Monday, October 31, 2011

October in the bank!

Up at 4:33 am to SBR before my morning train up to NYC. October is in the bank:

Swim: 40,300 yards
Bike: 1105 miles
Run: 177 miles
Time: 108 hours

Obviously a very big month. This is the second highest training hours I've recorded over the 59 months that I've been keeping track--My high was 111 hours in March 2008 when I did a Tuscon training camp for 17 days with Peter Reid et al.

This is the most swim yards I've done this year and the highest since January 2010. My run mileage is my second highest--my high was 181 miles in December of 2007.

Of course 2007 was my best triathlon year and was the year I set my PRs at the H-IM and IM distances. Here is how my volume over the last three months compares to a similar period in 2007:

Swim: 111,000 vs. 129,000. Down 14 %
Bike: 3,123 vs. 2,262. Up 38%
Run: 434 vs. 355. Up 22%
Time: 286 vs. 242. Up 18%

Hopefully this will translate into similar or perhaps a better performance at IMAZ!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last "big" week before AZ--no drama to report!

I'm now under 21 days to race day. As I mentioned, this week was designed to be modestly lower volume, in aggregate and on my long bike/run, than last week. I pretty much executed my training plan despite my nagging cold. I missed one swim workout as the pool was closed for "electrical" problems on Thursday. Anyways--here's the data for the week:

swim: 8700 yards
bike: 267 miles
run: 43 miles
time: 26:20

I completed my 10th (and final) long run during this IM build: 17 miles in 2:26

I completed my 9th long bike (102 miles) and 9th long swim (4200 yards) as well.

This week will see a further reduction--probably to around 20 hours with a long ride of 100 miles or so and one last IM TT swim. Then I'll jump into a proper 2-week taper.

My body feels pretty good given the volume this month. I've plateaued now on my bike and swim and definitely will benefit from the rest/consolidation that a taper affords. Strangely enough, I believe that my run continues to improve....who woulda thought it? No injuries to bother discussing.

On plan!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Swim today

Did my 9th IM TT swim today in 69:10. My splits were 34:07 and 35:03. Last week I did 34:04/35:14/69:18. so my last four swims have been: 71:10, 68:45, 69:18 and 69:10.

I detect a plateau here--which of course is fine and not unexpected. This is about as far as I can expect to get swimming 7-10k per week. I seem to be locked in to a 68-71 zone, which I would be completely fine with at IMAZ.

One more long swim next week--mostly trying to maintain and not tweak my tender left elbow--will mostly do modest volume interval work and technique focused swimming....Probably 10k this week and next then down to 5-6 2 weeks out and jusgt 3-4k race week....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Biggest week behind me--4 to go!

My virus/cold continues to plague me--especially at night, but it really hasn't been enough of a bother to slow me down. I missed a couple of my w/os this week but by and large executed my big IM-prep training week this week. Totals for the week:

swim: 10,700 yards
bike: 349 miles
run: 42.5 miles
time: 31:02

My long w/os were:

swim: 4200 yards @ 69:18
bike: 120 miles @ 6:56
run: 20 miles @ 2:56

A couple of other comments:

-I've now completed 8 long swims/8 long bikes/9 long runs during this IM build--I should be able to get to my goal of 10/10/10 over the next two weeks
-My long w/os will be a bit shorter this and next week on the bike and run
-My swim splits were 34:04 and 35:14. My overall swim time was 33 seconds slower than last week, but I did this long swim on the 4th of 4 consecutive swim days and the prior week I did it after 3 days of no swimming--so, I'll take it. Also, I don't think I pushed quite as hard this week.
-My run was great. Also, I did the 42.5 miles in just 4 runs--I took 3 days off from running so my legs feel quite good this evening--should be able to hit another big run week next week.

Looking good at this point!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Month to go--the time of risk and reward

So a month from now, I will be 10 hours into my IMAZ journey. Hopefully, I'll be on my last run lap, but that could be wishful thinking. I'll probably know by now if I'm nabbing a Kona slot. I'll certainly know if I'm definitely not!

