Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Why women's distance running is so exciting right now, some thoughts on Wilson Kipsang.

What's up y'all! Did any of you guys hear about the weather we had here in Newfoundland? It's not even funny at this point, the town of Gander in central Newfoundland got 122cm of snow in 3 days about a week ago. Winter is finally starting to subside now however and the past couple days have been excellent. After giving it some thought I decided against running the Boston Pizza FlatOut 5k last Sunday, the weather is always questionable for that race and it's hurt my confidence in the past being fit and only running like 15:40. Both times I've run that there I went on to run 31:17 and 31:21 a couple weeks after, so it wasn't worth getting stressed if I did go out there and didn't run fast. If I'm not going to go under 15 I'd rather not bother. Instead I decided to run a 3000 as part of the final NLAA indoor series. I had some tempo on the books for after as well so I got in about 10km worth of quality running on Saturday with 3k at sub 3 minutes/k and another 7k at around 3:10/km. Looking at the Sun Run in a little over a week it served me much better then running a hit or miss 5km. With that said however, the FlatOut was a great day this year and super well organized race, I made sure I was there cheering on everyone and you all looked great. Anyway, in this post I want to talk about a couple of things that I've been thinking about while on the treadmill floating along listening to my boy Phil Collins, those thoughts are how incredibly exciting women's mid distance and distance running is right now and if Wilson Kipsang is getting enough credit as one of the greatest marathoners ever. So yeah, let's jump into that for a little bit shall we?

Women's running is about exciting right now as running gets, period!

This doesn't come solely in the wake of the amazing half marathon WR we saw go down at the Prague half by Joyciline Jepkosgei, which was nothing short of amazing, to go out in 30:04 and hang onto a sub 65 half was something incredible to watch. Now, I know a few days back news broke that Olympic Marathon Champ Jemima Sumgong popped for EPO, but I'm going to refrain from throwing her to the wolves until her B sample is tested. I'm guessing that will come back positive as well but I don't want this to come down to a debate on drug/PED use on the pro scene, because I'm someone who thinks that if the curtain was pulled back and we saw what all the Olympians were really on that most of the world would be shocked at the percentages using some sort of PED's. Being a person who actually enjoys reading up on supplementation and the chemistry of what's currently being worked on and used I know how some people can "cheat/game" the system. Long gone are the days of just taking boat loads of EPO or blood doping. There are ways to use cadaver-derived HGH, you've got microdosing, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, Peptides, the list goes on and on. So while I know it's being used, I chose to try and focus on what's good in the sport and enjoy the competition and storylines with the hopes that drug testing will eventually catch up and we save samples and test them when we have the proper detection methods.

So, with that out of the way, I do think it's an exciting time for women's running. Look at how epic the 1500m is right now. Dibaba and Fiath Kipyegon who are just ridiculous talents. The world record has been lowered to 3:50 flat, both of those girls can run races hard from the front or close in 1:56 for the last 800 so you know it's exciting. Then a little ways back you have that second tier of great athletes all fighting for a medal with the rising sensation Laura Miur, the always dangerous Sifan Hassan now with NOP and Americans Jenny Simpson and Shanon Rowbury. 

In the other distance events like the Steeple, 5000m, 10000m and half marathon we have women starting to break records all over the place and are exploring the top end of what is possible. For a long time it's been thought that the women's records in those events haven't been on par with the men's WR's but that's starting to change with the times that have been run by Ruth Chibet going well under 9 minutes in the steeple, Ayana and Dibaba giving that 5k record a scare and Ayana smashing the 10000m record in Rio last summer pulling 3 others under 30'. On the roads too we see girls running super fast over the half. I personally can't wait to see someone who can run 64 high like Jepkosgei or 65 flat as a few girls have done take a crack at Paula's 2:15 at Berlin or Dubai. They should in theory have the ability to break it, Jepkosgei for sure as she's much quicker then Paula ever was over every distance.

The greatness of Wilson Kipsang

With all this Sub2 talk I've been thinking about the great marathoners in history. Khalid, Paul T, Haile, Eliud etc, but one that needs to get talked about more is Wilson Kipsang. I was bored at work the other day and started looking at Wilson's IAAF page. Knowing he has gone sub 2:04 an unbelievable 4 times got me wondering just how long has he been killing it in the marathon? I remember what feels like forever ago he threw down a 2:03 in Frankfurt and narrowly missed the then WR of Patrick Makau. Upon further review it's really pretty astonishing what he's accomplished. Below are his seasonal best marathons since 2010 (Also note he ran 59:15 for his half debut in 09' and sub 59 in 2010)

Frankfurt Marathon 2010 - 2:04:57 CR*
Frankfurt Marathon 2011 - 2:03:42 CR*
London Marathon 2012 - 2:04:44 CR*
Berlin Marathon 2013 - 2:03:23 CR* WR*
London Marathon 2014 - 2:04:29 CR*
London Marathon 2015 - 2:04:47 (2ed to Kipchoge)
Berlin Marathon 2016 - 2:03:13 (PB, 2ed to Bekele)
Tokyo Marathon 2017 - 2:03:58 CR*

Tell me that's not a ridiculous string of performances since 2010! How many other guys have been able to run 2:03/2:04 for 8 years? He also threw down some other memorable performances in there I've left out like a bronze medal at the London Olympics, destroying Desisa and getting the win in NYC and not to mention going sub 28 on the roads for 10k from 2009 to 2016. He's being over shadowed by the greatness of Eliud Kipchoge right now as he's won 7 of 8 career marathons with his only loss coming to Wilson himself when he set the WR in 2013. Not only is Kipsang an unreal athlete but he's great with the media which is something a lot of East Africans don't really excel at because of the language barrier. Wilson is an athlete who will be looked back upon when his running is behind him as one of the greatest marathoners to ever live. We are very fortunate to be able to watch him in his prime.

Other random ramblings

So yeah, some other cool stuff has gone down since I last checked in. Brooks just sponsored a hockey player which I was super excited to hear, Halli Kryzaniak who just played in the world champs, and there's another huge signing that we can't talk about until June, but it's going to be HUGE! 

On the SUB2 front the attempt is being billed for the first weekend in May so that'll be fun to watch. Say what you will about the idea and it being a marketing gimmick. I'm still very excited to see just how fast these guys can run or how long they can sustain sub 2 pace. 

Boston is in less then a week!! With Rupp having aggravated his planter in the half he ran a couple weeks back in Prague it's hard to tell where he's going to be but I still like his chances and predict it comes down to he and Lemi Hayle!

The sun run is a little over a week away and I'm super pumped! The fitness is definitely in a good place and is growing each week. I've started to drop the mileage back and hit a great session today. I did a 15' warm up into a mile in 5:00, 3' jog then into 20X1'/1' going 3:00/k on the "on" and 4:00/k on the "off" minute followed by another 3' easy and a 5 minute mile to finish it off before the cool down. I was encouraged by the session and got plenty of good volume in. 

