Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Athlete Groupings

This winter we have a very diverse group of athletes training with us. We have some pure sprinters, we have some pure two milers, and we have everyone in-between. The training ages of all of these athletes is quite broad as well. Actual age does not factor in here, training age is what is important. In other words, I don't care what grade you are in, I care about how many miles you have gotten under your legs. Some kids have been running consistently for over five years. (Which is a long time for HS kids!) Others have just started. Which presents some unique challenges that we are going to address starting this week.

We'll see how my new athlete groupings of SPRINT, SPRINT/DISTANCE and DISTANCE work out. My biggest fear is overtraining, but I think I have taken into account all of the important factors and come up with some ideas to prevent that. My goal with this is to maximize the results of the athletes involved, to train them as precisely as possible with limited resources. I'll let you know how it turns out at League Relays.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Collegiate News UPDATED

Quick winter track alum news before my daughter wakes up for the day:

Keegan Vargo from Western State ran a 9:14 3k
Nate Purdue at Ft. Hays ran a 4:36 mile
Ryan Bull from Colorado School of Mines ran a 2:06 800 m
Steven Busch from Drury ran a 8:41 3k, good for third place with perfect splits of 35 seconds
Katelyn Wojan led the Drury Distance Medley Team to a third place
Alex Balsiger helped Colorado State to an overall team victory with his individual victory in the 800 m, running a 1:52!

Very, very impressive, especially for early season on an indooor track! I am pretty proud of all those results!


P.S. High school kids reading this, I know for a fact that all the above atheltes religiously did their long runs! Wink, wink.

EDIT:  I just discovered that Katelyn, in that distance medley, set a new Drury Record for the 600m, awesome job Woj!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Long Run Benefits

Many, many times have I extolled the virtue of long runs.  The physiological and psychological benefits can be found in one of my older posts, entitled On The Importance of LSD.  Check it out, it's has sound research on why long slow distance is important.

However, times and ideas change, and if there was one thing I could add to that post, it would be this.  Long slow running, where the distance tires you out, not the speed; makes you a tougher athlete.  One that can wake up super-early in the morning and be ready to compete.  One who works through the initial aches & pains of loosening up without getting discouraged or losing confidence.  One who does not mind exercising for over an hour, and therefore does not mind a long 12 hour track meet.  One who has the mindset that a goal must be reached, and nothing will stop them from reaching it.

Racing well is not just physical task, it is a mental one too, and long slow distance runs, where you deplete all your glycogen reserves, are a crucial aspect to being fast.  Some people disagree with me, but there are no such things as "junk miles".  Any type of running is better than no running, so make that your goal for this weekend! Lots of time spent running!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Missing Practice

Even though I missed practice yesterday, I have heard from multiple athletes that everything went really well. It was a little windy, but athletes fought through the microscopic moving air molecules, and still hit their pace times consistently.  I assume, even with the cube closed, the simple leg circuits went well too.  Remember, speed is important, but without strength, speed will not hold up.  But, you guys were awesome, working hard and making the time training productive is really a sign of a mature team. Even though we are young in age, times like this show high levels of experience and maturity and that really bodes well for the upcoming season.

With intervals yesterday, a nice easy long run today is crucial, with a short recovery run Friday and a quality overdistance run on Saturday/Sunday.  And by overdistance, most of you should be close to a 90 minute run.  The weather looks good for Saturday, so  get out there bright & early and get those miles in.

Unfortunately, I am going to have to miss Monday's practice as well. I know, I know, I talk about commitment, and I miss two practices in a row. But my excuse is good, Beth and I have a baby appointment at the  midwifery, as Thing2 is due at the end of Spring Break.

What that means in the long run, is I will be relying on all you guys to continue being mature, being responsible and taking ownership of your training.  You know me, I was the the State Meet the day Chloe was born, so I will do my best to be there for you as much as humanly possible.  But, Chloe cannot fend for herself just yet, and you guys can, so she gets first dibs.  There will be days when I am there late, when I have to leave early, or when I am not there at all.  But, I promise I will be in constant contact with all of you, I will always have training plans, race strategy and critical analysis for you, even from afar, and I promise this will not negatively affect your championship season.  It is just a bump in the road early in the season.

