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.

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!!

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.

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!

I hate Treadmills

They’re the worst. Treadmills are awful. I’m very angry with mine right now.

I’m skeptical at the best of times that I’m getting “as good” a workout from treadmills as I do from outside. There are obvious benefits – pacing being out of my control is one of them. I find it much easier to sustain a difficult pace on a treadmill than out in the real world. But that also has me thinking that I should be better at sustaining a pace in the real world, and that I need practice doing this – in the real world. Not on a treadmill.

I’m also skeptical that bio-mechanically, everything is sound while running on a treadmill. It’s a belt. It can slip. It does slip. That’s one of the things I hate about it. Even after tightening it so it doesn’t slip perceptibly I’m still very skeptical that it isn’t slipping imperceptibly and causing hellish problems within my knees. It wouldn’t take much to irritate the soft tissue beneath the patella. That’s a road that leads straight back to my winter injury. And I really think like my ground contact time is way longer on a treadmill than it is when I’m outside. I don’t have any way of measuring that with my current tools, and it doesn’t really matter, but if my stride is different on the treadmill vs. outside, that’d bad. I don’t fully understand the pure bio-mechanics of it, but seriously, how could it be good?

But what really grinds my gears is that I can’t get accurate distance/pace from the treadmill. Or rather, TrainingPeaks won’t accept an adjusted distance/pace and recalculate my IF to generate an accurate TSS score for the workout. My Garmin Fenix 3HR, which I adore – except on the treadmill – tries to estimate pace using accelerometers. If it worked properly that’d be great. Last night, however, it missed my pace by ~20-35 seconds per km, and missed my distance by over 800m. And it was on the slow side, so I looked even more like a weenie when the workout got posted to Strava!Strava - Fenix lies

800m is completely unacceptable. And from what I’ve read online the foot pod that Garmin makes is not a suitable solution – might be accurate at the pace it is calibrated but as pace changes the accuracy goes out the window. These new running power meters may also be a solution some day but for now it looks like they’re completely useless on the treadmill – more so than just a plain old foot pod.

But given the issues I have with treadmills I think my days using them are up. Later this week the temperatures are supposed to be above freezing, so I may actually have a clean sidewalk to run on. I have the gear for it. But I’m not a fan of slipping and sliding all over the place.

But enough is enough. As nice as it is to watch Jack Bauer beat up terrorists while sweating in my warm house, when the sidewalks are clear the treadmill is turning into a “last resort” tool.