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?

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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.

2017 Goals – Part 1

I’ve been putting off this post for some time now. It was coming, but I don’t think I have a strong enough handle on my current fitness to set goals. So this post is aptly named “Part 1” – I am going to muse about what my goals might be… because that’s helpful…..

I do a lot of indoor cycling, which makes it difficult to estimate time on the bike course. The trainer I have works well enough but because the power curve on the trainer is not realistic, all speed measured – even on the hub of the rear wheel – is inaccurate. The trainer actually makes me appear slower than I am by quite a bit. As well, it’s a fluid trainer with rear wheel resistance, so the turnover at the top of the pedal stroke is very far from realistic – it’s like pulling the crank through the mud between 11 and 1 o’clock. So I won’t have a strong handle on how I am performing until the weather is nicer and I’m biking outside again. That being said, I’m hitting power records all over the place and training at a higher quality and frequency than ever before. I’m set to increase my FTP by ~3 watts today (conservative increase) – setting 60 minute (by 5 watts), 90 minute (by 5 watts), and 2 hour (by 13 watts) power records yesterday in the same workout – which brings me a bit closer to my “not a real goal” pre-season goal FTP of 3w/kg. How that translates to speed, well that’s still not entirely clear. I’ll know more in a few weeks.

My running volume is increasing, but also not enough to estimate pacing. I am going to be trying a lot of different run training techniques this year than I have in the past. To be clear, what that means is basically I’m going to try to do “proper” run training, instead of just lots of long runs in the aerobic zone. I have no idea how my body will respond to this kind of activity. Hopefully good. I’d really like to hit 5 min/km in races this year. Sub-5 seems plausible, but I’ll stick with 5 for now.

For the swim, I want to do 2km in a race on a 1:35/100m pace. That’d put me across the line in 31:40. I’m fairly sure that if I can get my volume up a bit more I can hit 1:30/100m pace, 30:00 over 2km.

In terms of events, I have two booked and ready to go. I’ll be at IM Muskoka 70.3 in Huntsville on July 9, and on September 17 I’ll be in Welland/Niagara Falls for the MSC/Rev3 Barrelman. In addition, I’m trying to figure out if I can make the MSC Rose City long course work for June 26. Logistical issues, not fitness, are getting in the way of that one for now. Leaning towards yes, but some hurdles to climb.

And late in the season there are a few full-distance races that may be interesting, though I’m fairly sure I’ll be done at Welland this year. IM Louisville (October 15) or IM Florida (November 4) are appealing. Louisville more than Florida, but the extra three weeks between those events could be really helpful. The problem is that Florida will sell out just about any day now, and I’m not in a position where I’m ready to commit to it yet. Florida looks like an easier course, more friendly to first-timers, warmer, and more in line with my potential timing, coming off Barrelman in September. It’s also farther away and more expensive. Louisville is half the distance away – driveable in a day – and cheaper. But comes with a more difficult course and three weeks earlier. Decisions are hard.

So.. I guess in summary.. (?)

  1. 3w/kg FTP
  2. 5 min/km run pace in races
  3. 1:35 min/100m swim pace in races

Seems like a weak list. Yep, I’ll come back with “Part 2” in a few weeks.

If I didn’t feel so good, I’d feel so bad.

Or is it the other way around?

I had such a hard time keeping my eyes open at work today. Just exhausted. In my non-triathlon life, one of my dogs has decided she likes peeing inside, despite being housebroken for years. She’s 4. This is new. And only happens in the middle of the night.

2015-10-16 10.59.56
Scout (aka the Pee Pee Princess) and Loki

To make a long story short, my wife and I have found out she doesn’t pee in our bedroom. Normally we sleep with the door open and the dogs come and go as they please through the night. She pees is the living room only. So if we close the door with her in the room at night, she doesn’t pee. Easy enough.

Last night she woke me up to take her outside. This is the first time she’s ever done this, so a bit of a win. Anyhow, normally that alone wouldn’t disrupt my sleep enough to be a problem but for whatever reason, I was just wrecked at work today. Even dipped into the secret stash of Coca-Cola at work, to no avail. Came home and flopped on the couch for a snooze.