So, for Monday's practice, it will be on your own, and it is another Dartmouth Run.  Head out a a decent pace for 20-30 minutes in one direction, then turn around and push it back in.  We're looking for negative splits, a faster "back" than the "out".  When you finish, do the simple leg circuit routine. Wednesday will be intervals, maybe a kenyan run, or perhaps some type of ladder workout, but it will be a fast day, just like yesterday.

Question, comments, observations?  Shoot me a text!


EDIT: I forgot to mention, after your Dartmouth Run, head back to the Grandview Hill, (or a similar long not-too-steep hill) and please do 7 wind sprints, with the last one being as hard as you can go.  And since this Dartmouth Run did not involve any strength work, you will need to do a push-up pyramid after the wind sprints.  This can be done at home, but since we are entering into February, we are going to start at 15, not 10.  Added difficulty for added strength.  Do not neglect your strength!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CSU Rams

We got some fast alumni running through the winter season right now, and one of the fastest is a State Champ named Alex Balsiger.

Click this caption for the original article

He ran the Air Force indoor meet last weekend, winning the open 800 in a 1:53.06, which is wicked fast.  I need him to send me some facebook pics so I can show all of you guys how to "get out" in an 800 race.

Yay Alex!

EDIT: And this past weekend in New Mexico, Alex ran negative splits to drop a 4:12 1600 for the win.  Hey Alex, when you gonna start racing slow and stop taking over my blog?? :) :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hard Workout

Great job today on the VO2 max intervals. Everyone ran hard, some people hit the times, some did not, but everyone put in a stellar effort, which is great to see this early in the season.

Awesome job on the 200's. That was a guts workout, to see who had the guts to push themselves, and I was very pelased to see that a lot of athletes had a lot of guts. Great job!

Gulo gulo T-shirts. I have a lot of leftovers. If you have not recieved one, see me at Sierra or at practice on Monday. You have earned one, you deserve it!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Monday Workout

With no school on Monday, we will not have an official practice. That's OK, as the practice that was scheduled is easy to do on your own. I call them "Dartmouth Runs", after the urban legend of the Dartmouth XC team "kidnapping" an unsuspecting freshman athelete in the middle of the night, throwing him in the back of a truck blindfolded, then dropping him off miles from school. He has to run back to campus in the early morning light, and the last few miles were always faster than the first. Now, this is an urban legend, there is no truth to it, but imagine being in a place you have never really been before, a college campus the first few weeks. You get absconded, and when the blindfold is removed, your last sight is a car of upperclassmen driving off into the sunrise. I would run pretty fast too, expecially in the wilds of central NH!

For tomorrow's Dartmouth Runs, there will be no abducting, no blindfolding, no breaking of laws. I just want you to do an out-and-back, at least three miles total, with the "back" being faster than the "out". Don't go super slow on the way out, but I do want you to try to pick it up on the way back. Running negative splits like this will train your gold system, as well as teach how to run faster when you are more tired, whjich is what needs to happen in a race. You can do this run on the bike trail, on some quiet roads, wherever, just make sure to run faster coming back than you did on the way out. Text me with any questions, I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Now, the Tues/Thus kids should not really try to do this. I would recommend an easy jog, with lots of form drills, some hurdle drills, and some core work. Your Tuesday practice will be tough, so we need to save your energy for that.

See some of you at gymnastics on Tuesday night, and all of you for a normal interval practice on Wednesday.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Updated School Records

Look to the left, school records (even sprinters and field events), have been updated!  Check on the Important Blog Posts.

Now we just gotta update the record board in the gym!


Sprinter Specificity

We had a great coaches meeting last night, we hashed out a lot of stuff. Everything from schedules (not a lot of "away" meets) to unifrom dispersal to time trials to coaching models, we hammered out a ton of stuff.

