Friday, 17 February 2017

Thoughts on new marathon standards, more indoor talk and my training.

What's up friends! Oh man, are we ever getting a lot of snow here on the east coast, over a 48 hour period this past Tuesday and Wednesday we saw 66cm fall, everything was closed so your boy was running like a hamster on the treadmill.....not fun at all. Since we last spoke, Millrose went down, a few low key meets in Europe and the usual meets here in Canada as well as ones a lot of Canucks like to hit like Spire, UW and the BU Valentine Invite. We saw some fast times, tactical races and are starting to get a look at where people are going into outdoors. On the marathon front Tokyo has apparently removed a couple hills from their course and Kipsang announced a WR attempt and we got an update on the controversial Nike Sub2 Project, Kipchoge seems to be going about his normal training, and Desisa as well as Tedese seem to be in great form as well. From the workouts that were talked about Tedese's were the most impressive sessions of 12X1200m where he worked down to running 62 second quarter pace off 2' and a 35K long run at 5:00/mile pace. (Both at sea level). In other marathon news Athletics Canada has adopted the IAAF standards of 2:19:00 and 2:45:00 for this years WC's which opens up the door for more athletes to realize their dreams of representing their country. I'll talk a little about that below, some indoors and my own training as I get ready for my first goal race of the 2017 season which will be the Vancouver Sun Run.

Canada Adopts the IAAF Marathon Standards.

So this is the big news here in Canada and has a lot of athletes excited. Personally as a fan of the sport I'm really pumped for this. I'm of the opinion that international competition will help the development of athletes and encourage them to take their training to the next level. With that said however, I'm also partial to the idea that we shouldn't just rush or force training and racing. When we compare the men's standard in the marathon to the 5 and 10k it's not even in the same ballpark in terms of relative performances based on IAAF point scoring, so guys who may be 10k specialists but can't yet run the 27:45 10000m standard may try to lace up for a shot at the marathon time before they are ready and that's something to be careful with. Because someone can run a relative performance over a shorter distance it doesn't necessarily translate to the longer events. The biggest example of this is the USA Marathon trials, there you can get in with a sub 65 half which is pretty attainable for a relatively fit post collegiate runner in the states. You see them roll a 63/64 and then getting amped up for the trials, they go out with the lead pack and fade to sometimes outside 2:30. The marathon needs to be respected and a 2:19 is still a very fast time. Our women seem to be more aware of this and they treat the distance with respect from what I've seen. Leslie Sexton comes to mind in 2015, she ran her game plan, forgot about 2016 time standards and was rewarded with a huge PB. Now, if your a male and a sub 29 athlete or a 64 minute half marathoner then this doesn't really apply as if you follow a proper training plan then you should be able to relatively easily break 2:19 (if they are only going for a 2:18 and not a sub 2:15). It's people who haven't displayed that ability who are going for broke in order to make an attempt at the standard that scares me. Like Andrew Jones mentioned on the trackie forums, you won't learn anything about your marathon potential if you blow up and jog it in or DNF. Running to what your fitness is indicating is the safest move and will results in steady progress. Look at guys like Reid, Eric and Dylan, they were very accomplished 10000m runners and all made debuts around 2:15/2:16.....high 27 and low 28 10000m runners. The distance deserves the utmost respect. Again, I'm all for these new standards and I'm so excited for what the spring marathon season brings now that this has been put into effect.

