Thursday, March 28, 2013

FTP Test #2

There is a lot of research around lactate threshold, functional threshold power, and W/kg numbers and this year I decided to add a little science to my training. The one thing I'm realizing is that if you are an athlete who is motivated by the numbers and that motivates you to train harder (or better) it can be a very useful tool but if you are an athlete who is motivated by the training itself and seeing fundamental changes in your athleticism then it's probably a waste of time. I would say that I'm probably somewhere in the middle, I'm not completely motivated by analyzing the raw data and understanding what it means from a training perspective but it is useful to know that the work I'm putting on a day-to-day basis is producing changes in my fitness over the long-term. That's really where the 'art' comes into it, how do you balance the necessary improvements in your fitness by breaking down your muscles with the necessary recovery needed for those muscles to adapt and improve. It's a very tough thing to do but my body seems to tell me, I'll have a couple weeks of really great training and then I'll need a week of light to no training at all. A 2 week build 1 week recovery cycle is not a bad long term plan to follow but it does make it difficult when you start to feel really good and you know you need to hold back so you can fully recover.

In January I had an idea to start testing everyone's W/kg to make sure that the training we were doing is providing tangible results and to give us a benchmark to start from. It was a pretty sorry sight back then how out of shape we all felt and a 30k TT was so painful that everyone was knackered for quite a while afterwards. Well this week a few of us that are doing IM CDA tested our W/kg again and although the TT was no less painful it did show that we are all headed in the right direction. Somehow Robert managed to gain 0.5kg from January to March but given his reduced muscle mass over the previous
6 months it's probably not a surprise. The results from this weeks test are; Robert +13.8% improvement, Steve +17.1% improvement, and me +8.8% improvement. I'm still trying to keep most of my training in the zone 2-3 range and it's starting to pay off, I've dropped 2.5kgs and I feel fitter as I move into the critical months, April and May. These two months are going to determine how I'm going to do in Coeur d'Alene; if I can focus on the proper training 'cycle' then the results will come, I'm doing the right thing I just have to make sure I focus on my own training and I don't get caught up in what others are doing- tough when you train with other people but I've typically just done my own thing anyway. One more big weekend in March, I'm looking forward to a wonderful Easter with Amber and Ryder and then the outdoor training begins!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Now I Understand...

It's always been a bit curious to me why I would see some phenomenal triathletes fall off the training and racing map as soon as they have kids but now I completely understand why. It's an amazing life change to have this little person consume your entire life but it's also really hard to prepare for an Ironman during this time. My advice to anyone who is about to have a kid is don't plan on racing for a while after they are born. It's not that I can't train, Amber has been amazing at taking care of Ryder- realizing that I need to train for the next few months and she has taken tremendous care of him but the motivation to train hard just isn't there like it used to be. Fortunately Ironman is hard and scary enough that I've been getting off my ass to get in the pool, on the bike and on the treadmill but this weekend I've been sick and it's been pretty nice to just spend some down time with Ryder and Amber.

I'm not worried that I won't be ready for CDA in June, I know there is still sufficient time to prepare and I'm happy to be doing an early season race to have all summer to do family things. My training has been progressing since January but it's been progressing on my usual pace, preparing for a 1/2 in June/July- I'm going to have to step things up very quickly and being sick this week doesn't help. I am starting to feel a little better this weekend and I know I'll be back to 3hr rides in the basement soon but those 3hrs will have to turn into 4hrs and then 5hrs if I'm going to be race ready. For now I'll take a 'sick week' and just enjoy time with family for a while. How can you leave this beautiful little face to turn pedals in the basement for hours at a time.