Cut to 20 minutes later, I got on my bike for tonight’s ride. Antelope +1 on TrainerRoad. I was sure it was going to go horribly, but it actually went great. I was surprised at how well it went. No record breaking tonight but I felt strong and solid for the entire ride. So, if I didn’t feel so crappy today, I’d feel great now.

And now, to sleep.

OUTSIDE!!!

58573104The sun was shining when I got home from work. I was looking forward to it all day long. The first chance this year (for me) to run outside!

I’m a notorious cold weather wuss when it comes to working out. In honesty, its less the cold and more the ice and snow. So today, at 5 degrees C, the sidewalks were clear and mostly dry and with daylight savings time now in full swing – the sun still up when I get home from work – I ventured forth into the sunshine for an OUTDOOR RUN!

And what a run. I love Garmin, but seriously, screw you Garmin! I’ve been complaining on here and on Twitter for some time now about how inaccurate the watch is at pacing treadmill runs. Well today I proved Garmin wrong definitively by punching out 11 km averaging 5:19/km!

I know, I know, for “real” runners, that’s not fast at all. But I’ll remind you – I’m not a real runner. I’m a normal guy. Last year at this time.. actually let me check… Yep, my first run recorded in TrainingPeaks for 2016 was on May 17. 8.5 km on a 6:44/km pace.

18 may 2016 2
18 May 2016
18 may 2016 1
18 May 2016

Today’s 11 km on 5:19 feels pretty special. I’d say its safe to say I’m starting off this season a bit farther along than I was last time around. Not to mention that I’m now sitting just two pounds heavier than an all time (since I was… 18) low body weight – about 17 pounds less than I was on 18 May 2016, and 23 pounds less than I was a year ago today, and 58 pounds less than I was at my peak weight!

17 march 2017 2
17 March 2017
17 march 2017 1
17 March 2017

Haha. Really looking forward to seeing what the rest of this spring has in store for me. I need more than a few more degrees warmer to get my bike out of the basement, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the treadmill in a few days while winter sorts itself out, but for now I’m going to pretend like those things aren’t true and just smile away.

If it’s nice wherever you are, get out there and RUN!

Two Great Workouts

I had two great workouts today.

Got home from work slightly earlier than usual, and with the wife still out I thought I’d hop on my bike quick and get my ride out of the way before she got home. Today was Antelope on TrainerRoad. This is a 90 minute ride consisting of 5×10 min Sweet Spot intervals. I find it hard to believe that I’m saying this,  but this is a hella fun ride. In fact, I found that yesterday’s ride – Geiger – to also be quite fun. Certainly way more fun than that FTP test from Tuesday. I had read online prior to selecting the Sweet Spot Base plan for my triathlon base training that it was generally a fun plan, and that does seem to be true (for all of the two workouts that I’ve done so far). I find that I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow’s session. I’ll post in the future about how I’m finding the plan. I’m sure that I’ll write fairly extensively about it once I’m a bit further in. For now, all smiles.

Today though, I hit 102.9 TSS on the ride in 90 mins, which is not shabby. A bit over the prescribed 96.0 as well. I’ll take it.

For my swim, I did a workout from the book that I use – Swim Workouts for Triathletes. Usually I ignore the warm up suggestions and do my own thing. So today my workout was this:

4 x (200m free, 50m kick)
3 x 400m NS, 30s rest
3 x 300m NS, 30s rest
3 x 200m NS, 30s rest
3 x 100m NS, 30s rest
200m CD

Idiot that I am miscounted, even with my Fenix tracking laps, and did one of the intervals at 450m, so I totaled 4050m. Again, not too shabby. Including WU and CD I averaged 1:39/100m, and through the sets I was pacing between 1:29 and 1:37/100m depending on the interval length. 96.7 TSS on that one.

So I racked up some work today. Just shy of 200 TSS points in a single day is a LOT of work for me this early in the season. But I’m friggin smiling and I’m friggin happy about it. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s fun.

I’m 458/930 TSS points into this week, with lots of work left to do. I skipped my Monday swim because daylight savings time is the tool of the Devil, so I’m a bit behind where I “should” be, but I’m not worried. Base 1 Week 1 is going great!