Monday, June 29, 2009

A Solid Week


Need to put a few more of these together. Wednesday long ride and Thursday long run suffered a bit due to the heat but ended the week on a high note. Today is a recovery day, off the legs completely.

Five Weeks Out

Saturday-Big Day Training
Swim 4000yds
Bike 106
Run 4mi

Saturday was another attempt at big day training. A pretty similar outline to what I’ve planned to hit in the past but with a twist on the bike. The swim was a 5x800 descending pull set in around 12 minutes and out on the 12:30. Swim was pretty uneventful other than the fact that my swim just hasn’t been feeling too strong the last couple weeks.

On the bike I rolled out pretty easy for the first hour. I noticed that my legs were a bit tried, but a good tired, from the week’s festivities. The next hour was done on the Ironman Wisconsin course as IM effort. The next task was 2x1hr a bit higher than IM effort. This was tough. I nailed the first hour and then broke the second hour into 2x30mins w/5min ez. I was able to hit the first 30min section with my normalized power in target but was unable to finish strong on the second 30min section. I ended up spinning the rest of the ride although noticed that my 200-220w IM power was still within reach. As this week was one of the first hot ones of the year it was pretty amazing to see all the carnage of cramping athletes all over the Wisconsin hills. Luckily, I had my heat issues on Wednesday and Thursday and was able to complete this ride without any issues and a heart rate that looked pretty reasonable for the efforts.

I decided to escape the heat by doing my run on the treddie and saw pace to HR efforts similar to what I had done on Friday after a short technique swim. That was a great sign, although I’m still not sure why I’m always slower on the treddie for a given HR than on the roads.


I rolled out pretty early on the bike after a lousy night’s sleep. All night my body felt like it was still moving after all the activity from yesterday and I got up several times to use the restroom. I also had limited time as I needed to catch a plane at 1:30. So, instead of going to my usual hill I went to a shorter hill for muscular endurance work. I noticed right away my legs were a bit heavy and the HR was suppressed. I ended up hitting six repeats for about 30mins of big gear work at which point my legs felt well worked. I then took it home at IM effort and got in a good solid six mile run at IM effort.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Lucho Double

Last week was a push in the right direction. I was able to hit two key workouts mid-week done as a long ride and then a shorter ride the next day with some strength work in the hills followed by a moderately long run. I call this two day block the Lucho Double as it was introduced to me by my old friend and coach Tim Luchinske (no Tim, I don't think you are old) and I've had much success with it in the past.

So, the first day was a five hour bike ride with a touch over 3hrs of Ironman power. I find if I break up these rides into shorter segments, anywhere from 40-75 minutes of Ironman effort it is much easier mentally than to ride 3-4hrs at the Ironman effort. I'm not sure how physiologically different it is to split it up then to ride it continuous especially as I'm limiting my recovery to 5-10min max. Comments on this AC??? However, I plan on hitting the 112 done as a continuous ride just once before the big day on July 26th.

I followed the long bike the next day with a shorter ride where I went out to my long hill and did a couple of longer (about 18min) hill repeats at a moderately hard effort. This for me works out to about 240-260w on the bike or an average heart rate of 141 and 142bpm for the repeats. I rode home as a steady time trial and then changed into the running gear for a 7mi run in the hills. For this run, with all the biking prior to it, I find it really gives me a realistic sense of my Ironman pace. When I typically do my long runs I'm guessing that I'm about 20-30s faster per mile than what I will run at the Ironman marathon while with this run, I've put enough biking in my legs so that by the time I hit it I find a lot of similar sensations as the Ironman run and the pace is much closer.

I finished up the week with a business trip to NYC and can't say I got much training in. Sunday was my long run after a bit of detraining in NYC and although I got in 30km of running it definitely wasn't my best effort. Live and learn and then learn again and again and again...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Work + Rest = Fitness

After a bit of recovery last week it was time to try to hop back into the swing of things. Alan and I planned on hitting a big day of training exactly a week after the half ironman. My big day consisted of swim 4000yds (5x800), bike 112 miles, and run 6 miles. I knew going into this it might get ugly as my heart rate was very high for all my short recovery workouts leading into this one.

The day started with the swim and unfortunately I struggled to hit my typical base pace on these. I just chalked it up to a bad swim day and put it behind me. I then hopped on the bike and had no pep in the legs. I decided to just ride and see how things progressed. Unfortunately, I really never came out of it and ended the ride after about 75 miles.

