Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 2010--a month that was!

25,000 yards swimming
828 miles on the bike
108 miles running
75:15 training

A good "pivot" month from the highs and recovery period of Kona in October.

I made execellent progress in rebuilding my high-end bike speed with Project FTP.
A solid "reacquaintance" with the pool--time to start building fitness
Have not been able to build my run as I wanted with unexpected knee pain
Lots of distractions
Overall volume of training is at desired level (70-80 hours)
Need to add run speed, continue bike progress, start speed work in the swim, and maintain body composition in December

On my way to Minnesota and probably (due to schedule) a bit of a rest period over these next 3-4 days...my guess is that it will be beneficial.

Monday, November 29, 2010

FTP20=289 watts!

very tired legs but project FTP is working! Up 14 watts in 6 weeks.

FCB (Barca) rules!!!! 5-0 against Real Madrid in the Clasico--brings back memories of when AC and I were there...

off to Minnesota tomorrow

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A little run down

Feeling a bit run down this week. Perhaps the focus on intensity on the bike is catching up to me. I have been fighting a bit of a cold so perhaps it is more that--of course they could all be related.

Also, lot's going on with Thanksgiving and the usual end of the year busy-ness....

I did participate in the Delaware State Cross Country Championship on Saturday--really enjoyed it and comfortably cruised to a MOP finish.

The "good" news is that next week I'm helping move my brother's stuff out to Minnesota so this will force a bit of a rest week--probably will be beneficial.

Stats for the week (yes I know my run total is disappointing):

Swim: 7000 yards
Bike: 192 miles
Run: 21.5 miles
Time: 17.1 hours

I do feel my 53 years this week. My knee has been much more problematic post Kona. I'm hoping my last injection-cycle was uncharateristicly ineffective. I'll probably get a new cycle in January. However, if this is the new normal, I won't be running nearly enough to get what I want out of this body. If so, I'll adapt but at this point I assume I'm struggling through a temporary phase.

These are the times that try the soul but steel the heart.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Competitiveness: An evaluation of the attribute and not the virtue

OK--most folks know me as a competitive dude. We could debate that, but this is not about that virtue. what this is about is how competitive I am when I race triathlons. This is an attribute that can be used to describe me.

To do this I went to the data and evaluated all of my short course/non-national events and compared myself to the person that won my AG in each race or, in those happy times, the guy that was second to me. This turned out to be 73 of the 100 races that I have done so far. I tracked on average how much I was ahead or behind the #1 or #2 guy (as the case may be) for each race I did between 2001-2010 (ten years). I also broke this down by individual discipline splits (swim, bike, run). Since each race varies in discipline and aggregate distance, I then created a synthethic race of 0.25 mile swim/11 mile bike/3.1 mile run as a standard sprint race to compare myself against my closest competitor over time and by discipline.

I believe this is a very powerful indicator of how competitive I am versus my top competitor in my AG in my most typical race--a local sprint. I think that looking at the trends in this data tells me a great deal about how competitive I am in these races and most importantly, what I need to work on.

Enough said. Let's look at the data (click on the charts to see them more clearly; 1=2001 and 10=2010):

This is a graph of my competiveness in the swim. As you can see, my swim has been a competitive liability for most of my triathlon career. In 2001 I lost over 4 minutes in a 0.25 mile swim. However, I have steadily improved my swim competitiveness and for the first time in 2010, my swim was an actual competiive asset. this gives me great confidence in what I'm doing with my swim and consequently my 2011 training plan is to do more of the same.

Here is the graph for my bike leg:

After my poor first year, I've always enjoyed a significant advantage on the bike. This peaked in 2007 when I worked with Pete Reid and was still pretty strong in 2008 and 2009--over 2 minutes against my main competitor. However, the graph clearly shows my fall off in 2010. This is the "minute" that I feel that I have lost against my competition and is the main reason I am pursuing "Project FTP"

The run looks like this:

As you can see, my run is not nearly a pretty a picture. It has always been a real liability for me. However, in 2007-2009 I was able to neutralize most of this disadvantage. However, in 2010 with my hip issues, I had a major set-back competitively. This is my most urgent competive issue for 2011. This will be a major focus on my training efforts on the run, and the bike.

Overall--this is what it looks like:

You can clearly see how I've been able to improve my competitiveness over the years--this frankly is a principal design objective of my training and racing plans. However, the trends over the last two years are not positive (of course these could be in-part related to me getting up there in the 50-54 YO AG). I intend to change this in 2011--I'll improve my bike by a minute or so and hopefully my run as well....

that's the plan

Kona 2010 Photos

Here is a large batch of photos that anders took of the pros at Kona this year:

2011 Race Plan

Getting a pretty good picture of what I'd like the 2011 racing season to look like.

