Friday, April 17, 2009

3 Seconds And 12 Watts Later

This week was a test week. I was to get a baseline on all three sports, swimming, cycling and running. But because of my foot and the previously dislocated bone in it (there is still a bit of inflamation, but other than that no real pain to speak of) I skipped the run test and opted to add a 30 second pushup test in its place. Just for kicks. 62 perfect pushups in 30 seconds. Not bad. But there was definitely some pain involved in the exercise. But now that I've done it I think I'll do this test as well when I test again next month. I may see if I can work up to a 60 second pushup test. Who knows? I think the pushup results are encouraging though I must admit at the time I wasn't sure what they would mean for my other test this week.

The swim and bike results were encouraging as well. About 12 watts on the bike up from last year's test in November and 3 seconds per 100m faster in the swim. I think I'm seeing this because of the change in focus in my training. I've decided to devote more of my time working on strength. One reason for this is I didn't have that much to begin with. The other is because I'm not getting any younger.

By focusing on strength and muscular endurance type work to transform my body into one that can handle more work loads in my training, and keeping the triathlon specific work focused on technique, I'm allowing my body the time it needs to become more powerful and proficient at the same time without the accumulated stress of weeks of endurance based training. So first I will adapt myself to the loads, then I will adapt to carrying sports specific loads. One of the things I observed was as I became fitter in my prior racing, I also seemed to become weaker physically. Some of this was probably my scattershot approach to nutrition back then. But some of that was probably also due to the nature of the stresses that come along with racing.

I think the most encouraging thing I am taking away from this week's tests is on the bike I am now able to ride in the big chainring. Last year, I had to acknowledge that I didn't posses the strength or fitness to race effectively using larger gears. Now even though I am lighter, I had no issue with holding a big gear in either my time trial test or the test I conducted on the trainer a few days later. In fact I was riding the majority of the time trial in either a 53x12 or 53x13. No way I could have pulled that off last year.

I think there are a couple of reason that account for the early season progress I'm both seeing and feeling. The largest component has to be rest. I am making a concerted effort to place rest front and center in my training schedule. Basically what this amounts to is in addition to the "no working out sleepy" rule there is now a 9:30pm curfew. I brought this rule back with me from Colorado after I spent some time on my friend's back porch watching the sun and moon rise and set for a few days. It occurred to me that nature operated quite well within the parameters of these movements and I should probably follow her very obvious example in my own life. More than any other single workout, gadget, or supplement I've ever tried this single change by far has had the most immediate and verifiable impact.

I also have to acknowledge the huge benefit I am now enjoying by employing both functional bodyweight training, yoga, and accessible core work into my weekly routine. I owe so much of the power and endurance I have to this I can't begin to express. The thing is I haven't really begun my endurance training yet but because of the workouts I've put together I know I am now starting from a position of strength versus ground zero. I can train harder and recover faster. And I still have a full time job.


ben said...

I found your site googling "P90X triathlon" and noticed that you are a fellow Austinite! Was wondering what your final thoughts ended up as with P90X. You seem to be taking a different path now.
Maybe I'll see you at the CapTexTri.

ace said...

Personally, I think P90X is a very well thought out and put together program. If you commit to it 100 percent you can get/create amazing physical change in a very short time.

I also think as a triathlete it is very hard to commit to something like P90X completely. This is because of the intensity that the program demands. It is not something I would start at the beginning or during a racing season.

For me the most difficult part of P90X was finding a balance between the program and my triathlon training. Technically you are working out around 9 hours a week with P90X. If you average 10 to 15 hours a week with normal triathlon training normally that doesn't leave a great deal of time (or energy) for tri specific work.

I wound up modifying the P90X schedule a bit after the first month so that I could address that. Typically I skipped the warmups on the DVDs and swam, biked, or ran for about 30 min. I also skipped days 6 and 7 which were Kenpo and Stretching and did my longer endurance work. That worked for me.

As for now, I actually still use P90X type movements/exercises in my strength work about 3 times per week. I also take and teach strength focused yoga classes. I don't know if I would see my self as on as much a different path as using what I learned and got from P90X to my best advantage. The 90 day program will make you much stronger, typically with less muscle soreness than you get from working out in the gym. That in and of itself is one of the most beneficial aspects of the types of movements P90X has you perform. The other is you gain "coordinated" muscle strength and function because with about 90 percent of the exercised you are supporting your own body weight and accessing your core for stability and balance. This is also huge for a sport like triathlon.

To sum up, I still am a fan of P90X. I think it is much more beneficial as a training aid for triathletes than any of the strength routines I commonly see in the tri books on the market. For triathletes dialing in the appropriate caloric intake will take some time and effort if they are doing tri training and P90X at the same time.

Hope this helps some. If not let me know and I'll try to answer as best I can. Train and race well!