Also of note, I'm coaching a Tely 10 running clinic with 2 other runners, Sharon and Ben for Max Fitness. We already have over 50 people signed up and it's still early bird pricing right now so if you are in the area and want to join check out more details on the max website. (

Anyway, that's it for me. Now that the spring season is finally here I'm going to get back to blogging once a week and will be writting some nutrition and training based stuff that I'll share here and on the LeanFit site so be prepared for more posts coming fast and furious. I'll get another one up while I'm flying to Vancouver next Thursday. I can't tell you guys how excited I am to get to race out there, see my friend JJ and his wife, hang with my GRE teammate Tyler C and get to take part in a LeanFit shoot to create some content for them. Before I get out of here I want to thank Lindsea at LeanFit for arranging this trip for me, Maurice with BC athletics for putting me up and inviting me to the race and Brooks for supporting me every step of the way. I'm going to make sure I stop by the booth and lend a hand so if you see me there and are a reader of the blog please stop by and say hey!

Have an awesome Easter Weekend friends and enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoff which kick off tonight!


Saturday, 18 March 2017

The NYC Half, Sub2 Project, Spring Marathons and My Training.

Hey you guys, how are things? I trust you are all enjoying St. Paddy's Day with friends and being safe out there! Is the weather cooperating for you guys or is it as bad as it's been here? Last weekend, I sit down to write a blog post as I've got a couple of hours to kill and 30 minutes in the power goes out, the winds start picking up and we have a full on wind storm here in St. John's. There was a recorded gust of 179km/h. Yeah, complete insanity, over 140 traffic lights blew down, siding and roofs were reported to have blown off houses, just chaos. I was without power for 2 days and was huddled next to my fireplace keeping warm and cooking whatever I could find....the beauties of living in Newfoundland during the winter months haha. Anyway, thankfully it didn't really effect my training as I had gotten my run in early Saturday and the power came back late Sunday and I was able to go to the gym and roll a long run on the treadmill. Speaking of training it's been pretty great following along with everyone building up for spring marathons here in Canada. Seth continues to crush workouts like a boss and with the big races starting to draw closer like ATB, London, Boston, Ottawa, everyone is making a push to get the finishing touches on the fitness. In this post I'll briefly talk about tomorrows NYC half which has some interesting storylines to watch, touch on the Nike Sub2 dress rehearsal, look at how leaving Kipchoge out of London leaves it wide open and go over a little of what I've been doing other then punching out mega miles and starting to really get to where I'm feeling ready to race hard.

2017 NYC Half Marathon

So tomorrow one of the years best half marathons is going down. Now, it's by no means the fastest race of the year, heck not even close. You won't see times like you would at the RAK half or like we did in Cardiff last year but there are guys in the field with sub 60 potential on the right day and some great storylines to follow. First, let's start with the women, on paper this is Molly Huddle's race to lose, she's got the best credentials here as she's coming off a PR in the half last year on this course and an AR in the 10000m. She didn't run super quick indoors but 15 flat solo without real competition dragging Sisson along for the ride is still a solid performance. I see her duking it out with Edna Kiplagat and Caroline Rotich over the first 10miles or so and likely pulling away with around 5k to go. I don't see it coming down to a sprint finish like last year. I'd also like to see Desi Linden go at least 69 low, if she wants to be able to compete for the win in Boston she may have to close the last half of the race in sub 70 and though she has a 2:22 to her name she cant run that evenly and expect to run away from the best in the world. Girls at the highest level of major marathons can roll 67/68 coming home if the first half is slow enough. It will give us a look at where she is going into Boston. Also, if the conditions are favorable we could see Lanni dip under her own Canadian Record for the half. Her 10000m times indicate 70:15-30 so that's something to watch for. On the men's side Feyisa Lilesa should in theory handle this field with ease if he's in good form, I know he's been dealing with a lot of issues because of his protest of what's happening with the Ethiopian government but he's very much on the upswing. He looked awful in Honolulu, but had a great performance at the Huston half just getting outkicked at the line while throwing up the "X" in support of his country. The man has world championship and Olympic medals as well as a world marathon major win. I expect he pulls away from Stehpen Sambu late in the race (26:51 10000m man). Calum Hawkins should have a great shot at the podium and has looked like a baller this year, I just don't think he's near Lelisa type fitness.

Nike's Sub2 Project

What can we really say about this? I mean I'm super interested in following it, but I also realize it's ridiculous and a media/cash grab in terms of marketing new shoe tech and showing they are dedicated to pushing the boundaries and human potential/evolution in sport. I hate that we don't get to see Kipchoge run London against Bekele. I spoke to my bud JJ about this last night, and he's one of the few people who can change my mind on something in terms of what I think an athlete can run. We both agree that Kipchoge is the best marathon to ever live, but I thought he was capable of maybe taking 30-45 seconds off the WR in Berlin while JJ is thinking he's in 2:01:XX type shape and the more I thought about it and how smooth he looked running 59:17 in the dress rehearsal over 13.1 I'm thinking he may be right. So with that said, I'm a little upset he's not running London, as he could certainly break the WR there, last year with even pacing he would have done it and he appears to be in at least that type of fitness again and likely even better then that. Marathoning at the highest level is so unpredictable and the body can only produce so many of those types of efforts, let alone the training cycle leading up to it. I don't want to see him waste even one performance on a "race" that will always have a question mark attached to it. Now, I'll still be tuning in of course and Kipchoge is such a professional that he will likely recover properly and be at 100% for another attempt in the fall. I just wish we could see him duel with Bekele while both are in their current form. The other things I gleaned from the trial was that Tedese is still a beast and looked great running sub 60, while Desisa struggled. I'm still unsure about what to make of those FlyVapor 4% shoes, improving economy by that much seems a little far fetched but it's definitely a possibility, especially if the extra foam under foot means later in the race the athletes aren't as banged up and are not feeling as much muscular breakdown.

As for how this effects the spring marathons, I mean, Boston doesn't really appear to be that interesting of a race on either the men's or women's side. The story is basically can Rupp take the win, something we will break down in my next post. (I'm going to need to look more at the competition and bounce some ideas/thoughts off JJ). As for London, that should be interesting. I don't believe we will see a WR but we could see another 2:03 and if Bekele is ready to go, London will ensure they bring in good pace makers and set things up for him as best they can. That's the marathon to watch this spring.

