Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Working hard

This morning I started off my day in the weight room for an hour and a half. This afternoon I went to the track at 1:30 and I left at 5:30. I’ve been sitting on my couch for most of the evening without any real motivation to move because my body is exhausted. As it should be. At this part of the season it’s time to go back to the base stuff a bit and wear your body down. Today consisted of long jump drills…approaches…jumps off a box…sled pulls…stair hops …more plyos…even more plyos!...and core work. Then I did my cool down. A mile run that probably took me a good 15 minutes to complete. It was one of those days that makes your legs shake long after you’ve stopped working out.

As I was sitting here completely fatigued I remembered a comment I overheard at the track a few weeks back. It was a Saturday and the track was particularly busy. All the sprinters were doing their respective workouts and the distance group was also out there doing a track workout. Saturdays are usually are longer sprint days and on this day the long sprinters were running 450’s and the short sprinters were doing 250’s. I had 300’s. Really fast. Full recovery. As the college sprinters were starting their runs I overheard one of the distance runners say…

Wow, the sprinters are actually working hard today.

Excuse me? I looked at him and hoped like mad that he would see me staring and realize that I had heard him just so I could hear how he’d try to explain that one…to my face. I think it’s pretty common knowledge that distance runners secretly think that they train harder than sprinters. Perhaps they won’t say it to our face but when they go on their little 45 min warm-up runs, they gossip about it like no other. Obviously if you run MORE that equates to HARDER. Well, I don’t necessarily agree.

Here’s the thing. I will never be a distance runner. No thank you. Even if I were gifted at it I’d still decline. I respect what they do and I will be the first to admit that it is challenging and extremely difficult when you are training to be really good at it. But I believe that they train hard differently, not exclusively. If their speed day calls for 300’s and they run 16 of them and jog for 100 meters as their rest period (which, by the way, I simply will never be able to wrap my head around jogging as a form of rest), while my workout is 4 of them with 10 minutes rest at which point I sit on the ground and rest, that does not mean you’ve worked out 4 times as hard as me. The math is not that simple.

I think booty lock is exclusive to sprinters and it doesn’t occur simply because we are not in as good of shape as those who run for longer distances, but because we are pushing our bodies to a certain intensity that isn’t called for when your event calls for you to go more than one time around the track. Almost anybody can run for 100 meters but very few can compete at that distance. Just like the tons of people who run marathons. You can’t compare that to actual marathoners.

So, if you’re a distance runner and you think that you are in a position to claim superiority when it comes to hard workouts, think again. I wouldn’t want to hang with you as you go round and round and you probably wouldn’t want to be out at the track with me today for 4 hours. Your skinny little legs would turn to jello. :) And let’s not even talk about the weight room.

16 comments:

Gunfighter said...

Hi,

Arrived via Los Angelista... in my youth, I was a track athlete... I threw the discuss. As long as there are different events, there will be those who think they have some sort of a lock on hard work and discipline.

When I was involved in track & field, the javelin people thought they were better than the shot-put guys and discus throwers, the shot put guys thought they were better than the discus throwers, the discus guys knew we were better than the shotput guys.... and we all thought we were better than "the runners"... who all thought that we were lazy and weak bcause we threw things and spent most of our time lifting.

For the record, I admire sprinters.

Nigel "6five" Bigbee said...

HAHA there was a post on trackshark that was almost similar to this, it was about tactics and how mile runners jog to slow championship races. Anyways, I do agree with you, if your compete it track and field, you work hard. Everyone who competes works hard; we all just work differently. And laughing hard about the booty lock cause they don't ever want to feel that pain.

Los Angelista said...

I'm such a recreational runner that I think any amount of competitive running has got to be tough. But folks just have to try to find something to make themselves seem superior.

By the way, what do you think about Haile Gebrselassie dropping out of the Olympics because of the air pollution?

Brianna said...

oh no...throwers DO NOT have a place in this discussion! :) jk. For the record, I've seen plenty of female throwers out-lift every single guy in a weight room...besides the guy throwers. I mean football players, etc.

Brianna said...

something i wanted to add....

my first year in europe i ran a 200 meter race against Jearl Miles-Clark. (If you don't know who I'm talking about please go google immediately) She's a 5 time Olympian and American record holder in the 800. She can also run the hell out of a 200 and anything in between. She told me that she'd rather train for the 800 over the 200 any day...that the 200 workouts hurt more. Ok...so this is only one woman's opinion and even I might not co-sign on that one, but it's something to think about right???

200 PR: 23.03
400 PR: 49.40
800 PR: 1:56.40

Silja Ulfars (from Iceland) said...

Hei Brianna... I secretly read your blog...

I was just thinking about it yesterday how I think it´s soooo much easier to be a thrower than a sprinter... (and hei they get up to 6 throws!)we gotta do so much and run until we´re on four legs... I personally would have punched that distance runner...

Well take Care

Brianna said...

Hi Silja!

Kash P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kash P said...

