Thursday Track Crew

2007 Thursday Track CrewThursdays are track days for a small group of men and women. This is not a formal thing -- the exact workout depends on who's there (usually numbering from a dozen to as many as thirty or more) and what they feel like doing -- but the group is very reliable about showing up. A typical workout might be something like six 400 meter intervals at 70-115 seconds (that's a pretty big spread, but we get a big spread of ability, too), or a 400-600-800-600-400 pyramid, or laps that include 100m striders, with folks doing more or less, faster or slower. We even got covered in the Centre Daily Times! If this appeals to you, meet under the Rec Hall bleachers at noon, or show your face at the Penn State outdoor track (indoors in winter, at the new Multi-Sport Facility) around 12:20 or so on Thursdays. Say "hey!"

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Thursday Track Report: Making A Hash Of It

February 16, 2017

Cold and windy outside means a good turnout inside. John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Lance Bland, Jaimie Wright, Jo Ohm, Megan Marshall, Mike Martin, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litofsky, Seth Senior, Elsa Hansen, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur came to the Multi-Sport Facility, and decided to warm the place up.

The Fast Guys had already gotten a start on 3 sets of 3X400, which seems to be their go-to workout lately. Bwana’s workout was a change-up. Instead of a lap-based workout, he’s been doing metric workouts the last two weeks. Last week it was NX400; this week: 4X800, with about 300m rest, and aiming for consistency. The crew was VERY consistent, keeping them all within about 5 seconds. The track is 200 meters in Lane 1, but those in charge want us to use the outer lanes. To do metric distances in the outer lane 5, you just need to know where the handwritten hashmarks are.

The NVRC is on Twitter now. I’ll try to post the workouts there (AFTER we do them). That way, you can do the workout on your own time if you can’t make it on Thursday, check out the Twitter feed: @nittanyrunning. I’ll put the workouts under this hashtag: #ThurTrack (#ThursdayTrack gets you somebody’s music).

Thursday Track Report: The Curve of Suck

February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day. Phil says it’s going to be another 6 weeks until winter goes away. Well, it got here 6 weeks late, so that figures. A big group of Phil’s cousins, John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Costas Maranas, Michael Goldfine, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, newcomers Jeanine and Kristen, Monica Acosta, Elsa Hansen, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur, eager beavers all, showed up to see what Bwana was dishing out.

Actually, Bwana doesn’t dish out to the “Fast Guys” so much anymore. They come ready with their own workout ideas. Today it was 3X3X400 at some Fast Guy pace. Meira was one of the guys today, and the two newcomers, Jeanine and Kristen, somehow got mixed up with them, at least for a couple of reps. Bwana’s group did almost as much volume, and it gave him a chance to talk about the Curve of Suck. Bwana’s workout was a downward ladder: 5-4-3-2-1 laps in lane 5, with 2 laps rest after the 5 lapper and 1 lap rest after each succeeding rep. The idea is to maintain a consistent pace on each rep, starting close to your mile race pace, and then bump up the pace on each succeeding rep. The Curve of Suck goes like this. The 5 lapper, tough as it is, is not the worst rep. Suckiness goes up a notch on the 4 lapper because even after a couple of laps’ rest, you’re still recovering, and 4 isn't that much less than 5 laps, percentage-wise. Plus, you should be going a little faster. The 3 lapper is only a tad less sucky, because though you’re going a third less distance than in the previous rep, you’re doing it on half the rest. But going into that last lap of 3, you at least feel like you can turn it on, rather than just dragging your butt in. Finally, the 2 and 1 lappers feel like the downslope, though you really should be sucking wind and practicing your kick pace. Once you’ve done this workout and are familiar with the Curve of Suck, it’s not one you look forward to. But suck it up and do it! Those last couple of reps are fun. The payoff!

Speaking of payoff, everybody is working hard! It’s a good thing, too. Spring 5Ks and marathons are just around the corner. Well, 6 weeks, anyway.

Thursday Track Report: Turf Wars

February 9, 2017

It was a snow day: schools closed, University on 2 hour delay, so attendance was down a bit. Still, Judd Michael, Marty Klanchar, Mike Casper, Bob Shafer, Mike Zimmerman, Seth Senior, Dan Coughlin, Josh Litovsky, Monica Acosta, Elsa Hansen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed to the track despite the weather.

The Fast Group / “Slow” Group split seems to have become a permanent thing. There’s always been a range of speeds, but now the “fast guys" (and gals) are doing different workouts. The faster guys make up their own workout, usually about the same volume as or a little more than Bwana’s general workout, but much faster. (Almost as fast as Bwana was doing his reps 20 years ago!) Today, the fast group did 200-400-600-800-800-600-400-200, about 4K of volume. Bwana called for N X 400 at mile race pace with about 220m rest. Now, just because there’s a permanent fast/slow split doesn’t mean that people can’t move between them. It’s not like gang turfs or anything like that. Monica Acosta is obviously feeling her oats. Today after the first 400, done at Bwana pace (high 90s), she started doing each rep significantly faster. She wanted to feel out her limits and ended up doing an 82 on her 6th rep. That’s bumping into “fast guy” turf!

Bwana doesn’t know why people would give up an indoor workout on a day like today. On the way back to work, he saw John Pringle and John Domico hoofing it in the windy cold on a desolate stretch of campus. Come in from the cold!

Thursday Track Report: Senility Sets In

January 26, 2017

The weather was changeable: breezy with temperatures in the mid-30s, but heading south, as John Domico, Tom Cali, Judd Michael, Meira Minard, Andy Maguire, Michael Goldfine, John Iceland, Mike Martin, Bob Shafer, Seth Senior, Josh Litofsky, Jo Ohm, Elsa Hansen, Monica Acosta, Jackie Luong, Sam Thompson, Adam Ilgen, David Lloyd, and Marty Mazur headed for the track. We’ve had a mild winter so far, but with enough craziness thrown in to keep us honest, and a good 6 or 8 weeks left to go.

Thursday Track has always had a nice mix of ages, and though all the “Thursday Originals” are in various stages of decrepitude, we still get new generations coming forward. I want to say we get kids from 18 to 80, and that was almost true today. Jackie, the new kid, is an 18 year-old freshman, and Sam Thompson isn’t 80, he’s in the youthful first years of his eighth decade and set on keeping himself in the running for many more seasons. Bwana, on the other hand, is already losing his marbles a couple of months shy of 60. He gave the same workout this week as two weeks ago, and though it’s a challenging favorite, under normal conditions of sentience, he would have not have repeated as quickly. This week: N X 3X300. Run 300 m at mile race pace with just over 100 m rest before starting the next. Do that three times, then take a longer rest. Do N = 2 to 4 sets. Consistency is key. Don’t sprint, but keep a hard pick-up pace!

This Friday is the second of three Indoor Mile meets. Too late to get in on this one, but those of you who are sitting on the fence should just jump in! Next Friday is the last one, and the event features a heat of the 3K as well as a predicted mile contest. Don’t let life and the chance to hack your lungs out pass you by! You’ll regret it when you’re old!