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Today I headed out to East Miramar again for some L3 intervals. I did this workout last week with 3X12 min at 300 Watts with 3 min rest. I wrote about it here, and below is last week’s splits:

Interval Avg Cadence Avg Power Norm Power
1 93 300 297
2 66 308 305
3 89 292 288

Last week my second interval was done in 53X12 gearing.

This week I added a fourth interval. I did the first 3 with a normal race cadence, and then the fourth I did with 53X12 gearing. I focused on the third interval because I had recalled last week my cadence and power had dropped. Here are today’s splits:

Interval Avg Cadence Avg Power Norm Power
1 93 307 299
2 93 307 300
3 93 308 302
4 71 304 301

Each interval ‘felt’ a little bit harder, but I just focused on keeping the power where I wanted it. I watched 3 second power averaging with the first 3 intervals, and then 1 second power for the last. I switched to 1 second power because with the lower cadence I felt there was a lot more variation in the power output and wanted instantaneous power feedback, where with a cadence over 90 it is easier to maintain the effort with the 3 second power averaging.

Overall, the workout was a success! I held my power and cadence through the intervals much better than last week. My tempo training zone is 258-308. Keeping my average power at the top end of it I definitely had moments where I was above the training zone. I’m trying to remember that my goal right now Is to go faster during the racing season by going slower right now, but I still think this was a pretty successful workout.

Here is a look at my Chronic Training Load (CTL) progression for the past 4 weeks (since I started base training):














Base 1

Base 1

Base 1

Base 2

























And here is my CTL ramp rate over the past 4 weeks:

Ramp Rate (∆CTL/week)









I’ve been reading in the wattage group about CTL ramp rates anywhere from 3-8 are acceptable, with some higher ramp rates during a training camp (usually several days to a week of increased training). Right now, with 2.9 overall, which includes one rest week, I think is pretty good. I want to see progression without getting burned out before I race. Most of the improvement is in my run, which is where it should be for now. I expect the swimming CTL to level off first, and then as my running CTL starts to level off I should see my biking CTL pick up again.



Today I finished week one of base two period training. My goals for the week were:

Long run of 14 miles – DONE

Threshold run of 5 miles (O-side Turkey Trot) – DONE

Sub-threshold run of 11 miles – DONE

Total run mileage 34 miles – Actual was 34.1

85% threshold power on climbs – DONE

85% threshold power intervals – DONE

Training Stress Score of 1000 – Actual was 1183


My TSS was a bit higher than I had planned. Next week I am planning a TSS of 1100, and will try to keep it there. I ended up with a high TSS and still had a lot of running to get in, forcing my TSS even higher, otherwise I would have backed off. I really need to focus on rebuilding my running and thought that not meeting my running goals to keep my TSS closer to 1000 would be more detrimental than having the higher than planned TSS.

Totals for the week:

Swim 12,400 yards

Bike 195 miles

Run 34.1 miles

TSS 1183


Next week’s goals:

Long run of 17 miles

Sub-threshold run of 11 miles

Total run mileage 37 miles

85% threshold power on climbs

85% threshold power intervals

Training Stress Score of 1100

Date: November 25, 2010 (Thanksgiving Day!)

Distance: 5 miles

This morning Molly and I decided to get up early and head to Oceanside for a “Family Tradition”, running a turkey trot race. We ran for Move Your Feet Before You Eat Foundation, and we did just that! It was very chilly this morning, as it should be on Thanksgiving, but there was no ice or snow on the ground, so we knew we were still in Southern California. The course finished along the coast, and it was gorgeous out today.

I clocked my time as 34:07 on my Garmin, with my splits being 16:58 and 17:09. Not quite an even split, but pretty close. I noted that my aerobic capacity was hardly being tapped at all, but my legs still aren’t that quick yet. A few more months for that…

This week I started the Base 2 training period, and yesterday I read Joe Friel’s blog post on Base 2 and 3 training. It was a timely post, and encouraged me to focus again on the purpose of this training period. My goals remain to gradually increase my TSS, and to gradually increase my running mileage with mostly lower intensity exercise. I thought it was interesting that in his blog post Joe Friel mentioned that many athletes want to start doing some higher intensity training during Base 2 because I have been tempted to start interval training. Gordon Byrn’s book, Going Long, also mentions this phenomenon, and cautions that this leads to an early peak with and ultimately suboptimal performance at the ‘A’ race.

