Last weekend I competed in the USATF Masters Decathlon Championship. I scored “okay” and was able to take the M40 title, but I failed to reach the score I was gunning for. My goal going into the competition was to break into the top 10 all-time m40 decathletes (World, not US). Kip Janvrin, one of the best decathletes of all time, owns the M40 World Record by a country mile, so there was no chance of getting close to that. Compared to the extremely thinly competed Indoor Heptathlon in which I set the American Record back in Feb, Outdoor Decathlons are common, so the number of high quality athletes who have competed in them is high.
Anyway, my quest for Top 10 failed miserably. I was barely able to break into the top 25…and in retrospect, it’s pretty obvious why.
Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great weekend of bonding with a bunch of old guys who are as crazy as I am to still be doing this. :)
Competition is not Practice
I have lots of excuses I can pull from: Weather (90 degrees with 90% humidity), jet lag, sleeping in hotels, road trip food, headwind, 45min delays right before the 100m and 110H…but those are all standard things an athlete and coach must deal with. And, honestly, I think I planned and dealt with all those things pretty well. The real reason I scored below my expectations was a poor training plan (I’m not willing to say my expectations were too high, yet). And I should have expected it really, but I was lulled into thinking I was “okay” because of my practice results. Continue reading
Here is the second video of Harry Marra at the “World’s Greatest Track & Field Clinic.” This clinic was on Feb 3, 2013 at Westmont College. The clinic benefited the “Women’s Athletic Performance Foundation” – http://www.wapf.us/
They are always looking for donations, so if you like what you see, go to http://www.wapf.us/donate-with-paypal.html and donate.
In this video, Harry discusses
- Pole Vault technique
- Speed Weights
- Pool workouts
- Training week
- And lots of stories.
I don’t typically write about myself on this blog, but this is a special occasion, so here it goes…
My American Record
Over the weekend of March 3, 2012, I broke the “recognized” M40 Heptathlon American Record. I’m super proud of my accomplishment, but at the same time I know there should be an asterisk by my name and mark.
Here’s a link to the USATF 40-44 American Records – unfortunately, I have no idea when it will be updated. When it is, my name will appear on the same list as such greats as Dwight Stone (HJ world record holder, 2 time Olympic metalist), Gail Deavers (3 time Olympic Gold metalist, 5 time world outdoor champion, 4 time indoor world champion: 100m, 100H, 4×100), Brian Oldfield (SP world record holder and Olympian), Johnny Gray (800M American Record Holder and Olympic Bronze metalist), Pat Manson (PV 19foot club, 3 time Pan American games champion), Ray Kimble (TJ — 57′ club). It’s completely surreal. But that’s Masters track for you; you get some true greats on the same list as some really goods. Continue reading
I wouldn’t call this an interview, because I’m far from the braodcast type. It is what it is, which is a poorly recorded chat I had with the world class Sharon Day at the local Starbucks. The background noise occasionally gets in the way; after all the whole thing is recorded on my iphone. I stumble over my questions repeatedly…but Sharon is a pro interviewee and carries the whole thing. It was an absolute pleasure to steal her for over an hour after a Monday workout. I had a blast just talking track with one of the best athletes in the world. Even given all it’s faults, I think you’ll enjoy it. Continue reading
I follow a more eastern block and/or Charlie Francis style of periodization. Which, in sprint42.com language, means that I train both Anaerobic Speed and Anaerobic Fatigue concurrently.
My basic weekly microcycle is made up of Anaerobic Speed on Mon and Thurs and Anaerobic Fatigue on Tues and Fri. On top of that, I alternate my weekly volume so that one week is focused towards speed and the next towards fatigue. Here is an example four-week block of my “running” workout: Continue reading
In my last post, I ranted about posted/printed workouts missing key information (usually intensity and often rest) and the need for a standard for describing sprint training (and proposed one). I have since learned there is already an IAAF standard syntax that covers 90% of what I was looking for. Since I’m someone who learns best by examples, I thought I’d print a handful of common workouts to get your juices flowing.
Here’s the IAAF format with two additions: “Classification” at the beginning to include any general information the athlete may require and “Modifier” for clarifying any additional information about the distance, e.g. “b” for blocks, “f” for flying, “c” for crouching… Here’s a link to the IAAF standard.
Classification – Sets x repetitions x distance<modifier> (intensity/pace) [recovery between reps, recovery between sets]
In general, I don’t like using time for my intensity — the first example in the IAAF document does exactly this: 10 x 400 (72”) [2’]. I think this is a mistake. Continue reading
I read a lot of coach’s workouts online and in books and it absolutely drives me crazy when the sprint workouts are vague. I continually have to make assumptions on what the workout means by filling in information like rest and intensity. Honestly, in a standard sprint workout, there are very few variable. In general, these variables are sets, reps, distance, rest, intensity. Sure, there are non-standard workouts (e.g. change intensity mid-run, run for a specified time instead of distance, use a heart rate monitor instead of specific rest time…), but 9 out of 10 workouts fall into the “standard” category. And thus, we should be able to create a basic vernacular for describing these workouts.
