93 miles for the week! (12/20-12/26)

We are now less than 7 weeks to go until the Olympic Trials and I had another solid week of training. I ran 93 miles for the week with 43 miles on the Alter-G and 50 miles outside. Each run has felt better and better and I am truly excited for the next few weeks.

It’s hard to believe that a week ago I ran for 62 minutes in Asheville and felt absolutely TERRIBLE. I would liken it to a baby giraffe first learning how to walk: awkward, ungainly, and really any other word that means the opposite of smooth.

On Tuesday, I did a mini-workout at ZAP before heading to Richmond to spend Christmas with Esther’s family. The workout was 2×3 miles with one 3 mile piece on the normal treadmill and one 3 mile piece on the Alter-G. Pete wanted to get in some slightly faster running at full weight and then hit the Alter-G for the second rep to be cautious. Here’s how it went:

2×3 mile treadmill workout:

*1st 3 mile piece on normal treadmill: 5:42, 5:39, 5:35
*4 minutes rest
*2nd 3 mile piece on Alter-G at 92%: 5:15, 5:10, 5:07

Overall, it was a good session and I felt stronger as the workout wore on. I do have one takeaway: 8% less body weight feels AMAZING. After getting off the normal treadmill I was shocked with the ease I was able to run the 2nd rep. Regardless of the reduced weight I was happy with the effort and to feel that familiar workout ‘burn’ again.

In-Law game strong.
In-Law game strong.

After the workout I hopped in my car and made the trip to Richmond to spend the Christmas holiday with the Erb clan. It was a full house with her parents, 2 sisters, and various friends popping in and out but also very relaxing. Esther’s 6 month old niece Rae and 3 year old nephew Lee were in town as well which was great. Esther and I got in daily naps, lots of great meals, and a few nice runs with current Boulder resident and Richmond Native Guy Alton!

It was great running OUTSIDE with Guy and Esther in Richmond.
It was great running OUTSIDE with Guy and Esther in Richmond.

I will spend the next 10 days in Blowing Rock and then I’m off to Tallahassee, FL for the final 4.5 weeks leading into the marathon trials. Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (12/20-12/26):

Sunday: AM: 3.5 miles (Asheville)    PM: 12 miles Alter-G 87%

Monday: AM: 8 miles    PM: 3 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles (2×3 mile workout, treadmill and Alter G 90%)

Wednesday: AM: 14 miles Alter-G 90% (Richmond)   PM: 4 miles

Thursday: AM: 6 miles Alter G 90%   PM: 9.5 miles

Friday: AM: 7 miles    PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles   PM: 45 min spin

Total: 93 miles (43 Alter G, 50 outside), 12 runs, 1 spin session


My last week of training (11/29-12/5)

Last week was another step forward for my stress fracture. I ran on the Alter G 4 times during the week between 65-75%  of my body weight. And with the club soccer season at a lull momentarily, my weekday evenings have been much more open which has allowed me to get in a few more cross training sessions later in the day.

I swam, biked, aqua jogged, Alter-G’d, and even got in a short run on a normal treadmill. This variety made the week fly by and I become more encouraged with each day that I was getting ever closer to stepping back on dry land at full body weight.

Over the weekend, I made the trip to Columbus, OH with Jody and Kiki to watch the Columbus Crew and the Portland Timbers battle for the MLS Cup! It was a fun day and I’m glad I was able to make the trip. We left Boone at 7:45 am and pulled back into town at 2 am! It was a long day but certainly worth it!



Also, Esther and I received a short video from our wedding photographer, Brigid. In addition to taking lots of great pictures she was, unbeknownst to us, filming as well! The video is 108 seconds long and truly captures how joyful a day it was.  I must admit that it got me choked up the first few times I watched it. Thanks so, so much Brigid! What a day!

