Saturday, November 28, 2009


Yes, I made that word up. It's what happens when an Engineer becomes a Triathlete. I have way too much "gear" on every time I go for a run. I decided to count the items that I wear every time I head out (excluding clothes and shoes):

1. RoadID strap on my ankle
2. Watch (for timing my run/laps)
3. Heart Rate chest strap
4. Heart Rate watch
5. XM Radio receiver (I have music stored on this, like an iPod)
6. XM Radio receiver arm strap
7. Ear buds
8. iPhone (so that I can use RunKeeper)
9. iPhone arm strap

This is entirely too much stuff, and I'm sure that I look ridiculous out running with equipment strapped all over my body...but I need all of it. I like all the data that I get after each run, so I'm not about to leave off any of these items on my next run.

60 minutes on the bike at the gym. I worked really hard all 60 minutes, making sure my HR never dropped below 140, keeping me in zones 3 & 4 most of the time. Jumped up to zone 5a & 5b during a 2 minute push at the end of the workout.

6.05 mile run - hills - in the cold (30F). I've run this route before, it's almost all hills. It's the beginning (and end) of my bike route when I leave from home. These hills are much easier on wheels! Did the 6.05 miles in 47:45 (7:53 min/mile pace).

Run Profile:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Look Back

It was about a year ago this time that I decided to start training specifically for triathlons. I began to plan out my workout schedule to include several sessions of swimming, biking and running each week.

Thanks to, my training log is saved going all the way back to December 15, 2008. I decided to go back and take a look at what I was doing approximately a year ago and see how my training has changed/improved. After all, there's no better way to prepare for the future than to look at the past!

Totals for the month of 12/15/08 - 1/15/09:
Swim: 4.69 miles at a pace of 46:17 min/mile
Bike: 106.1 miles at a pace of 15.3 mph
Run: 29.84 miles at a pace of 8:18 min/mile

Fast forward to the month of 10/9/09 - 11/9/09 (last week that I was able to swim):
Swim: 2.26 miles at a pace of 35:47 min/mile
Bike: 166.09 miles at a pace of 19.4 mph
Run: 57.26 miles at a pace of 7:54 min/mile

So it's not hard to see the improvement from less than a year ago. I'm much faster in all three disciplines...great motivation to get up every morning and try to improve even more!

4 laps around the mall
Lap 1 - 9:33 (7:53/mile pace)
Lap 2 - 9:35 (7:55)
Lap 3 - 9:40 (7:59)
Lap 4 - 9:21 (7:43)
Total: 4.84 miles in 38:08 (7:52 min/mile)

HR was in the 154-156 range (zone 2: extensive endurance) during laps 1-3, and then moved up to 162-165 when I picked up the pace during the last lap (zone 3: intensive endurance). It's good that I can run a pretty consistent, comfortable pace with my HR around 155. I wasn't able to do this a few months ago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eat right....even on Thanksgiving

Here's some tips to make sure that you don't blow your healthy eating habits over the holidays.

1. Eat slow...enjoy the food. You can go back for seconds later in the day.
2. Eat lots of turkey! It's lean, low in calories and delicious!
3. Load up on sweet potatoes, green beans and spinach...take small portions of casseroles.
4. The holidays are a fun time to enjoy holiday-specific foods, like pumpkin pie and stuffing, so avoid foods that you can have any time of year, like bread with butter, cheese and crackers, high calorie cocktails, and box-mix brownies or cookies.
5. If the weather allows, do something outside after the meal. Take a walk, throw some football, etc.

Did some pyramid intervals at the track in the gym. I call this workout "Twin Peaks"...for obvious reasons. Lap count was 2,4,6,8,6,4,2,4,6,8,6,4,2 with a minute rest between each interval. Here's a chart of my distance and pace.

Total time for 13 intervals (including rest periods) was 43:56. Not included in this time is a 10 minute warm-up, 5 minute cool-down and 10 minutes of stretching. As you can see, my pace increased (I slowed down) on the last few long intervals. Pretty tough workout, I'll definitely keep this one around.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triathlon Related Terms

I saw a post on this morning with a list of Triathlon terms. I thought that it was a good list, so I'm going to use some of their list with a few additions of my own:

70.3; 1/2 IM, HIM - This term is used to describe a Half Ironman race distance, which is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike an 13.1 mile run.

