Austin Summer: less warmup, more throw-up.

So I’m down in Austin, Texas working with the coach that Ku2u#2 recommended, and I must say he is far more than I ever could have hoped for, he is truly excellent. He is a real stickler for good technique, and is a very positive guy. He is also a real track nut with a constant thirst for more knowledge. What’s extra-fantastic is that he has Physical Therapy and ART designations, and he does his own massage work as well. More than once already he’s dropped me down and done some work mid-workout. I have really struggled all winter with soreness in the Achilles, and “extremely tight” (Waldemar’s own words) calves. The combination of therapy and coaching is really exciting, and so far I’m responding pretty well I think.

Just as a refresher, this season has not been a good one so far. My wind-legal PB’s are 12.54 and 25.15 from last season. My first outdoor race on May 19th I ran a 12.75, which is way off the 12.54 I ran last year. I was feeling sore and tight in the calves and Achilles that day and probably shouldn’t have ran. My next race was an atrocious 26.41 200m with a +0.9 tailwind, the worst time I’ve ever run outdoors! I acted like a rookie in that race. Some guy I usually beat was in lane 5 slightly ahead of me at 100, and I way overdid my “reacceleration” coming off the corner between 100m-110m trying to catch this guy and I blew up at 160 and died a horrible death. The next races were at the Ontario Masters Championships, where I false started in the 100m and popped straight up on the restart, running a very poor 12.82, but not bad considering I had no acceleration. I ran the 200m a little bit easy, finishing in 26.27, another sub-par result.

Here is a brief rundown of my road workouts since I left Toronto on June 30th. I will update the rest of my workouts later.

July 1st: Columbus, OH
CF bike workout: 1x10x45sec + calisthenics in between
1x8x45sec+15sec pool tempo

July 2nd, morning: Kansas City, MO
-stayed at the Westin, gotta love their beds. They had a nice pool and weight room, and there were some very friendly ladies poolside despite my pasty complexion.
Weight workout:
bench- 1x10x135, 1x8x155, 2x6x175, 1x4x180
pulldowns- 1x8x100, 3x8x140
seated rows- 3x10x120
light swim

July 2nd, evening: Fayetteville, AR. I drove from Kansas City to Fayetteville, AR. I spent a couple of summers down here a couple of years back, and I love this little track town. I worked out at Fayetteville High School, my favourite workout track on earth. There are bleachers on both sides of the stadium, the track has only six lanes, and much of it is on lower ground than the surrounding earth.This makes it feel very closed in, so you feel like you’re going much faster than you really are (which helps when you’re pretty slow).

Speed Endurance workout:
regular Canadian warmup (I was sweating my ass off by the end of this, despite it being 10 pm)

4x30m accelerations- a couple of these felt really fantastic, I didn’t rush my acceleration and came up naturally at about 35 metres

2x220m Speed Endurance
220m rep #1: this was more like 190, I haven’t gone past 180m much this season and I deservedly ran out of gas before the 200m finish line.

220m rep #2: this was more like a 210, but it felt terrific. Acceleration was nice and smooth, not much wasted energy, and finished the last 60m nice and strong. Went and chatted to the other people who hopped the fence to play soccer, stretched, then got back in the car and drove some more.

Stayed in McAlester, OK, which is not my favourite town in the world, I’m not going to lie. Should have stayed in Fayetteville so I could have had a vegan breakfast burrito from Ozark Natural Foods. Don’t laugh, they are delicious! More to come…

Waldemar?? Is he still doing therapy?

Yes, he still does therapy out of his home. He’s pretty busy doing other things (sailing, etc.) but if you give him a call he will set aside time for you. He is a living legend, he can go right into a tight area and leave it with zero soreness. He has done this with my calves repeatedly- I can’t say enough about how much better he is than even a good RMT.

I arrived in Austin on July 3rd in the early evening. I didn’t get any work done for the next couple of days, as travel usually throws off my routines for at few days while I get settled.

On July 5th, I joined Hyde Park Gym in north Austin. This is a great place to get some lifting work done, but of course there are none of the comforts of your average family-oriented gym. For example, the change room has a circa-1980’s hockey dressing room motif, complete with concrete floor and washroom stalls without doors. One stall has a shower curtain to preserve your modesty, and one, well, is for Number One only I suppose, as the shower curtain is entirely missing-there isn’t even a curtain rod.

Hyde Park Gym is a terrific place though, as it’s easy to join for a short period of time, has a friendly members (including some really tremendous athletes), friendly staff, and you can drop weights and grunt to your heart’s content without getting thrown out for scaring the suburbanites.