Here is my last week of training (11/19-12/5):

Sunday: AM: 1hr 35 min aqua jog  PM: walk

Monday: AM: 35 min bike+ 35 min Alter G @65%  PM: 75 min aqua jog

Tuesday: AM: 35 min bike   PM: 1hr 30 min aqua jog/spin

Wednesday: AM: 30 min bike+45 min Alter G+20 min bike  PM: walk

Thursday: AM: 35 min Alter G   PM: 1hr 30 min bike (spin class in Boone)

Friday: AM: 1hr 50min aqua jog   PM: 40 min bike

Saturday: AM: 30 min bike+15 min treadmill+45 min Alter G @70%

Total: 23 miles run, 4 Alter G runs, 5 spin/bike sessions, 3 pool sessions

My last week of training (8/30-9/5)

Another step forward this week! I had an exciting week on several fronts with Esther arriving home on Tuesday from her month away while also getting in my first short workout in over 8 weeks!

On Tuesday, I made my way to Charlotte to pick up Esther from the airport and got in my morning run at McAlpine Park. Although it is a decent place for a run, I finished my 85 minute run feeling very blessed that I get to train in the Boone/Blowing Rock area as I was quite bored by the end!

On Wednesday morning I woke up and decided that I would try to hop in with Tyler and Griff for their fartlek session. They were doing a classic 5 to 1, 4 to 1 minute fartlek and I decided I would jump in for part of the 5 to 1. I ran the 5 minute and 4 minute pieces with them around 4:50 pace and then finished the remaining 3-2-1 on my own. Pete advised me to keep each piece evenly paced while Tyler and Griff were planning on progressively getting faster with each piece so I smartly went solo for the last few harder pieces.

Overall, it was a fun little session and my hamstring felt pain free throughout. I was sore the following day but that was to be expected.

On Friday, Esther’s parents, Martin and Hope, arrived from Richmond to get some last minute wedding errands done and help fix up some things around our new house. They were very helpful and I enjoyed the weekend. Most of the work is done for the wedding thanks in large part to their efforts.

To close out the weekend, Tim and Julie Meigs held an end of the summer party at their cabin in Blowing Rock. Most of the ZAP crew were in the attendance as well as some of their neighborhood friends. As usual, Julie served some AMAZING food and it was a great night! Thanks you for hosting us Uncle Tim!

Thanks for reading!

Pictured from L to R: Hope “The Teacher” Erb, Esther “Big 24” Erb, Andrew “Bootie” Colley”, Chris “Skater Boy” Moen, Joe “Ray Charles” Stilin, Cole “Future Mr. Erb” Atkins, Tim “The Uncle” Meigs, Martin “The Helper” Erb.

Here is my last week of training (8/30-9/5):

Sunday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 5 miles

Monday: AM: 12 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles (8×20 sec post run)   PM: 5 miles

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles (5 to 1 fartlek)  PM: 5 miles

Thursday: AM: 14.5 miles

Friday: AM: 11.5 miles (10×20 sec post run)

Saturday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 4 miles

Total: 94 miles, 11 runs

My last week of training (7/26-8/1)

Goal: More easy 2nd runs this Fall. Moses Cone should suffice as the venue.
Goal: More easy 2nd runs this Fall. Bass Lake should suffice as the venue.

I will again be brief in my weekly recap. I have once again been busy with both ZAP camps and ASU soccer camps while also continuing to run and recover from my hamstring attachment issue.

I ran 92 miles last week with a few more doubles tossed in than normal. I have been thinking a lot about the frequency of my runs and think I may begin to double more often once I’m back up to full speed. Right now, I run 12 runs per week at the most and 9 runs per week at the least depending on my current training volume. But at some point I began taking an odd pride in seeing how few runs I could do in a week while also stacking up the mileage.

During some weeks it has made sense to incorporate longer single runs but in other more high intensity weeks I think I have been bull-headed to the point that I wasn’t recovering as optimally as I could’ve been. With a busy Fall of both soccer coaching and running I need to be more mature with the length of my recovery days.

