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Yesterday AM: Bike 2 X 16 minute efforts at threshold power with 10 minute active recovery between. I did this workout at Fiesta Island on the TT bike. Since last week my 30 minute test was at 319 watts, I tried to pace myself by having a goal of 320 watts for first interval, and then go for 330 watts during second interval. I ended up with 328 watts for the first and 331 watts for the second. The second interval was much tougher than I expected, but the results are good. The goal of having a higher average power for the second interval is key, and actually achieving it is better. Now, since there was little difference in the average powers, although the second felt much tougher, I think it was pretty well paced overall. Next time I do this workout I’ll have to try to keep it similar, just a little bit higher. The power was good, but not high enough at this point to reset my threshold above the current 319.

Yesterday PM: My legs were killing me from the bike, but I went out and ran 7.25 miles with 9 X 1 minute effort and 3 minute easy between. These were done on rolling terrain, so some flat, some uphill, some downhill. This was super tough, but I feel like I am just starting to see some speed develop. I’ve been using 7:05 as my threshold, and last week when I did 1 minute intervals it killed me to get under 7/mile. Then at the TCSD Aquathlon last Thursday I averaged just over 7/mile for the 5K run. Uggghhh… This time I was getting the pace to sub 6 min/mile (on the flats), so even though the workout was killing me it was good.

Today AM: Master’s swimming. Tough, primarily because I felt so wiped out from yesterdays bike and run workouts.

Today PM: 50 minutes on the track, including a 30 minute time trial. My legs were sore and fatigued, but somehow I dug deep and kept the pace at 6:45, fairly even throughout the 30 minutes. This is good enough to reset my threshold at 6:45, a 20 second/minute increase.

A little more about my run. I’ve said it several times recently that my run has turned to crap over the past 15 months. Over the past year I’ve been trying to enjoy running again, doing mostly slow runs, and the occasional long run. Well that hasn’t been working. Now for the past 5 weeks I’ve been doing a long run each week, but also getting some speed in. Short intervals of 30-60 seconds, 400’s, and tempo running. Now I’m starting to see results. It is so true that you cannot develop your running much by just running slow and easy. The speed has helped my running form and made the long runs feel better as well.

Weight is the next big thing. Extra weight hurts on the bike, especially when climbing, but it really hurts on the run. The two triathlons I have planned are not hilly courses, so I would do well on the bike anyway, but my run will suffer a lot if I don’t lose weight before racing. The difference in time at Superfrog between my current weight and my race weight could easily be 10 minutes, and that is with no changes to the workouts or fitness level I expect to have.

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I mostly write about my bike workouts, which is what this post is primarily about again, but the bike is only about ½ the time I actually workout, and 1/3 of my workouts. I am doing 12 workouts a week, 4 Swim, 4 Bike, and 4 Run. I only mention this because I had such a great swim this morning. Coach Scott began with a motivational speech, and then we started the main set of 3 X100, 3 X 200, 3 X 300, 3 X 200, 3 X 100. This may seem boring to a lot of swimmers, but to a triathlete this is an awesome workout. We kept a tough interval, and during the 300’s I thought I was going to barf. I had started in Lane 4 so I could lead the lane and swim against the lead swimmer in Lane 3, Richard. During the 200’s though Richard and I were lapping people in our lanes, so we had to change it to Richard and I in Lane 3 and the other six people crammed into Lane 4. I don’t know where Dave Platfoot was, because he’s usually there on Monday, and he should have definitely been swimming with us. My guess is he’ll show up tomorrow rested and wondering why the rest of us are barely moving.

My evening workout was on the bike, and consisted of 6 X 90 second intervals. Last week I did the same intervals, but they were on the road bike going up a steep climb. This time I did them on the TT bike, in the aerobars (no standing), on flat ground. I couldn’t rely on mashing gears to get the power up this time. I had to push and pull, recruit as many motor units as possible, and hold it for the interval. The results, compared to last week are below:

Interval

Last Week

Today

1

445

451

2

412

407

3

412

423

4

405

411

5

442

432

6

448

395

Mean

427

419

 

So, a little lower power overall than when I did the intervals on a steep hill, but not that much lower. If I kept out the last interval, which was a low outlier, the average power would be 425 Watts, very close to what I did on the hill climbs.

