Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Near Year - New Gear

This could also be titled "Another Year, New Gear" since I'll never not need new gear. Some year's is less than others, let's hope it slows down a little :)

For the typical triathlete there is probably a never ending list of stuff that they want
  • Training food
  • Power meter
  • Training watch
  • Home trainer
  • Transition bag
  • Wetsuit
  • Speed suit
  • Tri suit
  • Bike shoes
  • Bike hydration system
  • Racing food
  • Helmet
  • Bike
  • Running shoes
  • Running hydration system
  • Recovery clothing
  • Recovery food
And then just toss "better" on the front of all those and go through it again

Not Going Nuts

The plan this year was to not go nuts. I needed a new helmet, and I needed a once over for my bike due to the accident last year. So that was the plan, and my wife was helping out. She made an appointment, and took my bike in. And then she caught the bike bug. A little more than a week later

New sweet ride

Old hotness (sans clip-on areo bars) (with trainer tire)

Going out for my first ride! Just kidding. There's ice on the roads - I'm still healing from the last fall ;)

As my wife put it "If I don't make this a priority, you'll never get a new bike!" She's right, I'd just ride the old Giant till it couldn't be ridden anymore. I'd think about buying a new bike, and when it came down to it I'd "yeah, but the bike shop is WAY over THERE and I want to ride instead of drive..." She's a keeper :)

Buying With Power

I bought my bike from Gear West bikes, no offense to my really local local-bike-shop, but I wouldn't even take my kid's bikes in to them, let alone buy a bike from them. Plus Gear West contributes a ton to the local community. Also, if you go there you have the chance to rub elbows with some local pros. None other than recently decided pro-triathlete Dan Hedgecock works there, and helped me pick out my bike and fit me on it. He's a good guy, I told him I read his blog, I didn't mention that sort of recently I suggested he earns money using less than traditional means.
After I bought the bike I sent out a tweet that he favorited, hopefully he doesn't put two-and-two together, I don't get a lot of tweets favorited.

Running Joke

There's a sort of running joke in the house and in my family. The joke is that I need tons of ribbing and gentle nudging to get faster. So after I get the bike, my wife said something to the effect of "maybe now you'll podium more often and going to races will be fun for me again." and my sister says (actual quote) "I will be expecting great things (in the form of speedier bike splits) from you."

It's all in good fun. Again this year I'm hoping to do some races with my family. I really do enjoy waiting at the finish line for them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Whoa nelly!

I've mentioned the new training plan a few times recently, it's focused on intensity and not so much volume.

I started last week, and it's been pretty fast, literally. This monday my hamstring started to feel tender. Sort of thankfully there was a visitor at the house Tuesday morning which disrupted the scheduled trainer ride, so I elected to take this time to rest my little muscles.

I opted for additional swimming in place of the Tuesday trainer ride, and the wednesday run. Tomorrow I will resume the normal schedule.

My hamstring is feeling better (actually it was feeling a lot better Tuesday after ice and rest) but now it's normal.

Rest now, fun later. Because the fun is not in the training, it's in the racing! Plus, we all get the same oat bag in the end.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Heart Rate Training

A week or so ago I started a new training segment. Overall it's about 8 weeks long, and is focused on building speed I haven't been able to get before; primarily on the bike and secondarily the run. One of the key aspects of this plan is that it's heart rate based. So I spend some time in zone 4 or zone 5.


If you go to the gym, or read about working out in really any capacity you've probably at least seen reference to heart rate zones. If you were to know your range, resting rate to max, then you can break it up into zones.

For the most part, the lower zones (1 and 2) are an effort that is pretty easy to maintain for a while, and are good for establishing a basic level of fitness and fat burning. Zone three is medium to medium hard effort, zone four is where many people would be when they are pushing themselves comfortably hard and could possibly hold for a while, and zone five is the start of the red line and really most people can't hold it there for very long.

Running vs. Cycling

Much to my surprise you HR zones are likely different for running vs. cycling. This is primarily due to a difference in fitness between sports. Or to put it another way, most people's threshold (basically the red-line) is lower on the bike than the run due to different muscles being used. Because of that you end up with a different max HR on the bike than the run. Granted this may not be true for everyone, but for most it is. Since the zones are based on that threshold, it's important to be able to figure out where that is. There are different ways to figure out your threshold, you can go get tested, or you can self administer the torture. For sure though, it's torture, as the goal is to find the place where basically your body can no longer be efficiently fueling your efforts, it's not a pleasant place to be for very long.

My Cycling Test

So to figure out my threshold I basically just did some warm up and then a 40 minute time-trial like effort and then took my average HR over that 40 minutes and use that as the basis to figure out my zones. This isn't the most persice, but it at least gave me a starting point.

My Running Test

I didn't really do one, I just used my max HR and applied a known formula. I did try to figure out my max HR though. If you use the old 220 - <fill in age here> that makes my zones all wonky. I can train pretty comfortably in zone four if I do that.

After a week

My bike max might be a little low. Zone three isn't easy, but I wouldn't say it's all that challenging either, it's pretty easy to get into zone four and zone five. Also my zone five is only about 3 beats wide, so I end up outside of it pretty fast. I may fiddle with that number a bit.

My run zones are stupid. I had done a run recently where my heart rate monitor recorded a spike of 213. So I used that, it seems high since most formulas start at 220 or lower. But when I look back at my old data there are at least five efforts with a higher recorded max - surprisingly all on the bike. So I used it. Then yesterday I had some intervals which called for some sustained zone four (six or seven minutes,) and honestly I could not figure out how to get my heart rate that high and still keep moving. So I I'll be adjusting that number too.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Training Notes

This month my totals looked like

Swim34,400 yards9:50 hours
Bike155.25 miles10:30 hours
Run48.5 miles7:25 hours
1:20 hours

Last Month

Swim34,400 yards10:25 hours
Bike153.17 miles10:35 hours
Run41.5 miles7:40 hours
2:10 hours

March 2012

Swim40,650 yards12:45 hours
Bike121 miles7:45 hours
Run53 miles8 hours
0 hours

I was super tired heading into the 3rd week, and I was getting ready to start a new training block which I've named "Super Nitro Mega X-Scream" so I took that week pretty easy dialing back to about half.

Moved yeardage up without moving time. Basically I was standing around too much. It's feeling pretty good, a good degree of challenge now.

I pulled some longer trainer sessions. I did get my bike out on the roads at once, that was fun. I'm looking forward to more time outside in the warmth. For instance now, I'm writing this instead of going out for a run because with windchill it's is less than twenty.

Did a couple of longer runs, I could really feel it in my legs. Overall though it seems to be going well.

Coming up
The new training plan has an intensity focus, so reduced time / miles, but higher effort overall (hopfully.) They always say, if you want to be faster, then you need to go faster. So more intervals of various lengths with plenty of time for my body to recover between days.