fifth) wind to come to me. Soft snow and windy conditions made it tough, but it made it tough for everyone. I attempted a cool-down, but my legs had no gas let in them, so I got about a kilometer out and had to turn back. All afternoon I have been laid out from exhaustion and an incredibly painful back. (Dr. Jonas, where are you??) I am proud of the fact I left everything out there, and I am eager to attack this race next year.

So, what does this have to do with HS track? Nothing really, except I know what suffering is. I know how you feel, and I appreciate your effort. Racing and training at a super high level is really tough, and I applaud all of you who do it day in and day out.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Spring Racing Schedules

Courtesy of Coach Hawk, here are the 2011 Non-Varsity and Varsity Chaparral Track & Field Schedules.


Yesterday's Intervals

(That's a picture of us running yesterday.)

I want to make a quick commentary on how well we ran yesterday. The weather was certainly treacherous, 30 mph winds from the North coupled with 27 degrees makes for a sub-zero windchill. Even though I thought we could've dressed better, I thought we ran really well. All groups were consistently hitting their threshold times, and all groups were recovering well during the short rest. The athletes came out, ignored the brutal weather, and DID THEIR JOB. If we keep grinding through the track season one day at a time, doing our job to the best of our abilities every day, we are going to be very very successful come May. Great job yesterday, Wolverines, that was a great deposit into the training bank.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Weekly Schedule

The new training schedule for next week has been posted. No school Monday means long run on your own. We got FR/SPH Gymnastics on Tuesday & Thursdays, and we start some tempo repeats on Wednesday. A busy week to be sure, so stay hydrated and stay healthy!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not too bad on Math

I want to apologize to Jill, I did the math incorrectly on yours alone. I was extremely impressed with everyone. Those of you that are true distance runners- (Keagan) for instance, you will see a lot of change in mile time with Mileage and LAT work. Those of you that are true mid-distance do not be discouraged, your time changes and speed increase will show up later and in your races. It is not time for speed so we are not looking for dramatic changes in the Mile. Being aware of where you are is the 1st step. You are doing great things, keep it up and we'll see you next Wednesday.
Here is my email for those of you who are interested in emailing me

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


(Pretty cool place, huh?)

FR/SPH Gymnastics starts on Thursday, at 8:30, at Alpha Gymnastics. Hopefully we see a great turnout, gymnastics is a really great opportunity that is not afforded to lots of teams around the state. Let's take advantage of it!

If you can be there a little early, around 8:15, with your parents in tow to sign some paperwork, that would be perfect. Otherwise, be there early to get as much of the paperwork done as possible, and we can talk to Coach Tom about the rest. Gymnastics is from 8:30 - 9:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for six weeks, and any checks can be made out to "Alpha Gymnastics" for one hundred bucks.

Email me with any more questions, hope to see you all there!


UPDATE: Gymnastics tonight (1/13) will start at 7:30!

Time Trial Results

The results from the first CHS time trial of 2011 are in, and Coach Boymel and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. We all got a solid base of training in, our foundations are a lot stronger and stouter than they were last year at this time, and we even got some times that were faster than last year at this point. I am very happy with this data, I think we are going to have a great late winter of training. Our goal is to get faster, and faster we will get!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shoveling the Track

(our track looks much better than this one)

On short notice, the following five boys came to CHS on their day off from school to help shovel the track. I wanted to get it clear as soon as possible so it wouldn't get walked on (making it harder to shovel) and to give the bright Colorado sun as much time to heat up the black track and melt any remaining snow.

Thanks to
Jonny B.
Keagan V.
Zach Y.
Nate P. and
Mark I.

Gentlemen, that was an excellent show of leadership; dedication to your team & your training; and you saved my poor back a hundred times over. The mile time trial on Wednesday will go off much more smoothly thanks to your efforts.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Shift in Training

Next week marks the end of our 6th week of training, we have about 18 weeks or so to the State Meet in May. We are going to shift the focus of our workouts. This upcoming week will have a mile time trial (and looking at the weather forecast, probably on Wednesday), FR/SPH gymnastics, and we will begin some tempo repeats. I am pretty sure Coach Marnoey will be around on Monday again to answer any gymnastics questions you might have, and let's hope this storm does not dump huge amounts of snow in Parker, that's just more shoveling for me!

I wish we could have had the time trial today, I did three laps at Wash. Park pushing Chloe in the CHS stroller this morning and it was beautiful. First 2.5 mi. lap in 8:43, 2nd in 7:28, and the third in 9:24. Not bad, even if it was a super flat Wash. Park!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coach Boymel and I have created a presentation on Training Theory - Lactic Acid Removal.

We want going to discuss it with the athletes today at practice, but if anyone (athletes, coaches, etc) wants a closer look at it, please click on the header picture above.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Building Those Miles

Winter break is over, back to the grind of school in less than 24 hours. I hope everyone had a great break, we had some pretty good weather for training up until the past few days, and I hope everyone got lots of miles under their legs.

I know some people have been in touch with me, telling me they have been doing up to seven miles a day, which is fantastic. That type of consistent running is exactly what everyone needs. We have one more week of base building, because next Monday is going to be a mile time trial to see where we are at, and where we have to go.

I don't want anyone sneaking in intervals to prepare for this time trial, that is not neccessary and bad for your training in the long-term. Stick to the plan, be patient, get your miles in now so you have a great aerobic base to build on for later in the season. The time trial is simply to help me and Coach Boymel develop some interval speeds for you to work on. It is not a state qualifying race! :)

See everyone tomorrow in Hawk's room right after school, but I am not sure if I will be running with you. I took a nasty fall on the cross country skis on Wednesday. I had Chloe on my back, and my feet slipped out from under me. I landed full force with her hard rubber boot in between my ribs and the snow. Ouch. It is still pretty sore, but we'll see if I can get out there and get some running in. I still got a bit of toughness in me, I hope.