Monday, December 23, 2013

The Week of December 16-22

Swim: 18,100 yards (10.3 miles)/ 5:20
Bike: 226 minutes/ 3:36
Run: 33.87 miles / 3:49
Total: 12:45

Training was rough last week. Well, running and swimming were great, but I struggled on the bike. Of the 4 rides, 2 were good and 2 were not so good. The first “not good” ride was after a long day of shopping with my grandparents—I was definitely under fueled, and really not in it. I ended up stopping the workout early. The next ride my Powertap batteries died almost an hour into the ride and I was fed up at this point. I know you cannot make up missed workouts, and it really isn’t good to miss a workout, but I just let it go. For the longest time, it would stress me out if I missed a workout and I would think of this big scenario of how my whole next 2 weeks were ruined. Now, (I very rarely miss/quit a workout) I can just let it go. I cannot change the past, but I can focus on having a good next workout.

The rest of this post is going to mostly track and field related.

I got a message from somebody this week telling me he is “burnt out.”  I tried telling my college coach that I was burnt out an a few different occasions. He used to tell me that, “being burnt out just means you need to change the color of your lenses.” My “burn outs” never came in the off season—I loved training—rather they came mid-season. The next step was usually to put me in an open 400m or a 4x400m relay and then I was magically fine.

To address this off season burnout, I have put together my thoughts.

*First, think about what has caused you to feel burnt out? Running cross country, indoor track and outdoor track makes for a long year, but a lot of college athletes do it. Was cross country stressful? Do you feel there is a lot of pressure on you for track?

*Don’t stress over a missed run. Most of us have been running for a LONG time. A missed run will not make or break the season. As a track athlete, there are a few key times you have to be ready during the year—usually late February/early March and the month of May. A missed easy run here or there in December will not hurt you, IF it does not become a regular thing. I can honestly say that in all of my years of running track, I do not remember one training run that “made” my season, or a missed run that messed up my season.

*Run without a watch. So many times we get caught up in running a certain pace, or finishing a loop in a certain time. If your body feels like running fast, then run fast. If you feel like running slow, then do it. Your body knows what it wants, listen to it.

*Run with music…or maybe don’t run with music. I do most of my running with music and I absolutely love it. If I ever feel the need to change it up, I go to the local park and run on the trails without music. Sometimes all you need is a good, distraction-free run to get back on track. Other times, you may need the music to distract you from the fact you’re running.

*Run with somebody you don’t normally run with. When running for a team, you usually run with the same people every day, every week. Now that you’re home on break, switch it up. Call up an old teammate (or even somebody new) and ask them to run. It doesn’t matter if they are faster or slower, just run. I enjoy training alone, but I will never tell somebody no, if they want to join me on a workout.

*Just do something. Running may not sound super fun, but if you can convince yourself to get out the door for a couple miles, you may do more. Or, ride a bike…or swim…or do yoga. Something.

*Sit down with a good cup of coffee and remind yourself why you run. Most of us are not getting paid to do this, so ask yourself, “Why do I run?” It is okay to question that at times. I think you’ll remember that you are doing it, because it is something you love.
It was fun "back in the day" and it should still be fun now :)

*Lastly, you’re home on break right now. Sit back, relax, and enjoy time with your family. There is so much hustle and bustle all year long…now is the time to just enjoy whatever happens.

What would your advice be to somebody feeling burnt out before the track season started?

Have a great holiday everybody, and stay safe while training! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5 Things I learned in 2013

