Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday - Denver Century

5000 feet of climbing in the first 50 miles. 1700 calories burned in the first 20 miles. Fred, you are no longer in Texas.

This was hands down the toughest 100 mile ride I've ever done. But I have to say the work I've done so far on technique and at MAF is paying off.

Now when I get back home I'll begin my first round of testing to move into a more race structured bit of training.

Happy Father's Day everyone!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Boulder and Saturday

Got out for a ride of around 40ish miles. Felt good the whole way. Tomorrow is a 100 mile effort. Not my first, but my first at altitude.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Is "Gain" Day

Awhile back I was at Jack and Adams talking to Zane Castro about training. He was telling me about some conversations he was sharing with some coaches in the sport. Basically what I walked away from our conversation with where these four words:

"Did you make the gain?"

The work I do on Wednesday has been relatively the same for the past 2 and 1/2 months. I get up and ride my bike then I hang out at the house taking it easy getting ready to go to the track and test my MAF. I told myself this year if there was one workout I was going show up for week in and week out it would be my MAF test at the track. And I must say I've done a pretty good job of this only missing when the weather wouldn't allow going outside.

But today I got started late and even though the day started out cloudy, it was sunny and a full on 93 degrees about half way through my workout on the bike. I needed/wanted 2 hours which is about 3 laps and some piddling around on my modified South Mopac loop. I modify the loop so I can add milage, stay out of traffic, and climb more.

The break down of the loops looked like this:
  1. First Loop - 35:00.4 Ave HR 120 Max HR 135
  2. Second Loop - 35:07.8 Ave HR 124 Max HR 137
  3. Third Loop - 31:57 Ave HR 124 Max HR 135
So after the third loop I just rode around and cooled down. But I have no idea where that third lap came from. And I sat at a signal light for a bit during it. Long enough, I might add for me to roll up onto the sidewalk and push the crossing button. I thought it was some sort of fluke. Then I went to the track.

I won't belabor this, but the same thing happened on the track. Now I will freely admit the temperature dropped while I was on the track from 94 degrees down to about 74 while I was running, but even so I started doing these workouts in February (when the average temperature was consistently in the 50's) and the fastest I could run then at a HR less than 150 was a 10:35 pace which is about 2:39 per 400. Today my slowest lap (while it was still over 90 degrees was a 2:25. My fastest lap today was my last at 2:09 (it was very windy by the way as the front that ended my workout at 3 miles was coming in fast) and my pace for the workout was a 9:13. Average HR 148.

But the thing is that last lap, even with wind was so like the last loop on the bike earlier. It was soooo easy, like I was just going with it and I wasn't putting in any effort at all. For me, as I write about it now, the gain isn't as much in the numbers as it is in the sense of ease needed to produce them. That is where the gain is. It reminds me of the feeling I had last October when I could literally "feel" body say "I can do and Ironman now." But this time the feeling is coming in June. How cool is that???

At any rate the point of making the gain and realizing you have made it is knowing when to shift training focus so that progress remains steady and does not plateau. So now I may rethink my training for the next several weeks to introduce new stimuli. Things appear to be shaping up nicely.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Today was another solid day of training. I think I'm finally getting into a groove now that I've resolved my mysterious fatigue from a couple of weeks ago. Nothing really special to report. A 1 hour 20 min run with an embedded 15 min vertical stair running set. The protocol was to simply run up and down two flights of stairs until my heart rate reached my MAF threshold of 145 bpm. The last time I did this workout with a 30 minute pre run, I was only able to stay under 145 for about 7 minutes so, I'm happy with the results.

My second workout of the day was a 1 hour 20 minute bike also with a MAF emphasis. What I am noticing is how my cycling is speeding up and my technique is becoming more and more effortless.

This brings up the reason I've focused so heavily on training slowly and deliberately this year. While I was on the bike today I watched a guy fly by me in aero position pushing a much bigger gear than I was using but when the road started to incline, he stopped pulling away and I pulled closer. I experience this a lot. My effort never changes, my heart rate stays steady and yet I gain ground on people who fly by me otherwise. I have noticed I also can gain ground or pull closer in a headwind.

The thing is most training programs focus a great deal of time and energy directing athletes on ways to increase and maintain effort. And I don't deny there is a place for this in training. What I don't understand is why in most cases it precedes developing efficiency - both muscular and aerobic. And this is what I was seeing as I rode uphill into the wind and gained on my timetrialing friend.

A funny thing happens when you ride and run slow. If you can get past how slowly you are moving, you can notice just what is necessary to move you as quickly as possible, what muscles are needed to contract and which ones you must relax. You learn how to use free momentum. You learn how to just feel speed and separate it from effort. And in the world of triathlon, this is a good thing.

Train well.