I was a bit down on myself after the ride as now I had a race that I wasn't so happy with and a workout that further caused me to question what I'm doing and how fit I am. Luckily, I have great friends and a great girlfriend who told me how f'ing stupid I was being and they were completely right. I need to remember that fitness doesn't just disappear, it sometimes gets hidden by fatigue, but its still there and rest will bring it back. I know that like most triathletes, I have the work part of the equation down but sometimes (or most the time) unless the rest is forced it doesn't always happen. So, another easy day today and I will give it a go on Wednesday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rockman Half Race Review

I went into this race with big expectations. I have been working hard on my swimming technique with Kari, have improved my functional threshold power in the off season by about 20w on the bike, and have been getting in some good volume on the run and really hitting the key sessions well.

Race Day

My parents and Lauren came to the race with me which always gives me a boost. However, no boost was occurring this morning. I had some issues with sleep for a couple of nights and I may have been feeling the effects of that on race morning. However, I figured, once the gun goes off and we get swimming, I will be good. Breakfast was also a bit light with one can of ensure and I wonder if that played a role in the outcome later in the day. I did a short 20 minute run and then fetched my wetsuit and got in the water to get a bit of a warm up in.

Swim-29:40/15th OA
The gun went off and it was pretty tight and hectic in the water, as usual, for the first 200m or so. However, that was the most energy I was going to use for the next 4hrs or and I settled quickly into a good pack of about 6 people. I got towed around the lake for the rest of the swim and came in nice and relaxed ready to bike. Got into T1 stripped off the wettie and had a pretty quick transition.

Bike-2:29:50/20th OA
On the bike I had specific goals. The first 10-15mi I stayed in my Ironman power ranges then after that section I raised my power range to half ironman (230-250w on flats and up to 290w, FTP on hills). At about mile 12 on the rollers, some riders came through pretty quickly. I knew that I would have a buddy to pace off of and work together through the bike leg. I went with my first potential buddy but he was working a bit too hard for me and I thought he was just more fit but I ended up seeing him again at mile 52 or so on the bike and never again on the run. Another guy told me that I could get over the hills and that I was doing great as he blew by me standing on the first section of rollers. Yes, I saw him later as well. The third little piggie was a charm and as he came by and I knew he would work as a good pacer. So, I took off with him, saw low watts and good speed and stuck with him until he totally slowed down and let me by...WTF!!! Well, it turns out that he knew his game and then I went back and worked for awhile up front. The rest of the bike we shared duties at the front and I was stoked to be riding with someone that understood that when you ride together you don't need to sit on my wheel but can keep it legal with great consequences. The rest of the ride was rather uneventful. However, I believe that the ride lead to the demise of my run as I was just not attentive and only was able to get in about 500 calories on the bike. Other than my nutrition (which was HUGE) I paced the bike perfectly from a power standpoint and raised watts on the second half.

Run 1:30:36/7th OA

On the run, once again I was a man with a plan. The first two miles I used to jog and figure out where my running legs were once again. I didn't want to see anything over 150 on the Heart rate monitor. The next 5 miles were my cruising miles where I would just cruise in zone 3 and then the final 10k were my do work miles where it was time to race hard. I also planned on walking every other mile for 15s and then 45s at the 7mi mark. Last year at Racine I pulled this strategy off close to near perfection. This year was the opposite.

When I got off the bike I jogged and only saw the heart rate go over 150 on some steeper hills. However the heart rate remained low and was very reluctant to come up at all. I should have realized at the time that this was most likely a lack of nutrition issue and I should have grabbed a few gels. However, I didn't have any gels and there were none on the course (BIG LESSON). I did have my camelback full of Infinit and was able to drink a bunch of that (I've become a huge fan of the camelback since Lucho prescribed it back in 2005 and use it for all races half and longer). The rest of the run I struggled just trying to make my way through the course and get to the line. Since it was pretty humid I after the first 2 miles I decided to walk 15s each mile instead of 15s every other mile up to the 7mi mark and then re-evaluate. I never really came out of my funk and couldn't raise the HR when it was time to work. I ended up walking 15s each mile throughout the race and this probably prevented me from cramping any worse than I already was. I was glad to be done with this run.

Take Home
#1 Make sure nutrition is nailed...since this race I have gone back to my notes from other races and coaches and have checked in on what has worked in the past. I will NOT make this mistake again.

