Monday, December 29, 2008

Week in Review-Dec. 22nd

Run-27 miles

This has been an interesting week. Volume was good for my current swim and bike goals. I was able to get in three solid 4000yd sets in the pool and then a short fourth swim. We hit a solid Tuesday swim of 4 sets of 5x100 descending the interval. Each set was right after the other with no additional rest. I started on a 1:40 send off then 1:35, 1:30, and finally 1:25. I shot for another set at 1:20 but only lasted for one interval. My short swim came about after I hit the pool and felt plenty of soreness in the lats. I swam a 1000yd warm up and then did a short 400-300-200-100 yd pull set. I thought I was going to be super pathetic but ended up swimming a very solid base pace. Go figure.

On the bike I was able to get the volume in but had a little power meter snafu. I think when I did my last test the power meter was not zeroed correctly and my test was a bit high. At first I was bummed about that but, the reason I train is to become the best athlete I can be. Blake was right on the money when he said not to worry about the number but do the best you can in training each day. So, after re-zeroing the torque we will see how the workouts progress and will hit another test at some point to determine some training zones.

Fell a touch short on where I wanted to be on the run but the crappy weather as well as Christmas closings didn't help much. I started to put together some semblance of a long run at 9 miles but still have a bit to go on the run volume and running in general. I think I need to take a step back and ease into the run with a foremost focus on bringing my miles back up to a respectable, at least for a triathlete, level.

On a separate note, yoga as a supplement to training is key. I think I will save that idea for another entry.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Week of Dec 15th

Swim-10,500 yds
Run-21 miles

The goal of this week was to recover early in the week and then hit some key swim, run and bike workouts. Some creative scheduling has been required with pool closings due to weather. I'm looking forward to my next block over the Christmas/New Years break to really put in some solid workouts and solid recovery. It seems that my run is lagging behind after a bit of a calf injury earlier this fall so the goal is to build my volume back up to the 40-50 mile range, keep the bike in offseason mode, keeping volume low but working on a solid balanced plan, and build the swim volume back up while keeping the hard masters workouts in place.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Saturday's are typically my long day. For Ironman, the long day starts with a swim followed by a long ride and then a short run off the bike. Since it is only December and my Ironman (IMUSA) is several months out, not to mention its -3F currently, the winter long day tends to be a shorter day. Right now Coach Alan and I are working on my bike power in my moderate hard zone, a.k.a, half IM power, 240w-280w etc. This past Saturday consisted of a short warm up followed by 2x40min at steady (IM) power and then 3x8min in my big ring holding half IM power. I really liked the format of this ride and will continue to build the number of 8min intervals as my fitness progresses.

Later that afternoon I did a short run focusing on leg speed. Eventhough my focus is Ironman I think it is very important to remind the legs how to run fast. This workout consisted of a warmup and then 8x30s at current 5k pace on a 3min interval with a focus on high rpm (95+). Each time I do this workout I get more and more comfy at my current 5k pace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rest Week

This week is a rest week. On rest weeks Zoe (the pup) spends quality time resting with dad. We took a few days early on this week, Monday and Tuesday to recover a bit. Monday was very light with just a yoga session to keep things limber and loose. Zoe hit her own downward dog which looks a lot better than mine. On Tuesday, I opted for the optional Masters session. To me this was a good sign as I was also given the option of an easy solo swim or sleeping in. If I am in dire need of a rest week I would have normally picked the sleep in option. So, even though we are training consistently with a bit of quality I think that we are at a good level considering where we are in the season.

We picked things up a bit on Wed. hitting a 3x20 run. This is one of my favorite runs where I give er 20mins easy (under steady), 20mins steady, then 20mins tempo. Things went well and I finished off the run with some good mod hard running at a 6:40min/mi. I never crossed threshold and this pace was definitely the what the coach prescribed. Moving forward this will be a key workout as testing at the Endurance Corner Labs showed that I was very strong at Ironman pace (steady) but things started to tail off at mod-hard and more so at threshold range (see chart).

Wed. afternoon I finished things off with a short strength workout. I warmed up and then hit several short intervals at my VO2 max watts (330w-380w).

This morning I hit masters once again where we performed several repeats of 100yd IMs. I will finish off the day with an easy run and some strength work in the gym.