So these next three weeks: 5,4, and 3 weeks out are pretty critical for my Ironman build. They are all intended to be heavy workload weeks with multiple race specific simulations--either duration or intensity (and in the case of swimming-both at the same time). If done correctly, I can tweak up my fitness and hit that "mythical" fitness peak for my IMAZ race on November 20th. If I cross the line, and it's easy to do, I could get injured, sick or over-trained.

I had a very heavy week two weeks ago, 7 weeks out, and backed off last week to absorb it and due to lots of life obligations. I entered this week feeling a need to execute a very big training week. As luck would have it, on Sunday, I finally came down with the virus that has been plauging Judy for the last 10 days--aghhhh! Not great timing for sure, but I'm glad it's not race week.

I woke up very early on Monday with a decision to make--do I execute the day's workout plan (a long ride) or try to nurse my head cold, sore throat, achey body? I decided to give the ride a shot and headed out well before sunrise for what I hopped to be the longest ride of the year. As I rode, I felt better and better and decided to go for the whole ride--I hit the turnaround at 60 miles averaging 18.7 mph so I was satisfied. Then the wind came up--25+mph--and I slogged through challenging conditions taking 6:56 to complete the 120 miles. I was pretty whipped.

I made it through Tueesday's workouts fine and awoke at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday to get my 3 hours in before taking a train to NYC where I worked all day. I was quite exhausted Wednesday night and hacked and sneezed most of Wednesday night.

Despite this, I went after a pretty big day again today and as the day went on I felt really good--I think maybe I am turning the corner on my illness. I must say, I felt a real resevoir of strength in my workouts is what I did today:

45 minutes of weights/stretching
9 miles of running at 8:15/mile--I felt really good on this run!
Half-Ironman swim at IM level of effort--took me 33:15
52.5 mile cruise interval workout on my Computrainer--putting aside my warm-ups and warm-downs, I repeated 15 minutes at 210 watts (a little above my IM power target) and 5 minutes at 130 watts as recovery. I averaged 191 watts for the whole affair. This whole effort felt very controlled for me--wouldn't call it easy--3 hours on a computrainer never is.

I have over 18 hours in already this week. I have my big swim tomorrow and my longest run on the year this weekend. Hoping to stay the course!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week arear and ahead

AS I mentioned previously--i really backed off this week to deal with a lot of competingpriorities and to let my body recover from and absorb the volume of the prior week. Here is what that looked like:

swim: 7700 yards
bike: 143 miles
run: 24 miles
time: 14:49

I wouldn't be surprised if my volume next week is double this--time wise at least. I'm reasonably rested and with 5 weeks to go I need to put in a very heavy 17-21 day block. I'm kicking things off tomorrow a bit before sunrise and hopefully completing the longest ride of the season....

In the red zone now!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The essence of Ironman?

I've been reading Fitzgerald's "Ironwar" and keep coming back to this quote which really speaks to me about my experience when I am racing an Ironman--here it is---what do you think?:

"In the hardest moments of a long race, the athlete's entire conscious experience boils down to a desire to continue pitted against a desire to quit. He is no longer a son or a father or a husband. He has no social roles or human connections whatsoever. He is utterly alone. He no longer has any possessions. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow, only now. The agony of extreme endurance fatigue crowds out every thought and feeling except one: the goal of reaching the finish line. The sensations within the body--burning lungs, screaming muscles, whole-body enervation--exist only as the substance of the desire to quit. What little of the external environment that the athlete is aware of--the road ahead, the competitor behind, the urgings of onlookers--exists only as the substance of the desire to continue. The desire to continue versus the desire to quit--the athlete is this and this alone until he choses one or the other. And when the choice is made, he briefly becomes either persevering or quitting until, after he has stopped at the finish line or, God forbid, short of it, the stripped-away layers are piled back on and he becomes his old self again. Only not quite. He is changed, for better or worse."

Truth my friends--gives me chills!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

cooling it this week

Lots going on. Monday drive back from Boston. big Extreme Bocce tournament this weekend--which is a blast but a ton of work (and takes all day Saturday). Body also quite tired from last week's training load. Further, I slipped on one of my trail runs (lots of rain) and strained my right hamstring--nothing serious but I decided to be cautious with my running this week.

So this week will be quite light volume-wise...less than I planned and would like to have. But, I think its the right call and my guess is that I'll be able to deliver a heavy training week next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the pool today

Took an easy day yesterday, training wise. We all went up this past weekend to visit Anders at HBS and spent 6 hours driving home yesterday. I probably needed an easy day--in any event, I was very stiff getting out of the car when we arrived back in DE.