Today I chose to use one of the Base 2 period interval workouts suggested by Friel, the 3X12 min in zone 3 with 3 min rest intervals. My zone 3 power (Coggan’s Tempo Power Range) is 258-308 watts. This is a pretty big range, and I figured it would be easy enough to do. I chose the 12 minute intervals instead of the 20 minute intervals because the road on East Miramar, where I plan on doing most of my interval work, is almost 5 miles long. A 20 minute interval would require me to do a u-turn in the middle of it.

My personal goals for this workout was to maintain as close to 300 watts as possible. The terrain is slightly rolling at East Miramar, so this would require a bit of focus. I only look at a 3 second power average, so I wouldn’t be using a lap average power to compensate for an average power that was higher or lower than 300 watts, but tried to focus more on the power at the moment. I also decided to throw in my own variation with the first and third intervals at a cadence typical of where I usually race at (around 90), and the middle interval at a lower cadence. The lower cadence interval I just rode in my 53X12 gearing and tried to keep the power at 300. There has been a lot of discussion about low cadence work on the wattage group, and the biggest consensus is that training at a cadence where you race is probably the most beneficial. Fair enough. At Ironman California 70.3 I’ll see plenty of hill climbs, and likely some lower cadences with those climbs, so doing some lower cadence work will simulate doing the interval on a hill. Here is how it worked out:


Average Cadence

Average Power

Normalized Power













I found that with the lower cadence interval it was difficult to keep the power that low. I had to force myself to lower the cadence to get the power down. The other two intervals the cadence felt more natural, but I did notice in the third interval I had to concentrate a little more to get the cadence where I wanted. I think if I had let the cadence stay around 85 I might have had an average power closer to 300. Although I didn’t feel particularly fatigued, the fact that I was challenged by maintaining the average cadence and power where I wanted is a pretty good indicator that fatigue was a factor. In many ways you can judge the quality and success of the workout by the final intervals. I often think to myself that the workout doesn’t begin until the second half.

Thanks for reading, and have a great Thanksgiving!

Date: November 22, 2010

Distance: 85 miles

This weekend was rainy and cold in San Diego. The random randonneur would probably think “who cares?” as randonneurs are accustomed to riding in all types of weather and through the night. This was certainly the case when I lived in Maryland and started randonneuring. When I was moving from San Diego to Maryland in 2004 I figured I wouldn’t even run in the winter because while living in San Diego I just didn’t do much training if the temperature was less than 50 degrees. In San Diego you can get away with that because rain and cold weather is pretty rare. Originally I was planning on finishing off last week with a big weekend with about 200 miles of riding and 6 miles of running. My goal for the week was a Training Stress Score (TSS) of 1200.

Saturday I headed out for a ride because it wasn’t raining yet. Six minutes into my ride it was raining, and it was a cold rain. I had dressed appropriately, but decided that getting in a lot of miles was not that appealing. After all, it is the offseason…

My revised plan was to change the week into a rest week, with a TSS goal of 750, and then roll into the next week starting a new build. My weekly TSS goals for this week were 1000, 1100, 1200, 750, then rolling into 1100, 1200, 800. Now I’ve changed it to 1000, 1100, 750, 1000, 1100, 1200, 800. There are a few other reasons why I chose this, but the point is that when things don’t work out exactly as planned you need to be flexible and adjust the plan a little. I mapped out the change using the PMC predictor spreadsheet that I had mentioned in another post, and there is minimal effect overall.

With the light training days and rain over the weekend I was able to get enough work done that I was able to head out today for a little extra training. I did my regular master’s swim from 0530-0630, completing 3200 yards in the workout. Then I headed from Mission Valley out to Rancho San Diego to start the Cameron Corners Cruise Permanent.

I didn’t run into any rain today, but there were some cold moments. The starting temperature was 48 degrees, and in Pine Valley it was low 40’s, overcast and breezy. These temperatures are cold in San Diego, but pretty nice in much of the country. I brought plenty of layers and was changing throughout the ride. One the climbs I’d have to keep peeling stuff off, and put things back on for the descents. Here is the profile for the ride:

Here is the route:

Training summary for last week:

Swim 12,000 yards

Bike 83 miles

Run 38 miles (goal: 37 miles)

TSS 767 (revised goal: 750)

For more info on the Cameron Corners Cruise Permanent, check out Mike Berry’s blog.

