Yesterday evening, I ran over to the track to meet Kevin for a workout, having agreed to do a tempo run. (A tempo run is a type of run that involves running for a greater distance than one would race, although only at 75-85% of one's top speed.) However, when I arrived, Kev informed me that he has recalled a workout called "The Michigan" - a workout pioneered by a Ron Warhurst, a coach at The University of Michigan. Now, I had never heard of the Michigan (being one of the most unenlightened of runner's you may ever meet) and it was fuzzy in Kev's memory so we did our own version, which turned out to be pretty close to the original....abet probably a slight bit slower! The workout is essentially a mix between intervals on the track and tempo running (a 1300m loop on a hilly ringroad around the stadium) and our version went like this:
1600m - 4:33, 400m jog, 1300m tempo - 4:00, 2:00 rest, 1200m - 3:23, 400m jog, tempo - 4:02, 2:00 rest, 800m - 2:10, 400m jog, tempo - 4:02, 400m - 58.44.
It was a gruelling workout, especially on the quicker intervals on track as there was a mighty headwind on the home stretch. On the last 200m of the 800m I almost told Kev to get on the track to break the wind for me, but couldn't spare the air to speak. (He did help me out in that way on the first 200m of the 400m) The tempos were surprisingly quick and felt good....the slower pace allowed my legs to recover and spin nicely.
Now the real Michigan apparently (it seems to differ from website to website) involves 1600m hard/mile steady/1200m hard/mile steady/800m hard/mile steady/400m hard/mile steady. Not sure how fast they go or what rest they take but by the way I was feeling afterwards, I don't think I could have done much more. However, I don't think that the Michigan boys (or many Elite Milers in Progress) have to roll under fences to get onto and off the track during their rests, so I may have one up on them there!
This is typical of the type of running I do with Kevin, which while logical and well thoughtout (by Kev) is often spontaneous with parts borrowed from other elite runners. For the Michigan, Kev's rationale was that the two top placing NCAA guys in the Olympic 1500m in the last 10 years, Kevin Sullivan(Cdn) and Nick Willis (NZ), both came out of U of Michigan, so they must be doing something right down there! We have also done workouts by Gary Reed (Cdn - 800m), Steve Scott (USA - miler), Mike Woods (Cdn - miler and high school nemesis of my buddy Braden), and Bernard Lagat (USA nee Kenya - 1500/5000m). Kev choses these workouts based on where these runners were in their season/career and where he thinks I am in mine.
Today I am off for an easy run with Trev, a recent Queen's grad and Queen's Gael for the past 4 years. It will be an easy day....something that I often struggle with as I have a tendancy to push the envelope and run too hard when I am supposed to be chilling out and recovering. From my degree in PHE involving much education in exercise physiology, I know that training adaptations only occur during periods of recovery (the night and days following a hard workout)...yet despite this I often find my self hammering off-day runs. CHILL OUT MAN!
That's all for now....although I feel I should mention that while eating lunch today, in attempting to brush and ant off the wall and into my hand, it fell to the floor but got stuck in a spider's web. The spider, about half its size pounced on it and wrapped it up as it thrashed about. I felt it unwise to meddle further with nature so I did my best David Attenborough and ran a commentary about life and death in the kitchen corner. I shall search for a deep life lesson to this event during my run and report back later.