Things are a rolling.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Week of Dec. 8th 2008



Decent swim week with some real solid workouts thrown in. I'd like to bring the overall volume up just a bit though. On the bike we decided that 3 solid rides per week right now would be perfect, one longer, one working on strength, and one more tempo focused ride. The run is coming along nicely. Volume is slowly increasing and I'm keeping a good amount of quality in the program including some short pickups, some tempo work and the beginnings of a longer run.

This next week I will take a couple of recovery days and then hop back on the plan.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

100s over medium with a side of lactic acid

This week Coach Justin gave us a main set of 25x100 yds in the pool as 5x(5x100) descending. Our send off was on 1:35, 1:30, 1:25, 1:30, 1:35. Looking at those send offs I was a bit intimidated but just put my head down and started swimming the set. On the first set I kept thinking about how I was going to make the 1:25s when my body was already not really liking the 1:35 set. On the 1:30s I was thinking about the fact that hey this really isn't that bad and on the 1:25s I was having fun just pushing to make those 1:17s or so to get a bit of rest before the next send off. Before I knew it the set was over. Its amazing how our mind will shut us down when our body still has the ability to go. One of my goals this season is to keep the yoga practice going throughout the season and utilizing yoga to help hone the mental skills required for a successful race season and life.

Our 100s were revisted on Friday at Masters and I believe that Coach Justin felt that Thursday's 100s were not painful enough. The main set on Friday (which is our speed day at Masters) was 18x100 on a 2:30 send off. The first 6 100yd repeats were done as 75 build from ez to hard and then 25 hard. Next 5 were 50 build, 50 hard. The following 4 were 25 build, 75 hard and the final 3 were 100yds all out. I was able to hit the last 100s in 1:14, 1:13, 1:14.

Looking forward to more fun at Masters next week. Thanks Coach Justin!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

20 Minutes of Truth

Sometimes the truth hurts and nothing could be truer than the first 20 minute time trial of the season. This is a test I would like to perform every 6-8 weeks to determine my Functional Threshold power (aka, hour of power). However, the mere thought of the test frightens me and in all truth (I see a trend here) prevents me from hitting this test every 6-8 weeks. I've also been hitting a similar test in my swim workouts consisting of a 500yd time trial and on the run I will be incorporating 5k time trials.

The 20 minute time trial on the bike consisted of a good 20min warm up, 5min at my estimated functional threshold or a bit above, a 10 min easy ride, and then the 20 minutes of truth. I knew I performed the test well when during the last 5 minutes I was on the verge of seeing my breakfast for the second time that day. All in all it was a good test putting my avg watts for the 20min period at 328w. I use a fugde factor of 5% to put my Functional Threshold watts at roughly 312w. A little scary as 312w is my best for the test and the season doesn't start until June.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weekend Update

Week Summary

Was happy with the bike and run totals. Brought both up about ten percent from best offseason weeks thus far. Also got in a good run test without any calf pain or issues. Swim was a bit light with some shorter Masters set (shorter typically=more intensity) and not getting in that Sunday long swim. I added an additional strength workout (now 2pw) and got in 2 strong yoga sessions.

Bike 2hrs+/Run 30mins

The weekend began with a 2hr steady bike ride. Very simple format, warm up and then sit on steady watts for awhile. So, I got in about 40mins of easy riding before shifting into steady watts, sitting at 220-240w for 90min (235w avg/HR 127). This is a real good sign for things to come and as the weeks go on we will build the steady section to longer durations. Since my legs did not feel as fresh as a mid summers eve I opted for a run later in the day at just a very easy pace on the treadmill.

Bike 60mins/Yoga 90mins

I hopped on the trainer once again Sunday with the intention of some more big gear work but instead I ended up with 60mins of a recovery spin. When the legs say no I find it very important to listen. I bailed on the scheduled swim…the closed pool helped with that decision and instead headed to yoga with Lauren.

Today we are picking up about a foot of snow so I will start adding some skate skiing into the program. Looking forward to that.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thursday and Friday Fun

Swim Masters 3200yds/Run 40min

Thursday started off with Masters swimming….just a combination of kicking, drills, and a little bit of swimming to complete the set. I then went over to the gym for an easy treddie run. The legs were coming around nicely so I decided to add five 30 second pickups at 5k pace to the run. That really felt good as my legs were feeling pretty heavy all week until those pickups. I just read Brad Hudson’s book and Alan and I plan on incorporating some of his ideas into my running.

