Coach Blog: July 2015

More race-specific work in July. In a strange twist, we start with the national championships on the first weekend (Mel and Ryan) and then move to provincial championships later in the month. I guess this is one of those things that people outside the sport looking in would look at and think doesn’t make any sense. But actually, it’s not so bad. If we started with provincial (or even local or regional) championships, then the season would be over in June for the majority of track and field athletes (assuming they want to peak for the most important competition of the year). The reality is that most people know if they are going to nationals or not, and a provincial championship is not really a qualifier for it in any sense. Qualification happens by time, so you can hit a couple good meets early and run the time, then prepare for nationals. If you are looking at making an international team, nationals is far enough from those (generally they are in August/September) that you can re-cycle your training and prepare to peak again. Also, you are probably good enough to not need to be at your peak at nationals. For those who do want to be at their peak at nationals, probably because it is the best competition they will get all year, they are good enough to not need to be peaked for a lower-level provincials later, which they can do if the timing is right (or if their provincial association forces them to in order to get funding, which bureaucratic blackmailing happens regularly).

Anyway, here is the training for the group aiming to peak end of July for provincials.

June 29 to July 5
Long group: 4x1200m at 5k GP, 90sec-2min rec. Then 400 all out.
Short group: 2×500-300 at 800m goal pace, 1min/5min rec
Ryan and Mel: 5-6×400 at 5k GP, 1-2min rec. Max 6/10 effort.  (going to nationals)
Marathon group/Half-marathon return to training group: 2-3x10min tempo 2min rec (do not race each other, go together and Max 6.5/10)

Wednesday: 3x100m, 3x200m all out. Full rec. Cool down 30-45min.

Saturday: easy long run
National championships:
Ryan Noel-Hodge 14:41.97 10th, Mel Myrand 17:28.61 9th

July 6-12
Monday: 5:30pm at Molson Stadium (long workout on trails)
Racing 3000m: 10min-7min-5min-3min at steady-tempo-10k-5k pace, 2min rec between
Racing 800m: 300m-200m-100m at 1500m-800m-fast with 2-3min rec
Not racing long group (including marathoners): 10-7-5-3 continuous
Not racing short group: 3x300m-200m-100m at 1500m-800m-fast with 90sec-60sec rec, 3-4min set rec

Wednesday: 6pm at Lasalle Track, in Riverside Park.
3000m or 800m race

1 Flynn, Jullien 93 McGill Olymp 10:03.46
2 Bourassa, Chantal 94 McGill Olymp 10:25.20
3 Barwick, Alison 93 McGill Olymp 10:52.06
7 Besso, Annyck 90 McGill Olymp 11:41.68
3 Alsabbagh, Mohamad 90 McGill Olymp 9:14.23
4 Kelly, Daniel 91 McGill Olymp 9:18.27
Cowan, Glenn 9:52 (unofficial)

9 Haines, Marie 92 McGill Olymp 2:30.97
11 Calver, Christina 87 McGill Olymp 2:37.21
2 Fitzgibbon, Chris 94 McGill Olymp 1:58.62
3 Favreau, Christian 95 McGill Olymp 2:01.65
8 Bassel, Oliver 00 McGill Olymp 2:11.22
6 Bassel, Henry 98 McGill Olymp 2:29.46
8 Balk, Malcolm 54 McGill Olymp 2:30.58

Not racing: 8-12x200m at 1500m pace, 200m at 1500m pace+10sec (i.e. 5min 1500m runner does 40/50).
Marathoners: 40min tempo

Easy long 90min-2h30 for marathoners
Racing 1500m in Lachine: Malcolm Balk 4:59.97, Chris Fitzgibbon 3:58.79 PB

The mid-week race served as a kind of primer for the provincial 5000/1500/800 championships

July 13-19
Racing 5000 on Saturday: 3-4×600 at 3k pace, 2-3min rec, then 2×150 controlled fast, full rec.
Racing 1500/800 on Saturday: 4×200 at 800 pace, 400 at 1500 pace. 3-4min rec.
Marie: easy+strides
Others: 5-6×600 at 3k pace, 2min rec, then 2×150 controlled fast, full rec
Marathoners: 45min half-marathon effort

Racing 5000/1500/800: 2-2-2 at cruise-10k-5k, 2-3min rec then 2×400 at 3k-5k pace, 2-3min rec
Not racing: 4×2-2-2 at cruise-10k-cruise, 2min rec. 2×400 at 3k-5k pace, 1min rec.
Marathoners: 8-10x1min 10k effort, 3min marathon pace (if you have already successfully completed this workout, then move to 2min 10k/2min MP

Saturday+ Sunday: provincial championships.
If not racing, 90min-2h long run. Marathoners, 90min as 30min easy, 30min MP, 30min HP.