Now, a couple shout outs. First to San Diego Running Institute. I had won a total of six gift certificates at TCSD Club races in 2008/2009, each for $25. This is a great sponsorship, but unfortunately I don’t go to SDRI because they don’t carry the shoes I train or race in. Yesterday we were cleaning out some drawers and came across the gift certificates that I never used. Since they were so old, I figured they probably weren’t good anymore, so I was about to throw them away. My 22 year old son Mark said he wanted them though because he needed a new pair of running shoes. I gave them to him, but warned him that they may not be good, or that he may not be able to combine them. He went there yesterday but they were closed, and they had a 10% off coupon for stopping by when they weren’t open. He returned today, used the coupon and the gift certificates and got an awesome pair of shoes, and still has credit left over. He said their service was great and they were very friendly. It is now his favorite running store. So, although I’ve never been there, I feel I should give them the credit they deserve and recommend supporting them as they have supported the Tri Club.

Finally, a big shout out to my friend Brandon Mills who qualified for Kona at Ironman CDA yesterday (M30-34 division). Brandon has been chasing that Kona dream for some time. I’m familiar with at least four Ironmans he did where he had great finishes. A lot of people want to qualify for Kona, and struggle with it, but missing qualifying by one spot twice is brutal. So much training dedication goes into preparing for a perfect Ironman race, and to barely miss that goal is brutal. At Ironman St. George this year he missed it by 16 seconds. Well, he finally made it, with another awesome race. Congratulations Brandon!!


This morning I headed out with the Canari-Navy Cycling Team for the usual Saturday 50+ miles of cruising mixed with races on the climbs. There were three flats in the group, which tore up our momentum, and after each repair I felt that was trying to warm up again. The group started breaking up a lot too, so it was just one of those days where we weren’t riding very cohesively. Anyway, on the return along the coast we hit Torrey Pines. Usually the group prefers to ride on the inside loop where there are some steeper pitches, but I actually prefer the outside loop. The outside loop has fast traffic next to it, but is free of runners, walkers and dogs. Also, the outside loop has a nice steady grade, averaging 5% for 1.5 miles. I hit the base of the climb with Brad, and I thought he would go with me but I found myself chasing the crowds alone. There were a lot of people out on their bikes, and it must have been energizing to surge past them because when I did my power would jump up about 10%. I was trying to hold close to 400 Watts. Early in the climb it would drift down to about 360, so I would do a jump and then be able to hold the power where I wanted it for a while. When I passed some large groups I was pushing about 440 Watts, and one female rider yelled “Go Navy!” since “NAVY” was plastered across my ass on my bibs. I heard another rider laugh about this, but no comment or gestures from me because I was panting trying to push through to the top. Near the finish of the hill my power dropped a couple times so I had to do a couple jumps again to keep my momentum and power high.

I knew it was a good effort, so when I got home I loaded the file into strava.com. The split is automatically pulled out and compared to my previous efforts, as well as the times of other strava users.

My time was 6:35, average power was 391 Watts, average heart rate was 147 BPM. My previous best was 7:01, 376 Watts, 154 BPM on March 12, 2011. The higher power with lower heart rate is a great indicator of my improved aerobic fitness. I am excited to see such an improvement in power as well – a good indicator of my fitness improvement.

I was also surprised to find who the current leader is: Adam Bickett, with a time of 5:30 and 420 Watts. Adam is a 508 rider (Rock Rabbit), who I’ve ridden with and ran with before.

Okay, after posting this I figured out that I matched my best 5 minute effort of 404 Watts and set a new 6 minute effort of 398 Watts, previous 395 Watts. Those previous bests were set back on 9/6/2009. It’s exciting to see that I’m putting up some numbers again that were similar to what I did right before IM Arizona 2009 when I qualified for Kona.


This morning’s workout consisted of six 90 second hill climbs, done about every 9 minutes or so. I chose a fairly steep hill to do the repeats on. These were basically as hard as I felt I could do, without looking at the power output during the interval. I’ll be doing more of these, so it should be interesting to see if there are big gains as I become more familiar with this length of interval. Here are the results:

Interval

Avg Power

1

445

2

412

3

412

4

405

5

442

6

448

Mean

427

 

I did the first four sitting, the fifth doing several jumps to help maintain momentum, and the final one standing. My perceived effort was definitely highest on the final two efforts.

Since my personal best 2 minute effort is 461 Watts, these numbers don’t impress me too much. After three weeks of doing 20 second intervals though I was able to establish a new personal best. I have four more of these workouts planned over the next five weeks, so I am hoping that with each session I see some improvement.


