Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekly Training Updates - Feb 17 to 23

Swim: 5,280 yards / 1:58
Bike: 47.04 / 2:29
Run: 34.66 / 4:27
Strength: 1 Session

Total: 84.80 / 9:17

This ended up being a light week, partially due to my bike test and taking an unexpected rest day Friday.  I had some problems with my alarm clock Friday morning and couldn't work a training session in that evening.  Oops.

The beautiful part of this training week happen to be outside.  Three out of 4 of my weekend workouts were outside!  Saturday morning I was heading off to the the hardware store to get some electrical tape, which was also training related.  Seeing the sunny temps at 45 degrees while driving around, I decided to take my bike ride outside.  Who wants 90 minutes on the trainer, anyway?

90 minutes in beautiful weather plus a 4 mile run at 7:12 pace.  It all felt great!  Sunday morning had 18 miles on the road.  Unfortunately, the temps weren't as nice with 28 degrees.  I hit the road at 5:30am, so that wasn't helping temp-wise.  It was a good run at 7:49 pace but I was actually hoping it'd be faster.  I feel like the legs could still be stronger considering my heart rate.  I think getting more outdoor bike rides will help that, actually.

My fourth workout of the weekend was a 2,300 yard swim Sunday afternoon (after a nice long nap from the morning run).  I've been focusing on lengthening my "stride" and seeing some good dividends of it.  Now I just hope this improved form translates into the open water.

So the trip to the hardware store to get some electrical tape?  If you read my post on the bike test, you would have seen the picture of my bar tape on the handle bars been loosened and no longer holding up.  Friday night I picked up some new bar tape and installed myself.  Not a pretty job,  but it will do.  You can sort of see it in the above picture.  The electrical tape is used to tape down the end of the tape; although, this bar tape came with some finishing tape, I still used the electrical tape.

That's all for now!  Time to finish watching the Olympic closing ceremonies.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Going to School on the Bike

After two failed attempts due to snow and then being sick, I finally completed my bike test. I finally met up with Ken Welsh of Midwest Triathlon Coaching at the Ultramax Store, which is his official unofficial "training center".

There are a few bikes in the basement of the Ultramax Store where they do the "Power Hour" spin class.

So let's get to the test, which involves a 15 - 20 minute warm up before kicking off 30 minutes of racing/time trailing/screaming on the bike and then blacking out cooling down. Only the last 20 minutes of the test is used to obtain the results, which is your lactate threshold for heart rate and functional threshold power for wattage.  Yes, wattage is exactly what it sounds like.  Had I been hooked up to a generator it would indicate how much wattage of a lightbulb I could power.

So I brought the legs, bike, and music while Coach Ken brought the encouragement and equipment, which there was a ton of it.  A CompuTrainer (which is as technical as it sounds) and a Tanita weight/body composition scale.  The scale was pretty sweet and I may have to look into getting one as it indicated body fat %, body hydration score, basil metabolic rate, metabolic age, and a few other things.  If I had my own scale, I could use my Garmin watch to wireless sync the scale's data to online data for historical analysis. The scale transmits the data to the watch and the watch syncs it online.

The CompuTrainer is a bike trainer that hooks up to a laptop and the bike.  The software will show you a computerized cyclist on a course (this was the Ironman Challenge Penticton bike course visual but the Ironman Florida elevation data).  The computer adds resistance to the trainer to reflect uphill sections.  Really cool and rather expensive stuff.

The CompuTrainer, and only partly hooked up.

Not having a clue how to manage this bike test, I asked Coach Ken what I should focus on.  Mashing it out or high cadence.  He pointed out the focus is on the Power Meter and getting the highest wattage possible.  Pacing myself would also be a challenge as I've never done something like this.