140.6; IM – This term is used to describe an Ironman distance, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.

1/2 Mary – This term describes a half marathon, or a 13.1 mile run.

Aero Bars - These are handlebars on a bicycle that face forward and that have places where you can place your elbows. These aero bars make it possible for triathletes to maintain a more comfortable and more aerodynamic position on the bike.

AG - This is an acronym for Age Group. Age-Groupers are athletes that are not professionals or Elite. Basically the people that have real jobs and do triathlons as a hobby.

AHR – This is an acronym for Average Heart Rate.

Anaerobic Exercise – This is an initial phase of exercise, or it can be used to describe short, intense bursts of exertion such as in jumping, sprinting and weight lifting.

Anaerobic Threshold (AT)– This is the exercise intensity level at which lactic acid is being produced more quickly than it is capable of being metabolized, meaning that it begins to accumulate within the blood stream.

Aquabike - This is the swimming stage followed by the biking stage without a running stage.

Base Period – Training phase which the solid foundation for fitness that you use to build speed and power is established.

Bonk - A state of extreme exhaustion mainly caused by the depletion of glycogen on the muscles. As expected, this usually happens someone on the run portion of a tri.

Build Period - Training phase which high-intensity training in the form of muscular, speed, and power endurance's are emphasized.

Duathlon - This is the running stage followed by a biking stage, then another running stage - there is no swimming stage.

Interval Training - A system of high-intensity work marked by short but regularly repeated periods of hard exercise interspersed with periods of recovery.

Peak Period - Training phase which volume of training is reduced and intensity is increased, allowing the athlete to reach high levels of fitness.

Prep Period - Training phase which the athlete begins to train for the coming season; usually marked by the use of cross-training and low workloads.

Race Period - Training phase which in the workload is greatly decreased, allowing the athlete to compete in high-priority races.

Tapering - A reduction in training volume prior to a major competition.

60 minutes of spinning. Mixed in some fast flats with some long hills. Worked hard to keep my HR in zone 3 (138-142), with it moving into zone 4 & 5a (143-158) at the end of each segment.
40 minutes of weights (chest, triceps and abs)

For those keeping track...this marks 2 weeks with no swimming. I wanted to take a week off to help my shoulder heal, but now there's a different problem. A sign at the gym this morning read as follows:

"Attention Members - the pool will be closed until further notice"


Saturday, November 21, 2009

I found the cut off...

for what temperature I will attempt to get out and ride. It's 38 degrees. When I looked at the forecast last night it said that the overnight low was 45F, so I knew that it would be chilly, but not too bad. I bundled up this morning and set out right as the sun came up at 7:30am. About 10 minutes into my ride, I knew that it was really cold! Despite gloves and two pair of socks, my fingers and toes were frozen. The rest of my body stayed fairly warm, thanks to Under Armour and my long-legged cycling pants. When I got back, I pulled up and saw this:

Fingers and toes were literally in pain by the time I got back home. This may have been my last outdoor ride for a while.
I went for one loop of the 19 mile route that I frequented this past summer...lots of good hills! Here's the profile and speed chart from RunKeeper:

Lots of ups and downs on both the speed and elevation. Heart Rate averaged around 145 (lower end of zone 4) most of the ride, moving into the mid 150's (zone 5a) on the hills). I'd like to ride in zone 3 (138-142) on long rides, but with all the hills on this route, it's tough to keep it that low!

Rode 19.05 miles in 1:00:39 (18.85 mph average)

Ran 3.0 miles in 21:18 (7:06 min/mile pace)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running/Riding in the Dark

I haven't been on a treadmill in 6 months and if you work typical business hours like me, it's almost impossible to train outside in the daylight this time of year. So I thought that I would share some "Exercising in the Dark " tips:

1. Move in the right direction! - Bike with traffic, run and walk against traffic. Biking with traffic is the law...running/walking against the flow of traffic is just a good idea. It allows you to watch everything coming your way - cars, buses, bikes, etc. Oncoming traffic can see you from afar and you should have enough reaction time to get out of the path of any oncoming danger. As drivers increasingly text and talk on their cell phones, all it takes is a momentary swerve of the car to cause an impact. Runners with their back to an oncoming swerving vehicle don't have a chance to react.
Unlike running, bike speeds of 15-20 mph and faster create a dangerously short reaction time for drivers headed in the opposite direction. So, riding with the flow of traffic is the safe bet.