My Training

So, things are finally clicking like I want them to. I'll keep my mileage high for another two weeks then come down for a local 5km, the Boston Pizza Flat Out 5k. I'll use it as a rust buster and run it as hard as I can. Normally the weather is horrible as it's on the highest point in St. John's near the airport and you get ridiculous wind but I should still be able to take a crack at the course record. After that I'll put in another week of big training and taper into the the Sun Run, Mississauga and Ottawa. It'll be important to keep the workouts progressing through April and May but I'll have to keep the mileage a lot lower to ensure I'm fresh to run some PB's. I'm not setting super lofty ones right now, just to run 30:45ish at the sun run, 67 at Mississauga and compete as best I can in Ottawa as it just comes down to racing there where the heat can be a major factor. The last 4 weeks I've averaged 134.4 miles and my legs are feeling great, even today after doing a 17 mile long run in the morning I had lots of energy and ran an easy 4.5 at 6:00/mile running the last one in 5:21. So I guess it's just keeping things simple, consistent and progressing slowly from here into the spring. (You can toss me a follow on strava if you want to see my exact runs, I'll start recapping weeks again soon when I've got a little more time to post every week)

So that's pretty much it I guess, like I said, I wish you all a happy and safe St. Paddy's day weekend and be sure to tune into the NYC half tomorrow, it's going to be a great race and don't forget to cheer on Lanni and Eric. Lastly, a big shootout to Jeremiah on starting Solo J Sales and getting back into the running game with Brooks. If he hadn't taken a chance on me back in 2013 when he was the lead rep with Saucony I doubt I'd have continued to train as hard and decided to pursue whatever talent I have in trying to reach my ceiling of potential and personal bests. I'd also not have met such a great guy and friend. Thanks man, I'm pretty amped we are both playing for team Brooks Running as we move into the future. You'll be nothing but successful as you've been in all your other endeavors! I've got a high five ready for you that I'll deliver in April!

Until next time, stay frosty.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mo Speed, USATF Indoors and the Chilli Half.

Hey again friends, I trust you are all well and training like savages! I'm back on the strava train again and by the looks of it some people are building some down right nasty fitness which is awesome to see. This is a great time to be a track/running fan. We have NCAA and Canadian University Champs coming up next weekend, some great road races this weekend in BC and Ontario as well as the USATF indoor champs which I'll talk about below. I find it interesting they use off distances on non indoor championship years. Running the 600/1000/Mile and 2mile makes for some interesting races and tactics. This week also saw some more leaks regarding Alberto Salazar. I'm not really sure what to make of it all, only that I wouldn't expect world class athletes to need that many medications, an outsider who didn't know they were world class runners would assume people on all those medications might not even be able to run. With that said, the bigger question here is that grey area where the rules aren't clearly define. If you are taking advantage of the wording in the rule book and are applying for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE's) and doing so with transparency then you aren't breaking any rules, you may be compromising your moral integrity but that's another matter in and of itself. I personally feel like to stop this type of thing from happening we need to take a look at the wording of the rules concerning TUE's and supplementation and have things clearly stated so that there can be no loop holes in which athletes can take advantage of and everyone is on the same page.

Anyway, there's also my training, which is starting to take shape nicely, I've got a good base under me and my workouts are progressing to the point where I could jump into a race and run pretty close to my PR's which is excellent considering it's only March 4th. So from here on into the spring the goal is to start sharpening up and doing specific speed endurance work at 5 and 10k pace. I'm going to start introducing a 20 mile long run every second week at around 6:15/mile and by late spring I'd like to have them a little under 6 minutes/mile. I feel like it's important to lay some foundation for my fall marathon now so that when I do transition into the buildup itself I'll be strong aerobically and my body will be callused to the longer hard runs so hopefully when I have to hit 60-80 minute workouts at goal marathon pace of 5:25-30/mile or 3:20-25/k that I'll at least have a starting point and my body won't be trashed for a week afterwards. I've been looking at my fall plans leading into my debut and I'll likely skip the national 5km champs in favor of running the Montreal Rock and Roll half which is around a month out. A good half marathon effort seems like a more beneficial race then trying to drop down to a 5km. I'm also toying with the idea of doing my provincial marathon in early September as a long run. During my build I'll want to at least cover the marathon distance once, maybe twice. I figure I can do our provincial race and where it's not a huge event I'll have someone ride along with me on a bike so I can practice my fueling and run a progressive effort of around 2:35-2:40. I've seen Leslie Sexton crush 2:4X's in training and the wolf Jeff Costen did the same before his stellar debut so if I have the choice of doing it solo in training or in a provincial race where sub 2:40 will easily win then I'll do the race. (I may employ the Kev Coffey technique and register under a false name, he likes to go with Jevine Cappucino, just so I don't "officially debut" and have a slow time next to my name.)

Mo Speed!!

I couldn't write a blog post without talking about our boy Mo Ahmed. Man, what a complete stud, we knew he made a big jump up in class last year at the Pre Classic where he ran the Canadian outdoor 5km record of 13:01. I remember as clear as day sitting in my hotel room watching it during Ottawa race weekend. From there he poured it on and finished 4th in Rio over the same distance. That 5000m at BU just solidified what we knew already, Mo is one of the best over the distance, for him to drop guys as seasoned and strong as Hill, True and Jenkins.....these are legit world beaters, Jenkins especially who I see as the next american going sub 13. Mo did an interview after saying that he will now look towards outdoors and either a fast 5000 at Payton Jordan or maybe the Shanghai Diamond League. Personally I'd love to see him run a fast 5 this year but I'd love to also see him running some 1500's just to sharpen up that first step when the move is made. The very best guys in the world have that crazy pace change at the drop of a hat, that's how the medals are decided. Either way, we need to get excited because Mo Speed is going to have an epic year.

USATF Indoor Champs

I'm going to quickly give my thoughts and predictions on the mid-d and distance events on this meet as it's going to start shortly. I think having these off distances (600, 1000, Mile and Two Mile) are really cool for years where they don't have to decide a team for world indoors. The 600 allows some of the quarter milers to jump up and race some speed oriented half milers which is fun and the same holds true in the 1km where you get fast 800 guys battling strength based milers. Even having that extra 218 meters over a 3km in the two mile helps out the 5km guys dropping down so it makes for fun events and where it more about racing then running lights out fast times. (Altitude also takes care of this for us). Anyway, my predictions for the 600 are Cas Loxsom and Ajee Wilson, In the 1km I like Clayton Murphy and Charlene Lipsey (She ran a massive 800m PR hanging on to Ajee earlier this year). In the men's and women's mile I'm taking Kyle Merber to upset Blankenship who should be the favorite here and Shelby Houlihan. And finally, in the two mile which is a strait final as well and takes place tonight I've got Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Chelimo edging out Ryan Hill and for the women I'll take Katie Mackey to upset Houlihan doubling back from the mile.

The Chilli Half

Tomorrow most of my Grand River Endurance team will be going to battle in Burlington Ontario at the Chilli Half. This is always a fun event to follow and attracts some great athletes looking to test themselves before ATB or a spring marathon. This year is no different and there are some super talented men and woman registered. If everyone was entering this at 100% and peaking for this race it would be pretty interesting. But since it's early March and everyone is in different places we shouldn't really see too many fireworks. On paper you have Blair Morgan and Tristan Woodfine who are the class of the field, both are accomplished over the shorter distances and could theoretically run as quick as 65 flat if they work together and get a good day. Next would be my boy Josh Bolton who's run 67 minutes and has been even fitter then that but he's treating this one as a checkpoint and looking to peak 7-8 weeks from now. So with that said we've got a host of guys who are in 68 minute type shape and I suspect we will see a pack of guys like Josh, Aaron Cooper, John Parrott, Paul Rochus, Seth M., Runner Rob, E-Bang and Lucas M. all coming in between 68:00-69:30 if the weather cooperates. After that we should see a slight gap, then a crew of guys like Mitch Free, Dan Way, Dave Clark, Marathon Mike along with plenty of others starting to come in around 72 flat and up from there. On the women's side I'm not sure exactly who's starting other then Tanis Bolton and Krista Duchene who will both be under 80 minutes. Anyway, it'll be exciting to watch and I wish everyone good luck out there. Have some fun and race hard.