Today I jumped on my time trial (TT) bike, Nautilus, a 2011 Felt B2. I hadn’t been on that bike since Ironman St. George on May 7. I am officially done with base training though, and as I move into more race specific training I need to spend a day per week on the TT bike. I really prefer to ride the road bike, but tempo rides are the perfect workout to spend on the TT bike because that is what it’s designed for.

I really don’t care much for training at Fiesta Island because it is not that safe. It is a place that you can train without having to make any slow turns or stops (unless a person, car, or dog jumps in your way). I did my warm up by cruising from my house down to the island, and then did a 30 minute threshold workout. My 30 minute power was 319 Watts, and my 20 minute heart rate was 156 (30 minute was 155). I will now use 319 as my functional threshold power (FTP), and 156 as my threshold heart rate. Although FTP is based on what you can do in an all out 60 minute race, triathlon and cycling coach Joe Friel recommends using the 30 minute non-race test as your FTP since during a race you can generally put out higher power. I played around with this calculator too: http://www.cyclingpowermodels.com/MonodCriticalPower.aspx The calculator uses a mathematical model to estimate your FTP off of two shorter tests, and I came up with about 316, so not really that big of a difference.


Three weeks ago when we finished the Train of Pain, Zach Scheetz and I were discussing the 200K+ rides that I like to do. I confessed that not all triathlon coaches or Ironman triathletes agree with doing over distance training on the bike, but I didn’t tell him that I have yet to convince a single one of my triathlete buddies to join me on a 200K since I started doing them in December 2006. Actually, I sort of was able to get one friend, Matt Dixon, to join me on a 200K last summer as he was prepping for Ironman Arizona. Matt however ended up destroying his rear wheel about 40 miles into it, and I haven’t been able to get out for more than 100K since. The fact that Matt qualified for Kona at IMAZ with the same bike split and overall finish time as I did the year before may have proved to him that the 200K was unnecessary, but I still think that it is a great confidence builder and prepares me to come off the bike fresh enough to run well.

Anyway, Zach and his wife Maurin are about to do their first iron-distance race, the full Vineman. I was a secretly surprised when Zach finally told me that he thought he should do a 200K. I wasn’t very convinced, but then heard from Maurin that she wanted to do one too. We were going to shoot for the Kitchen Creek 200K Brevet put on by San Diego Randonneurs. Although this would have been ideal, it came at my son’s high school graduation weekend. Since that didn’t work out, we arranged to do Mike Berry’s Rainbow Prelude Permanent 200K . This route is the same as the Rainbow Brevet that the San Diego Randonneurs puts on in January.

The three of us met up at Doyle Park in La Jolla. I was wondering a bit if they were going to go through with it, but they rolled up in their sporty station wagon just in time for a 7 am start:

We headed out and as soon as we were into Sorrento Valley I saw a group of four riders within our reach. I didn’t want to push the pace too early, realizing that pacing would be important for Zach and Maurin to decide that they actually enjoy a ride this long, but also wanted to see if we could grab some other company along the way. We took our time, but did reach them eventually. They were three UCSD Tri Team guys and one Cal-Poly Tri Team rider that is from San Diego and on summer break. I knew one of the guys from races we’ve done together (TCSD club races, Tritonman, Desert Triathlon). I asked them “hey where is Tim Ray at?” Uggghhh…. How did I not know?? Tim had died about 5 weeks ago, supposedly from a heart attack the night after completing a 50 mile running race in prep for a 100 mile race. I was shocked! I saw some facebook posts about Tim being an inspirational person about a month ago, but hadn’t actually heard about this tragedy. Molly and I knew Tim, and I raced against him several times. Unfortunately Molly and I have had several friends die in the past year, and this was just one more. How do you make sense of it all? I don’t know if you can, but all we can think of is try to do what you can to take care of yourself, and get the most out of life while you can.

Anyway, we had a good roll with them, but they stopped in Rancho Santa Fe to get water so we rolled on. We then met up with several other riders going up Del Dios Highway and through Elfin Forrest. I wish I had my camera ready because watching the B then the A group from Swami’s roll through Elfin Forrest (opposite our direction) was quite impressive. From San Elijo Rd on we were pretty much on our own, but we saw a lot of cyclist out on this gorgeous day in San Diego County.

At about mile 96 on Pacific in Oceanside I saw Kelly Deboer (Kellyjay) rolling along in the opposite direction. Later along the coast I was talking to a guy on a tandem and found out it was Dennis Hearst, Paris-Brest-Paris record holder. He told me his stoker, Amber, hadn’t been on a bike since she was 12 before today and that she just bought her shoes and clothing today. I’m actually not sure how long it’s been since she’s been on a bike because she didn’t seem very old.

