Hi there! Time trial results are in and the ball is officially rolling. I am now three weeks in after being sick and knocked off my mile PR training track. Last week was a focus on tempo and building mental focus. This week was about running a solid 1600 TT effort to be able to gauge how much progress has been made and how steep the road to my sub five minute mile is. I even got the TT on video down below.
I am so glad to have you joining along as I work to break a personal best of mine that has now stood for over 10 years.
Each week I’m posting updates on my progress, insights I learn along the way and sharing the training strategies I’m depending on to reach my goal.
If you want the full back story you can read about it in another post.
The quick and dirty is that recently I got stuck sick in bed for almost a week. This could have been an excuse to bail on my goal, but instead I doubled down and am now documenting my final training weeks leading up to my deadline of June 2,2017.
It is my intent that by posting the details of my experiences learned along the way I will better help you as you work on your own improvements. Maybe it can even be a bit of motivation to challenge yourself to consider taking on a fresh fitness goal of your own.
Not to mention it is some extra accountability for me.
Disclaimer: Sometimes I use “mile” and “1600 meters” interchangeably. I do know these distances differ by 9.34 meters. My previous PR was completed on a standard 400m track thus if 5:00.0 is run at a true mile road race the previous record will be beat and my goal accomplished.
TRAINING WEEK: APRIL 17 TO 23
The goal is simple break my personal records for the Deadlift and 1600 meter run within a week of each other. For me that is lifting 300 pounds and running sub five minutes. If I can accomplish that I will arguably be at my fastest and strongest!
Looking back last week was about taking action on what Doug and I both needed, tempo work. Primarily I was trying to increase my body’s ability to remove lactic acid. I was also looking to gain muscular endurance at faster speeds.
Doug on the other hand was more in need of the muscular endurance for his half marathon goal. He needs to be able to bring his average pace down about thirty seconds a mile and that means lasting power over longer distance.
Run mileage totalled 29.6 for the week and the body held up well. By the end of the week I was fully confident all is back to normal. No lagging signs of sickness.
For full transparency I am posting my workout log for this week.
This was a busier week with close to ten hours logged versus eight last week. With the nicer weather I have been able to get outside on the bike. My local group ride has also started back up on Tuesday nights. This tends to be a tough day with Doug and I regularly doing a run that morning.
(Click for bigger view)
Time for the results we have all been waiting for. This TT got pushed back a bit, but Doug and I finally got in a 1600 time trial (TT) on the track Tuesday morning. We were gifted a cool morning with an unusual lack of wind. For the mid-forty degree weather I stuck with tights and a tee shirt.
My lower legs are a personal problem area when they get at all cold. Cold shins tend to lead me to slapping foot strikes, decreased efficiency, and more muscular breakdown post workout.
After a dynamic warm up to get the blood moving and prime the legs we toed the line and off we went. The goal for this TT was not just to beat my time of 5:30 from March 2nd. I wanted to see how much I was willing to ask of myself without the influence of past TT experiences.
For example my last few 1600’s I have lost speed in the last two laps. Due to those experiences I now have fears my kick will fizzle in the final lap.
My ability grit it out at the end of an event when it is toughest is something I have relied on in the past. It was a great asset and it has been rather defeating to not be able to count on it. We all have our things right?
For Tuesday’s trial I wanted to run a race based on what I felt I could do that day. I did not want to run each lap and compare it in my mind to those of past trials. This is distraction would only take away from my ability to focus on doing my best then and there.
I wanted to know what I could ask of myself on Tuesday morning, period.
So I asked Doug not to call out splits and I did not check them on my watch. I made sure the screen only gave me irrelevant metrics. I would run only on feel and what I could motivate myself to do.
Off we went and right off the bat I fell into a smooth, quick rhythm.
Meditations have been on a regular on my daily habits list and those sessions were paying off. I could remove my focus from what I thought I could do and hold it on getting it done. Just being in the moment and letting my body do what it has been trained to do.
I finished off the first quarter without much effort, keeping my mind free of judgements. Doug was right there with me.
The second lap my breathing got heavier. Again I did not judge or fear. I acknowledged the change, kept the focus on running smooth, and my feet landing underneath me.
I have a tendency to over stride and heel strike. Can you pick it out in the video below?
Soon after passing the 800 mark Doug’s footsteps faded quickly away. He pulled up. I acknowledge it and get back to the task at hand.
Let the legs roll along. Stay relaxed. Head up. Feet landing underneath.
Coming into the 1200 mark Doug was waiting to jump back on. His new shoes had come untied, but now he was ready to do what he could and push me for the last lap. He played rabbit leading me into the last lap.
I maintained mental detachment from how my body was feeling. Focus remained on smooth movements and psych up for laying down my fastest lap of the day. To do what I said I would do. There was no other option. No discomfort. There was only get it done.
Put it all together and I recorded a 5:13. That is seventeen seconds faster than March 2 and the last lap was indeed my fastest. For splits and form check out the video below.
This was not the only good news of the week. Doug and I also took on a tempo-long-tempo workout on Thursday. This is one of my favorite Jack Daniels specials to use when training for endurance events. No I am not talking about Jack in a bottle. Reference Daniel’s Running Formula.
You start off with tempo intervals. In this case 3x 1 mile at 6:20 pace. Then take it easy for the forty minute middle of the session. This builds aerobic capacity and burns fuel.
Then you top it off with some more tempo. Two times 1 mile at 6:20, again. At this point you are really racking up the muscular endurance gold stars and getting an inkling of what it is going to feel like to push the pace at the end of a 13.1 or even full marathon.
This workout earned me a warm fuzzy award as it confirmed my tentative confidence in the right knee. This session put it through the paces and aside from a little sting here and there it passed the test.
Then Sunday continued the string of positive results as I busted out a sixty nine second quarter mile. This even came late in the speed work session. Compare that sixty nine seconds with the seventy-one I did in a comparable workout four weeks earlier and this is a jackpot week.
It was a good week.
Every workout this week showed improvements. Performance gains in lactic buffering, muscular endurance, running form, mental focus and all out speed.
I am doing something right!
Sometimes you have to have patience to make it past the roadblocks like sickness, heavy work loads or social obligations. Keep an eye on your goal and take a daily step towards it and you will see progress.
This week was proof I am walking the walk and turning things around.
I celebrated this week’s TT, but still have to go faster. Six weeks left to drop another thirteen plus seconds.This is good and leaves me hungry for another TT in two weeks. Next milestone on the way to accomplishing my goal is to check off a 5:05.
Add more hill work for VO2 max and power benefits.
20-30 minutes tempo running.
Deadlift 275 pounds for 3 sets of 3 reps on my strength day.
In case you forgot my goal is not just to break a five minute mile. I also have to deadlift 300 lbs within one week of doing so. To maintain this kind of strength without leaving my muscles torn for important run sessions I am on a two day a week lifting strategy.
Day one is focused on power. Quick, explosive movements and lighter weight for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
Day two is strength focused. This is when I lift heavy, getting close to my 1 rep max and doing sets of 2-3 reps. This is loosely built around Barry Ross’ strategy used to train Allyson Felix and other champion sprinters. For more on that you can check out the Effortless Superhuman chapter in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body.
That wraps up this week’s report. Stop by next week to see what happens next. If you want to get update notices about this experiment and other great training opportunities coming out of TGB go ahead and submit your email below.
If you have taken on your own PR chase I’d love to hear about it. Drop a line in the comments below, and let me know what your go to workout is.