Just today I read an overview of some training for the young start sprinter Adam Gemili (http://speedendurance.com/2012/11/15/adam-gemili-sprint-training-workouts/). The first sprint workout just says — Track work: 4x350m.
What does that mean? Without intensity and rest, this workout could be classified (using UKA-Michael_Khmel&Tony_Lester_CLASSIFYING_SPRINT_TRAINING_METHODS) as Specific Endurance, Special Endurance, Intensive Tempos, or Extensive Tempos. All of these classification have very different goals. The reason I read other coaches workouts is to try to find nuggets of information that I may be able to apply to my own training. Forcing me to assume aspects of their training obfuscate the true meaning and leads to potentially massive misinformation. Continue reading
This post is a Do-It-Yourself Anaerobic Speed Reserve (ASR) spreadsheet tutorial. If you don’t know what the ASR curve is, then please see my posts I take it back…Weyand was right and Bolt can run 42.80 and Dr. Peter Wayand’s study High-speed running performance: a new approach to assessment and prediction.
I’m not the best Excel guy, so I’m sure my approach can be greatly improved. But, my spreadsheet works and it doesn’t use any tricky Macros, so I think it will be very useful to you.
Now, a quick tutorial on the ASR equation before getting into Excel DIY. The basic ASR equation is as follows:
You won’t find this exact equation in Weyand paper. I’ve done some basic variable replacements to make it, in my mind, easier to read. The closest version of my derivitative can be found on page 8 (1961), equation 7.
The equation states that the maintainable maximum speed for a specified time (Spd(t)) of an athlete is equal to that athlete’s maintainable Aerobic Speed (Spdaer) plus that athlete’s exponentially decayed Anaerobic Speed Reserve (Spdasr). I know, that’s a huge mouthful. Feel free to completely forget it!
The import thing to note is that an athlete’s Spdaer and Spdasr are unchanging from one sprint to the next. Continue reading
When I first learned about iThlete, I was extremely excited to get one. I knew several NFL teams were using an HRV (Heart Rate Variability) system called Omegawave, but Omegawave was way out of my price range, costing thousands of dollars. iThlete, built on some of the same science, was less than $100 with app, dongle, and chest strap (cheaper if you have the strap already). Now that’s more like it!
So, what is HRV and why is it important? Well, HRV is a way to test your current fatigue, but more specifically your CNS (Central Nervous System) fatigue. An HRV test measures the time between your heart’s beats. When rested, the time between heart beats will vary efficiently based on your breathing. Your CNS regulates beats so that your heart beats more rapidly when inhaling (new supply of O2) and less rapidly when exhaling. However, when your CNS is fatigued (like after a hard workout), your “heart beat efficiency” drops and times between beats are more regular (a little counter intuitive at first — I originally equated consistent beats with recovered — but your body is smarter than that).
The CNS and PNS (peripheral nervous system) controls everything about how we move. Every stride is a complex loop of sensory input and coordinated motor unit firing. Thus, understanding how your CNS is taxed and how long and well it responds to being stressed (via workouts) can greatly greatly benefit the athlete and coach. A low HRV score means your CNS is suffering and working sub-optimally. And thus your chance of injury is higher, especially if your workout calls for a taxing CNS regiment (e.g. maximal velocity sprints, heavy deadlifting…). A high HRV score means you are primed for a good workout from a CNS perspective.
Think about it this way: A low HRV score means you are going to be less coordinated. I don’t mean coordinated like rub you tummy while patting your head. I mean motor units firing in synchronized and successive order to make accurate and powerful movements.
At least, that’s the theory. My experiences weren’t perfect, but they were very good. Continue reading
In a previous post, I doubted that Barry Ross’ training methodology was adequate for the 400m runner. My reasoning was that only training at distances of less than 70m did not tax the longer anaerobic metabolisms (Lactate/H+). Since then, I’ve had an epiphany about why this training would work for the High School athlete and I’ve written about Weyand’s study on anaerobic metabolism and how terms like “Lactate Tolerance” may not be correct (thus I’ve begun to use the terms Anaerobic Speed training, Anaerobic Fatigue training, and Aerobic Fatigue training). So a revisit was in order.
While I still believe that you couldn’t successfully train a world class or even collegiate athlete by only sprinting repeats of 70m or less, I do believe that it has a lot of merit at the high school level for athletes who only train during the track season(s). Continue reading