Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Warm Up, 4x400 with 200 walk/jog recovery, Warm Down, Max HR = 174

My 400 splits, run at the Memorial Park black top track were as follows:

This goes to show that I don't know how to run 400s, since my pace was all over the place. In reality I would have liked to run about ten of these, but Leno (Tornados Coach) thinks that we should take it easy for our Friday races.

What? Controversy, you say? Oh yea, you're talking about the headline I used to lure you into this blog entry.

One would think that the Houston running community would be a pretty benign space. As a newbie, I'm finding out otherwise.

Check out this exchange between Kenyan Way, Wills Hills and bystanders on Bret Riley's blog, particularly the comments.

Did you check it out? . . . no you didn't, seriously read it. It's funny, sad and emotional. Kinda like a chick flick.

My take, which is worth exactly the amount that I'm charging for it, is this:
1) I love Kenyan Way, and credit Sean Wade and his training program for taking this couch potato to a 3:12 marathon in a span of six months. It is inspiring to be coached by an Olympian, and it's obvious he knows what he's doing as far as coaching and the tremendous business logistics behind running such a large program.
2) I really enjoyed Will's Hills, and regret that I no longer run with them. The best part of the group is the social aspect, as this seems to be much more of a "club" than a "program."
3) The groups are different in a few major ways.
i) First of all WH starts at 5:30 AM which allowed me to attend, whereas the 6:00 start time of Kenyan Way didn't mesh with my new job.
ii) This is perhaps my most controversial comment -- I think Will's Hills is a more advanced workout. True, you get out what you put in to a hill workout. But the people at Will's Hills seem to be faster, so the workouts are geared toward a higher calibre athlete. I'm usually exhausted after WH. KW was exhausting as well, but you also passed people who were chatting and walking like it was a social hour.
iii) Maybe this is also a controversial comment -- Will's hills is a not-for-profit endeavor, and is thus cheaper. Kenyan way is more expensive, but offers more amenities like an online training schedule, branded clothing, Accelerade (that stuff ain't cheap), an Olympic coach, a personal blog on the KW website, et cetera. You get what you pay for. And to further that, I love the fact that a professional runner is able to continue to make money after his "big" money race days are over. And even further, I fully understand Sean's business concerns regarding competition, because that is his means of providing for his wife and son. If you threatened my livelihood, I'd come out fighting more so than the petty disagreements posted in the comment section of Bret's blog.
4) I like Sean, Will and Brett, and I understand all of their positions. I also want to believe that it's not as heated as one might assume by reading the comments.
5) I think the comments by people like me who are uninformed bystanders are hilarious. Particularly the Dickensian "homeless man under shepherd bridge" who posted:
"AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!!! You damned capitalists- I shake my fists at thee- BBUUURRRPP!!!"
I'm not sure how he got internet access, but the Heights Library, with their collection of 29 books, seems to be a hotbed of homeless internet activity.
6) As far as Brett goes, I wish I was training for a 2:30 marathon. Right now I have to wonder if 3:00 is in the cards for me.
7) The KW Saturday long run program is the most organized of all long run programs, with fantastic support along the routes. But I run with my running group, the Tornados, on Sundays because I think they have the most sub-3 hour marathoners in Houston on any given run. I believe that you get faster by running with faster runners. I call it the theory of viral running.
8) I've personally given written and oral glowing reviews of both programs and have recommended several people to each program, based on what I think works best for them. It's possible that my input as a PIM coach steered at least one or two people to KW, and I've taken visitors to Will's Hills. I use Google Analytics on my blog, and I can tell that my blog comes up often on searches regarding Kenyan Way, which hopefully helps businees.
9) I'm almost certainly a meaner person than all three of the parties mentioned, so don't get any false bad impressions of Sean, Will and Brett by reading internet comments that don't always accurately reflect emotions. That being said, I wrote this entry to give one more data point toward your opinion of the controversy. So don't take my input as fact.
10) Both programs let you give it a go without making a commitment, so contact them for a trial workout. Unless you're already very diligent and scientific with your exiting workouts, you're almost guaranteed to improve under either program.

One final comment, I don't know why I bothered posting this since all three of you who read this don't really care. But for some reason I seem connected since I know and trained with all three parties. The bottom line is that I'm proud of where I am as a runner, and I wouldn't be here without Power in Motion, Kenyan Way, AND Will's Hills. I hope and fully expect the Tornados to take me along during the next step of my journey. I wholeheartedly recommend all of those programs.

TDLY - 7/1/07 - Tempo Run Around Rice, 7:15 pace after .85 mile warm up, max HR = 180, avg HR = 158, 18% Z5, 49% Z4, 23% Z3


Kevin said...

As one of the the three readers of your blog, you should do a post every once in a while with the Google Analytic stats for the "Run for Speed" website. I love Google Analystics.

Gaslight ;-) said...

1/2) I haven't participated actively in either program, but I agree with your assessment (program vs club) and that both groups have high merit as a training regimen. As for difficulty, I believe Will's group may have a higher percentage of advanced runners.

4/5)I don't like everyone feeling like they have to pick a side.

9) Really? You, meaner? Than anyone? Oh-kay...

Cory said...

You invited me to Will's Hills, Jonathan. I run 5 or 6 workouts before my current IT band issues. I thought the workouts were well-designed and concise (which is great that early in the morning). You really get out of them ... what you put into them.