Hey everyone. Hope everyone had a good time watching the Olympics. Personally, I got everything that I wanted to see, the Usain Bolt triple triple, the Mo Farah double double, and King David Rudisha defending his crown. I'm a fan of dominance, I don't really get too fired up watching upsets so that explains my choices.. Plus I made some money off of them too so there's that.
As for me, after a very relaxing two weeks off, I've geared back up and started running again. If you read my last post you'll know that I'm extremely coachless at the moment and accepting any helpful advice. Well someone actually emailed me to offer some words of wisdom. His name is Thomas, he is currently sporting an impressive 800m PB of 1:52 and training in Guelph. He basically just gave me a general idea of what the Speed River guys do throughout the fall so it gave me some good direction for the next little while. Apparently a new distance coach has been hired at York, but for whatever reason we haven't been told who they are so obviously I haven't been in contact with him/her and it doesn't sound like we'll be finding out until September.. Therefore, still winging it.
My first week back I ran a whopping 31km. That week was basically just to remember how to run. I trotted along and each run averaged just under 4:40/km and it still felt brutal. Legs felt heavy, calfs felt tight, and it felt like I was sweating gravy. I have a tendency to get pretty out of shape pretty quickly so no surprise there. Towards the end of that first week I started to feel better so I made the call to make a big jump in the second week up to 50km. This week felt much better and I was able to run my usual pace comfortably which is a little faster than 4:30/km. Since then I've been religiously following the classic 10% rule increasing my mileage by 10% each week with 55km the next week and this week I plan on doing around 60km. Once again, don't have a coach so excuse me for lacking creativity. I don't have set days where I do strides but I typically do them 3-4 times per week. I wanted to get on these early because I was pretty disappointed with my speed development last season so I don't want to go several months in a row just slogging along with mileage and aerobic workouts.
I've also been focusing more in the weight room. In high school I was a sprinter and played football so I lived in the weight room, but last season I was pretty inconsistent and eventually, towards the end of the season, it got to the point where I knew if I went in for another lifting session I'd be too sore to recover for a race that weekend. This resulted in being out of the weight room for over a month and this definitely played a role in my lack of speed in the later stages of the season. The first few sessions back this month were rough and I was sore for about 10 days straight, but things are headed in the right direction. Still using weight that I would've laughed at back in the good ol' days (3 sets of 10 on the bench press with 135 pounds and 3 sets of 10 squats with 175 pounds for example) but I think I'm finding a good balance because I want to get stronger and more explosive but I obviously can't be gaining weight. As great as it would be to bench press 300 pounds and have arms as thick as logs, running fast is a higher priority right now so I'm alright with being skinny for now.
Until I'm back at school the plan is to keep increasing mileage and strength while remembering things like mobility and recovery.. Might even throw in a short tempo next week to spice things up. After that hopefully I'll have a coach so I can really start getting after it.
Until next time folks,
Filthy Fouz out.
Alright before I get started on this one, I'm going to shamelessly promote a clothing website that I've recently become an affiliate with. They've got some pretty nice clothes, shoes, hats, and jewellery that you might like and you can check them out if you click "Click Here" below.
But anyways, onto the more important track talk. This was meant to be a continuation of the last blog before my outdoor season was over but that just didn't happen.. What can ya do. So I finished the last blog off after talking about my season opening 1500m. I'm the kind of guy that just wants to race every weekend once I get a taste so after that I wanted to come back the very next weekend and run my first 800m of the season. My coach, however, wanted to be more patient, so against my extremely stubborn instincts I listened and kept grinding it out, patiently waiting. I continued to do a lot more strength stuff compared to my previous outdoor seasons so on May 31 when I finally got to run my first 800m I was incredibly unsure about how ready I was for it. It ended up feeling pretty much like you'd expect. I never really hit lactic but running 800m pace felt incredibly forced and I just couldn't get my legs turning over well enough. Opened up with a pedestrian 1:59.19.
Following this race we threw in another week and a half long training block before my next race. During this week and a half the wind in Toronto was absolutely crazy and I'll never forget it. I don't want to sound like a baby and make excuses but it was getting up to 50km/h at some points. As a result I didn't really have any stellar workouts but we still got in a little bit of 800m specific stuff so I was starting to feel more comfortable with that pace again.
Next up was the AO championships in Toronto and the wind didn't even flinch for this one. During the warmup my good buddy Lawrence Xie (a guy with a 1:54 personal best and a 1:56 season best) and I actually had a real conversation about just wanting to keep things under 2 minutes. The race was nuts. It started off with someone losing a shoe and running 400m barefoot before being forced to drop out, and a good chunk of the field dropped out on the second lap going into the wind because it was just too much to handle. The winner of the fast heat was Corey Bellemore (recently crowned Beer Mile King of the World) in a high 1:51, well off his PB so that should be an indicator of how horrible the conditions were. I ended up escaping with a time of 1:59.90.
After this catastrophe it was really time to get going. My week of training after that race started with a 5km tempo that made me question my entire life, but after that I was really hit with some faster workouts. I started to find my groove a lot quicker than I thought I would after so much time doing strength work so that was encouraging. I took the next weekend off from racing which gave me the opportunity to head out to my friend's cottage for a few days. Other than the fartlek workout I did along the lakeside road, the weekend was filled with water skiing, tennis, and fishing, a huge component to any good middle distance training program.
