Don’t let the title be too deceiving, I am always training in some way shape or form. But this year has been full up setback with just a couple high moments.
Last week my drill sergeant, Blair Murphy, threw me in the deep end of the pool mid week, and had me at masters swim by saturday morning. Even with the few snarky comments regarding a guy hoping to win a world championship swimming in the “average’ lane, I still somehow managed to average about 1:32 pace which for me is good, especially at this point.
On a more serious note regarding the swimming, for anyone curious, my weekly swim schedule will consist of 2 masters sessions a week, 2 endurance sessions and 1 other speed work sessions with Blair. For someone like me, who needs can gain multiple minutes on the bike with just a slightly faster swim, its important to focus on this weakness.
On that note, I do get a lot of flack for not spending every waking moment of my life in the pool. While I agree that we tend to neglect weaknesses as athletes and as coaches in some instances, it is equally important to not let your strengths suffer. If I don’t put 10 minutes into my rivals on the bike, I might as well have back stroked the swim. I think maybe this is the beauty of the short course races, you have the ability to focus on all three disciplines equally. Last year in Maui, my run was by far my best leg of the race, why is that? A couple obvious answers come to mind; first, I trained my ass off on the hills around boulder and even had the Strava KOM for the entire 7 mile betasso loop at one point, second, I screwed my swim up so bad that I couldn’t ride the bike as hard as I wanted due to traffic and was much fresher for the run. I also find that coming from much longer endurance sports, such as the leadville, and other 6-7 hour long races, you gain a certain amount of depth that lifetime short course racers may lack.
Most of my biking last week, involved paved and dirt road climbs and a steady pace. (No russell, not everything is on strava) With the early season knee problems and some soreness the week before, I made sure to keep things manageable and spent as much time in zones 2-3 as I could, riding with a high cadence. I rode 3 days with the longest ride at about 20 miles and 3k in elevation. Each day on the bike last week was paired with a run. All flat runs with the emphasis mainly on getting my body back in the groove. The longer ride was paired with a very short 3 mile run, while a couple of the shorter rides ( all with at least 2k in climbing) were paired with 10k ish, runs which involved a little more speed work.
Without power on the mtn bike, its difficult to quantify the changes in fitness. My only gages are my times on certain climbs and the way I feel. You can always use heart rate as a metric, but I find it useful more as a zone control mechanism and as an indicator of the need for recovery. With no data on where exactly I was, I did do one full gas effort up the chapman climb which ended in a PR by about 2 minutes which shows promise. My run, at least on the flats, is right where I want it right now. I am running a fairly comfortable 10k at about a 7:15 pace, give or take a few seconds.
Starting this week, the training will become very detailed. Beyond the added structure, which I will share specifically, I will be using a couple things to test my fitness once a week or every other week. Starting this week, I will run betasso and post my pace and time. This will be a weekly thing and I will do at least one day a week where I do an LT run there. I haven’t decided what the bike test will be, but its likely to be a lap test at centennial cone. I will confirm this. Last but not least, well, maybe least…. I will do the one I hate the most! The 1500 meter pool test. I like doing one day every week where I swim a straight 1500 at the best possible pace I can hold.
Now as I write this, most people wonder how the hell I expect to gain so much fitness in such a short amount of time. This is where the depth from years of training comes into play. I remember putting in 30+ hour weeks on the bike leading into cycling season. My training for this began more than 15 years ago when running was my main cross training for motocross. I would run 6-10 miles a day, 4+ times a week and think nothing of it. Even this summer when it seems like I have little preparation, I still rode and ran every week. When its ingrained into your system, you can consider yourself “not training” and “lazy”, yet still be training 10 hours a week. Its when you really structure the training, change the diet, and strive to create adaptations, that you start to call it training. This is a very common problem with athletes, when we are “not training”, we are miserable.
Todays blog was a bit of word vomit, and not pictures to show. If there is some part of this progression that you would like me to explain, or follow over the next couple months in some way shape or form please let me know. I open to any suggestions.
Once again, I have to thank my sponsors at pearl izumi and breck bike guides. My swim coach Blair, the guys who keep my body from completely shutting down, Marcus Allen-Hille and Charlie Merrill, as well as everyone who takes a second to actually read this.