Swim Masters 3000yds/Treddie Run Test/Lift/Yoga

Masters was very challenging this morning. The main set was 3x300yds with 15s rest then 3x100 with 10s of rest (no extra rest after the last 100) repeated 3 times. The twist was the 300s started at 95% and dropped to 80% effort while the 100s started at 80% effort and built to 95-100%. I was very happy with this set and hit 3:58 for the first 300yds and was coming in around 1:18 or so for the last 3x100. Coach Justin mentioned that there were definitely some things I need to work on with my stroke including better rotation to the right side and to be aware of the left arm as it is still swinging a bit wide. Back to the drills that Coach Alan prescribed last year for the wide left arm.

After that effort I shot over to the gym for a run and since my legs were feeling pretty good I decided to hit a treddie step test. I started the test at 6.5mph (1% grade) and built up by 0.5mph and 5min intervals to 10mph. I tracked my average and max heart rate through the test. Alan and I have decided to use this workout as a way to track progress during the season. I was happy with this initial result although I think I felt that Master’s set in my legs by the time I got to 10mph. In addition to this test we will also be running some time trials to keep things honest. I followed up the run with some easy maintenance lifting. I was only lifting once per week but wanted to focus a bit more on general fitness this time of year with frequent lifting and yoga which I have been doing with Lauren. Friday night yoga at Bliss Flow with Lauren is a nice way to wind down the work week.

This weekend will consist of a “long” steady ride followed by a run on Saturday and an endurance focused swim plus a strength focused ride on Sunday.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mid-Week Update

It’s freezing this morning. A whopping 9 degrees F.

1:45 bike w/big gear repeats
I started off with an indoor bike ride focusing on 6min big gear intervals. I am now hitting 5 of those intervals at 275-280w. It’s been going great on the bike as of late (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it).

Swim 3500yds/lift/run 45min
Morning matsers swim with Coach Justin and the gang. Dave, my lane buddy, was the anti-health, showing up to practice with all kinds of coughing, hacking, and other wonderful sounds emanating from his lungs. However, as always he still stuck it to me during the work out. Good solid workout with lots of longish intervals. I then headed to the gym to lift and get buff. I ended the day with 45mins of easy running. I’m still in the process of building my run back to last years volume. I picked up a little bit of a calf issue a few months ago and have been building back slowly. I’ve added back strides and a bit of a progressive run although the overall mileage is still low.

Bike 1:40/Run 30min
Started with a ride building to steady power and then hitting some short 30 second bursts to remember what it feels like to ride hard. I did about 20 of those bursts with about a minute and a half recovery. Later, I hit an easy run again. I wanted to run easy and then hit some short pickups but the legs were a bit heavy and the heart rate seemed sluggish. So, I just ran easy and ended there. Its only December, and this season is a marathon not a sprint. I should probably get that tattooed somewhere.

Off to Masters. Hopefully, Dave is feeling better.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Here we go again

Its December and that is usually the month where things start to get a bit more focused. After a number of emails and a phone call with Coach Alan I feel very comfortable and excited about the next steps. This "offseason" has begun like no other with life best swimming based on a series of 500yd TTs. My first 500yd TT was a 6:40 effort and then six weeks later I was able to best that time by 9 seconds on a day where I would have been happy with a time 9 seconds slower than my first TT. I tend to swim best when I swim with a masters group but I also need to really listen to my body as it is very easy to get caught up racing your lane buddies.

I also got a new bike fit at the end of last season (at Exclusive Cycles here in Madison) which has somehow produced an extra 20-30 watts. I still don't really believe it. I probably need to go hit a good TT on the bike to get a better idea of my hour of power.

For the winter, the plan is more or less 17hr weeks with 12hr recovery weeks. The goal is to beat the metrics ever so slightly that I set last year mainly with regards to volume. Even though volume, especially on the bike, is our primary goal we are looking at a very balanced plan with more upper zone, not touring...although touring in the basement probably isn't considered touring.

I will continue to share my plan and my key workouts in the next few posts.