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!

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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.

Weekly Workouts – March 13 to March 19

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 7100m, TSS 167.0
Bike: 223 km, TSS 572.2
Run: 26.56 km, TSS 196.6
Total Duration: 13:14
Total TSS: 935.7
CTL: 70.5
ATL: 131.8
Form: -51.8
Well, Base 1 Week 1 is in the books. With the new cycling plan in full swing, that dominated my TSS this week. Next week my TSS goal increases a bit which should help to balance this out, but really the way this week worked out is just fine. My pool was closed two days this week, which limited my swimming. And still working to build proper volume on the run I’m happy with what I accomplished there too. I’d really like to add more run volume to my schedule. That will start to happen next week as the weather gets nicer.

My Form score at -51 is low. Like really low. But I don’t really feel like I’m at a -51. Mondays are typically a lower intensity day/full rest day for me so hoping that day will help out a bit there. It won’t do much but it’s better than nothing. I think part of it is that my CTL is ramping fast due to the “it comes back fast” thing, which should mean my Form score will start to return to normal (-25 to -45 on non-recovery weeks) as I move along the program. I do use a 3-on 1-off approach in planning, so two more weeks of building my TSS before taking a recovery week.


Monday

Stupid daylight savings time. No workout today. Rest.

Tuesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – 20 Minute Test
Duration: 1:00
NP – 2.10 w/kg
TSS – 81.0
IF – 0.9
FTP test. No change – FTP stays where it is. ~2.33 w/kg.

Run:
10.7km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
60 min slow build from @ 6:00 / km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 73.8
IF – 0.75
This was a treadmill workout. Garmin thinks I did 60 mins on ~6:00/km pace. According to the treadmill I was closer to 5:40/km on average, building from 6:00 to somewhere close to 5:00/km. So TSS is low compared to what it should be.

Wednesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Geiger
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.99 w/kg
TSS – 71.2
IF – 0.85
Run:
4.86km / Treadmill
~9 min WU
20 min pace increase 0.1 MPH per minute from 6.2 MPH
5 min CD walking
TSS – 32.5
IF – 0.71
Garmin really frustrated me on this one. Topped out at 8.1 MPH, but Garmin thinks much slower than that.
Thursday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Antelope
Duration: 1:30
NP – 1.95 w/kg
TSS – 102.9
IF – 0.83
Happy with this one. This is a fun workout.

Swim:
4050m
4 x (200m swim, 50m kick)
3 x 400m on 30s rest (1 was 450 – I can’t count)
3 x 300m on 30s rest
3 x 200m on 30s rest
3 x 100m on 30s rest
200m CD
TSS – 96.7
IF – 0.95
Continuing to see my pace times come down. Happy.
Friday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Pettit
Duration: 1:00
NP – 1.57 w/kg
TSS – 44.5
IF – 0.67
Nice low intensity recovery ride. Felt much better after this one.

Run:
11.0 km / OUTSIDE!
Duration: 58:14
Avg Pace: 5:19/km
No workout – just run
TSS – 90.3
IF – 0.92
I wrote all about this one here.
Saturday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Hunter
Duration: 2:00
NP – 1.91 w/kg
TSS – 133.2
IF – 0.82
A tough one after stacking lots of TSS this week. Still, finished happy. Apparently this was also a new 2-hour power record for me. Somehow. I have a feeling I’m gonna break all my records this year.

Sunday:
3050m
200m swim, 200m kick, 200m pull
100m swim, 100m kick, 100m pull
6 x 50 on 15s rest
2 x 150 NS on 20s rest
2 x 1500m, desc every 500m
6 x 75 on 15s rest
1 x 300 NS on 40s rest
6 x 50 on 20s rest
3 x 100 on 15s rest
200m CD
TSS – 70.3
IF – 0.93
A good “keep things interesting” muscular endurance workout. Could have been longer but the consistency of this workout creeps up. Including WU & CD, average pace was 1:37/100m.