After the warmup, Ken hit the music (first up, Metallica's Fuel) and I was off.  I did my best not to kill myself in the first five minutes but it was still hard.  I focused on that power meter but it was so much easier to look at my Garmin under my nose.  The heart rate started to rise and I was keeping the cadence over 100.  I looked at the power meter as often as I could manage to lift my head up to see the computer screen.

Eventually "A little Less Conversation", the JXL Remix, kicked off and I was into the second five minutes.  I noticed my average mph was very similar to that of the KC Corporate Challenge bike race average speed.  Speed indoors doesn't matter as much but I could imagine I was going through similar pain.

Coach Ken took this video of me suffering. 

"Livin My Love", Steve Aoki Featuring LMFAO & Nervo started the actual test at the 10 minute mark.  I was still pumping along but I needed to switch something up.  I was in aero the entire time.  So now I was going to do 2 minutes aero and one minutes sitting up but I had to keep pumping hard sitting up.  It wasn't a rest interval.  It was just to switch things around.  (Note: TKB's cousin has a writer's credit on this song.  He helped engineer the entire album, which was nominated for a Grammy!  Give it a listen!)

Coach Ken started recording power and heart rate rating on paper and I kept pushing along.  Green Day's "American Idiot" got me to the halfway point.  My legs were screaming.  Maybe I did mash out the first five minutes or maybe this just sucks.  I do remember feeling slightly concerned about needing a puke bucket at this point but there was no way I could talk.  I saw my heart rate spike to 181.  Ouch.

Please help me.
Metallica's "Ride The Lightning" and it was time for a little air conditioning.  Zip open the cycling jersey to get some of the wind from the fan.  Eyes were shut.  There wasn't anything to look at because in aero position with my head in the down position, the inside of my glasses were two ponds of sweat.

Metallica's "Trapped Under Ice".  Almost there... almost there.  My legs were screaming.  My cadence had dropped under 100 and I could sorta see my wattage drooping.  NOT GOOD!  Push push push.

Only a couple minutes left...  Appropriately, Metallica's Harvester of Sorrow brings it home.  I was done done done.

I'm still waiting the official results from Coach Ken but all I can say is that this is giving me a baseline number to train with.  I don't have a Power Meter (I will be looking to get one before I officially start training for my next Ironman) but the heart rate numbers will be a great driver of training zones from here on out.  I've talked about training zones (Zone 2 or Z2, Zone 3, Zone 4, etc) and this will help define those zones instead of the guessing game I've been playing for the past few years.

While this is a bike test, there is an industry accepted approach to translating this to running zones.  Bike zones are typically 10 BPM slower than the run.  So if my bike threshold is roughly 164, that means my run threshold is roughly 174.

Yes, I could do a similar test running on a track but as Ken pointed out, athletes tend to wear out mentally before physically while running.  That's fine, I'm good with not doing this again.

Oh... and according to that fancy pants scale, I have a metabolic age of a 20 year old.  Not sure what that means, but maybe I should put down this whiskey.

If you want to learn more about this test, feel free to read up here on Joel Friel's blog.

Finally....  holding on for dear life during this test = new bar tape:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training - Feb 10 - Feb 16

Swim: 8,250 yards / 3:06
Bike: 35.56 miles / 2:15
Run: 43 miles / 5:33
Strength: 2 Sessions

Total: 83 miles / 12:06

I got a some good swim tips this week from the coach so I did an extra swim session after my long run this weekend to focus on it.  It helped drop my 100 yard time into the 1:30s.  Now let's see if I can continue the focus during master's swim class.  I struggle focusing on my form during class as I'm trying to not try to swim into the person in front of me or keep ahead of the person behind me.  Thursday night I got selected to pace the group, which was a bit nerve racking.  

Tomorrow is my rescheduled bike threshold test.  I'm a little nervous about it since I really don't know how to pedal as hard as I can for 30 minutes.  What does "pedal hard" really mean, anyway.  

My long run on Sunday went well.  The pace was still in line with the heart rate zone. 