We did a short stop at mile 100 because this was the first time Maurin had completed a full century. Her previous longest distance was around 95 miles.

When we hit Leukadia, Molly was there waiting for us. Molly has not been on the bike for months, trying to deal with a shoulder and knee injury from an accident she had in October 2010 when we were cut off by a driver in Carlsbad. She left our house when I let her know that we were in Rainbow (around mile 67), and then met up with us to ride the last part of the course in.

 

Overall it was a great day, and we finished in a respectable 8:26. Time will tell, but I may have just recruited two more to Randonneuring and Ultracycling.


This was my third (and final) consecutive week of 20 second intervals. A summary of my efforts are below:

 

Week 1

Week 2

 

Week 3 (Today)

Interval #

Seconds

Watts

Seconds

Watts

Seconds

Watts

1

23

572

20

628

20

708

2

18

503

21

615

23

748

3

12

499

24

627

21

711

4

21

527

22

618

22

636

5

23

595

22

652

20

693

6

21

609

25

662

21

717

7

24

512

20

667

23

682

8

23

569

23

663

23

702

9

22

531

23

619

   

10

22

582

23

604

   

11

24

547

22

602

   

12

23

535

20

671

   

13

20

477

21

664

   

Mean

21

543

22

637

22

700

 

Today there were fewer intervals because it is a rest week. Rest weeks should consist of the same type of workouts and intensity, but a bit shorter.

Today I actually felt less ‘fresh’ than last week, but am pleased with the overall higher power output. I also set a new 20 second personal best at 759 watts (during interval #2). My previous best was 741 watts set on 9/15/2009.

Next week I will start doing 90 second intervals.


Yesterday I did a short brick workout. A brick is a combination of two workouts without a break between so that you can get used to transitions in triathlons. It can be tough beginning a fast run after your legs are already taxed from cycling. Yesterday’s workout was about 2 hours of cycling followed by 20 minutes of running. I am doing a workout similar to this once per week.

Because of my schedule this week (work and family) I was left with my long run and long bike workout today. It was basically another brick workout, but I reversed the order. I did a run of almost 2 hours followed by almost 4 hours on the bike. Since I like to ride long, this helped to tire out my legs before heading out on the ride. My legs were definitely tired, but my goal was to get mostly zone 2 riding in. Here is my power distribution for the ride:

Over 45% of the ride was in zone 2. I was also pleased to see that I had more zone 3 riding than zone 1.


Although I had a good workout yesterday, I am feeling pretty well recovered from Train of Pain now. Today I repeated another workout from last week: 20 second intervals. I did this on the same course, and did one 20 second effort every 4-5 minutes staying in the drops throughout. Last week’s results:

Interval #

Seconds

Watts

1

23

572

2

18

503

3

12

499

4

21

527

5

23

595

6

21

609

7

24

512

8

23

569

9

22

531

10

22

582

11

24

547

12

23

535

13

20

477

Mean

21

543

 

This week:

Interval #

Seconds

Watts

1

20

628

2

21

615

3

24

627

4

22

618

5

22

652

6

25

662

7

20

667

8

23

663

9

23

619

10

23

604

11

22

602

12

20

671

13

21

664

Mean

22

637


Last week, on 6/1/2011, I did this same workout. Read that post here. It consisted of a 15 minute warm up and cool down, with 6 intervals of about 12+ minutes each. The intervals were structured along a 5 mile stretch of road on East Miramar, so I don’t really concern myself with the length of the interval. During the turn around at each end of the road I take a short rest where I take a drink of water. Last week I tried to keep my power above 270 watts, so today I tried to keep it above 280 watts. Also, I every 3 minutes I did a 15 second surge of about 500 watts. The cumulative time for the 6 intervals was about 1 hour 15 minutes. Here is a comparison of the two workouts.

Interval

6/1 NP

6/9 NP

Interval #1

284

313

Interval #2

288

299

Interval #3

291

306

Interval #4

284

303

Interval #5

286

301

Interval #6

297

309

NP – Normalized Power

I felt like I was fading during the last 3 intervals, but that is where the workout really counts. I went for it during the last interval because I only had a cool down after that.

The power distribution for today’s ride is below:

Last week’s ride power distribution:

The profile looks similar, but note there is much more zone 5 and 6 due to the 15 second surges I was doing today.

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