My training

So as I mentioned above things are coming along well, the last two weeks have been over 130 miles and I'm stacking quality on top of that so I'd imagine I'm about 2-4 weeks out from being in PB shape. I was at the track this morning and did a nice little cut down workouts to start sharpening up. When I arrived the Pearlgate track team was there with their coach Mark Miller so I jumped into 2k, 1800, 1600, 1400, 1200, 1000 and 800 off very large equal recovery. I ran 35 second 200m pace the whole way or 2:55/km, the 2k and 1800 were a little harsh but coming down felt better as I was getting huge recovery, like 6 minutes after the first 2k rep. Mark has a great group of young, talented athletes that will be going to Canada Games this summer so I really appreciate you all letting me jump in and stretch the legs out. So as of tomorrow I'm 7 weeks out from the Sun Run, plenty of time to put the finish on some speed work. After that like I mentioned I'll hit Sauga for the half with Josh and Ottawa race weekend. Lot's of training to be done and miles to be run. (I'll start doing proper workout recaps once I'm doing more workouts outside, it's lame being on the track and treadmill so often.)

Alright, I'm going to get out of here and go get my fireplace going to warm up, it's super cold and blustering in Newfoundland today.

Stay hungry friends!

Thanks Brooks for sending your boy the 2017 pro kit to keep me looking fresh and fast this racing season. You guys are an unreal brand to work with. I'm so honored to be running under the brooks banner with athletes like Jenna Westaway, Gabriela Stafford, Lewis Kent, Devan Wiebe, Jessica Shaw, JP et all!

Morning miles at the gym before work.

Just placed an order for this beauty, I heard they sold out online within the first day and a half! Luckily your boy has connections.

The feeling you get before attempting a workout outside in 60km/h winds.

The feeling once you've survived it and crush a recovery shake.

Shoutout to LeanFit for the fresh shipment and for fueling my legs through thousands of miles. I can't wait to visit you guys in Vancouver this April.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Thoughts on new marathon standards, more indoor talk and my training.

What's up friends! Oh man, are we ever getting a lot of snow here on the east coast, over a 48 hour period this past Tuesday and Wednesday we saw 66cm fall, everything was closed so your boy was running like a hamster on the treadmill.....not fun at all. Since we last spoke, Millrose went down, a few low key meets in Europe and the usual meets here in Canada as well as ones a lot of Canucks like to hit like Spire, UW and the BU Valentine Invite. We saw some fast times, tactical races and are starting to get a look at where people are going into outdoors. On the marathon front Tokyo has apparently removed a couple hills from their course and Kipsang announced a WR attempt and we got an update on the controversial Nike Sub2 Project, Kipchoge seems to be going about his normal training, and Desisa as well as Tedese seem to be in great form as well. From the workouts that were talked about Tedese's were the most impressive sessions of 12X1200m where he worked down to running 62 second quarter pace off 2' and a 35K long run at 5:00/mile pace. (Both at sea level). In other marathon news Athletics Canada has adopted the IAAF standards of 2:19:00 and 2:45:00 for this years WC's which opens up the door for more athletes to realize their dreams of representing their country. I'll talk a little about that below, some indoors and my own training as I get ready for my first goal race of the 2017 season which will be the Vancouver Sun Run.

Canada Adopts the IAAF Marathon Standards.

So this is the big news here in Canada and has a lot of athletes excited. Personally as a fan of the sport I'm really pumped for this. I'm of the opinion that international competition will help the development of athletes and encourage them to take their training to the next level. With that said however, I'm also partial to the idea that we shouldn't just rush or force training and racing. When we compare the men's standard in the marathon to the 5 and 10k it's not even in the same ballpark in terms of relative performances based on IAAF point scoring, so guys who may be 10k specialists but can't yet run the 27:45 10000m standard may try to lace up for a shot at the marathon time before they are ready and that's something to be careful with. Because someone can run a relative performance over a shorter distance it doesn't necessarily translate to the longer events. The biggest example of this is the USA Marathon trials, there you can get in with a sub 65 half which is pretty attainable for a relatively fit post collegiate runner in the states. You see them roll a 63/64 and then getting amped up for the trials, they go out with the lead pack and fade to sometimes outside 2:30. The marathon needs to be respected and a 2:19 is still a very fast time. Our women seem to be more aware of this and they treat the distance with respect from what I've seen. Leslie Sexton comes to mind in 2015, she ran her game plan, forgot about 2016 time standards and was rewarded with a huge PB. Now, if your a male and a sub 29 athlete or a 64 minute half marathoner then this doesn't really apply as if you follow a proper training plan then you should be able to relatively easily break 2:19 (if they are only going for a 2:18 and not a sub 2:15). It's people who haven't displayed that ability who are going for broke in order to make an attempt at the standard that scares me. Like Andrew Jones mentioned on the trackie forums, you won't learn anything about your marathon potential if you blow up and jog it in or DNF. Running to what your fitness is indicating is the safest move and will results in steady progress. Look at guys like Reid, Eric and Dylan, they were very accomplished 10000m runners and all made debuts around 2:15/2:16.....high 27 and low 28 10000m runners. The distance deserves the utmost respect. Again, I'm all for these new standards and I'm so excited for what the spring marathon season brings now that this has been put into effect.

With that said who are the players, and who could be booking a ticket to London? Well there are 3 tiers of athletes on both the women's and men's side. The top tier are Eric, Reid, Lanni and Krista. All can run under the old standard and I suspect they will pass on worlds but if they do chose to run then they will be on the top of the list. (Rachel Hannah's 2:32 should be a lock, she is in my mind at this tier as well). Then you have the second tier, those who are either already under the standard, close or displayed the ability to do it with ease given a proper race execution. In this category I have runners like Brandon Lord, Thomas Toth, Kip Kangogo, Sami Jabril, Evan Esselink and if Hendrix or Woodfine give it a go both have displayed sub 2:19 ability. On the woman's side we have Leslie Sexton, Tarah Korir, Dayna Pidhoresky, Erin Burrett and Neasa Coll. Then we have the guys and girls who on the right day can go under the standard or are already under it but are far down on the list. For the guys we have the likes of Rob Winslow and Terrence Attema who went 2:19 last year, Kev Coffey and John Mason who can go under 2:19 on the right day as well as some guys who could potentially debut under the standard, the name that comes to mind is Blair "Captain" Morgan. His first half was sub 66, I have no idea if he has any plan to ever even run one but he's the guy who stands out to me as someone who could drop that kinda sub 2:19 debut. For woman Lissa Zimmer, Ailsa MacDonald and Ellie Greenwood come to mind when looking at the rankings. 