On June 26 we were back at York again. It was pretty hot out but the conditions were miles better than 2 weeks prior. Before the race I ended up talking to Seb Saville a little bit and he told me he was going to take it out in 54 or 55. He had raced the night before at the Speed River Inferno so he wanted to take it a bit easier due to being a bit spent. This was music to my ears because this meant we pretty much had a rabbit. I ended up splitting a high 56 or low 57 feeling really good and with 300m to go I felt like I could really get going but just 50m later the wheels started to fall off and I kind of struggled home for the last 200m. Still ended up finishing with my best time of the season at 1:57.81.
The very next weekend I was off to Hamilton. This was my first time at this track but I had heard great things about it. Even on windy days the football stadium pretty much blocks the wind from reaching the track. Despite this, I got stuck in a situation with a bunch of people that decided to exaggerate their seed times. I realized this 200m into the race when a few of them got out in 26 seconds through 200m and immediately threw out the anchor right in front of me. I ended up splitting 58 at 400m after trying to sort through that mess. I eventually took the lead with 300m to go and just tried to push for home. With 100m to go I got passed and for whatever reason he decided to cut back into lane 1 immediately and cut me off like we were at trials fighting for a spot on the Olympic team.. So if you're the guy that did that and you're reading this, give your head a shake. I finished the race with a time of 1:58.24, pretty disappointing after running a SB the weekend before.
The following week featured my first overspeed workout of the season. I managed to run a 200m @25, a 400m @56 and a 300m @41 with 2 minutes rest between each. After that I just focused on recovering for my next race in London. I've ran a PB at this track every year for the last 2 outdoor seasons before this one, so I'd say this is definitely my favourite track to run on. The race got strung out early as the leader went through 400m in 53 seconds. I pretty much just hung on for the first lap and by the time I realized how fast we were going it was too late to chill out so I just went for it. I ended up splitting a low 56 through 400m and a high 1:25 through 600m. After this I hopped on the struggle bus and crawled home but I still came away with a new PB of 1:57.18, continuing the PB trend in London.
At this point in the season I was pretty spent. My left knee had been hurting, I had achilles pain, and I was just mentally drained. By the time my final meet came around people were asking me why I wasn't going to race just a few days later in Toronto and I simply replied with "I'm hanging on by a thread here". Despite feeling drained I felt like I was still fit to run a good race. Unfortunately, I was stuck in another race with a bunch of people that had given extremely false seed times, I'm pretty sure it was even some of the same people from Hamilton. At the cut in it was clear that no one wanted to lead so everyone bunched up and made a big mess of it. I ended up popping out in the lead but we sure did split some slow times. I think I was just barely under 59 seconds at 400m. I did my very best to start pushing for home right away but I've never been good at closing extremely hard to save a race that started slow. I ran a disappointing 1:58.55 to finish off the season.
This race showed me that I need to become more versatile. Right now I can only run fast times in very specific scenarios and that's just not good enough. I need to be able to make people pay in the second lap if I'm forced to go through 400m slowly, I don't know what to do exactly to fix this problem but I fully intend on figuring it out.
I now find myself in an interesting situation. My coach has left the program to take advantage of some career opportunities that are coming his way and he doesn't want to coach if he can't fully commit to it, a decision that I respect and appreciate. What this means is that I am without a coach until September. York is currently lacking a distance coach and I have no idea how the hiring process is going so until then, I'm on my own. I'm still relatively inexperienced when it comes to middle distance training so it'll be interesting trying to figure out what I should be doing this month, any helpful advice is welcomed. If you'd like to see the workouts I was doing during the outdoor season and what I'll be doing this year get the Sweat Mobile app and follow me, I pretty much use that app as my training log.
Overall, I'm grateful to get through the year essentially injury free and with a few new PBs through the indoor and outdoor seasons. Today is officially the start of my final season as a York Lion and my final chance to qualify for the CIS championships. Pressure's on lads.
Until next time,
Filthy Fouz out.
Hi everyone. Back again with what feels like the yearly update. There were a couple different reasons why I haven't written anything lately. The first is of course, laziness. I'm enjoying my summer of unemployment, not taking summer classes, and just focusing on training so I guess writing a blog felt a little too much like work so that drove me away from it. The second reason is because I wanted something worthwhile to talk about. You'll find out later in this post that my outdoor season didn't exactly start with a bang and no one wants to read about that, so I held off and waited until I got it together a little bit. The point is, we're back, feeling good, and ready to start sharing with the Trackie world again.
So after my indoor season, I was feeling pretty discouraged that I once again couldn't get a 4x800m team to the CIS championships and even more discouraged that everyone seemed to forget the progress that I made the previous season. I did PB in the 1000m and I ran my fastest 4x800m split ever but I was definitely less consistent than I was the previous year so I can understand why onlookers would think I regressed this season. This wasn't a good feeling but instead of being a big baby about it I wanted to use it as motivation for the outdoor season to get back on track after my meltdown at OUA's.
I followed through with my goals that were outlined in my last post. For those of you that forget, or didn't read it in the first place, I really wanted to focus on the little things that I have a bad habit of neglecting. I have been doing plenty of mobility drills, strides on easy days or long run days, and I'm also the strongest I've ever been since moving up to the 800m (used to play football and be a sprinter so certainly not the strongest I've ever been in my life).
