Saucony Flo50 Summer Training Blog: Nick Dahl

Summer Training, Week 8: August 29nd - September 4th

In my final week of summer break, I completed a few difficult workouts, and acclimated to the new data we received on paces and heart rates for training. Between a race on Friday and a workout on Monday, my mileage stayed relatively low, but I did manage to squeeze in a few good moderate efforts, as well as some light economy work and lots of conditioning. Our team spent this week hiding from the heat, and trying to get as much of the work in as possible before school starts again. This final heat wave of summer made training difficult, so we adopted a practice schedule to account for the heat. Although I am very excited to get back to school, I had a wonderful summer of training, and I will miss the flexibility and length of our summer practices. As a whole, I am exactly where I hoped to be based on fitness, and I feel as though this summer's training set me up to be successful in the fall. We laid some excellent groundwork for my energy systems, and now as I progress into the next phase of my workouts, I feel stronger than ever.


Some of the GFS Boys Team posing for a team picture

Saturday, August 29th: Off day today. After yesterday's workout, I was feeling very tired, and I knew that more hard work was right on the horizon, so I decided to take the day off and allow my body to recover. Our team appreciates these days, even if we don't enjoy them, and understands how important recovery can be to cementing the progress made during workout days. Instead of running, I kept myself busy by being generally active, walking around and enjoying the last few days of summer. It was my brother's birthday today, so we took him to New York City to see a musical on Broadway.

Sunday, August 30th: Moderate run today with my teammates in the morning. I biked over to the Art Museum Loop bright and early, where I met up with Gordon Goldstein and Daniel Stassen for our daily minutes. After starting out with them, I progressed into my own pace, descending down from 7:10/mile pace to 6:20/mile pace by the end. In all, I ran for about 8.6 miles over 56 minutes, for a solid day's effort. I focused on maintaining form today, keeping my arm cage low and my posture upright, which helped me to keep my heart rate steady. I met up with Gordy and Daniel once we all finished our mileage, and we all did a static stretch together. Afterwards, I biked back to my home, and took it easy for the rest of the day.


Running along the new Bike Trail

Monday, August 31st: Workout day today. Coach Rob Hewitt assigned us to complete 10-15 pieces of 400 meters at our predicted 3,000 meter race pace, with a 90 second recovery between pieces. My goal for the workout was to complete as many pieces as possible at around 4:24/mile pace, and since Phil Celona chose to run with my teammate Grayson Hepp, I had to work at it alone. We did the workout on a grass loop around our soccer fields, which meant today was the first day I could break in my new XC spikes. The workout started well for me, with all of the first five pieces coming in between 66.8 seconds and 65.8 seconds, and the recovery was long enough for me to return to near full strength. The next five pieces began to hurt a little more, as was expected, but I still managed to hit all of the splits and continue functioning properly. After reaching the minimum of our suggested range for the day, I was still feeling strong, so I decided to complete the rest of the pieces. At the end of the day, I had completed all 15 pieces at 4:24/mile pace, which was a great boost of confidence for where I am physically right now. After a cooldown run, my teammates and I drove over to our main campus, where we did a set of lifting, focusing on leg exercises, and a full static stretch.

Tuesday, September 1st: After the intensity of yesterday, I decided today should again be a simple recovery day, so I went out with my teammates for a light jog. We were out for about 35 minutes, and we took a meandering path through Philadelphia University's campus, which dropped us off on Schoolhouse Lane. We took that road for a while until we made it back to our fields. It ended up being about 4.5 miles, which was ideal for my sore calves. Back at our campus, we did a full circuit of core exercises with medballs, and a full circuit of foot strengthening drills in the sandpits. After a shoeless static stretch, we finished today's practice and left a little early.


A beautiful view of Philadelphia's Museum of Art

Wednesday, September 2nd: Time to get back to work. Since I couldn't run with the team today due to schedule conflicts, I ran on my own at 7:00 in the morning. Today was the first day with my new heart rate zones, so it was an interesting experience adjusting to the new paces. I eased into the run to give my body time to wake up, and I was feeling pretty stiff for the first 12 minutes, but as soon as I was feeling looser, I opened up my stride and progressed down in tempo. Since I had 50-60 minutes for today, I ran across the Ben Franklin Bridge twice, which let me fit four major hills into my work today (each time across the bridge, I have to climb up and descend back down, so doing the full bridge twice gave me a total of four inclines). I finished out at 58:17, descending down to 6:15/mile pace, which felt great. When I got home, I did hurdle mobility around my house, and stretched out.

Thursday, September 3rd: Since tomorrow will be our first meet of the season, we did our pre-meet routine today, to prep our bodies for a full exertion on the course. I started out running 32:18 with coach Phil Celona, along the Wissahickon Trail we call "Pipeline", at about 7:00/mile pace, for 4.65 miles. After the run, we hopped on the track for a set of economy pieces, 6x100 "on", 100 "off", descending in pace from 17.0 seconds to 16.5 seconds. We then proceeded to do a set of plyometrics/multi-throws, to key up our final energy system for tomorrow, and did a very long static stretch to make sure our muscles were loose. The team seems to have an electric vibe of excitement to get back to racing, and I think we're ready to get out there and take tomorrow down. Everybody is fresh and ready to go.

Friday, September 4th: Race day finally. The Germantown Friends School XC Team travelled to the Oakborne Relays, for an interesting open to our season. The way these relays worked was that every team created four teams of two people each, and the pairs did a 4xMile relay, with one person taking the first and third legs, and the other person taking the second and fourth legs. The loop itself was a mile long, over rolling hills around their campus, and it made for a difficult race. I was paired with my teammate Jonnie Plass, who had a breakout season last spring, running a 2:01 in the 800 meter in our Friends' League Championships. He has yet to prove himself over longer distances, but I was psyched to get to race with him and take on this stacked field of athletes. We chose to have me take the second and fourth legs, so Jonnie opened up the relay for us, and handed me the baton in about 12th place. I ran my first leg in about 4:50, catching up 9 places in the process and giving Jonnie the baton in third. I had about 5 minutes to catch my breath and get ready to run the second half, so I dunked my head in water and stayed loose while Jonnie took the third leg. He came to the handoff in about 14th place, so I had a lot of work ahead of me. I did my best to catch up as smoothly as possible, finishing in third after a second split of 4:51. Our relay finished in about 20:30 total, which was right about what we were hoping for, and I was satisfied with the day's effort. The rest of the team also raced well, with a standout performance from Zach Goldberg, who handed off to his relay partner Zach Schwartz (I called this team Zack Squared) in the front pack after the first leg. We had a really fun time at an interesting meet, and it was a great place for us to remember what true racing feels like.