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Posts tagged “High intensity

Recap – Week 49

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.

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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?


Run Intervals

HIIT, my favorite buzzword of the week.


Call it what you want, ‘Intervals’, ‘Fartlek’, or good old ‘Pain’, high intensity training is a great way to increase speed and aerobic capacity. I have explored this idea in a past post, High Intensity Training.

I like intervals. Really. You may think I am crazy for saying it, but I like intervals. Notice I didn’t say love……

My least favorite, and the ones I have been hammering all spring, are run intervals. I am not the best runner, but I am getting better. In my last race, I finished the 5k run in 21:52 (4:23/km). This is my fastest run split to date. At least all the effort is paying off; combining the base fitness I worked on over the winter and speed work in the spring, I am feeling as fast as I ever had on the run.

If you have read my past posts, I am a huge fan of ‘Time Crunched Triathlete’. Not only does that fact you can train for and race a triathlon, up to a Half Ironman, in around 8 hours per week speak to me, the shorter, higher intensity workouts are great. My body reacts well to this type of training.

Using the intensity levels defined by Chris Carmichael, my run intervals look like this.

Workout Name Primary Goal Percentage of CTS Field Test Pace Your CTS Running Pace Ranges Percentage of CTS Field Test Heart Rate Your CTS Running Heart Rate Ranges
EnduranceRun Basic aerobic development 97 0 4:31 0 97 0 168
SteadyStateRun Improved aerobic development 98 92 4:22 4:40 92 98 159 170
TempoRun Increased pace at lactae threshold 102 98 4:12 4:22 98 102 170 176
Fartlek Intervals Increased speed at V02 Max 108 102 3:58 4:12 102 108 176 187

Of course, to be able to complete this chart, you need to perform a “CTS Field Test’. I won’t bore you in this post, as I explored it here. It sucks, just in case you were wondering.

Here is what my ‘Steady State (SS)’ intervals looked like back in April. My workout called for a 45 Min SSR (4×4 Minutes (4RBI)). Broken down, it reads like this; 45 minute run, with 4 minutes in the SSR range (4:22-4:40/km), 4 minutes rest in between, repeat a total of 4 times. I did take a longer rest between the 3rd and 4th intervals, but it wasn’t by design. It can tough to keep perfect time and pace when running outside, especially when your mind wanders like mine does. One of the only benefits of running on a treadmill.


A fringe benefit of intervals? They make any workout go by faster.

Question: Do you include intervals in your training on a regular basis? What type of results have you seen?

High Intensity Training

It is the winter season, meaning a majority of your workouts will be high volume, low intensity. That doesn’t mean that all of your workouts have to be.


I have spent the last two years training at high intensity in the build period for each of my races. This intensitiy allowed me to compete in various distances up to a Half Ironman with an average training volume of 9 hours a week. Pretty important when I am trying to split my time between training and my family.

Training at high intensity can be intimidating for some. Hey, it can be embarassing when you stop half way up the hill to walk; especially when the group you passed at the bottom jogs past you before the top. Don’t let that intimidate you, by incorporating higher intensity training into your swim/bike/run workouts, you will be leaving them in your dust in no time.

There are ways to make high(er) intensity training more enjoyable. Really, there is a way.

Timing – Complete your intervals early in your workout
It is no secret that when you are tired, your form breaks down. Ever heard of the Ironman Shuffle? After 2400m in the pool, I start to wave at something at the bottom of the pool with my left arm. No, I am not halucinating, my arms and shoulders are tired and it is much easier to ‘wave’ than catch the water with my entire stroke. By completeing your intervals after a quick 10 minute warmup, you can not only compete the intervals at the intensity you want, but with good form as well.

Technology – Track your Pace/Power
Most runners run their slow run too fast and their fast run too slow. I have experienced this many times over the past two years when I forget to charge my GPS watch and notice it just as I am heading out the door. With the invention of GPS watches and power meters, training in a zone is much easier than before. Each will allow you to complete each interval at the perscribed intensity; not too high, not too low, but just right.

Testing – Know your zones
Testing sucks. Going all out for a specific period of time can be the hardest training session of your season, but it is totally worth it. By utilzing numbers that remove the error in perception, you can target each interval to exactly what you want to gain. If the goal is to run at your lactate threashold or just stay aerobic, your pace will help you stay in the correct intensity. My test of choice is the Carmichael Training System (CTS) field test for swim, bike, and run. I have found this to be the most accurate and has proven results for me in the past.

Recover – Be ready for your next session
Nutrition and rest; probably the two areas where we all could use some tweaking here and there. High intensity training will reduce the amount of glycogen in your system, so it is important that you replace what you used after each workout. Test what works for you, sweet potato is working awesome for me right now.

This year I planned to incorporate some high intensity training into my base period during the winter. With 5 weeks complete, the results are promising. So much so that I will continue to keep it up and can not wait for my build phase.

Oh, and I like going fast. Typical triathlete….

Question: Do you train at high intensity? How is it working for you?