First off, my "A" or "A-" races. My biggest race in 2011 will be IMAZ on 11/20. This is the race I'll try to requalify for Kona at--this would be Kona 2012. Unless I get lucky in the lottery, no Kona in 2011 (no surprise there). I also plan to race two IM70.3s: Oceanside on 4/2 and Steelhead on 8/14. If I get lucky and qualify for the IM70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas in September then I'd probably add that as well.

The nice thing about NOT having a mid-summer IM is that I can focus most of my racing season on short fast stuff. I plan to adjust my training up through August to be consistent with that--it'll be nice to spend less time training long and more time training fast! Project FTP is a major step in that regard.

I do think I'll end up doing a lot of races in 2011 as a result of being focused on short and fast. That should be fun. I could see doing 20 triathlons or so in 2011--the most I've ever done prior is 14. As I've mentioned before, I plan to try to do many more Olympic distance races this year. I've only done 7 to date and would like to get close to that in 2011.

My current plan is to start the 2011 racing season with a sprint down in North Carolina in mid March--this would be a tune-up for Oceanside in early April. Also in April would be a couple of Virginia races--a return to Angel's after a few year hiatus and my first Oly down in Rumpass.

My early plan for May is a heavy month of racing: Bassman, Devilman and Hammonton. Plus two Olys: Red Bank and Columbia. Columbia is a major, competitive Oly and one that's been on my list to do for years.

If my body holds up then June will be more of the same with the featured races being a return for my 8th consecutive season at St. Andrews and for the first time the Philly Olympic distance race.

July will be mostly New Jersey sprints and a return to Walker Minnesota for their lovely triathlon.

As August rolls in their will be a decided shift in direction to long distance training. I plan to do Steelhead in August and the Livestrong 100 mile ride. In September I'll do the Pine Barrens Oly and Skipjack, which is right up my alley with a 1.2 mile swim, 64 mile bike and 10 mile run. Then comes IMAZ and hopefully a great deal of luck to send me back to Kona in 2012.

I'm psyched!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week totals: 3rd week of Nov 2010

6000 yds in the pool
191 miles on the bike
32 miles running
19:48 total training time

I was able to get my run mileage up above 30 miles for the first time since Kona. I think it will be critical for me to consistently keep the weekly run volume in the 30-50 mile range. The challenge will be how my knee deals with it. It is quite sore tonight after my 11.5 mile run this afternoon....time will tell!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Project FTP Microcycle One complete

Project FTP consists of 4 four-week cycles of 10 computrainer workouts design to raise my FTP back up to the range it was in in 2007 (290-300 watts). I just completed the first of these four-week cycles. As a reminder, each cycle consists of 10 workouts: 4 20 min max output tests (FTP20); 3 interval sets at 85-90% of my FTP ("sweet spot" intervals); and 3 interval sets @ 115% of my FTP (max VO2). The last set of sweet spot intervals was 2X20 min @230 watts with a 5 minute spin in between. the last set of max VO2 intervals were 10X2 minutes @ 300 watts with 3 min spin in between.

My FTP tested out at 261 watts at the beginning of this cycle and ended at 270 watts at the end of the cycle.

The total work for these 10 sessions was 228 minutes @ an average power of 264 watts for 3612 kilojoules.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project FTP update

OK--I have the first 4 tests in the book (as well as the associated speed work). As a reminder, the purpose of this project is to rebuild my Functional Threshold Power on my bike back to my late 2007 levels (my PB when I won the Cadence Kona Challenge) by March 2011. That boggie is 307 watts. Here is what has happened so far:

Test 1: 10/25.....275 watts
Test 2: 11/1.......280 watts.....1.8% improvement.....16% of the way to reaching goal
Test 3: 11/8.......278 watts.....1.1% improvement.........9% of the way to raching goal
Test 4: 11/17.....284 watts.....3.3% improvement.....28% of the way to reaching goal

I can definitely feel the improvements in my legs. Of-course, progress will come slower in the weeks and months ahead but I am pleased with this start and see no reason why I can't achieve this power improvement.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

week totals: 2nd week of Nov 2010

4000 yards swim
208 miles bike
24.8 miles run
17.6 hours training

skipped a swim w/o due to conflicts
did 278 watts in FTP20 test (after a 45 minute run)
run was hurt a bit by jammed toe joint and knee soreness

I'd like to get swim up to 6k+ and run over 30 this week....