Now, this is all just speculation and ramblings, anything can happen, a guy like Seth may knock his debut out of the park, he's training hard and is a grinder. The same can be said if we see a debut from someone like Lisa Brooking, Laura Batterink or Emily Setlack. Anything can happen under the right circumstances. But with all that said expect the guy's team to be composed of athletes who run sub 2:17 and girls who run under 2:36.

More great indoor action - Who's looking good going into outdoors?

Eric Jenkins - This guy is really developing his speed under Salazar and ran an amazing race taking the win in the Wannamaker mile. He looked like he'd been a 1500m runner his entire career how he executed, when he lost the lead got right back on the shoulder and made his last big move with 80m to go running 3:53. Look for him to be the next american under 13:00 for 5000m

Ben True - He hasn't run indoors in a long time but his endurance/strength really showed as he outlasted Ryan Hill's final push at the 2mile during Millrose. To take down a 7:30 3k runner in his best event shows True is in the form of his life. The question is can he translate this to outdoors and finally break the 13 minute barrier which he has talked about doing for the last few years

Genzebe Dibaba - She looked silky smooth in that indoor 2k WR running solo basically the entire race, now that was a soft record for sure but her run there was worth around 3:54/55 for 1500m and to do that solo indoors.....yeah she's mighty fit.

Laura Muir - I think this is the girl to watch moving into outdoors, her indoor season has been flawless where she started off by going sub 15 solo and taking the British indoor record down. She then blasted a crazy fast 3k to add another record to her name and one that put her on the top 5 list all time indoors over the distance. She's in great shape.

CPT and Brannan - Both displayed some fine form this year so far and won't have any trouble running the 3:36.20 worlds standard once they take a crack at it outdoors. I personally want to see both of them do two things if they get the chance outdoors; 1 - Run the 5000m at Payton Jordon and see how low they can both go. (I suspect sub 13:20 is possible but will take a great race) and 2 - Get into a really fast Diamond League like Shanghai or Monaco where they can jump on the back of the bus and hopefully get dragged under 3:34.

My training

Things are going really well right now and my last two weeks I ran 132 miles and 119 which is a lot but not crazy, I've been as high as sustaining 140 for a few months and I feel a lot better with a big base under me which could have been a reason I didn't run well after getting injured last May, my base eroded after some promising racing in April and May and I didn't have time to build it back up so I'm making sure I'm super aerobically strong so it can carry me through the summer even coming down for periods of time to target certain races.

My last 4 workouts were a set of 5X2k at goal 10k pace off 2:30 recovery which averaged 6:10, I wanted to go a little quicker but the fact of the matter was that felt like the right effort, any harder and it would have been like 8km pace so I figured I'll train at my current ability and go from there. Next I did 16X400m Hard with full 400m recovery. These were done at mile race pace but the recovery was near two minutes on some reps when I'd get down to 62/63 which was a little too spicy. Then this Monday I did a 5km on the roads at goal 10k pace. I ran 3.12 miles in 15:23.6, I think I split the 5k in 15:19 but I went a little past just in case the garmin was off. I was sheltered so I didn't have any wind to deal with which was nice. Then today I did a progressive 80' run starting at 6:00 per mile and going down about 10 seconds a mile every 15 minutes, so not super fast but I averaged about 5:40 pace so a good aerobic run, slower then M pace but much quicker then a normal run.

Anyway that's all for me right now, I hope your all putting in work, the spring season will be here before you know it. Be sure to watch the Birmingham indoor meet tomorrow at 9am ET and the Montreal Grand Prix as well. On another note I got a huge shipment from the great people at Brooks today with the new pro kit, I left my phone at work but I'll post a pic on social media and on here next blog, it's pretty fast looking! ;). 

Have a great weekend and be safe out there,

Friday, 3 February 2017

A look at the first month of racing in 2017 and a training update.

Hey guys how is your 2017 shaping up thus far? I trust your all grinding out some strength type work or your in the middle of indoors and are sharpening up for the championship season. In this post I'll talk about some of the racing that has gone down in this first month of the new year and then talk briefly about what I did running wise the last 2 weeks. I'm pretty fit right now in general, not ready to knock out any PB's because I've just been doing general work without any specificity but based on a hard 5 mile tempo I ran (which if I'm honest I should have called a time trial) I'm in probably 15 flat 5k shape, 31:30 10k shape and 69 flat half marathon shape which is actually ahead of where I was last year on account of having a broken jaw so I'm really excited to start transitioning into some specific work. I haven't figured out my full spring race schedule yet but I'll 100% be at the Sun Run on April 24th, thanks Maurice for the invite! I'm hoping to stay through the week until the TC 10k but that's no confirmed yet. After that I was thinking of doing the Goodlife half again in Toronto but I've decided to do the Mississauga half instead as my GRE teammates are running in most of the events there that weekend. My boy Josh Bolton will be doing the half which is ideal for me as he's run 1:07:40 and we work really well together in races. Then the last one of the spring season will be Ottawa Race Weekend once again. So yeah, 4 big ones away early in the spring and then back to grinding and preparing for a fall marathon with the goal of going inside out Newfoundland record which is rather soft 2:24:17. Now, I may actually get up to BC for the St. Paddy's 5k as well, I hadn't even thought about it but my Brooks Rep mentioned it to me this week so we will see if that develops, I'd love to get out west for that one. Anyway, before I look at some of the racing that's transpired I want to send out huge Happy Birthday to my boy Jeremiah, I hope it's a great day man. Your working so hard out there in BC and it's great to see you making such headway in your career! I'm sure you'll enjoy a nice weekend with Mariah and Tucker!

Who's looking good early in 2017

So we've had a few big indoor meets going down each weekend of this new year out in Washington, New York, Boston, Penn State as well as some road races like the Pioneer 8k and the Robbie Burns 8k here in Canada. Not to mention Millrose is coming up and the First Half out in Vancouver goes off this Sunday and always puts together a stud filled line up. 

I guess the first guy we can talk about is Centro, in his season opener he looked to be picking off right where 2016 left off and was silky smooth running a 3:55 mile for the win. Granted he certainly wasn't running against the best in the world or anything but the ease at which he runs a 26 second last 200 not even straining a little shows he's VERY FIT. Now, the question is if he was to go after it, would he have a chance at Rupp's Indoor 2 mile AR of 8:07? I personally doubt it, that's a really fast mark, the outdoor record held by Tagenkamp is also 8:07 and back when Teg ran that he was one of the best 5000m runners in the world that year running 12:58. Centro can for sure run in the 8:11ish range but I think he will need a couple more years of strength under him to get that 8:07, but he's the one to take it down when the time does come.

Next I guess we talk about the two new 3000m PRs that CPT and Nate ran. Both looked really strong and closed well in a relatively fast race. Anything around 7:45 is definitely a world class indoor time and it's early in the season, it's not a stretch to say they could take another few seconds off what they laid down there and CPT in the future might break 7:40. We saw him lower his 5000m PB to 13:33 last spring, I'll be interested to see if he toes the line in Palo Alto again how much more he takes off that. Could he go sub 13:20?

