Recovery Week! Just in time…

Well, yesterday was the first day of Base 1 Week 4 – aka recovery week. This is my first recovery week of this training block, and it is much needed! I was pushing a heavy form score at the end of last week – a whopping -65.6. With this week’s plans, that will move back to a much more manageable -39.3. Erm.. manageable? hmm..

Joe Friel suggests that good progress is made between -25 and -45. A “higher” negative (e.g. lower than -45) is equated with more fatigue, and a “lower” negative (e.g. higher than -25) is equated with not working hard enough. So, at -65 I’m fatigued. Yep. I can vouch for that. At -39.3, immediately following a recovery week, well… that just shouldn’t be the case. Probably. Indicative of being very fatigued currently.

Yesterday I did some light core work, which I don’t track as being part of CTL/ATL, and did no other exercise. It was a great day off, much needed. That day alone chopped a massive chunk off my form score. This week is 6 rides totalling 9 hours at an IF of under 0.70, 3 runs for 21 km, and 3 swims at lower IF for probably 9 to 10 km. It doesn’t sound like my volume is dropping here, but my TSS volume will go from last week’s 1253.3 to ~780. That’s a massive decrease.

But I’m toying with the idea of doing some proper fitness testing again this week. I should do a swim test, as I have really been basing my swim FTP on an estimated pace rather than an actual pace. And I just found out that I had my power meter set up wrong on my bike… which means another FTP test there is in order too.

The short version of that story is as follows. My LBS told me the cranks were 167.5mm when I bought the bike (oh, I’m short, btw). I didn’t measure. I use Garmin Vector 2S which requires the crank length input. I input the crank length as 167.5. Yesterday I measured the cranks at 170mm. So the cranks are longer than the Vector thinks. Implications of this are light, really, but still matters. Basically I’ve been pushing more watts than it says. In relative terms, I believe everything I’ve done so far is still good, since the FTP is based on the same measurements as my workouts would be (e.g. the input of 167.5mm crank). So it is consistent, but not accurate. Consistency in power meters is a billion times more important than accuracy, but accuracy is necessary for race planning and goal setting. So, gotta fix that. FTP test. Damn.

As for running, I don’t think I’m ready for an FTP test there yet. But I might change my mind towards the end of this week. Like swimming, I have a vague idea of where my current FTP sits and am basing my training off that. Run testing is less bad than bike testing, but still way harder than swim testing. So we’ll see I suppose.

For now though, I’m going to focus on recovery. Stretching & low intensity this week. Gotta make the most of it because I’ll be back at it in no time!

Weekly Workouts – March 27 to April 2

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 11825m, TSS 289.1
Bike: 242 km, TSS 641.4
Run: 40.9 km, TSS 322.8
Total Duration: 16:05
Total TSS: 1253.3
CTL: 98.8
ATL: 174.7
Form: -65.6

Wow. What a week! This was my highest volume week by TSS score ever. But, surprisingly, not by time. The week of August 15 2016 I did 17.5 hrs but 1146.7 TSS. So this week, I managed about 100 TSS points more in about 100 minutes less. That’s pretty solid.

Relative to what I’m shooting for in terms of discipline balance, I’m still light on the run. I’m pretty happy with the quality of my swim workouts and don’t want to reduce the efforts there. And my cycling is going great, so no interest in changing direction. Just want to increase the run volume. More kms per week!

But, for now, that will have to wait. This was Base 1 Week 3 which means… RECOVERY WEEK AHEAD!

Monday
Run:
16.3 km
Steady avg pace of 5:34/km
Duration: 1:34:28
TSS – 125.5
IF – 0.84
Surprisingly not fun. Going for some LSD. And I don’t consider this one a good one, for most of it anyway. I’ll take the experience points though.

Tuesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Geiger +2
Duration: 1:30
NP – 2.00 w/kg
TSS – 104.5
IF – 0.84

Swim:
3425m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
5 x 200 on 3:30 SI
300m on 20s rest
5 x 100 on 1:45 SI (one was 125m)
16 x 25 on 0:30 SI
200m CD
TSS – 85.5
IF – 0.97
I came home with a sore head and in a bad mood. This was actually a great swim and a good workout but cracked heads with a guy that was in my lane. Long story short, I was splitting with person-A, person-A gets out and person-B gets in. Person-B swims circle-pattern and I didn’t know A got out and B went in, and crack. Otherwise, great!

Wednesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Tallac
Duration: 1:00
NP – 2.12 w/kg
TSS – 78
IF – 0.89

Run:
10.8 km on avg pace of 5:20/km
10 min WU
5 x (200m @ 5:00/km, 200m jog, 200m @ 5:00/km, 400m jog, 400m @ 5:00/km, 200m jog)
5 min CD
TSS – 91.7
IF – 0.93
Trying to add a bit of structure. A fun one. Got chased by a (cute) dog, even!

Thursday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Carillon +1
Duration: 1:30
NP – 2.05 w/kg
TSS – 106.7
IF – 0.85

Swim:
4200m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
2 x 1500 desc 500 1-3
200m CD
TSS – 99.9
IF – 0.94
New best times on each split. This is a good fitness test workout, but also great for muscular endurance when the pace picks up. Went on a 1:38 pace on the first, 1:39 on the second.

Friday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Pettit
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.58 w/kg
TSS – 42.1
IF – 0.65
Nice low intensity recovery ride.

Run:
13.8 km (Treadmill)
Duration: 1:15:00
Avg Pace: 5:26/km
Up & down on pace a bit. Nothing special.
TSS – 79.0
IF – 0.88
This is my last treadmill run ever. That thing screws up my knees like crazy. Horrible swelling and pain still today (Sunday). Did not have any of that outdoors. I was inside due to weather. I’ll tough it out next time.

Saturday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Juneau -1
Duration: 2:00
NP – 2.12 w/kg
TSS – 153.9
IF – 0.88
I felt great through this entire workout. Tied my 2 hour power record.

Sunday:
Swim:
4200m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
3 x 400m on 30s rest
3 x 300m on 30s rest
3 x 200m on 30s rest
3 x 100m on 30s rest
200m CD
TSS – 103.7
IF – 0.96
Held solid pace throughout. 1:37/100m incl WU & CD

Bike:
TrainerRoad – Tallac +2
Duration: 2:00
NP – 2.14 w/kg
TSS – 156.2
IF – 0.88
Felt great for most, tougher towards the end. New 90 min power record.

I had a bad run. And now I’m in a bad mood.

Also I hate treadmills. It’s been about a week since I ranted about treadmills, so I guess I’m due.

I’m now fully convinced that treadmills and me do not get along. They’re evil. The weather tonight was cold and rainy – aka the worst possible weather imaginable. I’d take snow over this any day. So I decided to do my run indoors on the treadmill. Expecting the worst. Got worse than I expected.

lousy-smarch-weather

Damn it was bad. This time the treadmill and my Garmin disagreed by over 500m. Closer than it has been, but still amounted to a pace differential of about 12 seconds per km over 13.2. Or 13.8. According to the treadmill I averaged 5:26/km. Garmin said 5:38.

Distance aside, my knees were not fans of this workout either. Something about my form changes when I’m on the treadmill vs. outside. I’m not sure what it is though – I can’t figure it out. I’ve looked at video of me running on the treadmill, but haven’t managed to find anything. Nothing obvious anyway. But there’s a huge difference in how it feels. I’m now wondering if it has to do with the way my muscles engage on the foot strike. Because the belt is moving forwards, I wonder if I’m not pushing my leg through the stride as you would have to outside, and instead just letting the belt carry my foot backwards until my calf muscles engage. This would obviously be a massive difference from outside, and may cause instability in the knee. No idea if this is what is happening, but I know that whatever is happening is not good.

When I finished the run today my knees were swollen. I could feel them swollen as I sat on the couch trying to not rage. Swelling has gone down now and they feel mostly back to normal, but that wasn’t a good feeling. I really don’t think I can run on the treadmill anymore. I just don’t get it. It’s frustrating.