The big thing we took care of was getting more 200/400 athlete specifc workouts incorporated into winter track practice. In years past, the focus has been on the long distance kids, as that was what the coahcing staff was comfortable doing. Now, with some new blood and some new ideas, we can focus on those middle distance kids and get them ready for the season as well.

I don't know much about sprinting, but I do know that you need ot run less, but faster, than my the long distance kids do during the pre-season phase. So, on Tuesdays and Thursday, some kids will be working on just that, running less, but running faster. I think those kids have a great base, and we can start working on some critical speedwork with them. And who knows, maybe some of the long distance kids will jump in to those workouts!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alpha Gymnastics

Alpha Gymnastics season is upon us!  One of our secret weapons to being super strong and super fast at the end of the season.  Gymnastics is encouraged for all eligible athletes, as it makes you more flexible, stronger physically, and tougher mentally.  It really is a great program and I can't wait to start going again.

Critical Alpha Gymnastics Information
Six week session starting Jan. 10th
Tuesday and Thursday nights
8:30-9:30 pm
$110 for twelve sessions
(financial aid is available, just talk to Coach Sep)
Open to 8th, 9th and 10th graders only
All ability levels
 Download the above paperwork and bring it filled out to the first night on the 10th. 

Every track & field state champion Chaparral has produced has been involved in winter gymnastics, continue the tradition!


1600 m TT Analysis & Thoughts

January 1600 m TT Results (sorted by percent improvement)
The chart above is the data from yesterday's 1600 m TT, but instead of sorting it by fastest time, i sorted it by improvement.  As you can see, we had three kids improve their 1600m times by over ten percent, which is an AMAZING amount for such a short race as a mile.  Granted, some of the improvements from all the athletes could be due to the perfect weather conditions to run in, but I think a lot of it was due to getting in lots of miles over the past two months. The athletes did almost no formal speedwork, only a few fartleks here and there, and to show the gains that they did is a testament to the commitment to running over the last few months and especially over winter break.

January 1600 m TT Improvement Amounts
And this is just a graph that shows how many athletes made certain amounts of improvement.  Not really useful, but interesting nonetheless.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Time Trial Results

January 2012 1600m TT Results

I will comment more tomorrow morning, as I am in kind of strapped for time n ow.  Real quick though, great results from this afternoon's TT.  Even with no formal speed work, the majority of kids improved significantly over the last two months in their mile times.  Excellent job, way to show that commitment!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Wednesday Time Trial Start List

2012 1600 TT Start List
As I mentioned in the previous blog, we will be doing a 1600 m T.T. on Wednesday.  The weather looks perfect, upper 50's and no wind (knock on wood), so this will be a great chance to see how much we have all improved since the time trial in November.  This will also allow me to dial in your training paces to be more specific to your current fitness levels.  In January and February, we will be introducing red speed work, hills and orange intervals into the training mix, and making sure we all do them at the correct speeds is crucial to long term success.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Break's Over

I hope everyone had a great X-mas and a thrilling New Years Eve.  The Seppala family had a great holiday, with family coming into town, a wonderful Christmas morning, and tons of cross country skiing up at Devils Thumb Ranch the past few days.

Petter Nothug courtesy of FasterSkier.com
One thing I tried to work on when I was skiing, other than having fun of course, was my tempo. I tried to quicken the pace of my skiing, not going faster, or working harder, but just a quicker turn-over.  I found it helped my skiing quite a bit, especially when I focused on it.  I went faster, using the same amount of energy.  The same translates for running.  Sometimes smaller steps,with your hips more under your center of gravity, can translate into more efficient running.  Technique and efficiency are going to be main subjects of study and practice for the next couple of months.  We will not totally re-work your running form, but we will try to make you more efficient at it.

So, I hope everyone got lots of miles and lots of strength in over break.  To see how well everyone did at their training, we will conduct a mile time trial on Wednesday.  Until then, do a short fartlek tomorrow, and an easy shake-out run on Tuesday.  See you all after school on Wednesday!


P.S.  If you see Coach Whitenack, congratulate him on his engagement!

P.P.S. Everyone who sent me their shirt sizes, thank you!  I am ordering some late gifts, hopefully they will be in soon!