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!!

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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.

I was going to write this yesterday, but then I fell asleep

Sleep is so wonderful. The last few weeks I’ve been up early for workouts, and I guess I’m still adjusting to this. In the past I’ve never really done morning workouts, with the exception of swimming. I was stupid for not. They’re awesome. And exhausting.

On Tuesday of this week I was so wiped I decided that I need to give myself a chance to recuperate a bit. So I’m off work today & tomorrow, making this a four day sleep filled weekend. I have two goals: do my workouts, and sleep as much as I can. That means naps, and sleeping in, and going to bed on time. My job for four days is to sleep.

Damn I lead a hard life.

In seriousness, I’m a big fan of sleep. I’m not one that can function on less than 7 hours, and usually if I know I need to have a high-productivity day, I plan for 8 or more. Part of this I think is because I have trouble staying asleep, but really it probably has more to do with genetics than anything. Some people need sleep. Others don’t. Luck of the draw.

But more sleep is actually ok with me. In this crazy sport, sleep is essential. The human body releases elevated levels of HGH while sleeping, and that coupled with a proper diet and not moving for 8 hours, a lot of muscle damage can be significantly recovered in just a single night’s sleep. That’s what I’m going for.

Late last year when trying to plan out my 2017 season, I came across mention of tart cherry juice as being something that can aid sleep. Science reasons, I guess, but I was not able to find anyone that would suggest it was in any way bad or dangerous. So I found that our local Sobey’s carries some and started drinking a single serving before bed. I’m now an official believer in the stuff, and groan and drag ass out of bed when I get up there and realize I haven’t taken it that night. For me it works so well that I can actually function on 7 hours of sleep quite well. In brief, it helps me stay asleep for a full night. Uninterrupted REM sleep is amazing when you’re not used to having it. Placebo effect? Honestly, who cares? If it’s placebo, I’m still sleeping like a baby. If it’s real, I’m still sleeping like a baby.

So it’s a bit after 9:30. I’ve been up since about 8:30 or so – an extra three hours sleep this morning! I’ve got some work to do today with a 90 minute ride and a dip in the pool. But I’ve got all day.. so maybe a nap first…..

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.

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!