In simple terms, a single 14 mile run will provide a greater aerobic benefit than a 9 mile run and a 5 mile run, but the longer single run will not allow my body to recover as quickly. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 as improving one’s aerobic base/capacity is incredibly important in distance running but if you overdue that side of things you may get injured and not be able to run at all! So intelligent doubles may be a smarter long term solution to my training in the coming years.

There is this badge of honor that many long distance runners wear with pride if they are able to log lots of miles in as few runs as possible. I certainly fall into that category as I like to convince myself that if I train this way I am somehow working harder than the other pros I race against. This may in fact be true but if I get to the starting line tired what is it really worth? Racing is the reason for the miles in the first place so if you don’t perform optimally there something needs to change!

Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to try and squeeze in as MANY miles as I can while still staying healthy but I think there is always room for improvement in one’s training. Tweaks, adjustments, and self check-ups are vital as you move forward in the sport. Stagnation or contentment in action or thought is deadly.

Each time I sit down for a meeting with Pete and Ryan I ask them if there is anything else they think I could be doing better on a daily basis. I ask not for running suggestions but for an outside evaluation on my daily life as a professional runner. Am I sleeping enough? Do you think I’m eating well? Have I been doing the appropriate amount of supplemental gym work?

Usually, I have an answer for each of these questions but I value Pete and Ryan’s opinion a lot as well. These check-in’s are important and I encourage anyone with or without a coach to find another person very familiar with your training and get feedback on how they think you’re doing because often you’ll be surprised with the answers you hear.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (7/26-8/1):

Sunday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 6 miles

Monday: AM: 5 miles   PM: 7 miles

Tuesday: AM: 12 miles

Wednesday: AM: 14 miles

Thursday: AM: 8.5 miles  PM: 5.5 miles

Friday: AM: 11 miles  PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles

Total: 92 miles, 11 runs

Treatment in Richmond

This week’s entry will be short and sweet because I’m working the ASU men’s soccer camp as we speak! I spent much of last week in Richmond, VA visiting with Esther’s family and getting some much needed treatment on my hamstring attachment. Dr. Rob Green of Active Chiropractic was kind enough to see me on short notice. Dr. Green is a triathlete himself and has visited ZAP several times through the years so he is familiar with the group and what we put our bodies through.

I went to Dr. Green’s office 4 days in a row and received a combination of ART, Graston, ultrasound, as well as guided PT. Although the first 3 treatments were very painful I was excited that on the 4th day my run was much less painful. My proximal hamstring (high hamstring) had a lot of built-up scar tissue and needed to get cleaned out so that new healthy tissue can develop.

Dr. Green believes that although treatment has helped a lot I will still need several more weeks until I’m ready for workouts. I was able to run 83 miles last week very relaxed but I can tell that my hamstring is not ready for anything under 6 minute pace right now. I will continue to get after the PT exercises he gave me and hope that my recovery continues!

Esther and I returned to Blowing Rock on Thursday in time for the start of the ZAP July Mini-Camp. Esther will be here for a week until she heads off to Europe before ultimately making her way to Beijing for the IAAF World Marathon Championships in last August.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (7/12-7/18):

Sunday: AM: 12 miles

Monday: AM: 11 miles

Tuesday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 12 miles

Thursday: AM: 9.5 miles  PM: 5 miles

Friday: AM: 9 miles

Saturday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 3 mile shakeout

Total: 83 miles, 10 runs

Rehab and Camp

Last week was ZAP’s 6-day Bear Week camp. The camp was sold out this year with lots of returning campers back in town (notably camp stalwarts Tim Francis and Fred Fedewa) to enjoy both a relaxing and educational week but also a painful journey to the top of Grandfather Mountain as part of The Bear 5 mile race. Runner’s World Chief Runner Officer Bart Yasso was the featured camp speaker for the week.