When I got going again after indoor season we kind of reset a little bit. We did a lot of aerobic strength stuff and stayed off the track quite a bit. I hated it but I knew it must be done. I got anxious to race again pretty quickly but my coach really wanted to be patient and build up slowly. This was frustrating but I tried to be as patient as possible and on May 14 I did my usual routine of opening up my season with a 1500m. At this point I hadn't really done anything faster than 1500m pace on the track so while my turnover was feeling pretty sluggish I felt like I was fit enough for it to go well. On race day it was a very tropical feeling 7 degrees Celsius, just perfect for running fast. I made the decision to run in spandex because of the cold thinking "ya, most of the other guys will definitely put the split shorts away today", but when it came time to take the warm ups off I realized I was the only one in tights.. I'm a wimp. Despite the weather the goal was still to PB because I had only ran two 1500s before this and I didn't exactly set the standard too high. The race went pretty smoothly other than a portion from about 800m to 1100m. Just kind of fell asleep and trotted along for that bit, but nevertheless, I got out of there with a PB of 4:08. This gave me some confidence, not because the time was fast, but because it showed me that my strength was better than it ever had been before so I was excited to see how that would translate in an 800m.
Since it's taken me so long to write this I've decided to split it up into 2 parts so it's not such a long boring read.. So this is all you get for now. The next edition will include how all my 800m races have gone so far this year and my thoughts along the way.
Hi friends. I'd like to take this opportunity to let the 3-4 people that are outside of my close friends that actually read this know, yes, I'm still alive. Kind of left the blog high and dry through the indoor season due to trying to be a good student and just being busy with life.. So let's just dive right into a recap.
As you would know if you were following along in the summer (when I wrote my last post), I went through a coaching change this year and was under the tutelage of Matt Loiselle, 2:16 marathoner, NCAA alumni and all around good guy. It was immediately clear that I would be doing more strength work than I had ever done before. It might not seem like a lot to most people but I'm still relatively new to middle distance running so having weeks consistently around 75km to start the season sure seemed like a lot and I quickly dropped down to what is apparently my new race weight of a trim 173 pounds. I was definitely excited to see what I could do after this slight change in training from last year.
I started my season nice and early in November with my second 1500m ever and lowered my time from 4:14 to 4:10. Felt smooth as gravel the whole way but I was honestly expecting a big PB because of added strength and the fact that I didn't exactly set the bar too high when I ran 4:14. I followed this up with a 2:00 800m the week after which I was fine with since we hadn't really been doing anything faster than 31-32 seconds per 200m in workouts yet.
Through December I continued to add quite a bit of strength and even got thrown into what I consider some pretty lengthy 20-30 minute tempo runs. Considering I used to be a sprinter I think my former self would be pretty disappointed in me for diving into that madness. Aside from getting reasonably emotional during tempo runs December went well and I was feeling confident going into the real competitions of the season.
We shook the rust off in Windsor with a 4x800m and 1000m. The 4x800m was satisfactory for an early season race. I split 1:58.9 and our total time was 7:58. It was fine but we knew we had a lot of work to do. The next day I tried to stay in denial about my legs being absolutely fried but denial can only take you so far so I ended up dragging ass to a 2:36. The race legs just weren't there I guess so the 800m the night before took more out of me than I thought it would, took it out slow.. Still tied up, what a race.
Next for me was my first 600m of the season in Ottawa. Coming into the indoor season I had some pretty lofty goals for the 600m. I felt as though I had a breakthrough last year lowering my PB from 1:24.91 to 1:23.13 so I wanted to keep the train rolling. I wanted to be good enough to get into the fast heat at OUAs and run 1:21 or faster. The road to this goal got off to a bumpy start as I opened up in 1:24.74. I wasn't completely in panic mode yet because I opened up in around the same time last year and was able to take a big chunk of time off throughout the season so why not do it again right?
I decided to run another 1000m at our home meet because I really didn't want to go through the whole season with a season's best of 2:36. To ensure that I would PB I did the most logical thing that I could think of.. Went through 200m in 28 seconds. I actually felt decent going through 400m in 59 and 600m around 1:30, but the last 400m got pretty exciting and I actually almost face planted with 150m to go due to getting bumped around a bit and my legs not really responding the way I'd like them to. Nevertheless, I still got out of there with a new PB of 2:33.91.
Next up was the Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York City. This was most likely going to be the last competitive 4x800m we raced until OUAs so this was absolutely huge. Myself, along with the rest of the 4x800m team weren't entered in any individual events so we could just focus on the one race. For those that haven't been to the Armory.. 10/10, would recommend. The race was pretty intimidating with a handful of Division 1 NCAA schools in the race but at least we knew if we were hanging off the back we were still running fast. I ended up splitting 1:56.81. The splits were electronically timed and I ran the lead off leg so that's about as close as I can get to running an offical PB without actually doing a straight up 800m. The race was pretty tough because we ended up being by ourself for a good chunk of it. Most of the other teams kept banging out 1:51s and we just couldn't hang with them. We did however end up running 7:49 and that showed us that we had a chance to qualify for the CIS championships in our own barn.