We certainly can't talk about mid distance running without mentioning how badass Paul Chelimo is becoming. Now, I follow track VERY closely, but I thought last year going into Rio a good finish from him would be to make the final, not be trying to chase down Farah and pull away from Hagos Gebrewit. This guy is not a one hit wonder and if you listen to his interviews he has some swagger to him too which is refreshing. He knew that 3k in Boston was his for the taking and he threw it down and showed the chops of an Olympic Silver Medalist. Another point that's worth mentioning is that Lawi Lalang looked very good for the first time in a while, he was scheduled to bring the group through 3k but he stayed in the race and ran a respectable 7:45. Now a guy of his pedigree and talent (3:33 1500m man and 13:00 for 5000) should be running like 7:33-35 but this is a step in the right direction and he's one to keep an eye out for when outdoors comes around.

Next up is a teammate of Chelimo's from the US Army club coached by Dan Brown, Leonard Korir. This guy looked fantastic in XC taking down Callum Hawkins at the line and then threw down a 61 low in Huston beating Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon Lelisa Feyisa at the line in really humid conditions. He's another guy to watch for. I don't know that he's got the closing speed to win medals on the track over 10000m as Rupp on marathon legs dusted him the last 200 of the US trials and he didn't have the aerobic strength to hang on to the lead group of the 10k in Rio but perhaps his future lies in the marathon. He will certainly be a guy going well under 2:10. 

Here in Canada we are starting to see some road races playing out which is always fun to watch. The Robbie Burns 8k in Burlington had some solid depth up front with Sammi running well under 24 minutes wearing long tights and a half zip. My boy Captain Morgan looked great almost going under 24 himself, this guy is a stud and will have a bright future over many distances. You guys reading this likely already know that but ever since that 14:10 he ran over in Belgium last year he's been on fire. Sergio came in around 30 seconds or so after Blair, he's another athlete with a bright future, he's still a JR and ran 30:00 on the track last summer. Arron Cooper had a solid race back after battling some injuries running 25:00, he's a tremendous strength based runner who gets better as the distance grows. Look for him to go 67/68 at the Chilly half and sub 2:24 for the full come April. Rounding out the top 5 was Paul Rochus who's another stallion and owns a 30:33 10k PR (I will also add that he's the younger brother of the legendary Micheal Rochus of Terminal Mile fame which increases the aura around him). Look for Paul to attack the FISU half marathon standard the next chance he gets!

My training

So yeah I've been plugging away these past two weeks. I'm running my easy days on feel and have been turning my watch around so it's facing down and on the days I'm outside I run a 10 mile route from my house in the mornings. Some days its as fast as 58 and others have been almost 75 minutes depending on the footing and how I'm feeling, I've been doubling on the treadmill in the evening for 45' which generally gets me around 6.5 miles. The last 4 workouts I did over the 2 weeks were a set of mile repeats off 2 minutes, 6 to be exact. I stayed at 5:00 even for the first 4 and went 4:43 and a hugely positive split 4:36 on the last one going out in 2:11 through 800. I also did another set of K's on the indoor track but this time did 10 at goal 10k pace off 2 minutes averaging 3:03. That's a pretty easy workout considering the break and not ripping but I was still getting tired over the last 3 or 4. then I had 2 tempo runs. the first was an 8k time trial outdoors wearing far too little gear and being froze solid, but it was successful averaging 5 flat a mile but suffering the last 8 or 9 minutes then a proper controlled 40 minute progression from 5:40 down to 5:00 pace that averaged 5:16/mile for the whole run. Other then that it's been all easy days. I'm starting my build for the spring next week so I'll document everything like I used to from there on out.

Lastly before I get out of here I'll announce that I've joined the Grand River Endurance Team based in Ontario. Obviously I live in Newfoundland but I know the whole team well and they are an amazing group of talented, driven, hard working athletes and people. We are all around the same age, are passionate about the sport and strive to improve and have some fun along the way. You can check out the club's site here

I also wanted to share my teammate and runner extraordinaire Tanis Bolton's blog/site on here. She's a great athlete and personal trainer. She runs everything from a 17 minute 5k to a sub 3 hour marathon debut last fall. Check her out here -

Ok guys that's it for this week,
Enjoy the weekend and be safe out there on the roads!


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Marathon WR attempt, the indoor DL circuit and could Centro be the heir to Farah's 5k throne?

What up running friends. I hope you guys are having some better luck with your weather then we are here in Newfoundland! I ran 114 miles last week with only 18 being outside, it's been brutal, but it's got to be done. I'll save my training recaps for when I start ramping it up and doing interesting workouts. I'm just trying to build some general fitness right now. Last week I did 8X1k on the indoor track with 2:30 recovery and went 3:04, 3:00, 3:01, 2:55, 2:57, 2:55, 2:49, 2:49 as well as a longer fundamental tempo outside just to get a good aerobic stimulus and make sure I had at least some lactate threshold strength in me. It was an 8 miler on my 1k road loop (I know, boring as hell but the only place with sound footing and not much traffic). It went well, I started off at around 5:45 pace and got down to running 5:10/15 for the last couple miles. It wasn't a super fast tempo or anything but it was really controlled and long enough that I'll get a decent stimulus from it. Anyway, like I said, once I start getting into some more specific stuff we will get the recaps going in more depth. In this post I'll talk about Bekele's record attempt tomorrow night and the quick turnaround he will have trying to run London as well, then we will chat briefly about this new indoor circuit and if it will encourage more of the big name mid distance guys to run indoors, then lastly we will look at if Centro could be the future of the 5k. Before I get into that good stuff, you may have noticed that the blog has been redone a little. As you've probably guessed I've decided to sign a new deal with Brooks Running. It has absolutely nothing to do with Saucony, they have been amazing and they took a chance on me when I was running like 32 high for 10k and had zero following whatsoever (Thanks JJ!! It's ironic you and your wife now roll in the Brooks Launch...I guess I'm just following in your footsteps dude! :) ). I'll be forever grateful for the support they gave me and who knows maybe in the future I'll run for them again, but right now this was the move for me to make. Brooks made me an amazing offer and the opportunity to run for them and lace up the same shoes and singlet as some of my favorite runners was a chance I couldn't pass up. I'll be at brooks sponsored races across the country this spring/summer and fall so I hope to meet with some of you guys when I'm there. As for Saucony, I can't say enough great things about them as a brand. They signed a couple new athletes that will for sure help promote and grow the brand like my boy Phil from Quebec who's a 2:20 marathoner and Emily Setleck, our National Half Marathon champ. So Saucony are in great hands and have some great things coming in 2017 (Look for their Ocean Wave series that will drop fall 2017!). But yeah at least for the next few years your boy is on Team Brooks and I couldn't be happier about it.

Will the Marathon WR fall tomorrow night in Dubai?