The finishing ascent of the Bear Race at Grandfather Mountain (angellcottage.com)
The finishing ascent of the Bear Race at Grandfather Mountain (angellcottage.com)

In addition, long-time ZAP supporter and excellent massage therapist Robin Rogers of Georgia Sports Massage was in town for the week. Pete and Robin ran together in Atlanta after college and have been pals ever since. Robin has worked on countless ZAP athletes both in his Atlanta office and in various places we cross paths across the country!

With my hamstring needing treatment badly I was lucky to get worked on by Robin during the week. He actually used a new treatment method on me. FAT, or Fascial Abrasion Technique, was developed by Mark Scappaticci and is a less invasive form of Graston that aims to relieve adhesions while lengthening the affected muscles and tendons. I think it helped and my leg seems to be improving, albeit slowly.

The ASU Senior Elite camp took place last week. (appstatesports.com)
The ASU Senior Elite camp took place last week. (appstatesports.com)

While ZAP camp was going on, I was doing double duty with the Appalachian State soccer camps also in full swing. The ASU men’s program hosted their Senior Elite camp for high school juniors and seniors with aspirations to play for ASU. I greatly enjoyed the camp and saw several good players. There are two more camps in the coming weeks and then the college team will return to campus and begin their preseason.

Training wise, I ran 6 days on the week very easily at low intensity as I continue to try and get rid of my hamstring issues. I will be in Richmond this week to see Chiropractor and ART specialist Rob Green before heading back to ZAP for another weekend of camp!

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (7/5-7/11):

Sunday: OFF

Monday: AM: 7 miles

Tuesday: AM: 7 miles

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 45 min elliptical

Thursday: AM: 9 miles

Friday: AM: 10 miles

Saturday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 4 miles

Total: 55 miles, 7 runs

Onwards to Kentucky!

I had a very busy non-running week and a very easy training week coming off the BAA 10k. In an attempt to be organized and brief I am going to tell you about my week in a list format. Lazy, I know, but best when trying to recall all that I did!

Sunday: I raced the BAA 10k in the morning and then hopped on a plane back to Charlotte in the afternoon. I arrived in a balmy Charlotte (90 degrees) at 5:30 pm and headed back towards Blowing Rock with Griff. I was extra excited to get home as Esther was also making her way to Blowing Rock to move in all of her stuff.

With the World Championships in Beijing this summer she will not have a lot of time to move in so this week was a great opportunity for her to settle in before heading back to warmer training temperatures in Richmond, VA.

Boone+Jefferson+Wilkesboro=Blue Ridge Alliance Soccer Camps.
Boone+Jefferson+Wilkesboro=Blue Ridge Alliance Soccer Camps.

Monday: 6 am run with Esther before heading into Boone to work the Blue Ridge Alliance Soccer Camps. Run by HCSA, these camps run from 9-3 each day and they’re a lot of fun. The morning consists of coaching a particular topic and after lunch is mostly games. After getting done with camp I returned home to a much fuller house and got in another run with Esther. We then had dinner in town with Tyler!

Dinner with Tyler and Esther at Town Tavern in Blowing Rock, NC.
Dinner with Tyler and Esther at Town Tavern in Blowing Rock, NC.

Tuesday: Another very early morning run with Esther and Tyler through the Mayview neighborhood of Blowing Rock and Bass Lake. Then another warm day of soccer camp! Esther and I then headed to Boone for a nice dinner at Los Arcoiris.

Wednesday: Esther didn’t run with me as she had a workout later in the morning but I had another easy, smooth morning run. After getting done with camp Esther picked me and up and we headed for Charlotte to buy a couch from IKEA.

We had already picked one out and Tyler was nice enough to let us borrow his truck as he was in Eugene for USA’s. We got in an easy 2nd run in Hickory on the way to Charlotte and after a quick meal at (welcome to) Moe’s we made it to IKEA. After scooping up the couch we eventually made it home around 11 pm. It was a long day to say the least. I got 17 miles of running, 6 hours of soccer, and 4 hours of driving squeezed into 1 day. Tiring but productive.