Does anyone else have these kinds of problems? Other than running outside or indoor track are there any solutions? Any advice? Anything?

Turn up the Volume!

I’m continuing to push quite a bit of volume for me. This week, I’m slated to hit 1140 TSS, but I’m sure I’ll blow past that by more than a few. Last week I exceeded the TSS goal of 1040 by almost 50 points (49.5, to be exact). And the week before, hit 935 on a 930 target. I was wondering this week how this volume compares to last year, and I was surprised at the result. Last year my TSS peaked at 1144. That was only one week. I had three weeks that were around 980, and the rest were well under.

So… yeah, lots of volume. Base 1 Week 3 is expected to be a new peak volume for me, and I’m just getting started. Lots of season to go.

But I’m getting results too. I’ve talked about my bike results, but I’m also having some good success in the pool. My pace times are coming down, and 100m repeats are getting faster. What’s really starting to surprise me is my running success. Tonight I hit a 3rd fastest 5km time and a 2nd fastest 10km time according to Strava. I was dumbfounded when I saw that. I wasn’t even really trying for those times. The times aren’t that impressive to begin with, but still… I didn’t expect to be back in form so quickly, especially with the stupid injury that I had over the off season. I’m wondering how much of my all around fitness success I can attribute to the increased cycling volume in particular. The frequency and quality of those workouts is one of the largest changes I’ve made this year, and it seems to be paying dividends in my aerobic fitness. I know that running is running and cycling is cycling – they’re different sports. But it’s got me wondering anyway.

I’m still not a runner. I’m getting there though. I have a feeling by the end of this season I’m not going to get to use the normal guy trope any longer. Today I did just shy of 11km in what I’d consider to be a structured workout:

10 min WU @ ~5:37/km
5 x (200m @ 4:40/km, 200m jog, 200m @4:40/km, 400m jog, 400m @ 4:40/km, 200m jog)
5 min CD @ ~5:40/km

In total, 10.8 km on an average pace of 5:20/km and 91.7 TSS points.

And it felt pretty good. It was cold though. Damn, I’m a wuss. It was about 10C out there, so I decided to run without a toque. That may have been a mistake. The wind was freezing cold once I got sweaty. I’ll keep that in mind for next time, but really I just can’t wait until spring!

And if you’re wondering, my Form score is currently at -67.2. But I feel great!!

Fatigue? What Fatigue?

-63.8… or so it says. Actually today I feel a bit closer to that than I have lately. Yesterday was a long run day. I managed to crank out 16.3 km keeping things almost entirely aerobic. My aerobic pace is dropping, currently down to about 5:30/km. This is slow by runner standards, but I’ll remind you again that I’m a normal guy. I don’t claim to have super powers like those folks that crushed Around the Bay this past weekend (jealous, for real).

But at 5:30/km there’s lots to feel good about. I managed that pace while carrying loads of fatigue, and hitting a 2nd fastest time on my least favourite Strava segment ever – without trying. This segment is a bit over 400m long with an average grade of 5%. Total climb of ~23 meters. I hate it. But I pretty much have to cross it in order to get in or out of my neighbourhood. Sadly.

Anyway, in addition to the segment, Garmin is telling me my stride length is increasing. A good thing, just have to keep my eye on my cadence and make sure that stays high enough. But the real success is that I’m already flirting with my season bests from last year on the run. I’m fairly sure I’ve passed them already in the swim & bike, but the run I wasn’t expecting to have so much growth so fast. It’s coming back fast and strong. Makes me happy.

This morning I was up at 5 am to hit 90 min on the bike before heading into the office. Geiger+2, if you were wondering. 5 x 12 min between 88% and 94% FTP with three minute recoveries. Ouch time, bro. This is one of my least favourite workouts despite having done it a few times. The blocks up to 94% are tough. Good fitness, I’m sure, but tough. Having bumped my FTP by 3 watts a few days ago, and running 16.3 km yesterday, I was definitely feeling grindy today, moreso than a typical morning workout. Took my legs through the first interval to get really warmed up, and had a tough time staying in aero for long. Still, managed to push through the work, hit the targets, and get the job done. Not one I’m proud of in terms of an individual workout, but as a piece in the puzzle things are coming together.