We now have Bekele's agent and coach Jos Hermens confirming the attempt and that Kenny is 100% healthy. If this is in fact the case, with the topography of the Dubai course and there being only 4 turns the only thing that could stop him is the heat as it's generally about 10 degrees hotter then Berlin at the start of this race, though they do set the runners off before sunrise. Kenny has requested 61:00 through the half, which I personally think is a little too quick, but the man has run 12:37, 26:17 and 2:03:03 so who am I to comment. That would be 23 seconds faster then anyone has split the half before in a marathon. He's got hired pacers guaranteed through 30k and they will continue as long as they can. (Getting that far takes 2:04 type of talent). So yeah, what do you guys think about this. I like that he's going for it, and fast times have been run here in the past. It's also worth noting on his other WR's he ran mostly alone and just hit splits. Without the thought of trying to win the race with a competitor breathing down his neck he's free to relax and try to run the splits with the least amount of energy expended. I personally think he's fit enough to go under 2:02:30 but I'm not sure if this is the place to do it. I like the idea of a little cooler temps and having another guy there right up until the end to push the pace if it starts to drop. With that said however Kipsang and Bekele left the WR out on the course last fall from 35-40k when they ran side by side trying to figure each other out. Either way, this is going to be a treat, and the fact that Bekele will come back and face a LOADED field in early April again in London means he's got his MOJO back and he wants to cement his legacy as the greatest distance runner of all time.

Thoughts on the new IAAF World Indoor Tour.

I spent some time reading about the indoor tour on the IAAF site and I really like the idea, the money they are offering is really good for indoors and it's not a long season like the outdoor Diamond League. I don't feel however, that it's enough to get guys like Kiprop, Makhloufi, Rudisha et all. But on the women's side, the girls already seem fond of indoors. We always see Dibaba attacking records and girls like Siffan Hasan and Kipyegon running both here in North America and overseas during the indoor season. I love this idea, generally without world indoors it can be slow from January until March with only a few big meets like Millrose and Birmingham but this gives the track fan some action to bridge the gap until people start chasing times at Stanford. Prediction; we see a sub 3:50 indoor mile this year and Dibaba breaks her indoor 1500m WR going under 3:55!

Could Centro be the 5k Olympic champ in 2020 

Now I know this seems like it's coming out of left field, and that Centro just won the Olympic Gold Medal in Rio this past summer but hear me out for a second. I feel like he's going to obviously stick with the 1500 this year at Worlds in London but with the next year, 2018 being an off year I have this sneaking suspicion that Alberto will have him run some 5km's and start the transition, maybe choosing to go for the double at worlds 2019. We know that Alberto is more of a longer distance coach and that he likes his athletes to have great range. Pair that with the fact that most of the recent 5000m world finals, with the exception of Rio have been utterly pedestrian. Worlds in 2015 was won in like 13:50 with a big last lap. Centro, at least in my estimation is the perfect tactician and can close like maybe 3 other men on the planet can. He's obviously doing a lot of aerobic work and he used to run and score for Oregon in the glory XC days when they had Rupp, Shadrak, Wheating, Puskedra and the gang. If memory serves he ran in Palo Alto in either 2014 or 15 and ran 13:20 looking like he was jogging. This is a move I'm really excited to see. When Mo moves to the roads full time after worlds this year it seems like Gold in the 5000 is there for the taking. The only guy who he might struggle with first going up to that event would be Iguider as he's also a beast in the 1500 with a 3:28 to his name as well as a sub 13. I don't really think Centro, at least early in the move up to the 5k, would do well in sub 13 races but with some time and work I think he could be a world beater at that event. His old man was, and as his tattoo reads "Like father like son".

Alright guys that's it for me. I'll be back to recap some indoors and Dubai next week. Thanks for stopping by. I've got the fire in the belly with my training so I'm excited to kick off this new year with some big mileage and some fast spring races. I hope all my homies are doing well, Michael Rochus keeps killing it with the Terminal Mile, the wolf, Jeff Costen seems to be grinding as usual based on some strava creeping (watch for that guy this spring.....PB's coming from the 5k to marathon in 2017!) and Zimak as well as Coffey took on the spicy heat of Huston. Don't worry fellas, you'll both go sub 2:20 next time out, take that to the bank, you are both the definition of legends.

Keep that chin down, hands high and let em' fly!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

My top 5 story lines of 2016 and 5 to watch in 2017.

Hey friends, sorry for the delayed post, I've gotten some flack from my friends about slacking so I figured I'd better get this up right away. I honestly have just been running easy since my last post at the end of November. I had some niggles after a long season that needed time to heal and mentally I wanted to not worry about workouts or anything and get back to enjoying the run and the sport. But now it's 2017 and upon reflecting on my 2016 campaign and not having run any PB's I'm pretty fired up to really get the training ramped up and run a 30' 10k in April/May and a 67 half or better. Those times won't run themselves and I've got a lot of work ahead of me so it's time to get after it. We are now back to regularly scheduled programming and I'll be back to putting up blog posts every Tuesday. Since I've just been taking it easy the last month I won't talk about my easy 60'-100' daily runs, rather I'll look at my top 5 story lines in track/running for 2016 and 5 we should look at as me move into 2017.

My pics for top 5 story lines in track/running for 2016

5 - The utter dominance of Almez Ayana

Going into the 2016 track season we knew Ayana was a big time talent, but she was overshadowed by Genzebe Dibaba and her consistent smashing of world records indoors and a 3:50 outdoor 1500m time. But 2016 would be the year of Ayana from 3k-10k, save for a fumble in the 5k final in Rio likely due to that ridiculous 10000m WR she ran a few days prior. Other then that she was simply perfect in 2016 and gave Tirunesh Dibaba's 5000m WR a scare on several occasions. Based on her 10000m time it's not a matter of "if" she can break the 5k record more a matter of "when" she will break it. Her gutsy front running style is amazing to watch and really makes for some entertaining distance running. I'd really like to see her run a 1500 in 2017, I don't think she has the wheels of G. Dibaba but in a spicy/honest race from the gun I don't see anything stopping her from running 3:54/55.

4 - The return to form of Kenny Bekele.

When Bekele came 3rd in London this year in 2:06 I had mixed feelings. On one hand that was one of the deepest fields in history, he beat the likes of Kipsang, Kimetto and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie. With that said however he was 3 minutes and 30 seconds off Kipchoge. When Berlin rolled around and his agent Jos Hermens said his training had gone well but that he was hoping to break 2:05 and was at 80/90% I didn't have high hopes. I knew that the field wasn't super strong with the top dogs having run Rio and either choosing to not run a fall marathon or opt for NYC. Boy was I wrong, Kipsang showed he's far from done and with the help of some great pacemaking the two had a great 25km split and Kipsang put the foot down and Bekele was yoyo-ing off the back. But when he closed the gap and made a decisive charge for the finish at just past 40k it was like the Bekele of old. It reminded me of the WC's in Berlin back in 2009 when he took off on Tedese. Kenny is certainly not done and with him now running basically 2:03 flat he has the confidence to know he can manage that type of pace. He can certainly run something in the mid to low 2:02 range. That said, to do it he's going to need a really good field, ideally with Kipchoge. Bekele will likely run London, along with Kipsang, Biwott and a few other studs, I don't think anyone will break 2:03 there but in Berlin next fall expect to see a record attempt for sure.