Calver 1:07.56, Barwick 2:26.31, Haines DQ (2:27.22), Haines 5:03.35, Myrand 17:01.95 3rd, Flynn 17:03.39, Bourassa 18:41.53, Favreau 2:00.07, Fitzgibbon 1:55.13 PB, 3:57.94 PB, Kelly 15:46.20 PB, Alsabbagh 16:07.22, Kazi 16:28.87, Jarry 14:36.33 3rd, Noel-Hodge 14:38.69, Balk 5:04.10

July 20-26
group easy run. Those who raced on the weekend don’t need a workout. Marathoners had a big week last week so they can take an easy day. Those who are building up can take an easy day and you’ll have something on Saturday.

Long group (including marathoners): 8x1k at 10k effort, 2min rec for most.
Short group: 600-200-200 at 800 pace, 1min/3min recovery.

Long run with some tempo as follows:
Those racing 10000m next Friday: 90min run with 3x10min tempo
Those racing 800m next Friday: 75-90min run with 2x10min tempo
Marathoners: 2h+ run including 2x10min MP+5min tempo+10min MP (50min of quality)
All others: 90-2h run with 30min tempo divided as needed (so can be 3x10min, can be 30min continuous, can be 2x15min, 20-10…)

This was a pretty light week coming off a race for many, and leading up to the final big track meet next weekend. At this point in the year, especially if the athletes are racing a lot, there’s not really a big need for big workouts. What they really need is to rest. The two distance women who finished 3-4 in the provincial 5000m, for example, felt pretty burnt, so we took it very easy for them to see if it was worthwhile to race 10000m next week. Turns out it was a good call…

July 27-August 2
Racing 10000m:
8x400m at goal race pace for Friday with 400m recovery.
10min tempo as part of warm up, 8x400m (with the group), then 8x200m at 1500m pace (200m jog rec).

Easy Progression run, 60min.
Racing 10000m: Start at Current (not goal) 5k pace+90sec/k and get 10sec/k faster every 10min.
Not racing: Start at 60sec/k slower than that and go 10sec/k faster.

This day got really hot so everyone just went very much by feel and started closer to jog effort (5k+90sec)

Friday: Race in Quebec City.
Haines 2:26.60 PB, Myrand 35:17.27 PB 2nd, Flynn 35:30.89 PB 3rd, Jarry 30:28.97 PB, Noel-Hodge 30:33.48 3rd PB, Lecointre 31:38.89 PB, Liu 34:14.23, Shiri 35:51.34, McElligott DNF

Marathoners/not racing: 40min of tempo as 20min-15min-5min (not a progression) at tempo (aka current 5k pace+20sec/k) as part of a longer run (90-120min). If you haven’t done a total of 30min tempo yet, then do 20-10.

That pretty much wraps up our summer. August will be spent running easy, doing what some people would call junk miles or Long slow distance to make long slow runners, but those characterizations are uninformed. We need a period of cooling off, where we don’t do any intensity, where we don’t have structured workouts or training, so we can let our bodies recovery and our minds, too. After taking sometime completely off from running (not a bad idea), runners will get back out into nature and enjoy running.

If you have actually been following along all year, congratulations, you made it! Actually I should say congratulations to me as I managed to actually document a year’s worth of workouts for the group, which I did not think I would be able to do. Yes, some posts (like this one) were late, and yes, I turned to monthly posts in the spring and summer to catch up. That probably speaks to how busy I got and how varied the training became.

So far this year we have a total of 90 PBs (personal bests) and we still have our fall marathoners to go. Last year at this time we had 60. There is also a 5k in August that may yet add to the total. All this to say, while you would not be wise to copy this training exactly, it’s not a bad model to follow, as we’ve managed to get a group of 20 or so athletes in the best shape of their lives. Another point to make about the workouts listed here is that this was the plan, not the execution. The individual execution of the workouts may have varied from what was written here. And to be honest, the faster and more experienced the runner, the more variation. Ryan, who you can see above ran a 30:33 PB in the 10000m, really didn’t do much of what is listed here. In fact, he did far less, both in terms of training volume (we don’t really touch on mileage but it is somewhat implied) and intensity (he mostly relied on tempos and some race pace workouts near the end). That’s because he is who he is, not because that’s a particularly better way to do things generally.

Anyway, that will be all for the training blogs for now. In the fall, there will be the usual over-saturation of university xc predictions, with a very special guest writer. I will let him reveal himself when the time is right. I will post some coaching ideas that I have kicking around though I am also writing a column for Canadian Running so check that out when you can. I think in 2016 I will do a series on the lead up to Boston for a small crew of our runners. In the last year the marathoners work has been partially revealed but has also been in the background so I think I will give them the spotlight in the new year.

Happy running!