We ended up spending just under 2 weeks at Mammoth. It was a great trip. Got in lots of good training and it was a welcome break from our pretty mundane life. Running somewhere different was also a big plus.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the altitude as much as I thought I would. This is the best I’ve ever handled it. The only time that you could notice a big difference was whenever you went up a hill. No matter the size, even if it was a speed bump, going uphills sucked. The only run that I felt like complete crap on was one of our long runs. It was a 16 miler (two 8 mile loops) with a long (2.5mi or so) stretch of uphill that killed. The second loop was brutal, even though we were hardly moving.

Other than that, the training went really well. My complete week up there was 109mi for the week with 2.5 “workouts”. I did one long tempo with Carlos at a bit under 5:30 pace at 7k feet, a fartlek session w/ carlos, and a short hill sprint session. The tempo run we kind of messed up by going at in 2:26 for the first 800 (a big no-no at altitude) but we chilled and recovered and got the work in. The fartlek session was basically 1min speed variations.

I’ve been back at sea level for a couple of days now and we’ve continued to get in some good quality work. On Saturday, I joined Carlos for a 2x4mile threshold session. We ended up running 20:53 and 20:20 for our 4mi segments on a slightly uphill road.

That’s about it for training.

What an Olympics. I’m going to have withdrawal for a while. I just don’t know about Bolt, and that’s all I’ll say on that subject. The distance races were amazing, especially the men’s 5k and marathon. That was one hell of a run by Wanjiru. To run that kind of pace in those kinds of conditions is amazing. The whole time I thought Gharib was done for, but looking back I think his falling off the pack several times had more to do with little surges by the leaders than him slowing down. I think he ran a very smart race in not following those little surges and running more evenly. The Africans LOVE throwing in very subtle surges throughout the race so that it’s almost like a fartlek. I’ve been a victim to that kind of strategy before. You saw that in almost every race and sometimes it occured but you couldn’t tell by watching it.

Americans in general don’t do enough speed variation or tempo change workouts. We’re not prepared for that kind of pace change. When we do workouts we generally try and hit the fastest splits that we can for that particular workout. The pacing within each rep is not considered. This is a big mistake for those trying to race on the world scene. There has to be more pace variation within the workout itself. Sure the overall rep will be slower and won’t sound as impressive, but the end results will probably be better in championship races.

Lastly, the HS cross country season started up and just wanted to throw out a congrats to the Klein Oak team. They won their first meet with 31 points(1,3,4,10,13..14) and Ryan took the individual victory. Great way to start the season, especially with no specific work being done yet.

Get My New Guide on: The Science of Creating Workouts


    1. Bruce on August 29, 2008 at 11:40 pm

      Good point re practising pace variation within reps.

      Wanjiru gave us a beautiful marathon. Probably worth a sub 2:04. Bekele used a perfect tactic for his race too.

    2. Mrr82 on September 1, 2008 at 6:33 pm

      The reason we can’t handle the pace changes has little to nothing to do with whether we train for it. It has to do with the fact that the other guys are just faster. When they kick it into a gear that we don’t even have, what do you expect? Guys like Wanjiru who can run mid 26’s in the 10k, and 58:33 in the half, and says he can run a 203 in the marathon. I don’t care what kind of surge training any American has done, it won’t help and should be avoided in races. The reason why the surges are sometimes successful, are because some runners are not bright enough to know their limits and the other runners know that the surge might toast them if they try to follow putting their body to a place they can’t handle. Gharib knew his limits and kept his pace which was the right thing to do.

      Now if we can get someone fast enough to handle the paces, then we can start disecting down to the level of whether we train to handle surges correctly. You should never get yourself into surge battles when the pace is already faster then you are capable of (such as in the olympics marathon). It’s just pure bad racing.

    Leave a Reply