Saturday, March 1, 2008

Work outs and racing

It's been a good week for workouts and I'm looking forward to finally racing next Friday in the 48th Annual Mason-Dixon Games Masters and Open Indoor Championships in Louisville, KY at Broadbent Arena.

A variety of workouts this week: weights, plyometrics, some fast distance (20:18 three mile - 85% effort). Five - half mile intervals at between 2:44 and 3:11 with 3 min rest in between finishing with a 65 sec quarter after 7 min rest, and some wicked hill sprint repeats. These hills were a steep 300 meter uphill sprint that I ran on my toes at 400m sprint pace. After 10 repeats, I was wiped, and my ass hurt for the next 2 days.

Running in sprint stride on the balls of the feet is a completely different thing from running distance pace. Different muscles are working and the stride length is way longer while the foot contact with the ground is way shorter, more like jumping or bounding. A lot of technique study and refinement is necessary. Running a 400m completely on the balls of the feet in sprint stride is hard work. My goal for my first indoor 400m race is to break 58. It'll be easier to go faster outdoors. In the 55m, I'd love to break 7. That is, if I'm healthy enough.

I've been doing starts from the blocks with a resistance harness, dragging a weight along the ground behind. It's a great for developing power and high knee action at the start. I can't wait to take it to the track and do it with spikes. I'm almost ready, but not quite. I did several speed ups to full out sprint speed tonight but didn't want to go more than about 30 or 40 meters full blast. Still a little tentative that I'll reinjure myself so I'm taking it very cautious. I'll probably do a very light week, take a day or 2 off to make sure I'm healed, and hopefully be ready for some time trials full out on the track on Wed.

They'll probably do the Masters events in intervals of 10 years, so I'll probably be competing against last years winner who is 41 and was ranked 4th in the nation last year in the 100m 40-44. Some of these guys travel to meets all year, even to Europe. Willie Gault is my exact age (47) and he set the 100m world record for my age group in 2006: 10.88. Amazing.

On the Masters Track site, I was reading workout advice from a successful sprinter, Courtland Gray, World Gold Medalist in the 100m (55-59). He said:
You have to practice running fast. It is impossible to achieve your meet potential practicing mostly intervals and slow runs.

Also, a key to workout efficiency is less recovery time between reps and sets -- just like in the gym. ... Practicing at "50-75% speed" with periodic tests at 90% won’t get it for me. I tried that. Then again, he [the person suggesting this approach] runs track events from 100m to 5Ks. Not something many of us do seriously. A serious runner should decide if he/she is a sprinter or distance runner. A serious sprinter should know he/she needs to work much harder.
I have to disagree in part. If one wants to compete as a sprinter and still do 5Ks, why not? However, I do think it's easier to be a "sprinter/runner" than a "runner/sprinter" ... if you know what I mean. I think it would be dangerous for me to try and run a 100% all out 100m every workout. I look forward to the day I can sprint everyday 100% with confidence, like I did as a kid. I'm not there quite yet. Maybe by the outdoor season. It feels really good to sprint when everything is working right, it's like flying along and barely touching the ground.

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