Thursday: Esther headed back to Richmond after another nice medium long run. It was great spending a few days with her even though I was busy most of the week and she got a lot done at the new house! I put the couch together after she left and the living room actually looks livable now as opposed to 3 weeks prior when Pete had to lend me a chair as I had none in the house!

Esther and I's nook is beginning to take shape.
Esther and I’s nook is beginning to take shape.

Friday: Pete had a moderate climbing workout on the schedule for Friday morning but with camp starting at 8:30 am I decided to flip-flop my day and get in an easy shorter run before coaching then do the workout in the evening.

After getting in an afternoon nap I headed to Bass Lake for the ZAP classic Manor-Maze workout. The plan was to run a 4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with halftime rest up to the manor house, easily jog to the start of the maze, then run a 4-3-2-1 fartlek through the maze. Put together the workout is about 7 miles in length and has a little bit of everything in it: flat, climbing, and downhill.

I had a very good workout. I felt surprisingly rested and got to the manor in 14:37 (just under 3 miles) and through the maze in 12:19 (just over 2.5 miles). The only downside of the workout was that with about 2 minutes left I felt my hamstring pull slightly. Hopefully it’s nothing serious!

Saturday: My hamstring was incredibly sore during my run but my legs felt good. I really feel my fitness coming around and I’m proud that I was able to get in 90+ miles for the week while coaching a lot and running errands with Esther.

Next week will be very relaxed as I prepare to make my way to Frankfurt, KY to race the Buffalo Trace 5k. It’s a really fast course with good prize money and I will try my best to attack my road 5k PR of 13:51 if all goes well!

Check back next week for a recap of the race.

Here is my last week of training (6/21-6/27):

Sunday: AM: 12 miles (BAA 10k, 30:35, 12th)

Monday: AM: 7 miles   PM: 5.5 miles

Tuesday: AM: 12 miles

Wednesday: AM: 11 miles   PM: 6 miles (8×20 sec post run)

Thursday: AM: 13 miles

Friday: AM: 5 miles   PM: 12 miles (manor-maze workout)

Saturday: AM: 10.5 miles

Total: 94 miles, 10 runs

Back to Boston!

Coming off of the hilly Asheville 10k last weekend, I was excited to get in another good week of training. After a controlled, or “time on feet,” long run on Monday, I was at the ASU track on Wednesday to work out with Griff, George, and Cameron. All of those guys were doing pre race workouts as Griff would be in Boston for a 5k, George in Portland for a 5k, and Cameron in Indianapolis for a 3k steeple but we overlapped at the beginning of the session. The plan was to run 3x2k at threshold pace followed by 8×300 meters at mile effort. Here’s how it went:

3x2k with 3 minutes jog rest:
1. 6:00
2. 6:00
3. 6:00

8×300 with 100 meters walk rest:

45, 45, 45, 47, 45, 45, 45, 44

As expected the 2k’s were very comfortable and the 300’s were challenging. As I stated in an recent blog, I’m really placing emphasis on getting my legs turned over more this summer and improving my leg speed and these 300’s certainly worked towards that goal.

Aerobically, they were fairly easy  but I was really having to focus on keeping my form together as my legs were a bit tired from the 2k’s earlier in the session. The discomfort from doing faster repeats is very different from the discomfort from strength based work that I’m used to. Overall, it was a good session and a positive step forward as when I did 8×300 2 weeks ago it was much harder.

After an easy few days of running I was off to Asheville, NC again for the 2nd and final weekend of the US Soccer National Youth License coaching course. The final weekend consisted primarily of the testing portion (written, oral, practical field, etc) of the course and I think it went well but I will have to wait 4-6 weeks to find out if I passed.

Next up for me is the B.A.A. 10k on June 21 in Boston, MA. After a disappointing finish at the marathon in April, I am excited to return to the city and get in a great race. From what I hear the course is fast and the professional field is strong I’m excited for the challenge.

Check back next week for a recap of the race. Thanks for reading!