Up next was Windsor once again, my last race before OUAs. The goal was run a fast 600m, get in the fast heat at OUAs and just feel good moving forward. Pretty much did the exact opposite of all that. I boldly overseeded and got myself into a heat with 2 of the nation's best, Alex Ullman and Corey Bellemore. I was very honest with myself and told myself that chances were I wouldn't even see Bellemore the whole race and boy was I bang on with that prediction. Regarding Ullman, I've seen him split 53/54 through 400m so I thought maybe there would be a chance that I'd still be in the neighbourhood at that point in the race and then have the absolute pleasure of watching him blow by me/widen the gap in the last lap like I've seen him do to so many other people. Turns out they both decided to split 51, I got spit out the back and had a pretty rough last 200m. I ran 1:25, I don't even remember the exact time because it didn't matter and I was beyond rattled. We'd have to go back a few years to find the last time I ran that slow so needless to say my confidence was a bit shot after this race.
The couple of weeks leading into OUAs went really well. We kept the workouts fast and crisp and really got the legs moving. With all the crazy (and stupid) conversions going on in the CIS we figured if we ran under 7:45 in the 4x800m on the flat Windsor track we would be all set to go. I could go on and on about how I got bumped around and had to run most of my leg in lane 2 or 3 but in reality, I simply had my worst 4x800m run of my life and put us in a hole that we couldn't dig ourselves out of. After I handed off the baton I couldn't even watch the rest of the race, I couldn't believe that I was the one that blew it and pretty much ended our chances of qualifying for the CIS championships. I've literally never felt so defeated. That night I was constantly waking up thinking it was just some nightmare and that we had another chance but in reality it was all over.
I went into my 600m the next day with pretty minimal sleep and even less confidence. It was a pretty meaningless race but I still wanted to salvage some self esteem. It still wasn't the most inspiring race but I ran a season's best of 1:24.67. Still well off my PB but I'm trying to find anything positive here.
This season was an absolute rollercoaster of a season and I was pretty shaken up for a few days following OUAs, but now I'm having a very relaxing offseason and I'm already getting excited to get back to work. I'm down to one year of CIS eligibility and after that I really don't know where my track career will go or if it will even exist. I really want to keep running but if I get through next year and I'm not running times that make me think it's worth it to keep going it will be pretty difficult to not just focus on post-undergrad life. Either way, starting in about a week and a half now the final push is starting. From day 1 of my outdoor season until the very end of my CIS career I want to be absolutely perfect. This means doing all the little things that a lot of people think is a waste of time and that I was often too lazy to do like mobility drills, stretching, more core work. I want to really do it right so they actually have something relevant to say at my graduation ceremony.
I think that's all for now. Best of luck to everyone competing at the CIS championships next weekend and all the best to everyone during their outdoor season. Stay nasty everyone.
Hey friends. So it's been quite some time since I've written anything but at the conclusion of my season I just wanted to get as far away from track as possible.. Aside from watching Pan Ams and Diamond League and all that stuff of course.. Basically I just wasn't training or talking about it. With my offseason quickly coming to an end I figured now was as good of a time as any to officially close the 2014/2015 chapter of my track career and move on.
If you've been reading along or if you know me at all, you'll know that this was my first full season training as a middle distance runner. During my indoor season I ran a PB in every event that I ran and even dabbled in the 1000m a couple times. From start to finish, aside from the decrease in weight, noticeable loss of muscle mass, and failing to qualify for the CIS championships I really don't have much to complain about and everything went basically as planned.
My outdoor season was a bit of a different story. I opened my season with a 1500m simply because I couldn't find any 800m races until a couple weeks later. It was a whatever race and it was just nice to get back into the racing atmosphere even though I ran a pedestrian 4:14. I opened my 800m season with a PB by almost a full second but after that I gradually got a little slower each race as my body broke down and just told me "I don't wanna play no more". There were varying reasons why I believe I never improved on my season opener but I think it was only my last 2 or 3 races where my body had just really had enough. Based on my workouts I think there was a time period that I was more than capable of running a PB but the trouble was I didn't race in that time period simply because there were no meets for me to enter. Basically I missed my peak so that kind of sucks.
Regardless of my frustrating outdoor season I still made some very important progress in terms of endurance and strength and contrary to what some people think my speed is still there, maybe I'll run a 300m next year or something to prove it. As of right now I am DEEP into my offseason which will be 3 weeks long at it's conclusion. It has been filled with minimal physical activity except for water skiing, high quality tennis (kidding), and doing below average work for below average pay for whoever needs a hand. I've also been replenishing some very important carbs via a fine product from Molson so I think that'll prove to be very beneficial moving forward.
I'm already fully focused on indoor season next year (I won't be running XC, don't be ridiculous) and I will be going through a coaching change from Dave Weston to Matt Loiselle starting on Monday because Dave has moved back to the homeland to live the dream. I attribute my improvement over these last 2 years to Dave's well structured workouts and witty and well timed verbal abuse, he sure knows how to toughen a guy up. I've already received my schedule for the week from coach Matt so starting on Monday we'll be diving right back into it with a booming weekly total of about 30km to make the legs remember how to run. It's been quite the ride this season and I'm very excited to get going again. That's all for now friends.
EDIT: When you're done here head on over to the "contact" page to answer a poll. Thanks guys.