Otherwise, I was very happy with my swim, my bike was paced exactly according to plan, and I learned a lesson from this race.

Bike Data

Duration: 2:29:20
Work: 2012 kJ
TSS: 160.9 (intensity factor 0.804)
Norm Power: 231
VI: 1.03
Pw:HR: -1.31%
Pa:HR: 1.9%
Distance: 56.384 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 427 225 watts
Heart Rate: 129 151 142 bpm
Cadence: 29 188 81 rpm
Speed: 4.5 38 22.7 mph

1st half:
Duration: 1:14:10
Work: 981 kJ
TSS: 75.9 (intensity factor 0.783)
Norm Power: 225
VI: 1.02
Pw:HR: -1.62%
Pa:HR: -12.35%
Distance: 27.997 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 398 220 watts
Heart Rate: 129 147 140 bpm
Cadence: 36 174 84 rpm

2nd half:
Duration: 1:15:10
Work: 1031 kJ
TSS: 85.1 (intensity factor 0.824)
Norm Power: 237
VI: 1.03
Pw:HR: 4.62%
Pa:HR: 2.83%
Distance: 28.387 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 427 229 watts
Heart Rate: 129 151 144 bpm
Cadence: 29 188 79 rpm
Speed: 4.5 38 22.7 mph

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rockman Half Ironman Report

Bike:2:29:50 (225w av/231w norm)
Run: 1:30:36

Total: 4:32:39
10th Overall/2nd in AG

Details to follow...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

20 Minutes of Truth

Yesterday was another 20 minute time trial to help determine my FTP (functional threshold power). FTP is approximately the power you can hold for an hour effort. It is also referred to as Anaerobic Threshold. To get an approximate FTP from a 20 minute time trial we just take 95% of the 20 minute power. We have then done hour long testing where Alan has asked me to sit within 5% of this power for an hour to confirm that we are close. This is even less fun than the 20 minute test.

Anyway, I did the 20min time trial in the afternoon, which typically doesn't work as well as the test done first thing in the morning. I guess the fact that I'm a morning person comes into play there. I always hit this test as a 20 minute easy warm up, 5 minutes at my old FTP, 10 minutes easy and then right into the meat, the 20 minute time trial.

When I hit my 5 minute effort yesterday the legs screamed at me and I wondered if I should really be hitting this test today. However, when I got to the 20 minute effort everything felt much better. Just a confirmation of the importance of a good warm up. I started the test trying to go hard but one effort level down from what I would want to hold for the entire test. The numbers looked good and I figured we would have an honest time trial today. At 5 minutes I tried to pick it up just slightly but within reason and at a power I thought I could hold for another ten minutes until the 15 minute mark. Then when I had 5 minutes left I tried to pick it up another notch. I typically find if I pace the 20 minute time trial correctly there is very little ability to pick it up in that last 5 minutes. I find that if I do pick it up its only by a few watts.

When all was done I ended up holding 302w for the 20 minute time trial giving me an estimated FTP of 287w. That's exactly where I was last test and I know that I can hold 95% of that for an hour based on earlier testing we did. I also know that for my longer sessions I can hold 70%-75% of that 287w which is what I need to do for Ironman. So, even though I did not see an "improvement" in my FTP I am very secure in the fact that I have enough top end power for long course racing to accomplish my goals. Alan and I will revisit some FTP specific training later on but for now my goal is to build the ability to go long and execute a solid Ironman at Lake Placid.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A New Best

I took it a bit easier this weekend and tried to shake my sore throat that has been bothering me for the last few days.

I really wanted to race a 5k on Sat. but was smart and took the day a bit lighter. I ended up going to the track and doing several 200m runs right around 37-38s/200 followed by a spin after a long nap. Sunday, I felt somewhat better although the throat was still bothering me. I hit an easy run and then hit some steady riding with a touch of strength work in the hills.

Today, was a new best. I've been hitting this swim set for many years and was a bit nervous to see the intervals Coach Alan laid out. The set was 24x100yds done on a 1:40, 1:35, 1:30, and 1:25 send off. I shot for a 5s or so rest between each send off. The set was done as one of each interval, so, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30, 1:25 the first time through and then two of each interval and finally three of each interval. I have never done this workout starting with a 1:40 and descending to 1:25 so I was pretty happy to be able to make each interval today!!