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.

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.

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.

My Love-Hate With the Local Bike Shop

Last week I noticed that my bottom bracket was having some mild grinding. No audible sound was coming, but it was definitely grinding on the down-stroke. I ride a 2016 Cervelo P3 which is fitted with a press fit BBRight bracket. And I’m completely incapable of performing this specific piece of maintenance.

Thursday before hitting the pool I went down to my local bike shop to ask some questions about it. The guys in there are usually pretty nice, but having not brought my bike with me (intentionally) there was only so much I could do. I knew that the grinding was a minor issue and that I still had three more days to ride before I had a day off the bike (the day off was Monday – today). So I asked about when to bring it in, about how long it would take, that kind of thing. They said bring it in first thing Monday – great.

Now I’ll mention that while I have no affiliation with the shop, they tend to be on the awesome side of things most of the time. A bit of a gruff exterior, but willing to bend pricing reasonably, easy to contact, and very convenient to my office. I bought my Cervelo from them as well as a variety of other items, and all with great experiences.

I should also mention that the city I live in is not small, but its not huge either. There are a handful of bike shops, but only one Cervelo dealer. So if I want an “official” mechanic, they’re my guys.

I arrived promptly at 9 am with my bike – so prompt in fact that the store wasn’t yet open. Sorry guys. I hate being that guy but I start work at 8 and had to leave to drop it for 9. Speaking to the staff it sounded like it would be towards the end of the week before I had the bike back. I had factored into my training plan to not have a bike from Monday until end of day Tuesday, and if I was able to swing that I’d not have to sacrifice a workout. But end of the week meant I’d have to change everything. I plan my upcoming weeks on Sunday nights, right around the time I have been posting my weekly workout logs.

Ok, well, I hummed for a second and decided it needed the work and I’d better just deal with it. It’s Base 1 Week 2. Loads of time to make up a day or two lost. Not the end of the world since my Form score is huge right now also. Etc.

Then I got to thinking “why don’t they accept service appointments?” It seems like a pretty trivial thing, especially for people that ride frequently. If I had an appointment, I could schedule around it. I’d absolutely be willing to pay more for that kind of thing. Then I remembered Velofix.

This is a relatively new service to our area, and I’ve yet to try it out, but the short version is they have a Sprinter van that is full of a bike workshop. Book an appointment with the service you want, and they show up at your door and do the work. There’s a $69 min charge for our area and I’d bet the labour costs are a bit higher than in a typical LBS, but they accept appointments.

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At this point, having now panicked about losing a bunch of days working out and knowing I had an appointment based solution available to me, I was grumpy. Cut to lunch, at home making grilled cheese sandwiches (yum), the shop calls and tells me that they’ve got my bike ready to go (!!….??). “All fixed up,” they said, and proceeded to tell me what the work was. “Great – I’ll be by after work to grab it – and THANK YOU!” I replied.

So now I know I’m not losing workout days, I’m pretty happy again. Head down to the shop after work & grab my bike, and here’s the kicker: they don’t even charge me for the work. I ask about appointments and they still say ‘no’ but I just keep thinking “I just saved $69+, and these guys are awesome!”

I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’ve got a great local bike shop that will prioritize work AND are great to their customers. And I’ve got Velofix, which also fits the ticket for when I’m in a pinch and need something quick. And the best part: I’ve got a sweet bike that I get to ask them to work on.

I’m not sure if there is a moral here, but if there is one I think it is to stick with what works, be good to those that are good to you, and trust in a trusted system. And of course, support your local bike shops. They’re great, even if they are a bit gruff sometimes.