Photo of the Week

I got this card in the mail this past week.  I'm not exactly sure why but slightly concerned.  I haven't smoked in like...  ever.  Looking forward to talking to these people on the phone to figure out what's going.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Training Update - Feb 3 to Feb 9

Another week fighting off sickness.  I probably average 1 sick day off from work per two years but I've taken 3 off in the last 6 weeks.  This may be more of an indication that I'm more willing to take a sick day now that staying healthy to train is important where in the past I'd deal with the cold at work and take longer to recover.  I have probably 50 days of sick time accumulated, so I'm not too concerned about running out.

I had less training scheduled this week but that's because I had two threshold tests scheduled and needed some extra rest to prep for them.  Tuesday I was supposed to do my bike test but knowing that the weather was going to dump 8 - 10 inches on us, I decided to do my swim threshold test in the morning while the weather was fine and move my bike test to Thursday.  I was going to have to drive to a location to do the bike test.

So the swim test was 1,000 yards as hard as I could but maintain that pace the entire time.  I managed a 1:43 pace which is very similar to the threshold test I did at Master Swim Class a month before of 1:45 (although we did 3x300, averaged the time and add 10 seconds).

Unfortunately, Thursday morning I woke up with a nasty stuffy head and called all parts of the day off which was work and the bike test.  Ugh.

So by the numbers:

Swim: 1,600 yards / 29:08
Bike: 21.59 miles / 1:15
Run: 18 miles / 2:16
Strength: 0 sessions

Totals: 40.52 miles / 4:00

My long run on Sunday was OUTSIDE!  I finally sucked up and scouted a good safe route void of poor road conditions.  The plan was a 10 mile run with the first 5 miles easy and the second 5 miles at goal marathon race pace.  My minimum time is a 3:08 marathon (7:11 pace) but I am planning for 3:05 marathon (7:04 pace) and that's exactly what I hit in those last 5 miles, 7:04 minutes per mile.

I'm not going to say it was easy.  My heart rate was where I would expect considering the pace but I would prefer it to be a little slower.  I feel my legs are the delimiter, so I'm going to focus on them during my weights sessions.  As the snow melts, I'll be hitting some hill repeats.

Photo of the Week
While I was sick I was looking outside and noticed something sitting on my neighbor's trash:

This bird was chewing through their bag finding some food.  And here I thought it was feral cats ripping through our trash.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Update Jan 27 - Feb 2

Another build week in the books.  Unfortunately, weather didn't cooperate very well and all training was under a roof, including this last run of the week:
16 miles

I had some honey stingers for nutrition.  It was a little odd eating on a treadmill.
Snow storms the day before left for questions roads, so I went to the gym to run.  Sure, there is a "30 minute limit" on cardio equipment, but the machine let me enter 150 minutes!

Weekly Totals:
Swim: 4,650 Yards / 1:25
Bike: 55.3 / 3:25
Run: 39 / 5:10
Strength: 1 Session

This week I have a couple tests schedule.  I'm doing a bike test to determine my bike training zones, as well as do another swim threshold test.  A few weeks ago at Master Swim class I did a threshold test which involved doing 3 sets of 300 yards and average the time.  This time I'm just doing 1,000 yards as fast as I can.  I'm curious to see if they will come together.

I'm feeling pretty confident in my training for my April marathon (yes, I refer to it that way because I'm still deciding on that location).  For my long run, I just set the treadmill to 8 minute miles but could have moved it faster.  I did some interval week during the week and that felt real good as well.  We'll see what the next two months brings in terms of training and weather.  I'd rather do my long runs outside, even if it is single digit weather but I'm a pansy when it comes to icy conditions.

I'm doing some good interval type work on the bike, some focusing on form than anything else.  My Saturday rides are moving along slower than I would hope but the trainer is a killer plus I've been pretty non-stop in my training lately.  Today was my first rest day in a looong time but that's how the schedule has worked out.   With tests this week, I'm taking a few more breather days.