Bike: 
TrainerRoad – Wright Peak -2
Duration: 2:00
NP – 1.95 w/kg
TSS – 139.4
IF – 0.84
hehehe 😀 I set 90 minute and 2 hour power records on this one. All smiles.

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!

Weekly Workouts – 6 March to 12 March

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 8550m, TSS 197.4
Bike: 114.9 km, TSS 274.2
Run: 38.95 km, TSS 285.3
Total Duration: 10:56
Total TSS: 756.9
CTL: 58.5
ATL: 103.6
Form: -36.5
This was supposed to be my first structured week. And it mostly was. Using TrainingPeaks’ ATP, this was categorized as a “Preparation” week. Base 1 Week 1 starts tomorrow. Still, I came extremely close to my target weekly TSS of 780 for this week. That’s pretty great considering that I had a few workouts that just didn’t go well at all. And just like last week, ending this one on a high note, looking forward to more.


Monday

Run:
9.39 km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
50 min slow build from @ 6:00/km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 66.9
IF – 0.77
Planned for 65.0 TSS, so this was pretty much on target. Felt good too.

Tuesday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Phoenix
Duration: 1:30
NP – 1.93 w/kg
TSS – 101.0
IF – 0.82
Monday after my run, I followed it up with some core work. It definitely helps on the bike in the power transfer but I was not recovered enough. My IT bands and glutes were not pleased with this, but I pushed through. Overall, pretty happy, but sore.

Swim:
1550m
2 x (300m swim 100m kick)
5 x 100 on 2:00 SI
1 x 100m on 1:55 SI
100m CD
TSS – 30.6
IF – 0.86
Monday’s core work includes push-ups and some synergistic workouts that involve shoulders, biceps, and chest. I felt like I had tree-trunks for arms that wouldn’t bend. Just not recovered enough. I was planning for a 20 x 100 set but I missed my goal paces within the SI’s on every interval, and felt like crap doing it. So I bailed.

Wednesday:
Run:
9.58km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
50 min slow build from @ 6:00 / km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 71.9
IF – 0.80
Same as Monday.

Thursday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Cumberland
Duration: 1:15
NP – 1.97 w/kg
TSS – 87.7
IF – 0.84
Happy with this one.

Swim:
3000m
2 x (300m swim, 100m kick)
5 x 100m on 2:00 SI
5 x 100m on 1:55 SI
5 x 100m on 1:50 SI
5 x 100m on 1:45 SI
200m CD
TSS – 74.1
IF – 0.96
Redemption for Tuesday. If it was easier to set intervals on not-05 and not-10 second intervals I’d have done this a bit faster. I’ll have to look into this for next time.

Friday
Run:
9.18km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
50 min slow build from 6:00 / km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 66.8
IF – 0.78
Starting to notice that my watch’s distance differs significantly from the treadmill. I need to do some looking into this. Otherwise felt good.
Saturday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Big Squaw
Duration: 1:35 (of 2:30)
NP – 1.73 w/kg
TSS – 85.5
IF – 0.74
I wrote a full blog post about that here. Short version: knees.

Sunday:
4000m
2 x (300m swim, 100m kick)
2 x 1500m, desc every 500m
200m CD
TSS – 92.7
IF – 0.93
Did this workout last Saturday too, and compared to that I dropped more than 30 seconds off the first 1500 and over 60 seconds off the second from last week. This is going in the right direction.

Run:
10.8 km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
10 km (watch) slow build from @ 6:00/km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 79.7
IF – 0.80
Planned for 65.0 TSS, I promise. This just felt so good I thought I’d do a bit extra at the end. Bonus round! But really noticing the difference between my watch’s speed/distance calculation and the treadmill. I’m not sure which is more accurate but I tend to believe the treadmill on the indoor workouts. According to that, I did ~11.5 km total. Once the weather warms this mostly won’t matter, but still weird that its different by that much.

Bumping FTP

A few posts ago I mentioned needing an FTP test on my bike. Well, turns out I need one in all three sports, really. Having not done one in each of the three sports since October 2016, they’re badly needed.