I did an easy bike/run today and jumped in the pool and swam an IM distance swim TT.

Last week I did 70:10 and today I did 68:45. I'm not sure that today's swim was indicative of more fitness/readiness to swim. The swim last week was very controlled--I felt very strong at the end. Today, I humped it. I was quite tired at the end--although, I was quite tired at the beginning as well. If I actually thought that I could "take it easy" and all it cost me was 1:25 I'd be in an a heartbeat! Not sure i completely buy it. I'm going to experiment a bit in my long swims over the next three weeks to really dial in my optimal race intensity for IMAZ.

One thing for sure is I'm more than fast enough on the swim--time to back off a bit. I'll still do my long swim--hopefully each week. I won't do the long intense interval w/os I planned down the stretch (such as 15X200 or 6X500) Instead, I'll do stuff like 3X500 or 6X200 or 15X100. I want to try to swim 4-5 times a week. One of these sessions may be primarily focused on technique. My long swims may go up to 5000+ yards to build strength . I think strength (over distance and paddles) and technique (frequency and drills) are what I need now--not high-end threshold speed....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekly stats

Solid IM build week!

Swim: 10,200 yds
Bike: 245.4 miles
Run: 51.5 miles
Time: 26:01

I've had bigger weeks with respect to the swim, bike and training time totals, but it's been a long time since my body has been able to run that many miles. My prior biggest week this year was 44.8 miles--back in early March. In fact over the last five years that I have tracked my mileage, this week represents a new high water mark for me run wise. I've only been over 50 miles once before--back in March of 2007 when I had a week of 51 miles.

Very encouraging!

I was able to get a long workout of each flavor as well:

swim: 4200 yards (70:10)
bike: 112.1 miles (6:14)
run: 17.0 miles (2:26)

During m build I've now had 6 long swims, 7 long rides, and 8 long runs. I have a good shot at hitting my goal of 10 of each before IMAZ.

Next week will likely be a bit easier, especially run wise.....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Long ride-finally!

Lots of moving parts this week but Tuesday's long ride happened today. 112.1 miles over 6:14 (18.0 mph average). It was 41 degrees when i started and 75 when I finished. wind was blowing (in my face for the last 1.5 hours). Clothes and temp management was the big challenge. Just hit 17 miles in the first hour. Hours 3-5 I was solid in the 19+ zone. Good ride. No new data though. I'm in good IM bike shape and 112 miles is a very long way to ride--we already knew that! I'm spent tonight!

Go Phillies!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

There's a party in my head!

Laying into a big week now.

Yesterday did an IM swim time trial in the pool in 70:10. I had not swam in 4 days so I suppose I was well rested. I did about a 95% of race effort swim--very comfortable. My biggest issue in the swim was just staying focused for the 168 laps.... I absolutely think I can swim a comfortable 68 minute swim at IMAZ--and that my friends is all I need!

I was going to go 6.5 hours on the bike today but I decided with the very strong winds forecasted for today as well as some wotk obligations to switch out my Tu and Th workouts. So today I ran long.

I did my longest run since Kona (which was this time last year) and ran a very strong 17 miles in 2:26--could have easily done a marathon today! Over the last 7 days--since I had to take 3 days off with my blisters post SkipJack, I have run 51 miles!

I completed my 3 injection sequence yesterday and today was drama free from a knee perspective--yes!

I broke out my ipod for my long run today--I have been music free for the last 6 weeks--trying to save it for the big push ahead of me and I have to say the experience was amazing. The weather was midto high 50s. I parked my car in the middle of a figure eight trail run so i could hit the gatorade every half hour or so--beautiful. The music really helped.

I had my "Chemistry" mix on--which is a 6 hour chemical Brothers mix--which I put in shufffle mode. Brilliant experience! I'll give you a taste with some lyrics from "Galvanize":

Don't hold back...

Cause you woke up in the mornin, with initiative to move, so why make it harder...

Don't hold back...

If you think about it, so many people do, be cool man, look smarter....

Don't hold back...

And you shouldnt even care, bout those losers in the air, and their crooked stares...