After a month long stay in British Columbia with my girlfriend I am back in Toronto. It was really nice going out west for the first time in my life and meeting my girlfriend's family, something I think I'll definitely have to make an annual habit of.
On the track side of things, the trip did not go as planned at all. Heading into the trip I was extremely excited to be around some new scenery, race some people I wasn't familiar with, and actually have some people around during my practices while I trained at the same time as my girlfriend's club. I haven't really ever had a consistent training partner since I started training for the 800m and quite honestly it's starting to get me.. But anyways moving right along, I thought I'd be able to walk away from the trip with a shiny new PB.. Not exactly what happened. I ended up running my 3 slowest races of the season with 2 of them even being slower than my previous PB from last season. I could talk about the 40 degree weather in one race, or the fact that 2 of the races weren't overly competitive and I had to do a lot of the work by myself, but in track and field when it really comes down to it, it's on you. I think I am just mentally stuck and it's up to me to fix it. Workouts haven't been going badly so I doubt that I'm physically burnt out enough to warrant my poor performance so all hope isn't lost quite yet.
I've already completed 2 solid workouts while back in Toronto so it's a really mentally tough time doing workouts that say I should be running 1:55/1:56 (according to my coach), and only running 1:57/1:58. I have a time trial this weekend (if you'd like to be my rabbit I will name my first born after you) and the countdown is really on to the end of my season. I only plan on racing once or twice more after that time trial so I'm gonna have to get my head out of my butt pretty quickly if I want to complete my start of season goal.
All in all the trip to British Columbia was great. The racing didn't go as planned but that's not why I went out there so I won't let that ruin the trip for me. That's all for now, there are some pictures below from out west and high five for my shortest blog post yet. Have a great day everyone.
Hey friends. I realize it's been quite a while since my last post but I wanted to wait until I raced again.. And then I just got really lazy for a couple days after my race. Since there's two weeks of training to talk about I won't get into too much talking about anything else.. Except for Evan Jager's nasty 3:32 in the 1500m on the weekend. I'm a huge Evan Jager fan and to myself and all other track athletes with long hair I think I can safely say that he is an inspiration to us all.
Alright so let's rewind way back to June 1. As you know if you've been reading my blog I had a pretty large chunk of time between races so that allowed some time to work on some things that may have been neglected in the previous few weeks, one of those things being pure strength. With no races coming up I left the spikes at home, dusted off the flats and got to work with a 200m-300m-400m-500m-400m-300m-200m. The rest was as follows: 1:45-2:00-2:30-2:30-2:00-1:45. The times weren't hugely important in this workout in the sense that if I was half a second off I wasn't going to be too worried about it. I just had to run hard enough to beat myself up a little bit. The times hit were 29, 44, 61, absolutely fell asleep and ran 1:18 for the 500m, then 60, 44, 28. I did this exact workout last year and my times this year were better aside from the 500m which was the same so I left the track feeling good about it.
A couple days later we were back on the track and the workout started with something that turns me into a big baby whenever I have to do it, that thing being a tempo run. It was only 4 minutes and I ran it at 3:19/km pace but I was still very grumpy about it before, during, and after. Following the tempo run I quickly put my spikes on for 2 sets of 500-300-200. The set rest was 3:00, I got 2:00 rest after the 500m and 1:30 rest after the 300m. The first set was 1:15-44-28, and the second set was 1:15-43-27. I was happy with these times so I forgave my coach for giving me a tempo run.
To close out the week we did a simple and controlled workout that I have done a couple times this year. It's a workout that will make you work hard but not hard enough that you're in any danger of missing the target times. It was simply 3x300 - 2x300- 1x300 starting at 44 seconds and working my way down to 41 seconds.
The next week my coach and I decided that we wanted to go into the race feeling fairly fresh so we only did 2 workouts on the track with not a lot of volume. The first one of the week was 350+200 - 300+200 - 250+200 - 200+200. I was getting 1:30 rest between reps and 2:30 rest between sets. The times hit were: 49+28 - 43+28 - 34+27 - 27+26. I exceeded my own expectations on this workout so I started to get pretty excited for my race on the weekend.
My final track session came on Thursday (race was on Sunday). On the agenda was 400+200 - 300+200 - 200+200 with 1:30 between reps and 2:30 between sets once again. The goal was to basically run what I would take an 800m out in for the first 2 sets then just blow the doors off it on the last set. The first 2 sets went smoothly hitting 56+28 and 42+27. On the last set all the little kids and elderly, gossiping ladies just decided that they wanted to get in my way and make my life difficult. On the first 200m I nearly ran over a little boy that was about as tall as my knee before his dad scooped him up out of lane 1 but I still managed to hit a 26. On the final rep there were 3 ladies in their mid to late century taking up 3 lanes so I was forced to swing out WIDE coming around the corner, giving them quite the scare in the process. I ended up coming through in a low 25, maybe even a high 24, and without running anyone over so it was a successful day.
