Long Lost Dan Pfaff workouts — FOUND!!!

I thought that title might lure you in. Yes, they are long lost workouts, but only to me. I’m sure there are lots of other copies out there ūüôā

But still, very cool. I found the a folder that Dan gave me back in ’95 when I briefly trained under him.

It’s interesting to see the similarities between these workouts and Trey Hardee’s workouts¬†done under Mario Sategna (one of Dan’s former athletes). Not sure if the similarities are due to¬†Dan’s influence or University of Texas protocols…but interesting non-the-less. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Dan Pfaff, Decathlon, Sprinting | 3 Comments

The best coach you’ve never heard of: Oliver Hanf, CSU Chico

When you think of DII Track and Field, you probably think of St. Augustine’s or Abilene Christian (if you think of anything at all).  Those two universities combined have all but one of the Men DII championship titles in the last 30 years.

Of the 168 DII scholarship schools, my Alma Matter¬†CSU Chico ¬†has never won a DII title (I also ran for CSU Northridge and was lucky enough to be a part of the runner-up team in 1990). ¬†But in recent years, CSU Chico has started to make waves in several events…one being my favorite, the Decathlon. ¬†Here’s a quick look at some recent results:

chico_dec_x41999: Trevor Papp: 3rd
2000: Trevor Papp — had best score in nation, but missed nationals due to an injury
2001: J.J. Nobel: 1st,  Erick Knight: 6th
2010: Talor Fulfer: 4th
2011: Talor Fulfer: 5th
2012: J Patrick Smith: 1st, John Brunk: 4th
2013: J Patrick Smith: 1st, Theodore Elsenbaumer: No height in PV cost him 2nd.
*Moreover, J Patrick Smith, Theodore Elsenbaumer, John Brunk, and Adam Nikssaria (who qualified provisionally, but missed going by 25 points) are all returning this year.

In January, I caught up with the driving force behind this success: Oliver Hanf (affectionately known as Coach O). ¬†Joining us for a quick 45 minute chat (we could have talked for many more hours) was John Brunk to lend the athlete’s perspective. ¬†Here are some paraphrased excerpts that you might find interesting.

What’s special about Chico Track & Field?

One thing that Kirk Freitas has always done is endeavored to create a “team” in an individual sport. ¬†In our sport, there’s such differences “of events” and therefore often times personalities, it’s tricky to “mesh it”. ¬†So you try to come up with ways to do that. One thing we do is have athletes occasionally warm up with different groups. ¬†In two weeks from now, we’re going to have a 140 person game of duck-duck-goose; six circles of 20+ random athletes….and the runner has to change circles. ¬†It’s team building. ¬†The very next day, we have our inter-squad Cardinal and White meet. ¬†There’s always a theme and this year it “Animal Kingdom”. ¬†Last year it was “Superheroes and Villians”. ¬†Everyone has to dress up. ¬†We photograph all that stuff, we post it to Facebook. ¬†The idea is to connect.

I ask this tongue in cheek, because we know there is no such thing, but what is your secret?  A special workout or weight program?  Something that you do that you think others might not.

The one hour decathlon. ¬†It’s gives us something to latch onto in the fall. ¬†We’re working towards May, but it’s a little stepping stone. ¬†It’s something you have to gear up for a little bit. ¬†It’s right after Thanksgiving. ¬†I’ve wanted to do it for years…the guy that told me you “just do it” was Kip Janvrin. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Heptathlon | Leave a comment

Running like RoboCop

As a Masters athlete, I typically workout by myself. ¬†This means I have no one to time me, no one to watch my technique…hell, I’ve got no one to even talk to. ¬† To help combat all these drawbacks, I have to suit up like RoboCop.

On my right arm: iPhone 5, streaming Pandora usually or using Cadence when running 1500 meter tempo work (set to 95+/-5 beats per second).

In both ears: Jaybird BlueBud X — (review to come on these awesome bluetooth headphones — here and on

On my left arm: SoloShot transmitter, which is sync’d with the SoloShot tripod for video capture (with a camera…but hopefully in the future an iPad running Coach’s Eye). ¬†I will be reviewing SoloShot for Track and Field in the near future (here and on

Around my waist: FreeLap, baby!  Read my review here.

Over my eyes: Nike Sunglasses (I wear these religiously…it may be a placebo for fighting back migraines). ¬†I like Nike because they are light and rest comfortably on my nose…but unlike the other products above, I’m not married to these.

Here’s a couple of my first test videos with the SoloShot.¬† These are pretty zoomed out…following the recommendations from SoloShot.¬† But I’ve been experimenting with getting closer.¬† Sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes I get in front or behind the frame…I can’t tell you how frustrating that is…especially when you do something good and want to watch it (like yesterday).¬† Still working out the kinks.

Categories: Coaching, Product Reviews | 1 Comment

Harry Marra Talks about Ashton Eaton‚Äôs training (video) Part 2

Here is the second video of Harry Marra at the ‚ÄúWorld‚Äôs Greatest Track & Field Clinic.‚Ä̬† This clinic was on Feb 3, 2013 at Westmont College.¬† The clinic benefited the ‚ÄúWomen‚Äôs Athletic Performance Foundation‚ÄĚ ‚Äst

They are always looking for donations, so if you like what you see, go to and donate.

In this video, Harry discusses

  1. Pole Vault technique
  2. Speed Weights
  3. Pool workouts
  4. Weights
  5. Training week
  6. And lots of stories.

Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Pole Vault, Sprinting, Throwing | Leave a comment

Harry Marra Talks about Ashton Eaton’s training (video) Part 1

Here’s more from 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” —¬†

They are always looking for donations, so if you like what you see, go to and donate. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Heptathlon | Leave a comment

An hour with Sharon Day

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

Categories: Coaching, Decathlon, Dorsiflexion, Heptathlon, Sprinting | Leave a comment

A Sample Mesocycle

I follow a more eastern block and/or Charlie Francis style of periodization.  Which, in 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

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 5 Comments

Sprint/Running Workout Syntax Examples

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 РSets 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‚ÄĚ) [2‚Äô]. ¬†I think this is a mistake. ¬† Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 2 Comments

Standardizing Sprint Workout Syntax

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 ( ¬†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

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 3 Comments

Anaerobic Speed Reserve — ASR Spreadsheet

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

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 9 Comments