With that said who are the players, and who could be booking a ticket to London? Well there are 3 tiers of athletes on both the women's and men's side. The top tier are Eric, Reid, Lanni and Krista. All can run under the old standard and I suspect they will pass on worlds but if they do chose to run then they will be on the top of the list. (Rachel Hannah's 2:32 should be a lock, she is in my mind at this tier as well). Then you have the second tier, those who are either already under the standard, close or displayed the ability to do it with ease given a proper race execution. In this category I have runners like Brandon Lord, Thomas Toth, Kip Kangogo, Sami Jabril, Evan Esselink and if Hendrix or Woodfine give it a go both have displayed sub 2:19 ability. On the woman's side we have Leslie Sexton, Tarah Korir, Dayna Pidhoresky, Erin Burrett and Neasa Coll. Then we have the guys and girls who on the right day can go under the standard or are already under it but are far down on the list. For the guys we have the likes of Rob Winslow and Terrence Attema who went 2:19 last year, Kev Coffey and John Mason who can go under 2:19 on the right day as well as some guys who could potentially debut under the standard, the name that comes to mind is Blair "Captain" Morgan. His first half was sub 66, I have no idea if he has any plan to ever even run one but he's the guy who stands out to me as someone who could drop that kinda sub 2:19 debut. For woman Lissa Zimmer, Ailsa MacDonald and Ellie Greenwood come to mind when looking at the rankings. 

Now, this is all just speculation and ramblings, anything can happen, a guy like Seth may knock his debut out of the park, he's training hard and is a grinder. The same can be said if we see a debut from someone like Lisa Brooking, Laura Batterink or Emily Setlack. Anything can happen under the right circumstances. But with all that said expect the guy's team to be composed of athletes who run sub 2:17 and girls who run under 2:36.

More great indoor action - Who's looking good going into outdoors?

Eric Jenkins - This guy is really developing his speed under Salazar and ran an amazing race taking the win in the Wannamaker mile. He looked like he'd been a 1500m runner his entire career how he executed, when he lost the lead got right back on the shoulder and made his last big move with 80m to go running 3:53. Look for him to be the next american under 13:00 for 5000m

Ben True - He hasn't run indoors in a long time but his endurance/strength really showed as he outlasted Ryan Hill's final push at the 2mile during Millrose. To take down a 7:30 3k runner in his best event shows True is in the form of his life. The question is can he translate this to outdoors and finally break the 13 minute barrier which he has talked about doing for the last few years

Genzebe Dibaba - She looked silky smooth in that indoor 2k WR running solo basically the entire race, now that was a soft record for sure but her run there was worth around 3:54/55 for 1500m and to do that solo indoors.....yeah she's mighty fit.

Laura Muir - I think this is the girl to watch moving into outdoors, her indoor season has been flawless where she started off by going sub 15 solo and taking the British indoor record down. She then blasted a crazy fast 3k to add another record to her name and one that put her on the top 5 list all time indoors over the distance. She's in great shape.

CPT and Brannan - Both displayed some fine form this year so far and won't have any trouble running the 3:36.20 worlds standard once they take a crack at it outdoors. I personally want to see both of them do two things if they get the chance outdoors; 1 - Run the 5000m at Payton Jordon and see how low they can both go. (I suspect sub 13:20 is possible but will take a great race) and 2 - Get into a really fast Diamond League like Shanghai or Monaco where they can jump on the back of the bus and hopefully get dragged under 3:34.

My training

Things are going really well right now and my last two weeks I ran 132 miles and 119 which is a lot but not crazy, I've been as high as sustaining 140 for a few months and I feel a lot better with a big base under me which could have been a reason I didn't run well after getting injured last May, my base eroded after some promising racing in April and May and I didn't have time to build it back up so I'm making sure I'm super aerobically strong so it can carry me through the summer even coming down for periods of time to target certain races.

My last 4 workouts were a set of 5X2k at goal 10k pace off 2:30 recovery which averaged 6:10, I wanted to go a little quicker but the fact of the matter was that felt like the right effort, any harder and it would have been like 8km pace so I figured I'll train at my current ability and go from there. Next I did 16X400m Hard with full 400m recovery. These were done at mile race pace but the recovery was near two minutes on some reps when I'd get down to 62/63 which was a little too spicy. Then this Monday I did a 5km on the roads at goal 10k pace. I ran 3.12 miles in 15:23.6, I think I split the 5k in 15:19 but I went a little past just in case the garmin was off. I was sheltered so I didn't have any wind to deal with which was nice. Then today I did a progressive 80' run starting at 6:00 per mile and going down about 10 seconds a mile every 15 minutes, so not super fast but I averaged about 5:40 pace so a good aerobic run, slower then M pace but much quicker then a normal run.