Monday, July 5th- Hyde Park Gym
Bike tempo: 10x45sec
CF medball circuit x1

Tuesday, July 6th- Texas School of the Deaf
Speed workout:
warmup 1, warmup 2
2x50m easy accelerations in flats, 2x50m in spikes
5x30m accelerations, 4 mins rest between each
4x80m easy strides cooldown, static stretching

I hadn’t done much tempo since my last speed session on Friday night, so I made sure to use the massage stick on my somewhat tight calves between runs.

I didn’t know where to find too many tracks, so I hopped the fence at Texas School of the Deaf, and worked out there. I didn’t notice the buzz-cutted security guys driving around on their golf carts until later, but I managed to avoid detection. Later in the week, some Austin cops that I raced against in Dallas told me not to hop the fence at TSD due to the freakjobs that work security there, and just run on high school tracks as their tracks are rubberized and open to the public. Oops! I don’t need any trespassing charges thanks.

Wednesday, July 7th- random nearby park
Tempo workout:
-I kept this workout easy as there are three meets to choose from on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
warmup 1

Thursday July 8th- Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
-I intended to run in this meet, but double checked the schedule and found that the shortest race on offer this week was the 400m, so forget that!

Friday, July 9th- Texas School of the Deaf
Austin Twilight Meet:
-scheduled to run the 50m, 100m, 200m in a laid back hand-timed meet
-arrived at TSD and the meet was cancelled, apparently because there might possibly theoretically have been some rain in the area. Wusses!

Saturday, July 10th- Coppell High School, Coppell, TX
Texas Masters Championships:
100m: 12.92 NWI
-So this is my lifetime personal worst (PW?) in the 100m. The wind was not listed, but allegedly it was in the -2.0 range, but that is no excuse for this atrocious result.
-came out of the blocks very slowly, and felt like I had zero speed at the 60m mark, which is how I’ve felt in each of my 100m races so far this year. My technique felt terrible, I was just all over the place (legs cartwheeling behind me by 70m!) and it just felt like I wasn’t even running hard. Horrible!
200m: 25.89 +0.9
-I knew I had more in me than the 100m showed, and I was pretty determined to have a good race here. I got lane 5, which was very sweet, who doesn’t love being in the middle of the track?
-got a half decent start, accelerated smoothly and economically out to the 45-50m mark and maintained around the turn while the rookie in lane six was burning the turn like a wildman (even though I told him not to)
-increased effort slightly at the 110m mark, and felt pretty good. I was definitely using my energy better than in the first two 200m races I ran this year.
-relaxed at the 160m mark, and my form started to break down at 180m, but less dramatically than in previous races. I saw the video of me crossing the finish line in the timing booth, and my hips were pretty low. I didn’t run through the line, this nonsense has got to stop! Still, I was happy with the result considering how poorly I’d been running so far outdoors.

I got a call from Frank, the coach I’m now working with down here, and we scheduled our first workout for Monday morning.

Sunday, July 11th- Austin High School
Tempo workout:
warmup 1
-Wow, was it ever sweltering hot doing tempo in the middle of the day. That’s not going to happen again too many times! Time to start with the summer coach…

Keep the updates coming! I knew you would like Hyde Park.

You could probably do all of your sessions on Austin High’s track if you wanted to. Have you gotten much therapy from Frank?

Damn, you wake up early! Frank is with me four days on the track, and I’m getting therapy twice a week, it’s been terrific. I’ll do the updates below.

I’ve been running with Jordan, you ever work with her? Nice kid, and pretty strong too.

Ya I’ve worked with her a few times, she’s a pretty good 400m runner. She can handle a lot of volume on the track because of how often she can get ART, etc from Frank.

It’s only been a couple of weeks for me, but you are totally right. The ability to get therapy on a regular basis is incredibly beneficial.

It is especially helpful for masters guys like me who can’t generally take as much volume. It’s such a treat to have a coach who does his own body work.

Thanks for the Hyde Park tip by the way, I meant to credit you in my original post. It’s such a great place to work out!

Monday, July 12th- Austin High School
Speed Workout:
buildups- 1 set of 1x10m accel, 1x20m accel, 1x30m accel in flats, 1 set of 1x10m accel, 1x20m accel, 1x30m accel in spikes

3x10m accel
3x20m accel
3x30m accel
multi-jumps (two foot hops, one foot hops, tuck jumps)
general strength

This was my first day working with Frank, and the volume overall was very low, as he just wanted to take a look at how I run.

He wanted to see how I normally warm up, so he had me warm up in my normal Canadian fashion. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the regular Canadian warmup is rather excessive when it’s already 100F outside. It’s not that his warmup is shorter necessarily than the 35 to 45 minutes I usually take, there just isn’t as much movement required to get the same effect.

He wanted to take a look at my basic mechanics, and right away he said, “You’re all hamstring!” In my rolling starts, I was pushing way out the back from the get-go. I also wasn’t fully dorsiflexing, nor getting full extension in each stride. Basically there are lots of mechanical issues to work on. I was actually very relieved to hear that, as if I was running this slowly and was mechanically sound, I’d be in deeply upset!

