Saturday, 18 March 2017

The NYC Half, Sub2 Project, Spring Marathons and My Training.

Hey you guys, how are things? I trust you are all enjoying St. Paddy's Day with friends and being safe out there! Is the weather cooperating for you guys or is it as bad as it's been here? Last weekend, I sit down to write a blog post as I've got a couple of hours to kill and 30 minutes in the power goes out, the winds start picking up and we have a full on wind storm here in St. John's. There was a recorded gust of 179km/h. Yeah, complete insanity, over 140 traffic lights blew down, siding and roofs were reported to have blown off houses, just chaos. I was without power for 2 days and was huddled next to my fireplace keeping warm and cooking whatever I could find....the beauties of living in Newfoundland during the winter months haha. Anyway, thankfully it didn't really effect my training as I had gotten my run in early Saturday and the power came back late Sunday and I was able to go to the gym and roll a long run on the treadmill. Speaking of training it's been pretty great following along with everyone building up for spring marathons here in Canada. Seth continues to crush workouts like a boss and with the big races starting to draw closer like ATB, London, Boston, Ottawa, everyone is making a push to get the finishing touches on the fitness. In this post I'll briefly talk about tomorrows NYC half which has some interesting storylines to watch, touch on the Nike Sub2 dress rehearsal, look at how leaving Kipchoge out of London leaves it wide open and go over a little of what I've been doing other then punching out mega miles and starting to really get to where I'm feeling ready to race hard.

2017 NYC Half Marathon

So tomorrow one of the years best half marathons is going down. Now, it's by no means the fastest race of the year, heck not even close. You won't see times like you would at the RAK half or like we did in Cardiff last year but there are guys in the field with sub 60 potential on the right day and some great storylines to follow. First, let's start with the women, on paper this is Molly Huddle's race to lose, she's got the best credentials here as she's coming off a PR in the half last year on this course and an AR in the 10000m. She didn't run super quick indoors but 15 flat solo without real competition dragging Sisson along for the ride is still a solid performance. I see her duking it out with Edna Kiplagat and Caroline Rotich over the first 10miles or so and likely pulling away with around 5k to go. I don't see it coming down to a sprint finish like last year. I'd also like to see Desi Linden go at least 69 low, if she wants to be able to compete for the win in Boston she may have to close the last half of the race in sub 70 and though she has a 2:22 to her name she cant run that evenly and expect to run away from the best in the world. Girls at the highest level of major marathons can roll 67/68 coming home if the first half is slow enough. It will give us a look at where she is going into Boston. Also, if the conditions are favorable we could see Lanni dip under her own Canadian Record for the half. Her 10000m times indicate 70:15-30 so that's something to watch for. On the men's side Feyisa Lilesa should in theory handle this field with ease if he's in good form, I know he's been dealing with a lot of issues because of his protest of what's happening with the Ethiopian government but he's very much on the upswing. He looked awful in Honolulu, but had a great performance at the Huston half just getting outkicked at the line while throwing up the "X" in support of his country. The man has world championship and Olympic medals as well as a world marathon major win. I expect he pulls away from Stehpen Sambu late in the race (26:51 10000m man). Calum Hawkins should have a great shot at the podium and has looked like a baller this year, I just don't think he's near Lelisa type fitness.