3 - The marathon debut and success of Galen Rupp

I'd be remiss if I didn't have this included in the top story lines for distance running. When it was announced he was running the trials I figured he would easily take the win as the field just wasn't very good. I was shocked to hear people who are fairly knowledgeable on the sport saying he wasn't going to make the team. Now, that said, I had serious doubts about how he would stack up against the best east Africans in Rio who routinely go out in 61:45-62:15 through half. His performance at the trials was very dominant, running 2:11 flat in the heat making it seem like a tempo run. Add to that the rumors confirmed by Alberto that Rupp had run a 20 mile tempo at 4:50 pace with his heart rate never over 160 and I was starting to get interested on just how quick/competitive he could be over 26.2. Fast forward to Rio where he looked great in the 10k just lacking a little foot speed which is to be expected when training for a marathon. As the marathon in Rio started to shake out and I kept seeing big names falling off the pack it was pretty exciting to watch. When it was down to 3 and Rupp was running with the best marathoner to ever live and a 2:04 guy who won Tokyo earlier this year we had our answer, Galen is VERY good at the marathon and took to the event seamlessly. I hear he's running the Huston half on the 15th with eye's on Hall's HM record so be sure to tune in for that and keep an eye on what he does leading into Boston this spring.

2 - How far the USA have come in the Mid-D and Distance events.

We knew that the US have been enjoying a resurgence of sorts in the mid and long distance events thanks to the growth/establishment of top quality training groups. Athletes like Jenny Simpson, Matt Centrowitz, Evan Jager and Galen Rupp have shown that on their best day they can compete with anyone in the world and it seems that this has translated into more confidence and overall higher levels of performance over a multitude of events. The US took home some MAJOR hardware in Rio, from the young Clayton Murphy running 1:42 and taking a bronze in one of the deepest events contested, the 800m, to Evan Jager and Emma Coburn asserting themselves in the Kenyan dominated 3000mSC to Rupp medaling in the marathon. The US has become a power house nation once again and it's encouraging for all non African born athletes to see that it's possible to be competitive on the world stage. (Paul Chelimo and Jenny Simpson's medals were equally as impressive I just didn't include it in that sentence ha)

1 - Hyperandrogenism in the women's 800m

Other then the Russian doping scandal/ban this was the biggest story in track as far as I'm concerned. (I didn't want to touch the doping stuff as there's still more info that needs to be released but this is a great piece if you want to know more about that - ) Anyway, the woman's 800m, I'm not going to get into my stance on it as frankly it's just that, my stance/opinion, and I'm certainly not an expert on the situation. I will say however that Semenya, Niyonsaba and Wambui certainly enjoy a HUGE advantage over two laps when compared to woman who don't suffer from Hyperandrogenism. In my mind Melissa Bishop is the world number 1 if everyone was playing with relatively the same hormonal profile. Am I biased because she's a Canadian? Absolutely, but this year she broke 2 minutes a ridiculous amount of times, set national records indoors and out and handled the Olympics with such grace and class. This situation is something that needs to be looked at further and debated by those in the know who can make a fair and just recommendation on how best to proceed for all athletes involved. I'll end by saying Semenya is an amazing athlete and a tremendous champion who deserves to be treated as such with only the utmost respect.

Other story lines of note for 2016;

Mo Farah's continued dominance,
Usain Bolt's legacy as possibly the best track athlete ever,
Why Kiprop struggles at Major Champs,
Wayde van Niekerk's 400m WR,
Ruth Jebet's rediculously fast steeples,
Jama Aden's doping bust (And Rosa's)

5 story's to keep an eye on in 2016.

5 - Will Farah win the double again and go for a WR?

There has been some talk of Farah taking a stab at either the 5k or 10k world record this year. I'd personally love to see it. Based on his 1500m ability you'd think he 5k would be his best bet but 12:37 is just so fast, I mean Komen only ran 12:39 and the guy went 7:20 and 7:58 for 3k and 2 miles. Personally, I feel like the 10k record is softer then the 5k, not that 26:17 is soft by any means but as Ronato Canova has stated before, he thought Bekele could have gone under 26:10 with competition, like Haile in his prime racing him. I don't know if it's within Farah's abilities, but I'd like to see him at least try. He will likely win the double again as he rather easily won both the 5 and 10 in 2016, an Olympic year when everyone was to be at there best. If he does the double again then there is no doubt we need to start having a serious discussion about him being in the GOAT conversation. (That said, Bekele added to his case with that Berlin performance).

4 - Will Rupp take the HM American Record down and/or win Boston?

With a 26:44 10k in his pocket, it's not really a matter of "if" Rupp can run that fast it's a matter of getting into the right race, he ran 60:30 after falling in his HM debut back in 2011 before he ever even broke 27 minutes for 10k and jogged a 61:20 in Portland last year as a training run. He will eventually run slightly under 59:30 I'd imagine. As for Boston, with most of the top dogs either participating in the "Sub2" Nike project or running London which have deep pockets for appearance fees this is the time to do it. I wouldn't consider him the favorite with the champ returning but he's up there with him and if it's a 2:08-2:12 type race he can likely close the last 10k much faster then anyone else who's been announced as running thus far.

3 - Savoring one last year with Usain Bolt in the sport.

Usain is one of the rare athletes in track and field who can transcend the sport and can reach into mainstream media. Part of that is thanks to the prestige of the 100m dash and being the fastest man on earth but more then anything it's his charisma that makes him a star. Let us cherish this last season he's going to give us and be grateful we witness him in his prime and trust that he leaves the sport on top.

2 - Will Genzebe Dibaba return to form & go for the 5k WR against Ayana?

Obviously 2016 wasn't the best year for Dibaba (granted for anyone else it would still be a spectacular season). The complications/scandal with her coach clearly played on her, coupled with a slight injury early in the season. That said, when she's 100% Dibaba is unbeatable over 1500m and my dream match up would be for her to race Ayana over 5000m in a record attempt. It's guaranteed to fall as both have come within a second or two over the last couple years. So, Diamond League, please make this happen!

1 - The pursuit of the sub 2 hour marathon.....

This is the big story to follow for 2017. Now, do I think anyone currently has to ability to break 2 hours on a ratified course? Not a chance! And do I like the idea of 2 of the world's best Marathoners and the HM world record holder missing out on London? Not one bit! But this is a cool idea, it's generating some mainstream media and attracting more attention to the sport and marathoning so in that sense I'm ok with it so long as I get to see Kipchoge run Berlin. Eliud is the best marathoner to ever live, that's not even up for debate at this point, the guy's won 6 out of 7 marathons and in my estimation he can likely run a low 2:02. His 2:03 flat at London was not paced well early and he still finished looking full of running. So I'm very anxious to see go after a really fast time in the fall of 2017.

Well, that's all for now, it felt good to write this. Again, sorry for the delay. With the holidays and what not things just get busy but I'm back at it now. Speaking of I owe my coach an email/FB msg so we can put some plans in place for 2017 and ramp up the training. I'll be back posting every Tuesday so make sure to keep it locked for more ramblings and training updates/talk.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had an awesome holiday with your loved ones.
Keep those sticks on the ice,