He had me concentrate on dorsiflexing, stepping down and “maintaining frontside mechanics.” When he started to emphasize the concept of stepping down during acceleration, I knew he was going to be good.

I knew going in that he is a Dan Pfaff fan, which frankly worried me because I know Pfaff does some stuff differently, but he didn’t go wild trying to change things.

Tuesday, July 13th- Austin High School
Speed workout:
warmup (Texas style)
buildups- 1x10m, 20m, 30m accel in flats, 1x10m, 20m, 30m accel in spikes
2x 1x60m, 1x80m, 1x100m, 6 mins rest, 10 mins between sets

This was the day after I ran some 10’s, 20’s and 30’s but the volume was very low, so we came back the next day with an intermediate distance speed workout.

Before we started, Frank wanted me to change to his style of warmup from the mostly CF style that I usually do. Here is a breakdown of my normal warmup:

2 lap jog
active stretching (side hops, butt kicks, carioca, backwards run, straight leg bound)
static stretch
Power Speed (A-skip, B-skip, A-run, B-run)
2x60m easy accel in flats, 2x60 easy accel in spikes

Honestly, with the heat, his warmup makes more sense down here. Basically, he eliminated the two lap jog because I usually work up enough of a sweat on the 50 metre walk from my car to the track anyway. Most of the active stretching (called “mobility work” down here) is done stationary, and he eliminated some of the Power Speed. We did A-skips, “high knees” which are basically a Running-A with more of a “running-H” form, and “step-overs”, which are Running-B’s without the exaggerated forward kickout. (I suppose this is the Pfaff interpretation of the Mach drills that Charlie spoke of?)
Instead of doing 4x60 easy accels, we did build-ups of 2x10m, 20m, 30m accels.

I remember Number Two saying he only uses the running A-skip and eliminates the B, so overall don’t think any of these changes are a major departure or cause for any concern. I’ve actually enjoyed the warmups and feel very loose and ready to go when they’re done.

First set of 60m, 80m, 100m
Frank reminded me that I was pushing out the back from the get-go, and my first 60m was timed in a very poor 7.7 seconds. He reminded me to focus on dorsiflexing and maintaining my frontside mechanics. My 80m rep was much better, with me splitting the first 60m in 7.4, which is probably in 7.9x FAT territory, what I was running indoors this year. The last rep was OK, with lots of tightness remaining in my upper body, but I may have been tiring somewhat.

Second set of 60m, 80m, 100m
This set wasn’t too bad. I was muscling the 60m rep somewhat, and Frank noticed my feet starting to overpronate and my hips starting to twist. He dropped me down on the track, and did some active release on my hips / glutes. It hurt somewhat, but it alleviated the overpronating. Awesome! I had a pretty smooth 80m rep, but the 100m was a bit tougher as the rest was shorter than I was used to, so I was probably a bit tired for the final 100m rep. I will probably just ask for a bit more rest next time, there is no point running at full blast on half a tank of fuel!

The warmdown was pretty simple, with some barefoot skipping, jogging, and walking on the grass.

Overall, I was really happy with this workout because I split the 60m a couple of times at 7.4 pace. The focus on technique was something I really appreciated. Of course, the instant therapy was awesome too, because it allowed me to get the last two reps done properly.

Wednesday, July 14- Austin High School
Tempo workout:
jog 2 laps
warmup 1
2x6x100m+50m, 3 mins between sets
CF medball workout x1

Thursday, July 15- off day
Therapy session:
I went to my coach’s place and got my first therapy session. I got 90 minutes of ART and massage with a focus on hips, glutes, and quads. I felt like my hips were much more open afterward. This was deeper work, so there was some residual soreness that lasted a couple of days in the glute / hip area, but mostly in areas that don’t bother me when I run.

Friday, July 16- Austin High School
Speed Endurance workout:
Texas warmup
buildups (1x10m, 1x20m, 1x30m flats, 1x10m, 1x20m,1x30m spikes)
1x250m @95%
1x200m @95%
1x150m @95%

This was my first speed endurance workout with Frank, and he wanted me to run them at 95%. It was a swelteringly hot day, and we started the workout at 1 pm or so, thus the midday sun was at its peak.

I got about 10 minutes rest between reps, which is less than I’m used to, but I’m used to running my speed endurance flat out except close to important races, so I thought that would be fine.