Nike's Sub2 Project

What can we really say about this? I mean I'm super interested in following it, but I also realize it's ridiculous and a media/cash grab in terms of marketing new shoe tech and showing they are dedicated to pushing the boundaries and human potential/evolution in sport. I hate that we don't get to see Kipchoge run London against Bekele. I spoke to my bud JJ about this last night, and he's one of the few people who can change my mind on something in terms of what I think an athlete can run. We both agree that Kipchoge is the best marathon to ever live, but I thought he was capable of maybe taking 30-45 seconds off the WR in Berlin while JJ is thinking he's in 2:01:XX type shape and the more I thought about it and how smooth he looked running 59:17 in the dress rehearsal over 13.1 I'm thinking he may be right. So with that said, I'm a little upset he's not running London, as he could certainly break the WR there, last year with even pacing he would have done it and he appears to be in at least that type of fitness again and likely even better then that. Marathoning at the highest level is so unpredictable and the body can only produce so many of those types of efforts, let alone the training cycle leading up to it. I don't want to see him waste even one performance on a "race" that will always have a question mark attached to it. Now, I'll still be tuning in of course and Kipchoge is such a professional that he will likely recover properly and be at 100% for another attempt in the fall. I just wish we could see him duel with Bekele while both are in their current form. The other things I gleaned from the trial was that Tedese is still a beast and looked great running sub 60, while Desisa struggled. I'm still unsure about what to make of those FlyVapor 4% shoes, improving economy by that much seems a little far fetched but it's definitely a possibility, especially if the extra foam under foot means later in the race the athletes aren't as banged up and are not feeling as much muscular breakdown.

As for how this effects the spring marathons, I mean, Boston doesn't really appear to be that interesting of a race on either the men's or women's side. The story is basically can Rupp take the win, something we will break down in my next post. (I'm going to need to look more at the competition and bounce some ideas/thoughts off JJ). As for London, that should be interesting. I don't believe we will see a WR but we could see another 2:03 and if Bekele is ready to go, London will ensure they bring in good pace makers and set things up for him as best they can. That's the marathon to watch this spring.

My Training

So, things are finally clicking like I want them to. I'll keep my mileage high for another two weeks then come down for a local 5km, the Boston Pizza Flat Out 5k. I'll use it as a rust buster and run it as hard as I can. Normally the weather is horrible as it's on the highest point in St. John's near the airport and you get ridiculous wind but I should still be able to take a crack at the course record. After that I'll put in another week of big training and taper into the the Sun Run, Mississauga and Ottawa. It'll be important to keep the workouts progressing through April and May but I'll have to keep the mileage a lot lower to ensure I'm fresh to run some PB's. I'm not setting super lofty ones right now, just to run 30:45ish at the sun run, 67 at Mississauga and compete as best I can in Ottawa as it just comes down to racing there where the heat can be a major factor. The last 4 weeks I've averaged 134.4 miles and my legs are feeling great, even today after doing a 17 mile long run in the morning I had lots of energy and ran an easy 4.5 at 6:00/mile running the last one in 5:21. So I guess it's just keeping things simple, consistent and progressing slowly from here into the spring. (You can toss me a follow on strava if you want to see my exact runs, I'll start recapping weeks again soon when I've got a little more time to post every week)

So that's pretty much it I guess, like I said, I wish you all a happy and safe St. Paddy's day weekend and be sure to tune into the NYC half tomorrow, it's going to be a great race and don't forget to cheer on Lanni and Eric. Lastly, a big shootout to Jeremiah on starting Solo J Sales and getting back into the running game with Brooks. If he hadn't taken a chance on me back in 2013 when he was the lead rep with Saucony I doubt I'd have continued to train as hard and decided to pursue whatever talent I have in trying to reach my ceiling of potential and personal bests. I'd also not have met such a great guy and friend. Thanks man, I'm pretty amped we are both playing for team Brooks Running as we move into the future. You'll be nothing but successful as you've been in all your other endeavors! I've got a high five ready for you that I'll deliver in April!

Until next time, stay frosty.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mo Speed, USATF Indoors and the Chilli Half.

