Back at it, in more ways than one.
Swim – 3:00:00 – 9100m
Bike – 2:02:51 – 61.0km
Run – 2:25:25 – 26.48km
I said in my last post “Wow, Wednesday already. I wish every week would go this fast.” Yeah, well it is now almost 2 weeks since then. Jeez time flies.
This was my last week of semi structure in my training. I always have a plan, but for the next 8 weeks I am going to live and die by my training schedule. There is something comforting about having a plan written and all you have to do is hammer it.
Easy enough right?
The Half Ironman plan from “The Time Crunched Triathlete” will be my main stay for the next 8 weeks, peaking for Escape From Alcatraz June 1. I then have a couple of weeks to recover before cycling through the plan again for Ironman 70.3 Calgary.
I am tired and hungry just thinking about it.
Saturday afternoon was perfect for a rip on my bike; the earliest I have been able to get on the road and it was awesome. It was so great to have the fresh air, wind, and dust in my face rather than the stale air of my 70’s inspired basement. You read right, even dust is better than the trainer.
Sunday afternoon I took my brother to run part of the Calgary Police Half Marathon course as he has never run the race before. No one should ever run the Weaselhead hill for the first time at 14k into a half marathon; that is just cruel. It was a great run with great company. I don’t usually get the opportunity to chat much while training, so it was a welcome change.
Some really odd trends in my top posts. I wonder what it is about Recap – Week 50 that has people interested. I can see Ironman Tattoo, that is a good post…..
Friday afternoon we made an impromptu trip to the zoo here in Calgary. Not sure if you knew, but the zoo was almost washed away by the floods last year and this was our first time there since.
What a blast. I forgot how much fun it can be to just let the afternoon run by without much of a plan. Fortunately for us we received an invite for supper around 1730, so no need to rush home and utter our favorite phrase, “what should we make for supper?”.
Question: Now spring is here, has your training ramped up for race season?
I think it is about time for a rest week.
Swim – 2:00:00 – 4550m
Bike – 2:15:48 – 75.3km
Run – 1:46:22 – 20.0km
Strength – 1:30:00
Total – 7:32:10
I have been going pretty steady since the new year with only a couple of missed workouts here and there. I have been seeing some positive gains on both the swim and bike, and being able complete 3 runs last week without cringing; chalk that up as a win.
With 14 weeks until my first big race of the year, Escape from Alcatraz, I have some time before I need to ramp up my training. I am going with the tried and tested ‘Time Crunched Triathlete’ Half Ironman program from Chris Carmichael; my second time through the plan. This time hopefully I won’t crash, break my collar bone, and be able to complete it from start to finish…..
So what do I do? Do I stick with the plan right now, slug it out until the first part of April and get on with it? Or do I switch it up now and have a little fun before the ‘real’ training kicks in?
Oh the questions.
I am enjoying my Friday speed sessions with my new found running buddy, even if he is totally faster than me. I was able to beat him in a sprint over the Peace Bridge a week ago, but it took everything I had. I recently referred to it a ‘Fartlek Friday’ and it got me thinking about the name, ‘Fartlek’. I know that it is Swedish for speed play, but it just sounds weird. Say it three times fast. Go ahead.
Weird right? I wonder if it started as a joke, “hey Sven, I bet you can’t get people to use fart repeatedly in a sentence.”
So me and my crazy challenges have started anew. This time it is a familiar challenge; ditch the java for 30 days.
Every time I have a cup of coffee with a friend or at home on the weekend, I don’t feel very good. I thought it may be the amount as with my profession, I tend to meet a lot over a coffee, so I switched to decaf for a while. Didn’t help. So as of Thursday I am coffee free for at least 30 days. I have done it before so I am confident it will be successful this time ’round.
As a addition, I am going to count the days that I go not only coffee free, but caffeine free. Even though tea has much less than coffee, caffeine effects the adrenal system. If I am already using it heavily during exercise, and if you swim with us heavily is the right term, why put more strain on it than necessary.
Question: How do you switch up your training plan?
Holy crap it is cold.
Swim – 2:00:00 – 4800m
Bike – 0:59:43 – 27.9km
Run – 1:25:16 – 17.54km
Strength – 1:30:00
Total – 5:54:59
This week was a impromptu rest week. I woke up on Monday morning feeling roasted, I think that is a technical (air quotes) term, and decided that for the next couple of days I would take it a little easier. In true triathlete fashion I didn’t hit the couch, rather skipped a couple of workouts and slept till 0630 instead.