Don't hold back...

Cause there's a party over here, so you might as well be here, where the people care...

Don't hold back...

Dont hold back...

If you think about it too much, you may stumble, trip up, fall on your face...

Don't hold back...

You think its time you get up, crunch time, like a sit up, come on keep pace...

Don't hold back...

Put apprehension on the back burner, let it sit, dont even get it lit...

Don't hold back...

World, the time has come to...

Push the button...

World, the time has come to...

Push the button...

World, the time has come to...

Push the button...

World, my finger, is on the button...

My finger, is on the button...

My finger, is on the button...

Push the button...

The time has come to...


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week totals

Decent given limitations:

swim: 9000 yds
Bike: 229 miles
run: 31 miles
time: 22:37

Heavy week coming up!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thinking about my IMAZ bike split

I know its very dangerous to set and adhere to time goals in an Ironman--overall or on any of the three splits. How I feel on race day, the conditions, etc may very well dictate a modification of my level of effort.

That said, I have enough data to make an educated guess at this point.

Back in 2007, I biked a 2:24 at Eagleman and a 5:06 at IMFL. I think these courses are similar and I think the conditions on race days were reasonably comparable. I averaged 223 watts for the half and 211 watts for the IM. I ran well off my H-IM bike but I had a disappointing run at IMFL. The ratio between my AP at IMFL and EM was 211/223=0.95. Most knowledgeable long-course coaching types say that your bike should be in the 80-85% of FTP range for a Half and 70-75%. This implies that your watts in an Ironman should be about 87.5% of your watts at a H-IM (all things being equal). This says I probably should have averaged 195 watts at IMFL and not the 211 I did average--perhaps riding 10/15 minutes slower would have saved me 30+ minutes on my run.

I just did a 2:29:30 H-IM equivalent at SkipJack (my average pace over 66 miles adjusted to 56 miles). SkipJack is predominantly on the Eagleman course. I think the conditions were a little slower at SkipJack than they were back at EM in 2007. I averaged 221 watts for the 56 miles and ran about as well as I could hope to run given my current fitness (8:10/mile). Also, I actually rode at a higher output (225 watts) over the last half of the race so i feel like 221 watts is a good number for my H-IM power traget.

so, if I take 87.5% of that I get an power target of 193 watts for the IM distance. Given the cubic relationship between power and speed this would imply that my average speed would be 4.6% slower than I did at SkipJack. I averaged 22.47mph at SkipJack so this suggests that if I averaged 193 watts for a similar IM, I 'd average 21.5mph.

Now, IMAZ has the long, gradual climb (and descent) that you take three times and it's logical to assume that it's a slower course than Skipjack/EM or IMFL. To determine how much slower, I took the 100th and 500th fastest times at both IMAZ and IMFL over the last three years and compared them (I was 245th at IMFL07). The snswer I get is the 100th fastest bike split was 3.2% slower at iMAZ (compared to IMFL) and the 500th was 3.4% slower. So, I'll estimate that IMAZ is 3.3% slower thn IMFL, all things else being equal. This turns my 21.5 mph into 20.8mph. This translates into an estimated IMAZ time for me of 5:23.

5:23 seems like a reasonable number and wouldn't kill my chances of getting to Kona. Of course, if raceday conditions are a lot worse then, this calculation is not valid. That said, it's possible that conditions might be a little better than we had at SkipJack and I could actully go a little faster.

The other thing I plan on doing is raising my FTP by 5-10 watts in October with a lot of Computrainer time--I think this is doable and this might give me the option of riding at closer to 200 watts on race day.

In any event, I'd say a best guess of 5:15-5:30 is probably pretty good right now....

I'll return to this topic in the last few days before the race.

September Monthly Training Volume

September totals were depressed due to my need to back off a bit early in the month after a very big August and lots of non-Triathlon challenges. Also, I raced two long course races in September and this also affected my volume--most recently the blisters I suffered at SkipJack have limited my efforts this week.

In any event, here are the numbers:

Swim: 36,000 yards
Bike: 806 miles
Run: 110 miles
Time: 77 hours

Looking ahead--I plan for October to be a very big training month--high volume, perhaps not as much as August, but more intensity. No triathlons--all eyes are on IMAZ now!