2. Wear Reflective clothes - This one is pretty obvious, but anything that helps you stand out in the darkness is a good idea. A reflective vest is probably the best idea, but if nothing else, wear bright colors (yellow, orange, white). Reflective wrist and ankle bands are good because they will be moving as you run/bike and are more likely to get the attention of an unattentive driver.

3. See clearly - Eye protection is necessary when biking, but leave the dark-tented glasses at home if you are riding early or late. Use clear or red tint lenses to enhance your vision in the dark.

4. Move off road - If you can find a trail to run or bike on, you don't have to worry about being seen by cars. These trails are likely to be very dark, so a headlight or flashlight might be necessary. Modern LED flashlights or small mag light flashlights are more compact for the amount of light they provide. Those who do not want to carry anything in their hands can strap a headlamp flashlight onto their foreheads.

5. Go Early - Do what I do...get up early and get out there! Now that the clocks have been set back, getting out before or right at sunrise is the best way to get some sunlight on your workout. It's dark at 5:30pm, so going after work means nothing but darkness! Lay out your clothes the night before and don't hit the snooze!

6. Be Safe! - If crime is an issue where you run/bike, take precautions when exercising in the dark. Avoid unsafe neighborhoods. Walk or run with a companion - of either the human or canine variety.
Carry some mace or pepper spray. Also remember that if you walk or run regularly, you are probably in good enough shape to outrun most thugs that have been out partying all night!

80 minutes on the bike (covered around 26 miles). Got to Spin Class a little late, but we did some good long intervals today...of the 2-4 minute variety. I stayed after class and got in another solid 45 minutes of work in HR zone 2. I also enjoyed listening to some AC/DC Radio on my new iPhone thanks to the free Pandora radio!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lovin' me some fall running!!

4 laps around the mall (45F this morning...perfect weather!!)
Lap 1 (warm-up) - 9:54
Lap 2 - 9:43 (8:01/mile pace)
Lap 3 - 9:37 (7:56)
Lap 4 - 9:26 (7:47)
Total: 4.84 miles in 38:42 (7:59 min/mile)

HR stayed in the 143-145 range during the warm-up lap. Moved into the high 150's (zone 2) during lap 2, and then moved up to 161-163 during the last 2 laps (top end of zone 2/bottom end of zone 3).

Here's the profile from RunKeeper:

Blue line is speed, red line is elevation. Looks like I was running straight up and down hills, but it's really only a 26 foot change in elevation...barely noticeable. I've added the yellow line that shows my average speed for each lap. As you can see, my speed was all over the place during my first half mile or so. Then I settled in and ran a pretty steady pace through the end of lap 2. At the start of lap three, I knew I wanted to speed it up, but I obviously took off way too fast (peaking at 9.5 mph, a pace of 6:18/mile!). I finally got control of the pace and finished out pretty steady. On the final lap, I was very sporadic for the first half, then got into a pretty steady pace before a little push at the end.

Being the engineering geek that I am, I really enjoy all this data that I'm getting from I just have to determine how to use this data to improve my training!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Intervals are getting quicker

Started with 5 minutes of warm-up jogging, then 5 minutes of drills. Intervals were once again 1/2 mile with 1:00 rest in between.

In the past, I've aimed for the 3:40 mark, but after several sub 3:30 times last week, I've moved the goal to 3:30. Here's the results of today's training:

(1) 3:32
(2) 3:30
(3) 3:31
(4) 3:29
(5) 3:29
(6) 3:28

I forgot the HR monitor this morning, so I don't have any HR data...but I'm sure I was in zone 5b on that last interval, based on my breathing. Finished with a 5 minute cool-down and about 10 minutes of stretching.

Looking back at my intervals times from 9/1/09, I'm really encouraged by my increase in speed. Once I get into the next phase of training (Base 1), I will probably up the number of intervals from 6 back to 9.