Over those 2 weeks the workouts had gone very well by my standards so I went into the race with a "PB or bust" kind of attitude. It was a pretty hot day sitting around 27 degrees Celsius but I got through my warmup without feeling groggy or anything. The first 200m of the race was fine and I knew I was running against some pretty strong runners so I decided to tuck in and we came through in 27 seconds. Just as I made the decision to tuck in, the guys surrounding me decided to just throw out the anchor. For the second half of the first lap I was thinking "either I feel absolutely amazing today or we're going extremely slow". As we finished the first lap and I saw that we had just barely squeaked under 59 seconds I knew it was the latter of the 2 options. Now compared to most other 800m runners with PBs similar to mine, my speed is much better than my strength so I lack the ability to aggressively change gears no matter how slow the race starts, but I sure did try. I started really pushing with about 350m to go but it was just no use, I crossed the line third in a time of 1:58.37, my slowest time of the season. This is still faster than I ran all year last year, and last year I had to split a high 56 to get to 1:58 so it wasn't all bad I guess. After watching the NCAA meet for the last few days before the race and watching all the extremely "tactical" races I promised myself that I would never let myself get caught up in a slow race like that.. And then I promptly went ahead and let myself get caught up in a slow race and I finished with a bad time to show for it, so that was frustrating. I put "tactical" in quotation marks because I realize it was a championship meet and times don't really matter, but some of the paces that were set were just painful to watch and many of the distance races were essentially turned into a 200m race. Exciting for some, but not for me. Anyways, the lesson learned was set the tone for the race yourself if you have to.
My next race is this Friday and it is a race that I really have no business being in. The standard for the race is 1:55 and my PB is currently sitting at a humble 1:57.44 so I asked the meet director very nicely to let me into the race anyway and he said yes right away so I thank him for that and for putting up with my million emails asking about who will be in the race. There's a pretty good chance that I'll come last in this race, but at least it's also very reasonable to think that I'll be pulled through to a sizeable PB, fingers crossed.
That'll be all for now, everyone enjoy the rest of your week and pray for me this Friday.
Hey friends. I hope everyone has enjoyed the unreal track action that's been going on. It was so good that I even felt the need to watch my second ever 10k from start to finish thanks to Mr. Mo Farah.
Last you heard from me I was coming off a brand spankin' new PB in the 800m and feeling good so we'll pick it up right from there. After my PB race in London I trucked it on back to my hometown of Kingston and stayed/trained there for the week. The way the track situation is in Toronto right now with the Pan Am games coming up and places getting rented out constantly it was nice having a place to train in Kingston without fear of getting kicked off the track.. Except the one day I had to hop the fence to get in, but moving right along...
At this point in the season I have essentially eliminated the long run. I have been getting hit with a lot of heavy speed sessions and working out on Saturday most weeks so all of my easy days have pretty much been between 9.5 and 10km and I also take one day per week completely off.
My week of workouts started on the Tuesday after my race. It started with 400+200+200 - 300+200+200 - 200+200+200. I stayed in flats for the first set hitting a comfortable 58 and a pair of 28s then spiked up and picked up the pace. The second set was a 42 followed by a pair of 27s and the last set was 27 then 26 then 25. It was pretty windy so the 200s were a bit wind aided but minor details right? The rest was fairly short so I felt pretty good about the workout.
Next on the list was 150+250+150 - 200+200 - 400. I wasn't given specific target times for this one but with 3 minutes rest in between each set I knew it was supposed to be quite fast. Coincidentally my girlfriend also started her workout with a 150 so for the first rep since indoor season I had a training partner and we came through in 18 seconds. After my 18 seconds of happiness with a training partner I was back to the solo life hitting a 34 and another 18 on the following 250 and 150. I hit a pair of 26s on the 200s then it was time to rest up for 3 minutes and empty the tank on the 400. It was one of the more painful experiences of my life but I was happy with the result. I crossed the line in a high 55.. Maybe a 56. My watch clicked over to 56 about half a step past the finish line so I wouldn't feel good about myself just telling you guys it was a 55. All in all, another good, fast workout.
My final workout of the week was some 800m specific stuff where I was to run right around race pace. The workout was 400 - 300+300 - 200+200+200. It was pretty basic, started out with a 57, then a pair of 43s, then cutting down from 28 to 26.
As you can probably see this week I was absolutely kicked in the butt with speed work but it was a necessary evil. If I can make a 56 second opening lap feel extremely comfortable I think we may be in business.
The following Tuesday it was time for 800m #2 of the season in Toronto. The legs were a bit heavy from the hard work leading up to it but I think every track and field athlete has to compete with heavy legs at one point or another. I got put in the fast heat against a lot of guys that are a little bit out of my reach right now but I stuck with them as long as I could anyway. I went through 400 in 56 again, 600 was a high 1:25 or low 1:26 and by this point I was kind of in no man's land with a few people quite a ways ahead of me and a few people quite a ways behind me. I don't know if I just rigged up or fell asleep or what but either way, I finished very slowly. The final time was 1:57.51. It was just off my PB so I wasn't completely disappointed but it was frustrating setting myself up for a good time and then blowing it in the final 200m.
The following Thursday we toned it down a little in terms of speed and stayed in flats for the whole workout for the first time in a while.