Hey again friends, I trust you are all well and training like savages! I'm back on the strava train again and by the looks of it some people are building some down right nasty fitness which is awesome to see. This is a great time to be a track/running fan. We have NCAA and Canadian University Champs coming up next weekend, some great road races this weekend in BC and Ontario as well as the USATF indoor champs which I'll talk about below. I find it interesting they use off distances on non indoor championship years. Running the 600/1000/Mile and 2mile makes for some interesting races and tactics. This week also saw some more leaks regarding Alberto Salazar. I'm not really sure what to make of it all, only that I wouldn't expect world class athletes to need that many medications, an outsider who didn't know they were world class runners would assume people on all those medications might not even be able to run. With that said, the bigger question here is that grey area where the rules aren't clearly define. If you are taking advantage of the wording in the rule book and are applying for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE's) and doing so with transparency then you aren't breaking any rules, you may be compromising your moral integrity but that's another matter in and of itself. I personally feel like to stop this type of thing from happening we need to take a look at the wording of the rules concerning TUE's and supplementation and have things clearly stated so that there can be no loop holes in which athletes can take advantage of and everyone is on the same page.

Anyway, there's also my training, which is starting to take shape nicely, I've got a good base under me and my workouts are progressing to the point where I could jump into a race and run pretty close to my PR's which is excellent considering it's only March 4th. So from here on into the spring the goal is to start sharpening up and doing specific speed endurance work at 5 and 10k pace. I'm going to start introducing a 20 mile long run every second week at around 6:15/mile and by late spring I'd like to have them a little under 6 minutes/mile. I feel like it's important to lay some foundation for my fall marathon now so that when I do transition into the buildup itself I'll be strong aerobically and my body will be callused to the longer hard runs so hopefully when I have to hit 60-80 minute workouts at goal marathon pace of 5:25-30/mile or 3:20-25/k that I'll at least have a starting point and my body won't be trashed for a week afterwards. I've been looking at my fall plans leading into my debut and I'll likely skip the national 5km champs in favor of running the Montreal Rock and Roll half which is around a month out. A good half marathon effort seems like a more beneficial race then trying to drop down to a 5km. I'm also toying with the idea of doing my provincial marathon in early September as a long run. During my build I'll want to at least cover the marathon distance once, maybe twice. I figure I can do our provincial race and where it's not a huge event I'll have someone ride along with me on a bike so I can practice my fueling and run a progressive effort of around 2:35-2:40. I've seen Leslie Sexton crush 2:4X's in training and the wolf Jeff Costen did the same before his stellar debut so if I have the choice of doing it solo in training or in a provincial race where sub 2:40 will easily win then I'll do the race. (I may employ the Kev Coffey technique and register under a false name, he likes to go with Jevine Cappucino, just so I don't "officially debut" and have a slow time next to my name.)

Mo Speed!!

I couldn't write a blog post without talking about our boy Mo Ahmed. Man, what a complete stud, we knew he made a big jump up in class last year at the Pre Classic where he ran the Canadian outdoor 5km record of 13:01. I remember as clear as day sitting in my hotel room watching it during Ottawa race weekend. From there he poured it on and finished 4th in Rio over the same distance. That 5000m at BU just solidified what we knew already, Mo is one of the best over the distance, for him to drop guys as seasoned and strong as Hill, True and Jenkins.....these are legit world beaters, Jenkins especially who I see as the next american going sub 13. Mo did an interview after saying that he will now look towards outdoors and either a fast 5000 at Payton Jordan or maybe the Shanghai Diamond League. Personally I'd love to see him run a fast 5 this year but I'd love to also see him running some 1500's just to sharpen up that first step when the move is made. The very best guys in the world have that crazy pace change at the drop of a hat, that's how the medals are decided. Either way, we need to get excited because Mo Speed is going to have an epic year.

USATF Indoor Champs

I'm going to quickly give my thoughts and predictions on the mid-d and distance events on this meet as it's going to start shortly. I think having these off distances (600, 1000, Mile and Two Mile) are really cool for years where they don't have to decide a team for world indoors. The 600 allows some of the quarter milers to jump up and race some speed oriented half milers which is fun and the same holds true in the 1km where you get fast 800 guys battling strength based milers. Even having that extra 218 meters over a 3km in the two mile helps out the 5km guys dropping down so it makes for fun events and where it more about racing then running lights out fast times. (Altitude also takes care of this for us). Anyway, my predictions for the 600 are Cas Loxsom and Ajee Wilson, In the 1km I like Clayton Murphy and Charlene Lipsey (She ran a massive 800m PR hanging on to Ajee earlier this year). In the men's and women's mile I'm taking Kyle Merber to upset Blankenship who should be the favorite here and Shelby Houlihan. And finally, in the two mile which is a strait final as well and takes place tonight I've got Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Chelimo edging out Ryan Hill and for the women I'll take Katie Mackey to upset Houlihan doubling back from the mile.