Anyway that's all for me right now, I hope your all putting in work, the spring season will be here before you know it. Be sure to watch the Birmingham indoor meet tomorrow at 9am ET and the Montreal Grand Prix as well. On another note I got a huge shipment from the great people at Brooks today with the new pro kit, I left my phone at work but I'll post a pic on social media and on here next blog, it's pretty fast looking! ;). 

Have a great weekend and be safe out there,

Friday, 3 February 2017

A look at the first month of racing in 2017 and a training update.

Hey guys how is your 2017 shaping up thus far? I trust your all grinding out some strength type work or your in the middle of indoors and are sharpening up for the championship season. In this post I'll talk about some of the racing that has gone down in this first month of the new year and then talk briefly about what I did running wise the last 2 weeks. I'm pretty fit right now in general, not ready to knock out any PB's because I've just been doing general work without any specificity but based on a hard 5 mile tempo I ran (which if I'm honest I should have called a time trial) I'm in probably 15 flat 5k shape, 31:30 10k shape and 69 flat half marathon shape which is actually ahead of where I was last year on account of having a broken jaw so I'm really excited to start transitioning into some specific work. I haven't figured out my full spring race schedule yet but I'll 100% be at the Sun Run on April 24th, thanks Maurice for the invite! I'm hoping to stay through the week until the TC 10k but that's no confirmed yet. After that I was thinking of doing the Goodlife half again in Toronto but I've decided to do the Mississauga half instead as my GRE teammates are running in most of the events there that weekend. My boy Josh Bolton will be doing the half which is ideal for me as he's run 1:07:40 and we work really well together in races. Then the last one of the spring season will be Ottawa Race Weekend once again. So yeah, 4 big ones away early in the spring and then back to grinding and preparing for a fall marathon with the goal of going inside out Newfoundland record which is rather soft 2:24:17. Now, I may actually get up to BC for the St. Paddy's 5k as well, I hadn't even thought about it but my Brooks Rep mentioned it to me this week so we will see if that develops, I'd love to get out west for that one. Anyway, before I look at some of the racing that's transpired I want to send out huge Happy Birthday to my boy Jeremiah, I hope it's a great day man. Your working so hard out there in BC and it's great to see you making such headway in your career! I'm sure you'll enjoy a nice weekend with Mariah and Tucker!

Who's looking good early in 2017

So we've had a few big indoor meets going down each weekend of this new year out in Washington, New York, Boston, Penn State as well as some road races like the Pioneer 8k and the Robbie Burns 8k here in Canada. Not to mention Millrose is coming up and the First Half out in Vancouver goes off this Sunday and always puts together a stud filled line up. 

I guess the first guy we can talk about is Centro, in his season opener he looked to be picking off right where 2016 left off and was silky smooth running a 3:55 mile for the win. Granted he certainly wasn't running against the best in the world or anything but the ease at which he runs a 26 second last 200 not even straining a little shows he's VERY FIT. Now, the question is if he was to go after it, would he have a chance at Rupp's Indoor 2 mile AR of 8:07? I personally doubt it, that's a really fast mark, the outdoor record held by Tagenkamp is also 8:07 and back when Teg ran that he was one of the best 5000m runners in the world that year running 12:58. Centro can for sure run in the 8:11ish range but I think he will need a couple more years of strength under him to get that 8:07, but he's the one to take it down when the time does come.

Next I guess we talk about the two new 3000m PRs that CPT and Nate ran. Both looked really strong and closed well in a relatively fast race. Anything around 7:45 is definitely a world class indoor time and it's early in the season, it's not a stretch to say they could take another few seconds off what they laid down there and CPT in the future might break 7:40. We saw him lower his 5000m PB to 13:33 last spring, I'll be interested to see if he toes the line in Palo Alto again how much more he takes off that. Could he go sub 13:20?