Workout: 500 - 3x200 - 2x300 - 3x200
Times: 1:15 - 28, 28, 28 - 44, 43 - 28, 27, 27
After this feel good workout I hopped on a plane and was off to British Columbia where I will be staying for most of June with my girlfriend. We haven't done too much exploring yet but I can't get enough of looking at the mountains so that's pretty much all I need for right now. There was a meet I could have entered in yesterday (Saturday) but my coach and I decided that I would probably be too tired after travelling that far and dealing with my first ever significant time zone change. He was right, I was asleep by 10PM on Friday night and woke up at 5AM so as of right now the time change is really messing with me. Instead of racing, I did some race simulation type stuff on Saturday. The workout was simply 500m, 90 seconds rest, 300m. The goal was to run a combined 1:52 or faster and I did it bang on running 1:10 then 42.
My next race isn't until June 13 but it'll be nice getting a big training block in and it'll be pretty cool racing in BC I think. That's all for now, until next time everybody.
Alright so we're going to back this up to Saturday, May 9. I was just a couple days removed from my first ever 1500m, took Thursday off because holy does that race ever feel long for me right now and my coach understands that I think, ran about 10km on Friday then dove into a workout on Saturday.
The workout was as follows: 300+200+200+300 - 300+200+300 - 300+300 - 300. 2 minutes between reps and 3:30 between sets. This was actually the most strength based workout I had done in a while as I have really been getting hammered with workouts that are faster than 800m race pace lately. I began the workout at just under 30 seconds per 200m and worked my way down to a 41 on the last 300m and left the track feeling good.
After another day of mileage on Sunday I was off to work at some elementary school track meets from Monday to Wednesday and earn a little bit of income. I actually miss the days of elementary school track. The kids in the stands were going absolutely nuts from start until finish and you just really don't see that at university level meets. It's also a lot of fun watching kids learn what lactic acid is. The way some of these younger athletes take out races like an 800m or 1500m with complete disregard for their body is just inspiring, and there were a few kids that certainly had better form than me so that was cool to watch. Anyways, I spent my days measuring shotput, trying to direct students to where they needed to go with little success, and getting wicked tan lines...
On Tuesday after a full day of work and being on my feet I was off to another workout. It was really cold and windy and I was scheduled to go pretty fast so I was quite nervous for this one especially since I was already chilled from being outside all day. The workout was 250+150 - 150+350 - 400 - 4x150. I actually warmed up quite well and quicker than I thought I would so I was feeling a bit better going into it. I'm the kind of guy that can pretty much tell how the workout is going to go right from the first rep, and on the opening 250m I hit 33 seconds pretty smoothly so I knew I was going to be on track. The hardest part was easily the 350m followed by the 400m but I hit 49 and 57 respectively so I was satisfied and happy with my final hard workout before my first 800m of the season.
On Thursday I did a light workout to tune up for my race on Sunday in my home town of Kingston. It was pretty windy once again so it was a bit harder than I wanted it to be but I didn't feel as though it was much to worry about. Here's the link to the workout video if you'd like to know the specifics of it- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDYWZBRb1ik.
My girlfriend and I left Kingston on Friday night, stayed the night in Toronto, then we were off to London Saturday morning for her to compete at the Bob Vigars Classic. She ended up winning the B final and placing 7th overall. We then headed back to Toronto only to head back to London the following day for my race. Not really ideal to be driving around that much but what can ya do right?
I woke up Sunday feeling spectacular considering how much I had been in a car lately. That afternoon I saddled up in the ol' Grand Prix with the Ecuadorian stallion Esteban Clavijo, his girlfriend Sarah, our most loyal fan Muad Issa, and my girlfriend Shania, got Delilah (my GPS) up and running, and we were off. It was incredibly humid when we first got to London so I got pretty moist during my warm up, but by the time race time rolled around it was near perfect conditions.
Race time: We got out pretty hot which is exactly how I need to race since closing the last 400m in under 60 seconds is incredibly unlikely for me at this current stage of my career. At the break I settled into the middle of the pack going through 200m in 27 seconds and 400m in a low 56. From 400m to 500m I kind of fell asleep and got distracted because I had never split that fast before so that was new and exciting. With 300m to go I started to "kick". I put it in quotations because I always pretty much empty the tank from that point in the race so it sure feels like a kick but it doesn't really look like one. Went through 600m in just under 1:27 and started absolutely thrashing my arms begging the finish line to come to me. I crossed the line and knew it was certainly a PB, and after a long wait for the results I saw it, 1:57.44. Considering my season opener last year was 2:05, saying I was happy with the result would be an understatement. Here's the full race video, I start in lane 3.
When it was all said and done it was a great week of training and racing. My next race will be on the 26th so I'm pretty excited to hopefully run another PB. That'll be all for now.
I'm going to start this blog off with an introduction to my track life and career from the very beginning, all the way up until now.
It's hard to say when exactly I could call myself a track and field athlete, but it was at around age 11 or 12 when I definitely became competitive and cared about winning races. Throughout my last few years of elementary school I was much more physically developed than most other kids my age. By the time I reached grade 8 I was already about 6 feet tall and towering over my friends and competitors. I had early success in various sports and one thing was always clear, I could run. During these later years of elementary school I was a self proclaimed sprint specialist. I ran cross country in the fall simply because there was nothing else to do, but when track season came around I was a sprinter or bust. It was easy, didn't get too tired, and the girls seemed to enjoy watching sprint races much more. This was at a time when the extent of my speed and conditioning training was playing tag at recess and heading to little league football practice. This sent me into high school with the idea that I was destined to be a sprinter.