Today at lunch I was going out for a ride and thought it would be a good idea to ride at East Miramar. East Miramar is primarily a training area that has very little traffic. I just go out on the main road which is about 5 miles long. Today I was passed by one car and saw three others. The road is smooth and clean and has a lot of small rollers.

Recently on the Wattage Group there has been some discussion of the 90/90/90 workout. Andy Coggan had posted this workout in October 2004 when someone had asked about a winter workout to help maintain some of the fitness gains in the previous season. Dr. Coggan wrote that he did a 90/90/90 workout 3 times a week one winter and the next season was one of his bests. The 90/90/90 refers to intervals at 90% of his best power during peak fitness for 20 minutes, 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Here is the workout he posted:

5 min w/u 
20 min @ 275 W 
5 min easy 
5 min @ 325 W 
2.5 min easy 
5 min @ 325 W 
2.5 min easy 
0.5 min at 500 W 
2 min easy 
0.5 min at 500 W 
2 min easy 
0.5 min at 500 W 
2 min easy 
0.5 min at 500 W 
2.5 min easy 
5 min warm-down

This adds up to just over 1 hour, and I wanted to do a little extra so I just extended the warm up and warm down a little. I was in a hurry, so I didn’t bother calculating my own power goals, and just tried to use the ones Dr. Coggan had posted. This is also a drill in trying to maintain a certain power on the road. I haven’t done many intervals on the road, and am planning on doing more this year, so I thought this would give me some practice. My feedback on the Garmin is a 3 second power average.

Length of interval

90% of my best

Goal for workout

Average power

Normalized Power

20 min*





5 min





5 min





30 sec





30 sec





30 sec





30 sec





*The 20 minute interval included a u-turn which dropped power for a couple seconds.

Overall I was pretty pleased with how close I was to my power goals. Now that I know I need to maintain higher powers to be close to the 90% power goal I’ll have to repeat the exercise with new power goals.

Dates: Saturday/Sunday, November 13-14, 2010

This Saturday the Canari-Navy Cycling Team was planning a ride up Palomar. I remembered George Vargas telling me about a series of training rides where he stayed in a cabin at Lake Henshaw. I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some good workouts in this weekend and spend some quality time with the family. Besides the workouts we did some fishing, played cards and trivial pursuit, made smores and enjoyed “camping” with the comfort of a heated cabin.

Saturday’s ride started in Santa Ysabel, so I rode out there to meet the group. On the way from Santa Ysabel I was introduced to Mesa Grande Road. Mesa Grande provided some great climbing, and we avoided a lot of the traffic on the 79 and 76. Mesa Grande Road taps into the 76, just a few miles east of where we were camping. About 10 mile further and we turned onto South Grade Road up Palomar Mountain. Kevin Childre schooled us all, finishing a few minutes ahead of me. I started my push a few miles before the climb up South Grade Road, hoping to capture a new personal best 90 minute power. When I arrived at the store I was still short of the 90 minute push, so I continued on to the observatory. The road to the observatory is another 5 miles, and initially is downhill. The descent felt refreshing, but I was still trying to keep the power from dropping too much so it wasn’t complete rest. I appreciated how tired my legs were as soon as I had to start climbing again. By the time I reached the observatory parking lot my legs were pretty shot, but at least the majority of the remaining ride would be an easy descent. Did I reach my goal of setting a new peak 90 minute power? No. My best CP90 was 291 on 8/28/10 at the TCSD Olympicman Triathlon (flat course on TT bike). This time my CP90 was 283. Still not bad. There will be more opportunities to set a new personal best. On the descent down East Grade Road we saw Moment Cycle Sport Cycling Team climbing. I’m sure I knew more of the riders, but the only one I recognized right away was store owner JT Lyons. It seems that I rarely recognize a cyclist on my rides, so it was pretty cool seeing them out there.

Here is Canari-Navy, heading toward Palomar Mountain:

Getting ready for the descent:

Saturday evening I tried going for a run around the lake, but had trouble finding any decent trails. Later I found a lot of fire roads that go north of Lake Henshaw that looked like they would be good to run on. That will have to wait for another day. Molly ended up catching a catfish that was a great addition to our dinner.