I ran the 250m and he wanted me to split 200m in 27.0, but my splits were a little quicker than that. Here they are as follows:
100m- 13.1
150m- 19.4
200m- 26.5
250m- 33.0

In the 200m rep, I was nearly the same:
100m- 13.3
150m- 19.4
200m- 26.2

The final rep was the 150m, and my stomach was feeling a bit queasy before the start, but I just ignored it (dumb!) and decided to go ahead with the rep. I ran this rep pretty haphazardly, I had a very choppy acceleration out to 45-50m but hit the turn with decent speed. I managed to get through the 150m split in 19.1, which wasn’t bad at the effort level I was giving. Unfortunately, I puked about ten minutes later. Working out in the heat has been an adjustment. It takes less exuberant of a warmup to get ready, but I think that a little more rest is required between reps as well, as my body doesn’t recover as quickly, and cools down much slower. It all makes logical sense.

Post-vomit, I felt better in less than 15 minutes, but the weights got cancelled.

Saturday, July 17- Hyde Park Gym
Tempo workout
CF medball circuit

The tempo work wasn’t much of a problem to get done. It was pretty hot out, so I decided to go to the gym and do a bike workout instead due to my previous day’s pukeage.

Sunday, July 18- Off day
Therapy session

There was a lot of lower body work starting to get into the calves and hamstrings, as well as more ART work on the hips and glutes. I went to the grocery store right after, and just walking around there it felt like my hips were much more open and I had a looser stride. I am in heaven with all this therapy happening!

That session sounded pretty brutal! I guess you’re not used to the 95+ degree and humid weather?

Well, I hadn’t done a 250m run in ages, so I guess that was a bit new, but I’m used to running my Special Endurance workouts flat out, so running this workout at 95% made it a bit more bearable.

The breaks between runs were around 10 minutes though, which is shorter than I’m used to, and even though I wasn’t going flat out, by the third run I guess things got a bit overcooked. I will take a bit more rest next time, and things should be fine.

There are definitely major differences based on the weather though. The warmup is definitely less active down here, with no jogging and lots of stuff done standing on the spot, and I can see why. I also for the first time understand why sports drinks like Gatorade exist. I have never felt they did a damn thing for me in Toronto, but they are pretty much a necessity in Austin’s summer heat!

That heat sounds brutal…Try coconut water with lime, a pinch of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of flaxseed oil add some crushed ice… Much better than gatorade… tastes better too…

My ART guy told me about the coconut water, he says it’s good stuff.

If you don’t mind can you detail your warmup before the buildups? I live in Mississippi and feel like I may need to modify warmups due to the 100 degree heat and humidity. Just looking for some ideas.

Also, what was your fear of him having a Dan Pfaff? From what I have seen in his seminars Pfaff follows Tellez mechanics philosophy which is of course very good and classic sprint technique.

Great journal, thanks for posting.

Hey guys,

First off, I did pick up some Goya coconut water at La Michoacana (where incidentally they also have super-fresh and excellent lunches), so I’ll try it out tomorrow. It seems like coconut water is the new it-drink, as Whole Foods HQ here in Austin is pushing several luxury coconut water brands at near-energy drink prices.

lr400, I will try to get some of the warmup videotaped tomorrow, and I’ll write down the order of what we do overall just so you don’t have to watch my uncoordinated ass for too long. I’ll definitely try to tape the first part with all the activation stuff.

Monday, July 19- University of Texas
Speed workout:
build-ups in flats- 2x10, 2x20, 2x30
hill runs:
4x20m run-in+30m hill (flats)
4x20m run-in+30m hill (spikes)
1x30m A-skip on hill
1x30m A-run on hill

explosive medball throws:
3x5x double hop over hurdles + squat throw

cooldown: easy skipping, jogging, and walking on grass

This was a really hot day. There is an oddly shaped track on UT’s property mainly used for jogging that is rubberized, which also includes a hill that is rubberized. This allowed us to do some hill runs in spikes, which is a novel concept. The focus was on keeping everything out front and extending the hip fully to engage the glute, something I have not been doing properly. Also, it forces me to dorsiflex my foot fully during acceleration, another concern.

I was pretty surprised at how taxing the hill runs were, probably due to the 20m run-in letting me tackle the hills at higher speed than I’m used to when I did them in my GPP. Overall this was a pretty cool workout. I drank about 1.5 litres of water plus a small bottle of Gatorade just to keep up with the fluid loss!

I was feeling really jacked up after this workout, and went Hyde Park Gym a little bit later on in the afternoon. I asked Frank if I could lift, but he wanted me to hold off, so I did a CF medball circuit and abs.

I ended up lifting the next day after my tempo session, but my lifting session was crap. I’m used to lifting on my high intensity days, and I was ready to go after this workout. In future if I feel like I can have a great lifting session, I’ll just do it. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission!

Next time you go to the market see if they have the young/green coco’s usually they have someone with a machete who can cut it open and put a straw in it… If you dont have that most hispanic/mexican groceries carry zico or one brands which are the better brands… If youre going to be in austin for a while pick up a case… the goya brands are ok but they put too many preservatives… Zico and One are pretty natural… but the sea salt, lime and flax are pretty important too if youre out in that heat…