When I went into high school I remained a multi-sport athlete playing football and basketball in addition to track and field. This resulted in my track training starting very late in the year in comparison to when I start now through grades 9 to 11 so I was very much relying on natural ability and still clinging onto the fact that I was more physically developed than most of my competitors. I began grade 9 running 100s and 200s and losing.. Badly. There were no easy victories that I had become so accustomed to in elementary school as my competitors were slowly catching up to me in terms of size. I quickly picked up the 300m hurdles and experienced success there and finally, one week before our first qualifying meet my coach talked me into running my first ever 400m. I ran a modest 54.31 but that was good enough for me to decide that I was going to stick with it. I qualified for OFSAA that year in the 400m and 300m hurdles and finished 7th and 8th respectively. I thought the sky was the limit for me as a track athlete.
The following year in grade 10 I followed the same routine: football season, basketball season, then start training for track and field. This time I thought of myself as a long sprinter and hurdler, no more 100m fame. That season I saw minimal improvements in all of my races while many others had huge breakthroughs, my physical advantage was no more. I still qualified for OFSAA in the 300m hurdles and finished a modest 7th but the season was frustrating to say the least.
Grade 11 was more of the same except this time I was competing against people older than me for the first time in my life. Once again I had minimal improvements in terms of time and I was essentially carried to OFSAA by the rest of my 4x400m team. In grade 12 I knew something had to finally change. I hung up the basketball shoes and started training immediately after football season. I finally experienced some breakthroughs lowering my 400m PB from 53.62 to 52.33 before we were even done with indoor season. I thought I was ready to experience some success at just the right time until a sunny day at the Sydenham High School gravel track. Everyone that wanted to be on the 4x100m team had to do a 100m run off for the 4 spots. About 50-60m into the race my hamstring essentially turned into string cheese and I promptly hobbled over to the grass. I had suffered a grade 2 hamstring tear. A few weeks later I was able to get healthy enough to compete at our first qualifying meet but I hobbled through my individual events and promptly became a relay specialist for the remainder of the season. Our 4x400m team finished 7th at OFSAA and I considered myself very fortunate to even have that much success.
I returned for the coveted 5th year or "victory lap" the following year. By the time football season concluded I had decided that I definitely wanted to continue my track career in university. The goal was stay healthy, run fast. I ran personal best times of 51.37 in the 400m and 56.07 in the 400m hurdles and qualified for OFSAA in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay. 400m hurdles was a disappointment as I went in ranked 6th and finished 12th. However, our 4x400m team with a season's best at the time of 3:23 came in and claimed the silver medal with a time of 3:19 and that stood as my one and only OFSAA medal in my high school career. After this success I decided that I was definitely a 400m runner and would continue as such in university the following year.
University and Present Time
I began my university career at the University of Ottawa. I was quickly thrown into a few 600m races which was scary because I was still partially clinging onto my dreams of being a sprinter. I ended up running times that my coaches were satisfied with, 1:24.91 in the 600m. I won't go into great detail about this, Ottawa has a great organization and many successful athletes, but in the end I decided it wasn't working for me so I transferred to York University.
I reverted back to my sprinter ways in my first year at York and ran the 300m for the most part posting a personal best time of 37.40. I quickly decided I wasn't happy being a sub-par sprinter so I was finally ready to take the plunge into middle distance training the following fall. I began doing dreaded mileage which started with 20 minute runs that weren't very enjoyable for me and began doing workouts that involved less than 5 minutes between reps. I slowly began to adapt until December rolled around and I developed crippling plantar fasciitis. It got out of control very quickly because I didn't know what it was at first. I made several comeback attempts but eventually my coach and I just decided it would be best to shut down my indoor season and get healthy. Eventually I started doing consistent mileage and started getting ready for outdoor season. At the end of May I was finally ready to open my season with my first ever 800m... 2:05, dead last place. My first thought was that I had made a terrible decision becoming a middle distance runner, but I stuck with it and the rest of my races were as follows: 2:04, 2:00, 1:59, 1:59, and finally my PB of 1:58.41 in early July. I thought I had developed enough to fully commit to the middle distance life and I was ready to dive into a full year of this type of training.
I began this indoor season with a complete cycle of actual base training, built up some mileage.. sort of (60-70km per week), and gained some much needed confidence. I ran a PB very early in the season in the 600m with a time of 1:24.71 and even experimented with the 1000m twice posting a best time of 2:34. At season's end I had greatly improved my 600m with a time of 1:23.13, split 1:57.9 in the 4x800m and even competed in my first 4 digit distance. Even though I improved a great deal, I was unable to qualify for the CIS championships so the season left me hungry for more but it did reassure me that I was doing the right training for me.
That brings us all the way up to now. Outdoor training is going well and I'm definitely getting stronger and faster. Still hating mileage and it's still quite low compared to many other 800m runners but at 175 pounds and while doing a lot of speed work and racing, 50-60km per week is really all I can handle without getting hurt/beat up. I opened up my season on Wednesday with my first ever 1500m. Nothing fast, 4:14, but it was a good rust buster and I understand a little better now how I should run races that long. My next race will be an 800m in London and the goal is to PB right away.
I'm pretty much going to use this blog as a training log for whoever is interested, sharing my thoughts and just telling everyone what I've been up to in my track life. That's all for now.
Filthy Fouz, out.