Sunday I got up early and went for a 7 mile run. The run was 1 mile from the campground to East Grade Road, 2.5 miles up East Grade Road, then return. After some breakfast and packing I decided it would be a shame to leave without climbing Palomar again. I started my ride at about 10:40, riding up East Grade Road, doing a little exploring on some roads on top of Palomar and taking some pictures. I descended back down East Grade Road and went up Mesa Grande Road opposite the direction I had done on Saturday. There were a couple of steep sections that I’m pretty sure were steeper than South Grade Road. I arrived in Santa Ysabel, had some lunch, and then pushed all the way home. I was hoping to beat sunset, which was at 4:45, and I arrived home at exactly 4:45. One thing I thought was strange was besides a couple cyclists I saw standing around at the top of Palomar, I didn’t see a single cyclist out until I was 1 mile from home. I passed him on the 52 bike path, and found out he was finishing a 95 mile ride, the same as me. I was a perfect day for riding, even better than Saturday was. I didn’t even bother packing any arm warmers with me for the descent down Palomar.


Here are the profiles for both rides:

Training summary for the week:

Swim: 12,700 yards

Bike: 211 miles

Run: 33.8 miles (goal was 34 miles)

TSS: 1142 (goal was 1100)

Date: Sunday, November 07, 2010

Route: 200K from OB to Escondido, to Rainbow, back to Fallbrook, to Oceanside, return along coast to OB

The significance of this permanent was huge for Molly, who finished her first R-12 award. I’ve written about the RUSA R-12 award, which is earned after completing a 200K or longer permanent or brevet each month for 12 consecutive months. This may just seem like a pretty good goal to have, but I think it is much tougher than it sounds. There aren’t a lot of people that actually do this. Also, completing one brevet is a good accomplishment, but to stay committed through the year with other events and commitments can be quite difficult. Molly has been riding a lot less than usually the past month due to going to Hawaii and her recent accident. Getting out today probably wasn’t something she felt too excited about, but she did it! The result of the R-12 is not just a great medal, but proof of living an active life and striving for fitness throughout the year.

We started the ride at 6 am, but since we switched to standard time from daylight savings time we ended up with an extra hour of sleep, and started in daylight. If we had realized ahead of time that we would have this time change we would have started at 5 am, planning to ride the first hour in the dark. Anyway, it worked out well. We had a couple emergency lights with us, but we finished in just over 9 hours at around 3 pm with plenty of light still. The ride actually consisted of about 8 hours of riding, as we had several bathroom stops, 3 controls, and some urban riding with a lot of stop lights. We had the pleasant surprise of running into our friend Danielle who was out for a walk in La Jolla.

Here is the route recorded by my Garmin:

The route had some decent climbs and views to go with them. Here is the profile from my Garmin:

We had the privilege to begin the ride with Dion Dyer, the route owner, and saw him a couple times during the first half. Here are a few pictures from the ride:

Every workout should have a purpose. Besides Molly completing her R-12 (and now I am 4 months into my 3rd R-12), my training objective was low power distance, with a focus on spinning. I did this ride entirely in the small chain ring. I was tempted several times to bring it to the large chain ring, so those were the times that I concentrated on bringing the cadence up. The highest gearing I used was 39X13. At around mile 50 my Garmin fell off my bike because the mount broke when I hit some bumps. At that time my average power was about 207, but I had to ride the next 75 miles with the computer in my back pocket. It is nice to ride without feedback sometimes, but I had been watching my power and cadence pretty closely. I tried to hold back so that I wasn’t pushing over 250 watts, and I was surprised at the end of the ride to find out my average power had dropped to 172. This resulted in a TSS much less than I had expected: 280 instead of 350. So, I fell short of my week’s TSS goal of 1000 at 935. I don’t believe in trying to make up workouts mileage though. Instead I will march on with this week’s TSS goal of 1100 and see how it goes. Besides weekly TSS, I am tracking my running frequency and mileage very closely. The run is where I need to focus a lot right now, so I need to progress gradually without having really light weeks and really heavy weeks. Last week I ran 31 miles over 5 days, so I’ll try to get 34 miles in this week, over 4-5 days and make up the necessary TSS with cycling.

Date: Saturday, November 06, 2010

Distances: ½ mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, 4 mile run

I’ve said it many times before that the club races are amongst my favorite races, and today’s race was just as awesome. This was the final club race for 2010. The end of the year tends to bring out fewer athletes because the season has usually rapped up, and the weather tends to not be as favorable. Following a couple super hot days in San Diego, the weather was much more mild but extremely comfortable for racing. The turnout was pretty decent with many first time triathletes, new club members, and plenty of regulars.