According to Joe Friel and this new study, speed work, such as these intervals, is the way to become faster...even if you are training for long races!

Monday, November 16, 2009

RunKeeper App

So I'm really glad that I didn't buy a $400 watch that has GPS capabilities. If I knew that I could get all the same data (distance, current pace, overall pace, elevation, time) through a free iPhone Application, I would have bought the phone months ago.

I downloaded "RunKeeper" an used it for the first time yesterday morning on my run. I started it right after I started my watch and stopped it right before I ended my run. Here's what the screen looks like while you are running:

Gives you your current speed and pace, as well as you overall distance and time. I didn't look at the screen while I was running because it was in my pocket. I was happy with the application, but once I saw what info was available on the RunKeeper website after I uploaded my run, I was ecstatic. Here's a screen shot of the website:

It shows your route on a map with mile markers, a chart with your split times and paces for each mile, and my favorite part...a graph showing the elevation changes of your route as well as your speed during the entire run. This is really cool stuff and I'm excited to use this on longer runs and bike rides.

The technology relies on the phone's built-in GPS, so the route may get a little messed up if the signal is lost, but it's still amazingly accurate and close enough for what I'm doing (being off a few hundredths of a mile isn't a big deal when you are running 8-10 miles!)

75 minutes on the bike in Spin class. Mixed in some good negative splits today (2 min. at 70% effort followed by 2 min. at 80% effort). HR was in the low 140's (zone 3) most of the class, getting in to the 150's (zone 4) on the negative splits. HR made it all the way up to 159 (zone 5b) during a 2 min. 90% effort to end the class.
25 minutes of weights (chest, triceps, abs)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Catching up

Haven't had a chance to post anything in the last few here's what I've been up to:

Thursday (11/12):
75 minutes on the bike
15 minute warm-up followed by 5 min. of hills, then 5 min. of fast flats
Repeat the 5x5 five times
10 minute cool-down
Tried to keep HR in zone 3 during the entire 50 minute ride; jumped into zone 4 on the last flat.
20 minutes of weights (shoulders, traps)

3 mile fartlek run
Increased my speed every 4 minutes for 20 seconds...accomplished this by increasing cadence from 29-30 foot strikes per 20 seconds to 32-33 strikes.
Total time was 22:11 (7:23 min./mile pace)
HR stayed in the high 160's (zone 3), moving into zone 4 (173 bpm) during the 20 seconds sprints.

I also used my "Run Keeper" app on my new iPhone for the first time...pretty cool! More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drafting...tisk, tisk

So if you are a triathlete or follow triathlon's you may have seen a video from last weekend's Ironman Florida that's floating around the internet. It's a video showing about 20 or so athlete's on the bike portion of the race. It's recorded from a camera mounted on a cyclists helmet. They are all very close to one another, and based on their speed and lack of effort (especially those coasting), it's obvious that they are drafting. Riding right behind someone blocks the wind...requiring MUCH less force to maintain the same speed.

Drafting is illegal in USAT (USA Triathlon) sanctioned races...which include all Ironman races and most other reputable tri's in the US.

Directly from the rule book:
Drafting--keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds.
Position--keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing.
Blocking--riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass.
Overtaken--once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear, before attempting to pass again.

Now watch this video:

You'll note that some of the guys are staying right with the group without even pedaling! The penalty for drafting is typically a 2 minute penalty, followed by a disqualification on the second offense. It's clear that IM Florida is going to have to work on correcting this! Looking at the wheels and bikes that these guys are pushing, they know the rules...blatant cheating!

4 laps around the mall
Lap 1 (warm-up) - 10:12
Lap 2 - 9:25 (7:46/mile pace)
Lap 3 - 9:25 (7:46)
Lap 4 - 9:23 (7:45)
Total: 4.84 miles in 38:25 (7:56 min/mile)

HR was in the 140-145 range during the warm-up lap. Moved into the high 150's (zone 2) during laps 2 & 3, and then moved up to 161-163 during the last lap (top end of zone 2/bottom end of zone 3). Heart rate is right where I want it to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back to Tuesday Intervals

It's been a few weeks since I did any intervals, so after a failed attempt at swimming (see below), I did some 1/2 mile intervals. Started with 10 minutes of warm-up, then went right into my intervals with 1:00 rest in between.