We certainly can't talk about mid distance running without mentioning how badass Paul Chelimo is becoming. Now, I follow track VERY closely, but I thought last year going into Rio a good finish from him would be to make the final, not be trying to chase down Farah and pull away from Hagos Gebrewit. This guy is not a one hit wonder and if you listen to his interviews he has some swagger to him too which is refreshing. He knew that 3k in Boston was his for the taking and he threw it down and showed the chops of an Olympic Silver Medalist. Another point that's worth mentioning is that Lawi Lalang looked very good for the first time in a while, he was scheduled to bring the group through 3k but he stayed in the race and ran a respectable 7:45. Now a guy of his pedigree and talent (3:33 1500m man and 13:00 for 5000) should be running like 7:33-35 but this is a step in the right direction and he's one to keep an eye out for when outdoors comes around.

Next up is a teammate of Chelimo's from the US Army club coached by Dan Brown, Leonard Korir. This guy looked fantastic in XC taking down Callum Hawkins at the line and then threw down a 61 low in Huston beating Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon Lelisa Feyisa at the line in really humid conditions. He's another guy to watch for. I don't know that he's got the closing speed to win medals on the track over 10000m as Rupp on marathon legs dusted him the last 200 of the US trials and he didn't have the aerobic strength to hang on to the lead group of the 10k in Rio but perhaps his future lies in the marathon. He will certainly be a guy going well under 2:10. 

Here in Canada we are starting to see some road races playing out which is always fun to watch. The Robbie Burns 8k in Burlington had some solid depth up front with Sammi running well under 24 minutes wearing long tights and a half zip. My boy Captain Morgan looked great almost going under 24 himself, this guy is a stud and will have a bright future over many distances. You guys reading this likely already know that but ever since that 14:10 he ran over in Belgium last year he's been on fire. Sergio came in around 30 seconds or so after Blair, he's another athlete with a bright future, he's still a JR and ran 30:00 on the track last summer. Arron Cooper had a solid race back after battling some injuries running 25:00, he's a tremendous strength based runner who gets better as the distance grows. Look for him to go 67/68 at the Chilly half and sub 2:24 for the full come April. Rounding out the top 5 was Paul Rochus who's another stallion and owns a 30:33 10k PR (I will also add that he's the younger brother of the legendary Micheal Rochus of Terminal Mile fame which increases the aura around him). Look for Paul to attack the FISU half marathon standard the next chance he gets!

My training

So yeah I've been plugging away these past two weeks. I'm running my easy days on feel and have been turning my watch around so it's facing down and on the days I'm outside I run a 10 mile route from my house in the mornings. Some days its as fast as 58 and others have been almost 75 minutes depending on the footing and how I'm feeling, I've been doubling on the treadmill in the evening for 45' which generally gets me around 6.5 miles. The last 4 workouts I did over the 2 weeks were a set of mile repeats off 2 minutes, 6 to be exact. I stayed at 5:00 even for the first 4 and went 4:43 and a hugely positive split 4:36 on the last one going out in 2:11 through 800. I also did another set of K's on the indoor track but this time did 10 at goal 10k pace off 2 minutes averaging 3:03. That's a pretty easy workout considering the break and not ripping but I was still getting tired over the last 3 or 4. then I had 2 tempo runs. the first was an 8k time trial outdoors wearing far too little gear and being froze solid, but it was successful averaging 5 flat a mile but suffering the last 8 or 9 minutes then a proper controlled 40 minute progression from 5:40 down to 5:00 pace that averaged 5:16/mile for the whole run. Other then that it's been all easy days. I'm starting my build for the spring next week so I'll document everything like I used to from there on out.

Lastly before I get out of here I'll announce that I've joined the Grand River Endurance Team based in Ontario. Obviously I live in Newfoundland but I know the whole team well and they are an amazing group of talented, driven, hard working athletes and people. We are all around the same age, are passionate about the sport and strive to improve and have some fun along the way. You can check out the club's site here

I also wanted to share my teammate and runner extraordinaire Tanis Bolton's blog/site on here. She's a great athlete and personal trainer. She runs everything from a 17 minute 5k to a sub 3 hour marathon debut last fall. Check her out here -

Ok guys that's it for this week,
Enjoy the weekend and be safe out there on the roads!