Monday, February 18, 2013

Winter has arrived!

Last winter, as I was training for Boston, I was able to do all but four of my runs outside. This year is quite the contrast. I've already done about ten treadmill runs, and we've probably got about six more weeks until snow is no longer a possibility. Last weekend the entire northeast got hammered, and we got over two feet of snow at our house. It took me over three hours to clear our driveway after the snow stopped flying, and that included 45 minutes with a borrowed snow blower. Even our cats were shocked with all that snow (what is that white stuff?).

Even though I've had to spend more time running inside, I'm still getting in my workouts, and I'm definitely feeling faster across the board. This is especially true in the pool, where I'm getting in four good swims per week, and around 14,000-15,000 yards. My times are steadily getting faster in the pool, and I've seen my 'cruise' pace go from around 1:40/100 to around 1:35/100. I've recently done a few TT's: a 500 in 7:30, a 200 in 2:42, and a 100 in 1:16. While no means fast, I'm pleased with my progress (that of a non swimmer up until three years ago), and know that I should continue to make some solid gains over the next few months leading into the season.

I've always loved riding outside, but I seem to be getting accustomed to the trainer this winter. My trainer experience is neither love nor hate, but somewhat of a grey area in the middle. I know I can still make some gains in terms of power on the bike, but I have to work hard for those gains. Steve has me doing a lot of shorter intervals well above FTP, as well as some longer (10-20' @90%) intervals as well. I recently did a 5 min TT on the bike, and was pleased to average 408 watts. I'd love to see that creep up closer to 420 as the season nears. As you can see from the screenshot below, I faded a little at the end, struggling to hold 400 watts. Definitely pain cave stuff, but I'm already looking forward to the next test!

We have about six more weeks until our lives will drastically change with the arrival of our first child. Katie and my emotions are somewhere in the excited to terrified range, not really knowing how things will go or exactly what to expect. Training will also change a bit, and I'll try to still fit in my workouts when I can. I'll be taking three weeks off from work after the baby is born, so that's nice to look forward to. As teachers, both Katie and I are enjoying our February school vacation. We're currently in Jackson, NH, and I'll be only running over the next few days while here. Then it'll be back to regular training at the end of the week.

So far, here are my workout totals for the first 17 days of February:

Bike: 183 miles in 8.5 hrs
Run: 73 miles in 9 hrs
Swim: 38,500 yards in 11.5 hrs

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January Recap

On December 31st I began my year of sponsorship with Dark Horse Multisport. My goal for the 2013 season is simple: get to Kona, and I know Steve will get me there! After one month of working with Steve I feel like I have already made some solid gains. The most notable change in training has been a serious increase in swim yardage.

In previous years, I maxed out my swimming at around 40,000 yards per month, and have swum in the range of 300,000-350,000 yards a year. In my first month with Steve as my coach I swam just under 60,000 yards and have already shown some solid gains in the pool. My paces are incrementally getting a bit faster, and my endurance is definitely increasing. I also am no longer in fear of doing 4,000+ yard workouts - I'm actually starting to enjoy the water - weird, huh?

My offseason in the past has usually been run focused, and I've generally spent 2-3 hours on the trainer. I've been putting in about the same amount of time on the trainer, but the intervals have been more demanding than what I've done in the past. My usual go to workouts had been 3x15 or 2x20 at 90-95%. Steve has me doing a lot of 30" intervals at 130% and max efforts in addition to some of the 'sweet spot' intervals.

The result of this new bike training has been a bump up in my power. At my tri team's indoor TT I was able to come in 2nd @ 360 watts on the Computrainer (352 on my PT). Last year I put out 336 on my PT, so roughly a 5% increase from this time last year. Here I am somewhere in the pain cave:

I also put my run training to the test this afternoon in a 5k in Lowell. I had been doing 1/4 mile repeats at around 5:20-5:25 pace, and was hoping to be around 17:30 in the race. However, it was just one of those days where I didn't feel that great, and I ended up at 17:51, 9 seconds of my PR. I'm planning on another 5k in two weeks - hopefully the legs will be there for that one.