As usual, I wanted to keep them around the 3:40 mark:

(1) 3:28
(2) 3:29
(3) 3:28
(4) 3:33
(5) 3:34
(6) 3:41

I've never worn my HR monitor while doing intervals, so it was interesting to see what was going on with my cardiovascular system as the intervals became harder and harder.
During warm-ups, my HR stayed in the lower 140's (Zone 1). It moved from 140 up to the mid 160's as I ran each interval. During the 1 minute rest periods, it would quickly drop back down into the 130's. During the end of the last two intervals, my HR moved up into the high 170's (Zones 4 & 5a), which is close to my threshold. Highest I ever saw was 178, which is still not quite into Zone 5b (anaerobic endurance), but my level of exertion was about a 9, so I think the running HR zones I established are pretty accurate.

My plan was to swim about a mile before running. There were a few people in the pool when I arrived at the gym, so I immediately headed into the water. I woke up Sunday morning with a little pain in my shoulder. I went for a ride Sunday and then lifted weights yesterday with no problems...never even thought about it again...until I started swimming this morning. There was pain in my left shoulder with every stroke. If I've learned anything in my training, it's not to "work through" an injury. So I immediately stopped swimming. Not sure if this is just a case of sleeping on it wrong or if I've injured it somehow. Time will tell.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ladder Intervals on the Bike

Mixed it up in Spin Class this morning. We did some interval training, which was a good way for me verify my cycling heart rate zones.

After a good 15 minute warm-up we started in with 5 minutes at an easy pace (Zone 1). Then 4 minutes of a little harder work (about 5 beats per minute higher). I was trying to stay around 125 bpm during this interval, which is right on the edge of Zone 2. Next it was 3 minutes of even a little higher intensity, 130 bpm, which is in the middle of my Zone 2. Then, you guessed it...2 minutes at a little harder pace. HR increased into Zone 3 during this interval (138-142 bpm). Then it was 1 minute as hard as I could go. HR made it up to 156, which is in Zone 4. Any more than a minute at this pace and HR would have no doubt made it into the 160's...pushing towards my 175 max heart rate.

We repeated this set one more time, then did a smaller ladder of 3 min., 2 min., and 1 minute before cooling-down. When it was all said and done, I spent and hour on the bike and got in lots of good aerobic (Zone 2) and even some anaerobic (Zone 4) work.

My heart rates during the intervals matched what I thought they should be. Level of exertion was low during the 5 minute and 4 minute intervals, and my HR reflected that. Once I starting pushing it, my HR moved up into Zones 3 & expected. I think I've finally nailed down my HR Zones on the bike!

1 hour on the bike (description above)
45 min. of weights (chest, triceps, abs)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back on the bike

Headed out around 7:30 this morning for a ride. It was about 45F, so I put on the Under Armour gear and long bike pants. I pledge my allegiance to Under Armour...the stuff works! Only part of my body that didn't stay toasty was my toes.

With all of the run-specific training I did over the last two months, I haven't been on my bike in a long time. I knew that I was going to forget something. I remembered everything with the exception of my HR monitor and my Chamois Butt’r. What's is Chamois Butt’r? Well, it keeps my underside from hurting on long rides.

I noticed about 10 miles into my ride that my perineum was hurting. Look it up, it's a real place. It's also the place that usually get's some Chamois Butt'r rubbed on it before I ride. So other than being a little sore, it was a great ride this morning!

19.09 miles on the bike in 1:02:53 (18.24 mph). A little slower than I usually ride, but I made an effort to stay seated on the hills...which there were lots of!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heart Rate Zones

During my run on Tuesday of this week, I wore my HR monitor and was disappointed to learn that my "comfortable" running pace put my HR in the 155-161 range. According to my HR zones established during my VO2 Max test, this put me in Zone 3-4. In order to train aerobically and increase endurance, I need to train in Zone 2 (139-151).