The Chilli Half

Tomorrow most of my Grand River Endurance team will be going to battle in Burlington Ontario at the Chilli Half. This is always a fun event to follow and attracts some great athletes looking to test themselves before ATB or a spring marathon. This year is no different and there are some super talented men and woman registered. If everyone was entering this at 100% and peaking for this race it would be pretty interesting. But since it's early March and everyone is in different places we shouldn't really see too many fireworks. On paper you have Blair Morgan and Tristan Woodfine who are the class of the field, both are accomplished over the shorter distances and could theoretically run as quick as 65 flat if they work together and get a good day. Next would be my boy Josh Bolton who's run 67 minutes and has been even fitter then that but he's treating this one as a checkpoint and looking to peak 7-8 weeks from now. So with that said we've got a host of guys who are in 68 minute type shape and I suspect we will see a pack of guys like Josh, Aaron Cooper, John Parrott, Paul Rochus, Seth M., Runner Rob, E-Bang and Lucas M. all coming in between 68:00-69:30 if the weather cooperates. After that we should see a slight gap, then a crew of guys like Mitch Free, Dan Way, Dave Clark, Marathon Mike along with plenty of others starting to come in around 72 flat and up from there. On the women's side I'm not sure exactly who's starting other then Tanis Bolton and Krista Duchene who will both be under 80 minutes. Anyway, it'll be exciting to watch and I wish everyone good luck out there. Have some fun and race hard.

My training

So as I mentioned above things are coming along well, the last two weeks have been over 130 miles and I'm stacking quality on top of that so I'd imagine I'm about 2-4 weeks out from being in PB shape. I was at the track this morning and did a nice little cut down workouts to start sharpening up. When I arrived the Pearlgate track team was there with their coach Mark Miller so I jumped into 2k, 1800, 1600, 1400, 1200, 1000 and 800 off very large equal recovery. I ran 35 second 200m pace the whole way or 2:55/km, the 2k and 1800 were a little harsh but coming down felt better as I was getting huge recovery, like 6 minutes after the first 2k rep. Mark has a great group of young, talented athletes that will be going to Canada Games this summer so I really appreciate you all letting me jump in and stretch the legs out. So as of tomorrow I'm 7 weeks out from the Sun Run, plenty of time to put the finish on some speed work. After that like I mentioned I'll hit Sauga for the half with Josh and Ottawa race weekend. Lot's of training to be done and miles to be run. (I'll start doing proper workout recaps once I'm doing more workouts outside, it's lame being on the track and treadmill so often.)

Alright, I'm going to get out of here and go get my fireplace going to warm up, it's super cold and blustering in Newfoundland today.

Stay hungry friends!

Thanks Brooks for sending your boy the 2017 pro kit to keep me looking fresh and fast this racing season. You guys are an unreal brand to work with. I'm so honored to be running under the brooks banner with athletes like Jenna Westaway, Gabriela Stafford, Lewis Kent, Devan Wiebe, Jessica Shaw, JP et all!

Morning miles at the gym before work.

Just placed an order for this beauty, I heard they sold out online within the first day and a half! Luckily your boy has connections.

The feeling you get before attempting a workout outside in 60km/h winds.

The feeling once you've survived it and crush a recovery shake.

Shoutout to LeanFit for the fresh shipment and for fueling my legs through thousands of miles. I can't wait to visit you guys in Vancouver this April.