But I’m pretty sure I know how they’re going to go. Bike will go up, slightly. No more than a few watts. Run will go down, a lot. Injuries tend to do that. And swim will stay roughly the same, maybe a very slight improvement.

But they’re just so exhausting to do. And the fitness benefit of the test itself is not great. Obviously the argument can be made that accurate FTP = better training post-test. That’s true. I will never dispute this. But I’m pretty sure I can get to that point without testing again.

Yesterday I bumped my cycling FTP up by three watts and then did the same 90 min workout on the turbo that I did on Sunday (TrainerRoad’s Phoenix). My 60 and 90 min watts were not as high yesterday as on Sunday, but I held on for the whole time without much additional difficulty. I should note also that I squatted so many times on Monday that my butt still hurts today, Wednesday. Which is to say that I think I’d have cycled stronger Tuesday than Sunday if not for Monday squatday.

I’ve tried this in the past with success. Just bumping the FTP up a few watts at a time and give it 4-5 workouts to settle through the body. Each time I’ve done this I’ve never had to turn it down. Is it as accurate as a full on FTP test? Obviously no. But it is a lot more efficient in my mind.

But this is harder to do in the pool and while running, I find. Unless I’m in a steady-state environment where I know with 100% certainty the effort I put in is exactly relative to a certain point (which is the entire point of a cycling power meter), a full test is more or less essential. Swimming has too many variables to control. Running has slightly fewer variables, I’d argue, but my fitness is so out of whack on the run right now due to the off season that I don’t really have much choice but to test.

I just don’t want to.

…Maybe this weekend.

Weekly Workouts – Feb 27 to 5 March

Weekly Stats:
Swim: 7200m, TSS 169.7
Bike: 113 km, TSS 284.7
Run: 23.6 km, TSS 169.9
Total Duration: 8:53
Total TSS: 624.3
CTL: 49.2
ATL: 85.2
Form: -33.5
For my last unstructured week this felt mostly good. Swimming is strong. Notable improvements in connective tissue and muscle strenght. Starting structured work next week, hopefully. For a -33.5 Form I feel good. That’s a good sign that my fitness is returning quick. Only one double this week, which is less than normal. Usually try to do Bike / Swim workouts on days I’m able but schedule just didn’t work out that way.

Monday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Holt Hill
Duration: 1:30
NP – 1.79 w/kg
TSS – 90.2
IF – 0.78
Still working back in, not pushing things. Had a large muscle cramp following this workout, strange. Stiff the next day but passed quickly and no injury.

Tuesday:
Run:
7.48 km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
40 min steady @ 6:00/km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 54.4
IF – 0.77
Prescribed run from Chiro in Back to Run plan. Speed is prescribed.

Wednesday:
Swim:
3200m
4 x (100m swim 50m kick)
200m swim
2 x 500 NS on 8:30 SI
4 x 100 NS on 1:55 SI
4 x 100 NS on 1:50 SI
4 x 50 on 55 SI
4 x 50 on 50 SI
200m CD
TSS – 79.2
IF – 0.96

Thursday
Run:
8.46km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
45 min steady @ 6:00 / km
5 min CD walking
TSS – 60.0
IF – 0.77
Longest run in 3 months. Prescribed by Chiro. Slow but good.

Friday
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Cumberland
Duration: 1:15
NP – 1.91 w/kg
TSS – 86.3
IF – 0.83
Stronger than last ride. Still not pushing things. Need an FTP test soon.

Saturday:
Swim:
4000m
2 x (300m swim, 100m kick)
2 x 1500, Desc every 500m.
200m CD
TSS – 90.5
IF – 0.92

Run:
7.68km / Treadmill
5 min WU walking
10 min @ 6:00 / km
30 min slowly increasing pace, avg 5:49 / km
5 min CD walking
Still in back to run mode.

Sunday:
Bike:
TrainerRoad – Phoenix
Duration: 1:30
NP – 1.96 w/kg
TSS – 108.2
IF – 0.85
This felt easy. Going to be bringing a lot of pain to my turbo trainer this year. Awesome.