So this morning, I strapped on the HR monitor and hit the pavement for another run. Keeping a close eye on my HR, I kept it below 151 for my entire run. If it jumped to 152, I would slow the pace. Average was probably around 148. One big problem...keeping my HR in this zone really slowed me down. Lap 1 was done in 9:35 (7:55/mile), Lap 2 was done in 10:15 (8:28/mile) and Lap 3 took me 10:38 (8:47/mile). Would I have to run this slow to build my endurance? I felt like I was barely exerting myself...well below what I would consider a "comfortable" pace.

Something wasn't adding up. While on the bike, I can go all-out and not get my HR much above 160. Why was my running HR so much higher? So I pulled out my "Triathlete's Training Bible" to see what it said about HR zones in running vs. cycling. Sure enough...they are different.

So the zones that I calculated based on my VO2 max test are only accurate for cycling. HR zones for running are 6-10 beats per minute faster. So my target HR for Zone 2 in running is 154-162. What a relief! I can handle running in this zone and my pace won't suffer. I'm not sure how I missed this little bit of information about the different HR zones. It was in the early part of the book, which I read a few months ago. Or I may have been dozing off while reading that page!

Heart Rate Zones for Running
Zone 1 (recovery) 60-73% 134-153
Zone 2 (extensive endurance) 74-81% 154-162
Zone 3 (intensive endurance) 82-84% 163-168
Zones 4 & 5a (threshold) 85-93% 169-180
Zone 5b (anaerobic endurance) 93-95% 181-183
Zone 5c (power) 96-100% 184-189

Ran 3.63 miles in 30:28 (8:23/mile) - it was a little cold. I had my gloves, but could have used something to cover my ears!
30 minutes of weights (shoulders, traps, abs)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trying to eat heathy...

My wife and I have been making an effort to eat at home more often. We've decided to do this for lots of reasons (it's cheaper, we have a 4 month old, it's easier to eat healthy at home). We both try and eat as healthy as possible and it's just tough to find something "healthy" when eating out. Even things that may seem to be a wise choice (salads, wraps, etc.) aren't always.

Found this little handy guide in Men's Health magazine on restaurant survival tips:

- Don't ruin a healthy meal with your drink (we all know soda is bad, but sweet tea isn't much better...stick with water. Add a lemon if you want some flavor)
- Leave the "free" bread alone (anything that's put on the table before your food arrives is usually unhealthy. A couple bread sticks or biscuits can add hundreds on calories)
- Front load with protein (eat an appetizer loaded with protein to start your meal...preferable something that isn't deep-fried or covered in cheese)
- Personalize your order (ask for whole wheat pasta & bread, hold the mayo, leave the bacon get the idea)
- Order just side dishes (2-3 side dishes of veggies and/or fruit can make for a good meal)
- If you are getting pizza, go with thin crust (somewhere around 400 less calories per slice!)
- Don't order combo meals at fast-food spots (go with the entree only)
- Eat slowly (it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to tell us that we're full...give your food time to "settle")
- Don't clean your plate (get a to-go box and eat it for lunch the next day)
- Don't eat dessert (duh!)

1 hour on the bike. Good workout in spin class, lots of long (3-5 min.) hills.
25 minutes in the pool. 5 minute warm-up, then 20 minutes at comfortable pace. Finally felt like I was in a good groove in the water today. Did 48 lengths (1152 yards) in 20:15 (30:56 min/mile pace).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Power Output at VO2 Max

Read this on Joe Friel's blog this morning...regarding VO2 max:

If you want to be an elite athlete you need to have a high VO2max. But that just gets you to the start line. To compete well you also must be economical...and you need an anaerobic/lactate threshold at a high percentage of your VO2max.

[The winner of the race will be the person] with the highest power output at VO2max. Given the choice of a high VO2max or a high power output at a lower VO2max, always pick power. It should be obvious that the person who can put out the most power when at his top end is the person who is most likely to win. There's a close relationship between power and the results of a race. In the same way, if you know the paces a group of runners can do at VO2max, you have the best indicator of how the race results will come out.

After reading this, I went back to my VO2 Max Test results. My power output at my VO2 max was 400 watts. I've always felt like I have good power on the bike. My thoughts have been confirmed with race results (2nd, 7th & 7th in my age group on the bike leg in my three triathlons). Although, I'm not sure how good 400 watts at VO2 max really is.