So having just finished the ride this morning I’m currently feeling it, big time. Feeling much closer to -63.8 than I’d like to admit, but at the same time it is nothing that can’t be recovered from quickly. It’s fatigue from hard work and perseverance. Hitting targets. Making gains. It’s the good kind of fatigue.

Back at it with a swim tonight – easy on the legs. Then just five more days until a recovery week. Sweet sweet recovery.

Weekly Workouts – March 20 to March 26

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 7000m, TSS 181.7
Bike: 237 km, TSS 625.0
Run: 36.1 km, TSS 282.8
Total Duration: 14:14
Total TSS: 1089.5
CTL: 83.9
ATL: 152.6
Form: -62.4

I am officially carrying a metric butt-ton of fatigue right now. The -62.4 is probably the largest my form score has ever been by a huge margin. I’m one more week away from a recovery week. But I will say, I don’t feel anywhere near -62.4. I feel much closer to -35 or -40, which really is right in the zone of where I want to be. Still, I’m going to proceed cautiously since injury is a risk I’m carrying with a high fatigue score like that.

That being said, this week was awesome. I took a few days off work and caught up on some much needed sleep. A great chance to de-stress. Set a few workout records in two disciplines, and a good week still in the third. And I didn’t use my treadmill at all this week!

Monday
Run:
11.6km
Steady avg pace of 5:35/km
Duration: 1:04:53
TSS – 90.3
IF – 0.87
Trying to keep things aerobic. Still settling into running again.

Tuesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Antelope +1
Duration: 1:30
NP – 2.03 w/kg
TSS – 111.5
IF – 0.86

Wednesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Monitor +1
Duration: 1:00
NP – 2.07 w/kg
TSS – 77.7
IF – 0.89

Run:
14.4 km
10 min WU
10 x (1 min @ <5:00/km, 30s recovery, 5:00 @ 5:25/km)
5 min CD
TSS – 113.5
IF – 0.87
Of course, it would be -8C on this day. Man that was cold. Mostly good otherwise. Again just trying to feel out my running legs.

Thursday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Geiger +2
Duration: 1:30
NP – 2.04 w/kg
TSS – 113.2
IF – 0.87

Swim:
3800m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
3 x (1 x 300m on 30s rest, 3 x 100m on 15s rest)
16 x 50 on 20s rest
200m CD
TSS – 97.4
IF – 0.98
All good here. Could have reduced rest a bit, but found that skipping swim workouts is causing a small loss of fitness. Just gotta get back in the routine of swimming.

Friday

Run:
10.1 km
Duration: 55:41
Avg Pace: 5:31/km
No workout – just run
TSS – 79.0
IF – 0.88
Trying to keep things aerobic & settle into running.

Bike:
TrainerRoad – Pettit
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.57 w/kg
TSS – 44.8
IF – 0.67
Nice low intensity recovery ride. Did this as a reverse brick with good results.

Saturday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Wright Peak -2
Duration: 2:00
NP – 2.06 w/kg
TSS – 153.5
IF – 0.88
I felt great through this entire workout. Set 60 minute, 90 minute, and 120 minute power records with 5, 5, and 13 watts respectively. Solid all around.

Sunday:
Swim:
3200m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
20 x 100 on 1:50
200m CD
TSS – 84.3
IF – 0.99
Well this one shocked me a bit. In the last 200 of my WU I came in on a 1:33 pace, so I knew it was going to be a good workout. The majority of the 20 100 reps were under 1:30, with two as low as 1:27. I will have to drop the 1:50 down to 1:45 I think for next time, or add more reps. This is a great workout. A must do.

Bike: 
TrainerRoad – Hunter -2
Duration: 2:00
NP – 1.88 w/kg
TSS – 124.3
IF – 0.79
This one was a grind unfortunately. I bumped up the FTP by three watts prior to this. That had basically no effect on the grindyness of it. Just the week catching up with me, plus some fatigue from swimming hard right before this workout. Nothing to be concerned with. Kept with the plan as written.