Way to ride for the sprinters my chicky. Only another sprinter can completely appreciate what sprinters do. Their hard and our hard are 2 different creatures. I can only imagine the look you gave boy boy when you heard him talking slick. He probably want to eat those words and run off to the wilderness in fear of the wrath of a tired female sprinter

Aaron said...

Brianna.....just great. This is always a classic feud that will never die, and I'm glad you have the guts to mention it! I'm glad you stuck up for us that day ;)

Shinks said...

Right all you Distnaces Runners. My name is Karen & I was not just a sprinter, but a 400m runner. Now that my skinny friends, is pain. But before you get ready to throw all your carbs at me, just let me tell you, I have also tasted the pain of distance. Yes, I have left my sprinter days behind & in an effort to stay in some sort of shape I decided to train for a few 10k's. To date I have run 3. My fastest being 41min & 13sec (which I think is amazing).
But I have to tell you, hands down, the pain I've experienced in training as a sprinter, is 100 times worse than any pain I've experienced as a distance runner. Never in any of my sessions for the 10k have I been forced to my knees from the levels of pure lactic acid pumping through my muscles. That same lactic can reach such high levels that your own body thinks its being poisoned & as a result tells your brain to tell your stomach to empty out whatever is in there. So now your not just on your knees, but your throwing up too. All this while your coach is yelling at you to get to the line, your 1 min or 2 minute "rest" is almost up.
I'm not saying you guys don't feel pain too, of course you do, but its on a differnt level. It feels more like energy depletion and fatigue. For me its more of a comfortable pain. Its the type of pain that i can keep running through even though I'm tired. Its about finding a rhythm & holding it. You have more time to think & plan & adjust in the middle of your race. You can feel if your in trouble & you can adjust your race plan accordingly. As a sprinter, you have no time. Its gun & then its you, hitting your absolute maximum speed for 100, 200 or 400m. You have no time to think. If you think, your dead. Thinking is done before you ever get into the blocks & after.
Why do you think a sprinters career is so much shorter than a distance runners career? Body breakdown & wear & tear. You guys can run til your 90 if you choose. Try driving your car a 100mph everyday as opposed to 50 or 60mph. Gauranteed the car at 100, will burn out a lot quicker than the one being driven at 50 or 60.

Sorry to use your blog as my own soap box on the issue Bri, but I feel the same passion as every other sprinter.
Sorry 2, it was soooo damn long.

Anonymous said...

I've had the pleasure of running as an 800m runner at an elite level. Training for that event is the double love of running distance and training at high speeds. I suspect Jearl was really getting at the fact that she was out of her comfort zone in the 200 as she holds the AR at 800 and is frankly just better at that event. Tribute to her as a 800m runner that she has the range to even to be competitive at the 200. ( that's impressive folks ) ( shoot not to mention her impressive staying power )

Keep in mind mid-D does one day tempo at distance and the next hard workout day say a 4 * 400 at maximum effort or a 10 * 200. The fun part of 800m training is the "speed" 800 guys love to beatdown the "distance" 800m guys. What I'm getting at is even in the macro-level of 800m you have people that are stronger in one direction or another.

So it's all relative to what your strength is.

If anyone is making fun of you it's out of sheer stupidity. Very rarely do you find an individual with enough talent to be great just by showing up. The maxim of T&F is that you must work hard to achieve.

Brianna said...

Karen I love your comment you should write your own blog post on it because you are so dang insightful!

anonymous...good insight.

Anonymous said...

Silja, until you train as a thrower and spend the endless hours at the track, weight room, running stairs, and working on technique I'd suggest that you didn't make the assumption that it is "easy" to be a thrower.

BTW, three throws is all that is guaranteed, not six.

Anonymous said...

Before i say what im about to, i want to just say that i have respect for anyone ho works hard and that i have nothing against sprinters or throwers or jumpers or distance guys. however, from a distance runner's point of view, i think alot of us college guys come from high school teams where the sprinters show up at 3 o colck, do 2 hand offs, and a 100 and call it a day at 3:20. Then just before a race on race day, they'll eat a few powdered donuts, drink a coke, and go. Then they cant figure out why they run so bad. Now obviously this is not something that anyone at an elite and competitive level would do. They are smarter than that. But that is where the distance runners stereotypical "lazy sprinter" idea comes from. Im not saying its right and that im agreeing with it, im just trying to give a little insight into the topic from a distance runners point of view.

And shinks, i agree that the 400 and 800 especially are two of the most grueling races, but to make a claim that we are never on the ground puking is blasphemous. An elite distance runner, when told to do so, has no problem working to the point of puking. I have done so, i have friends who have done so, and have talked to professional athletes i know have done so. Its all relative to sport, but i think to make it sound like were just out "jogging" all the time, even during our intervals like we dont have to ever run hard, is (for lack of a better word at the moment) crap.

Sorry if this offends anyone, it was just another, distance runner's, point of view. Good luck in June miss Glenn :)

Brianna said...

I do appreciate the point of view of a distance runner! I didn't want to scare anybody away from sharing their own experiences! Thanks for the input.