A little research shows that Greg LeMond (three-time winner of the Tour de France) had a power output of 450 watts at a VO2 max of 92.5! I found another professional cyclist that had a power output of 390 watts at his VO2 max of 65.2. A quick Google search turned up the results of an amateur cyclist that tested at 350 watts at a VO2 max of 59.

So if power trumps VO2 max, then I'm in good shape on the bike. After reading more on the subject, I've decided the one reason I often "bonk" on the run in my triathlons is because of the leg power/force I use when riding. I tend to hang out in the high gears (smaller rings) and use my leg muscles to get over hills and push it on the flats. I can achieve the same speed and use less energy by changing to a lower gear and increasing cadence. I plan to work on this over the winter....we'll see.

Ran 1.5 miles as fast as I could. This is a new part of my training. This is one of the many "tests" that I will do every month or so to see how things are progressing. Today's run gives me a baseline to start from. I did the distance in 10:13 (6:47 min/mile pace). This isn't very fast, but it was done around the track at the gym...21 laps. There's a lot of slowing down to turn involved in running 21 laps around a small track. Next time I do this test I'll try it on a long, flat stretch of road.
1 hour of weights (back, biceps, abs)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Training zones

Today's workout consisted of a run and a quick swim.
The run was to be a 5 minute warm-up followed by 25-30 minutes of running in zone 2 (extensive endurance zone). My heart rate for zone 2 is between 139 and 151. This is the zone that I need to train in to build my endurance.

After my warm-up, I set out to make 3 loops around the mall (if you follow my blog, you know that this is my preferred route during early morning runs). First lap was done in 9:05 and my heart rate was hanging around 145. So far, so good. During lap 2 I noticed my HR had moved up into the 150-155 range...a little too high. So I slowed down the pace. Lap 2 was done in 9:35. During lap 3 I made an effort to slow down even more (time was 9:45), but my HR was hanging out around 160. Not only is this out of zone 2, it's all the way into zone 4! Zone 4 is supposed to be reserved for short workouts that aim to improve anaerobic threshold...which is not what I need to be doing right now.

I haven't worn a Heart Rate monitor much in the past, so I'm not sure if this is where my HR has been during running all along, or if it was just a little elevated today since I'm still getting over my head cold. I guess time will tell. I'm not that excited about running slow enough to keep my HR below 151 though!

Ran 3.63 miles in 28:42 (7:54/mile)
Swam for 15 minutes. Did intervals 6x96yd (4 lengths - close as I can get to 100 yards in this pool). With 30s recovery between each. Average interval time was 1:44. I intended to do 10 intervals, but the only other person in the pool left, so I had to cut my workout short in order to follow the new rules. Cooled-down with 5 minutes of drills.
I did this swim workout wearing some baggy shorts. This gives the same effect as running with a parachute. It's much harder to swim with baggy basketball shorts on than with a nice sleek pair of swim shorts (take a minute to enjoy the mental image that you now have). This added drag helps directly build the muscles used for swimming. I throw one of these "drag" workouts in once in a while.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Training for 2010 starts today!

Finally getting back into a routine following a few weeks of easy training after the Louisville Half-Marathon.

This phase of my training is called the "Prep" phase. Based on the training plan outlined in Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Training Bible"; you start with the date of your first "Priority A" race. Then counting backwards, you have race week, 2 weeks in the "Peak" phase, 8 weeks in various stages of the "Build" phase, 12 weeks in various stages of the "Base" phase, and then 5 weeks in the "Prep" phase. My first "Priority A" race will be sometime in mid May (date hasn't been set yet), so counting back 27 weeks...we come to today!

1 hour on the bike (Spin Class) - lots of intervals, some speed, some force (hills) - heart rate was in the 135-150 range most of the time (zone 2). Covered somewhere around 20 miles.
20 minutes in the pool - 5 minutes of drills (single arm, catch-up, finger-tip drag), followed by 15 minutes of swimming at a comfortable pace. I didn't count laps, so I'm not sure exactly how far I swam, guessing somewhere around 40 total lengths (approx. 840 yards or .47 miles). Thanks to the two elderly ladies that were in the pool this morning. If it wasn't for their pool-based cardio workout, I wouldn't have been able to swim...still not happy about this!

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