Following Jack’s Orders (I think)

Back to back runs and blogs – been quite a while for either of these feats.  First day without rain in quite some time, with the frontal passage came the accompanying 20mph winds.  After sizing up the weather and my schedule, decided to take chance and try to get my intervals in at dusk, hoping that the wind would die down a little bit.  I spent the afternoon knocking out some yard work and some errands, among them a trip to the doctor to see if the x-rays I had taken yesterday could shed any light on my chronic back pain.  Well, the news was not great, but I certainly can’t complain about my health with some of the problems other people have.  The doc essentially said that I had a disk that was losing volume (degenerative disk disease), and the lower back was developing arthritis.  Guessing this is also known as getting old.  He said there wasn’t really anything you can do about it, so that makes treatment easy.  My plan is that when it gets so bad I can’t tie my shoes it’ll be time for the kids to start earning their keep – that’s why we have them, right?…

Despite the downside to a late track session (putting in a long day beforehand), it was a good call to try to wait the weather out.  By the time I got out to the high school the wind had gone from bad to normal, and normal I could deal with.  The track workout became a family affair tonite, so I warmed up with my eldest daughter.  I had skipped a couple of chapters in the Jack Daniels bible yesterday, went straight to the interval chapter.  He advocated steady paced intervals with the emphasis on spending time at VO2max  (which, after 3 hours of reading I am still not totally convinced I know the definition of) .  At least that was what I gathered from all the other techno-speak that you need a physiology PhD to understand.  Anyway, I looked at his “what your pace should be” chart and decided on 6×1000 at his recommended pace, which was a little slower than I thought I normally would target.  I reduced the rest just a little bit to compensate for this.

Was shooting for 3:10-3:15, was going to go off every 6:00 so the rest would be an active 2:45 or so.  #1  3:10.22 – felt very smooth, slightly quicker pace with the wind but was working hard into it.  #2  3:10.12 – carbon copy of the first one.  #3  3:09.81 – came through the 800 significantly ahead of pace, didn’t want to slow down too much but didn’t want to defy Jack D and make this workout into a killer.  #4  3:08.84 – same as #3, cruised the last 200 and took what I got.  #5  3:07.71 – finding it hard to deal with going too fast (a relative term of course).  Never had this problem before.  #6 3:06.31 – never checked the watch on purpose on this one, just tried to run as smooth and as even as I could.  Felt good the whole way, legs started to labor just a bit the last 400m.

All in all a pretty pleasurable track session, which is not a word I usually use to describe an interval workout.  I need to keep reading this book to see if I am in the right ballpark or not with these paces.  I’ll also have to go back and see what time I used to do 1000’s in, because I know I had done at least a couple 5×1000 workouts last season.   If I can find those times that may help me see how today’s times stack up.

Anyway – cooled down for 2000m then home for some stretch and easy strength.  On the hook for spin class tomorrow morning, then probably 45mins of easy running tomorrow afternoon sometime.  With the back diagnosis I will probably try to decrease the hard pavement road miles a little bit if I can, especially here at home where I have a little more control over my routes.  Probably an extra dose of HydroWorx,  will make an attempt to hit local trails when possible.  Layover runs are hard to vary, so those will probably have stay on the pavement for the most part.  Good to be back in a training mentality after last week’s race and ensuing big down period.  With 9 of the next 10 days off work hopefully I can keep the ball rolling….


About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
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3 Responses to Following Jack’s Orders (I think)

  1. kevinfforde says:

    Sorry to hear about your back…..guess that happens when you “carry the team”….lol
    Nice work on the 6×1,000

  2. Nick Berra says:

    Could be worse I suppose. I guess I should have been on the chess team instead of running track all this time…

    • kevinfforde says:

      I think it was 92 Olympic 100m champ Linford Christie who said it best”as an athlete you’re always injured”
      If it isn’t one thing,it’s another and at the risk of coming off all “grim reaper” here the older we get the harder it gets,I get aches now I didn’t have 2,3 years ago…..

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