I had to sneak in a quick run on Saturday evening as we were heading out Sunday morning to visit family for Christmas; 3.5 hour drive. Taking the advice of Joe Friel, a freaking genius by the way, instead of a long slow run I hit intervals instead. Here is what they looked like:
45min Steady State Run – 4x3min (2min RBI)
15min warmup – 4:45-5:00/km
20min SSR intervals – 4:30/km
10min cool down – 4:45/km
Now I haven’t tested myself for a while, but based on the latest data, my SSR should be in the range of 4:22-4:40/km. I was able to finish each interval at just over 4:30/km and with the exception of the third rest period I hit each time interval perfectly. My treadmill is weird and cycles between elapsed time, pace, and incline. So sometimes, I have to wait for 30 seconds to confirm what the exact time is. No matter for a 45 minute run, but 3 minutes intervals can be challenging to time just right.
My workouts were inside this week. I am not a wuss when it comes to cold temperatures and workouts; I have always said I am like and old Chevy, I run hot. With windchill’s into the -40 degrees I figured no matter how tough I pretend to be, there was no way I was heading outdoors. I do not like the treadmill, I can run 20k outside with no issues, but on the treadmill after 4k my knees are hurting and I want to stop.
Hopefully the weather smartens up this week and I can get outside for some fresh, albeit crisp, air.
It is well known that rest is beneficial, if not critical, to any training plan. I have tried many different schedules including ones published by Chris Carmichael and Joe Friel with varied success. “Listen to your body” they say, “take rest when you need it” they say. Well, it aient that easy.
In ‘The Time Crunched Triathlete’ Chris schedules 2 rest days per week, typically Monday and Friday, over a 8-10 week plan. His plans revolve around high intensity intervals mixed with some lower intensity workouts. I have used his philosophy a sprint and half ironman and enjoyed training for both. I found the mix of high intensity and recovery workouts worked well and timed well with the rest days.
With Joe Friel, you are responsible for writing your own training plan, with his guidance of course. This can be good as not all plans are built for all people, but it can create havoc if you aren’t organized. His philosophy revolves around 4 week training ‘blocks’; 3 weeks building duration/intensity and 1 week of active recovery.
I have learnt many things, among the leaders is I can’t really feel when I am approaching an over-trained state; I can only recognize it once I am already there. It can be tough to take rest when you don’t feel you need it as the loss of fitness is always a threat. Guess I need to get better at that.
Question: How do you plan rest? Any tips?
Am I getting better? What is the best way to quantify the time you spend in the pool, saddle, and paths is actually increasing your fitness?
There is only one way to tell.
Over the past two years, I have used the training philosophy of Chris Carmichael as outlined in ‘The Time Crunched Triathlete’. To summarize the philosophy, I highly recommend reading the book from cover-to-cover by the way, high intensity training can yield the same race day fitness results as ‘tradtional’ training; meaning ‘long and slow’. I can attest to this, my performance greatly improved along with my results.
As part of the training plan, the CTS system utilizes a field test to determine your thresholds, then calculates various ranges for each training session. It looks something like this:
Pedal as hard as you can for 8 minutes, twice, with a 10 minute break in between. Then hit an all out run effort, for your guessed it, another 8 minutes.
Seem pretty easy right, not so fast. Pun intended.
Wednesday morning was my third time performing the CTS field test. This week is a Rest and Recover week after a 3 week base building period in which I peaked at 11.5 hours of volume. As part of the R&R week, I plan to test my fitness to better dial in my workouts ensuring that I am training as hard or as easy; according to my plan.
So off I went. After a decent warm up, about 10 minutes, consisting of some Power Intervals, High RPM spins, and rest in between efforts, I began my first interval. One tip is to bring the resistance up slowly, reaching your target power in about 45 seconds. So I set at 310W and began mashing. I was feeling good after 60 seconds, so I kicked it up another 10W and settled in for some pain. After the 8 minutes, I dropped to 200W and tried to catch my breath.
The 10 minute rest didn’t last as long as I would have liked, and before long I was heading back to 320W. Now Chris, sounds like we are buddies, says that the second interval will be better than the first. Good motivation, but a lie. The second kicked my butt pretty bad. It took me 90 seconds to get to 320W and I dropped it down to 200W with about 10 seconds left on the interval.
This is what the bike portion looked like. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to link my TacX computer to my Timex Ironman Global GPS yet, so only heart rate this time.
I then hit the treadmill. Being tired from pushing on the bike, and really hating the treadmill, I took a quick minute warmup, then started the interval. Nothing much to report here except I did feel like I was holding back a little. Maybe tired, maybe the new shoes, or just lazy? Not too sure, I will make sure to push as hard as I can for the next test.
The bike intervals were done at 320W and an average of 92 rpm. An increase of 30W from my last test approximately 6 months previous. Not bad I reckon. The run portion was done at 4:17 min/km (14km/hr) and increase of 0:07 min/km (0.4km/hr). Not as good of a result as the bike, but getting faster nonetheless.
So a couple of more days of R&R, which translates to a long slow run on Saturday, typical triathlete, then back to the base phase for another round.
Question: Do you test your fitness? What process do you use?
Disclosure of material connection: I have received no compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brand, products, or services I have mentioned.