2010: A first analytical look at my competitiveness

As you know, I am evaluating options and beginning to plan for the 2011 season. As part of that, I analyze my past year and see what I can learn from the results.

One of the analyses I've performed this year was to take a look at how I fared versus my top AG competitor in each of my 10 short-course races. I focus on short course due to the wide variation in performance in my LC races and because I do enough of them to get some meaningful data to compare--especially across years. In this analysis, I'm comparing against the person that won my AG in each race, or against the 2nd place person, if I was the winner. In 2011, I won 4 races, finished 2nd in another 4 and 3rd once. I had one 5th place finish at Stone Harbor, which was 2 weeks after IM Germany and generally a bad idea. I looked at how I did in each of the three disciplines against the top competitor:

Swim: I was faster than my top competitor in 8 of the 10 swims and across the 10 races i was cumulatively 6:00 faster or on average, I enjoyed a 36 second advantage leaving the swim.

Bike: I was also faster in 8 of the 10 bike splits and enjoyed an aggregate advantage of 23:16 or 2:20 on average.

Transitions: I was 88 seconds faster cumulatively in transitions or about 9 seconds per race.

Run: Here, I was never faster than my main competitor and gave up 31:20 cumulatively during 2010. This averages out to be 3:08 per race.

Putting it together:

Swim: + 6:00
Bike: +23:16
Tran: + 1:28
Run: (31:20)

Total: (0:36)

So my strength in the swim, and especially the bike essentially cancel out my weakness in the run.

Now my strength in the swim is a new thing as I had a breakthrough year in 2010. Alas, the weakness in the run is also becomming a bigger factor as of late. Below find my overall %-tile in each of the 3 disciplines by year (short course races):


2002:64 2003:54 2004:75 2005:57 2006:76 2007:75 2008:81 2009:76 2010:91


2002:94 2003:91 2004:98 2005:97 2006:97 2007:96 2008:97 2009:94 2010:96


2002:77 2003:59 2004:75 2005:83 2006:77 2007:80 2008:78 2009:70 2010:70


2002:86 2003:76 2004:90 2005:92 2006:91 2007:92 2008:93 2009:89 2010:91

Several conclusions can be drawn from the above:

-I was a stronger runner than swimmer up through 2007. By 2010, I was a much better swimmer than runner.
-I peaked as a runner in 2005 and held steady through 2008. The last two years my run has really suffered.
-I've steadily improved in swimming and really made a breakthrough in 2010.
-My bike has always been strong but seemed to peak in 2004. I had a nice rebound in 2010 from a bit of a fall-off in 2009.
-Overall, my best year was 2008, although I actually think it was 2007. 2010 was again a bit of a rebound year.

Putting it all together, my run is my vulnerability and what I must make progress on in 2011. I'm working on that now but as you'll see, I keep bumping up against the limitations of my bad left knee.

I've also concluded that if I'm able to improve my top-end on the bike and race more comfortably on the bike leg that my run will also improve, so I'm working hard on that as well--thus the origin of Project FTP. I think I can bring my bike back to the level I enjoyed in 2004-2008 and that this will help boost my run.

As you can see, the 2011 plan is still a work in progress....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Life After Kona---Or where do we go from here?

I feel a little like the poor guy who always used to bad mouth the rich. Then one day I got to live the life of a rich man and loved it. Then I was banished back to being a poor guy again...and now I wish I could go back....

So it is with Kona!

The reality is I probably won't be able to and if that is so, what should my triathlon focus/objcectives be?

I'm working on 2011 and will get a plan together soon...

Elements will include:

Oceanside--but no Kona slot this year with the XC changes
IMAZ--my next real attempt at Kona--but for Kona 2012.
4-6 Olympic distance races--the first time I've gone after that distance (I've only done 7 so far)
Maybe another 70.3 and maybe take a shot at the 70.3 World Chapionship in Las Vegas
Lots of fun sprints

for sure--early season focus on speed/turn to IM training as late as August...

I wish I could go back--I'm happy I got to go!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

22 Blues

Ran a 5k yesterday in 22:22. I could lay out my excuses again (it was cold, windy and the course seemed long) but I just can't seem to go fast at 5k this year. I have to call a spade a spade--my run speed is horrible. I'm not giving up of-course but man, I need to get my 5k time down below 21 as soon as possible!

Continue to work on my plan for 2011--still a few unknowns so I have some more work to do.

Training wise I jumped back in the pool again this week--just a couple of easy swims--will do more this week. Hit 280 watts on my FTP20 test--up 5 watts from the first week. Stats for the week:

4000 yards swim
180 miles on bike
18 miles run
14:46 training time