December 2-8
Swim: 16,100 yards (9.1 miles) / 4:25
Bike: 362 minutes / 6:02
Run: 32.45 miles / 3:40
Total: 14:07
Dec 9-15
Swim: 18,000 yards (10.2 miles) 4:59
Bike: 3:23 minutes / 5:23
Run: 32.71miles / 3:40
Total: 14:02
Recently people have been asking me to post a weekly update, so I will try my best to do so. December started the build for the 2014 season. I don’t really have any super exciting things to report from the last 2 weeks of training—lots of time staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool, riding the indoor trainer, and cold/snow filled runs—so I made a list of the top 5 things I learned in 2013. I’m a list man. A lot of emails and texts usually start out with, “Hey I have something to ask you,” followed by, “A) B) C) or 1) 2) 3).” If I list things, I can usually get to the point quickly. If I do not list things, I will probably tell you my whole life story just to ask, “A) What time is dinner and where are we eating?”
Let’s begin!
5) "Swim and bike for show, run for dough"…but you must be able to swim first! The race is not won on the swim, but it can definitely be lost on the swim. Example? Age Group Nationals - swam 26:40 1500m but was well out of my AG race. With that said, it was still an overall great day. The swim was/is my weakness, but it is getting better. I have been swimming with a squad the past couple months, and it amazes me how some of these young kids can just keep going in the pool.
See ya again in 2014, Milwaukee!
4) There isn’t a magic formula for running (or swimming/biking) fast. I feel that I spent a lot of time in college searching for the best way to get faster. I tried low mileage, but everything quick. I tried high mileage (my highest week ever was 82 miles, and I will NEVER run that again). I tried a mix of everything really. In the end it comes down to consistent work (and sleep!). We didn't really do anything different this year besides run less, swim more, bike more, sleep more, and stay healthy. I may not have trained like a runner, but I was still able to tie or PR every run distance 1500m and above.
1500m. BAM!
3) Love your body—it is the only one you get! I guess this kind of goes with #4. This year I was able to start seeing what I am capable of doing, but I never tried to lose weight. I was able to just accept my body for what it is and let the training dictate my weight. Not only was I a lot happier this year, but I was healthy and strong.
Dad and me in Vegas (Henderson to be exact, ha).
2) I have a coach--it is his job to make workouts and analyze the data. Steve has done a great job of figuring out how to make me a better athlete. He doesn't ask me what workouts I want to do, he tells me what I get to do. I used to think it was fun when a coach would ask me what workout I wanted to I enjoy knowing that coach has it planned. For the first time in a long time, I fully trust a coach to have full control of my training. It has made it much easier as an athlete to just focus on the workouts.
1) Lastly, one of my favorite quotes from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, “This moment will just be another story someday.”  It took me a while to figure out what went wrong in Vegas—I had a great swim (for me), but a sub-par bike and run. I didn’t give myself much time to reflect on it, as dad and I were visiting the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Arches, and Colorado on our way back home. The following two weekends I had great races—it almost made me more upset about Vegas. Looking back on it, I had an awesome time on my trip to and from Vegas.  I finally made it west of Iowa by visiting CO, UT, NV, and AZ...I had to go through Kansas and Nebraska too, but I didn't stay any longer than I had to. The race was just another moment on this crazy 2013 journey :)
Some rocks I got to see after the race.
Well, thank you for reading and be safe out there while training. Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Turkey Trot 2013 Race Report

The Turkey Trot is never really an "A" race for anybody, but it is always fun to run fast. Last year was my first year running the Oglesby Turkey Trot and I finished 4th in 16:04. I wasn't sure of my fitness going into the race, but I knew I wanted to A) run faster B) finish higher than 4th. About 6 weeks before the Turkey Trot I ran a race on the same course, so I was hoping to run even quicker than that. The course basically has 20ish 90 degree turns, and a nice hill in mile 3.
The course.

Race morning was a wonderful 25 degrees...not cold, but not warm. Okay, it was a little cold. There were 1500+ registered, and 1410 finishers. It is actually pretty awesome that a town of a couple thousand people has so many people show up to race!

My goal was just to get out quick and figure out who was in the race. I did not see some of the names I was expecting to on the participant list. Last year I made the mistake choice to lead the race early and try to out run the other guys. This year I decided to see what the others were going to do and race off that.

 There were a couple single man breakaways in the first 1200m, but nobody wanted to keep on the gas pedal. At 1200m we were in a group of 3, and I decided it was time to take control of the race. I struggled with the hill the last 2 times I ran the course, so I wanted to give myself a cushion going into mile 3. I crossed mile 1 at 5:02 with a couple second gap on the chase pack.

The second mile is flat with quite a few turns. I decided to keep pushing. About 1.5 miles in, there were people out on the side sidewalks watching and I heard somebody say, "He looks strong right now." I needed to carry that into the upcoming hill!

I crossed the 2 miles in 10:10, and the uphill began. I was feeling good, but it was starting to hurt. At the top of the hill, Julie (and a crowd of other people) were there cheering us on. The thing that sucks about this hill is that it seems never ending--it goes up, flattens out, then goes up again! It is also by a sewage plant, so it smells "wonderful." Once you make it to the top of the hill, you have a lap around the block, then a loop around the park to the finish. At this time I had opened up 20second gap, so I was pretty excited. All that stood between me and victory was a loop around the park.

I crossed the line in 15:47--17 seconds faster than last year, and 7 seconds faster than Oct 5! Winning the Turkey Trot is nice, but I was more happy to see another course/race PR on less run training than before. November really was the "off season" for me, and I was still able to run well. After the race there is stuffing, cookies, pumpkin pie, and times!

My face was too frozen to smile.
As always, it was great to see so many friends and "regular runners." I have seen some of the same people at races since my first road race in 2004. It has been a lot of fun getting to know people over the years, and watch people grow as runners. There are also a lot of young athletes with a lot of talent, and it has been super fun to see their high school/college careers take off.

She has run all 35 Turkey Trots!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, let me know!
Race splits