P.S. Esther returned to Litchfield, CT for the historic Litchfield Hills Road Race over the weekend and successfully defended her title with a big win and personal best on the challenging 7.1 mile course! She has now won the race 3 years in a row and is quickly becoming the Queen of Litchfield. Congrats to her!

Here is my last week of training (6/7-6/13):

Sunday: AM: 6.5 miles   PM: 6.5 miles

Monday: AM: 17 miles

Tuesday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 6 miles (8×20 seconds post run)

Wednesday: AM: 10.5 miles (3x2k, 8×300)  PM: 6.5 miles

Thursday: AM: 11.5 miles

Friday: AM: 13.5 miles

Saturday: AM: 9 miles (10×20 seconds post run)

Total: 96 miles, 10 runs

Asheville Recap

Last week was a busy one for me! I began the week with a solid long run at Moses Cone with Tyler and then came back Wednesday for a workout with Griff and Joe at Mulberry. The plan was to run 6x 1 mile at threshold pace followed by 4×400 meters at roughly 5k effort. Pete measured out 2 miles with each 400 meter mark indicated by a cone. We did 2×1 mile with 75 seconds rest and then had 3 minutes rest before the next pairing of mile repeats. Here’s how it went:

2×1 mile (x3), 75 sec rest between intervals, 3 minutes between sets:

4:54, 4:52, 4:47, 4:48, 4:40, 4:41

4×400, 90 seconds rest: 65, 65, 65, 65

The miles we were running were mostly flat with the exception of the last 400 meters of the 2nd mile which rose a decent amount. All 3 of us felt strong and controlled throughout the session and were pleased with how it all played out.

After an easy few days of running I made my way to Asheville to run a very low key 10k to open up my season. The BAA 10k was originally going to be the start of my summer racing season but I was going to be in Asheville over the weekend anyway for a soccer coaching course so this race seemed like a good fit. I got into town the day before but was unable to check out the course so I had no idea what it would be like, although with it being Asheville I planned for and expected to see lots of HILLS!

My assumptions were proven correct as the course was nasty! In fact, I would say it was one of the harder courses I have ever run on. The opening 2.5 miles were rolling downhill and then the tough stuff began. Let’s put it this way, I comfortably got to 3 miles in 14:20 and then I passed the 4 mile mark in 20:25! That means I ran over 6 minutes for that mile which consisted of a healthy dose of switchbacks and steep, steep inclines. In the end, I finished 2nd behind a Chapel Hill based Kenyan and made a few bucks. My time was not good but in the context of my week it was another hard effort that will ‘serve me well’ (Pete Rea-ism) as I move forward to my target races.

National Youth Coaching Course

After the race ended I got in a quick cool down and made my way over to the Carolina Day School to take part in US Soccer’s National Youth License coaching course. This course is designed to provide club directors of coaching, youth coaches, and administrators with the knowledge to successfully structure soccer environments to players ages 4-12. The course focuses on how to provide developmentally appropriate sessions for the very young ages so they are properly prepared once they make the jump to more competitive levels of the youth game.

Although many clubs focus their best coaches with the high school aged teams, often the most qualified and able coaches are needed at these early stages so the foundation is properly set moving forward. I had a good time and have lots of work to do this week before returning to Asheville next weekend for the testing component of the course (written, oral, and practical field test). Wish me luck!

Carolina Day School Soccer Complex in Asheville, NC.
Carolina Day School Soccer Complex in Asheville, NC.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (5/31-6/6):

Sunday: AM: 17 miles (8×20 seconds end of run)   PM: walk

Monday: AM: 7 miles   PM: 6 miles

Tuesday: AM: 10.5 miles (8×20 seconds end of run)   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 13 miles (6 x mile, 4 x 400 workout)

Thursday: AM: 12 miles

Friday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 4 miles (4×200 accelerations)

Saturday: AM: 12 miles (Asheville 10k)  PM: US Soccer National Youth License

Total: 95 miles, 10 runs

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