It was dark when we arrived, but the sun came up shortly before race start. I was excited about being able to come race since it was 4 weeks after Kona and I hadn’t seen a lot of my tri club friends since the race. I thought about warming up for the race, since I was hoping to perform decently and it is tough to start a race without any warm up, but decided to relax and chat with people instead. The guy I was next to in transition (sorry, forgot his name already) is Marine that recently transferred to Camp Pendleton. He had done the Marine Corps Marathon last week, and this was his 4th triathlon, 1st club race. He had just started triathlons this summer and found out about the tri club after seeing so many tri club uniforms at the Mission Bay Triathlon. I think it’s awesome to see excitement in new triathletes like him. He was definitely jazzed about the race and I think his family enjoyed spectating.

My swimming has been coming along pretty well. I’m not sure how fast I was this time, but since I didn’t warm up I kept my effort at about 90%, quick but comfortable. I was glad that when I exited I could see the 4 people ahead of me. I passed one in transition, and then another right after the start of the bike. The lead cyclist created enough distance and was going fast enough that it took me about 3.5 miles to catch him. He said I scared him when I flew by. I didn’t realize it was Keith Butsko until I caught him. I created some decent distance on Keith, but was passed about ½ mile into the run, and then Matt Dixon passed me about 1.5 miles into the run.

One thing I like to do with these club races is some comparison tables. It helps me track my performance on the same course over time. I’m going to save the analysis for a later club race though when I am starting to ramp up the intensity. Right now I’m reminding myself daily about the purpose of the base training period.

I am now finishing my first week of training for the 2011 Season, with the focus on two major goals. The first is goal is my next “A” race, Ironman California 70.3 in Oceanside on April 2, 2011. The second is Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200K randonneuring event in France on August 21-25, 2011. Although my training for the next several months will be to prepare for the triathlon, the long distance cycling will also be kept in mind. I will be focusing on the triathlon while doing sufficient preparation for the 1200K, and then will shift into more specific training for PBP.

There are some rules of thumbs that many of you have read, including myself, in developing your training program. In early season base training it is generally recommended to not increase your mileage more than 10% per week, and then changing to about 5% increase per week during the more intense build period. Rest days are also another principle to keep in mind because it is during rest that we adapt to the training stress. Mileage is easy enough to track, and using 10% weekly increase can be easy enough to plan when only doing one sport. It gets a little more complicated when training for multiple sports, as triathletes do. Tracking total exercise time can be useful because it accounts for all three sports. I have been using this. I think the ATP Wizard in Training Peaks is pretty good at designing the training periods, rest weeks, and amount of training time for each week. In the daily training plan I can decide the time for each workout based on the my goal for the week. I’ve been tracking my Performance Management Chart pretty closely, usually daily, and have been seeing the correlation of my current and trending fitness and fatigue. You can tell a lot by how you feel, especially when you’ve been doing endurance training for some time, and I think there is a lot of value in paying attention to how you feel and what the training tools say about how you should be feeling. The numbers don’t take into consideration life stressors, illnesses, and nutrition, which are some of the factors that are responsible for the mismatch between how you feel and what the numbers say.

In my current training plan I have chosen to try something a little different. Instead of shooting for time or mileage goals only, I will be planning my weeks based on my Training Stress Score. I already use the PMC retrospectively on a daily basis, but now I can look at it preemptively to determine if my training plan is going to get me where I want it to. This is still new to me because I just found an Excel PMC predictor that somebody posted on the Wattage group. In it I put my CTL and ATL for October 31, and then planned my month out with approximate TSS for each day. My goal for November is Week 1, TSS total 1000, Week 2, TSS total 1100, Week 3, TSS total 1200, Week 4 TSS total 750. This is a 3 week build with about 10% increase each week, followed by a rest week. I’ve been looking at my TSS for each workout for a while, and know that for 1 hour of pretty easy intensity (most of what I’ll be doing during the Base Period) my TSS is around 50. TSS is the product of Intensity Factor squared and the time in hours. The Intensity Factor is primarily pace (swimming and running) or power (bike) based, but HR or perceived exertion can also be used. An IF of 1 is a 100% best effort for 1 hour. Since I usually still get an IF of 0.7 during easy efforts, this works out to TSS=IF*IF*T=0.7*0.7*1=49, so 49 for 1 hour at easy effort. I get more exact numbers after the training, but in planning I can tell approximately how long I need to train for my goal TSS, and since I am primarily concerned with the total TSS for the week fluctuations day to day are not that big of a deal. So, below is the chart I made for November, and the resulting graph.






























































































































































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November 2010
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