Triathletes are peculiar lot. I say that with the utmost affection. I am, after all a triathlete, but we do have our peculiarities. Some that quickly come to mind are "active" recovery and race tapers involving 60% of normal volume. I have managed to wrap my mind around most of these things over the last three years, but the one I am struggling with is this concept of the physical tests during recovery week.
I said RECOVERY WEEK... You know. When you're supposed to freakin recover.
Evidently, my idea of recovering still hasn't caught up to standards. During the base phase (and perhaps build), its a good idea to do the physical tests to see how your training is coming along. Since I'm working on my HTFU, I decided to follow this advice and just do the dayum tests.
Saturday, I got up early and ran with the running group at Boling Park. Most of those guys are training for the marathon. Me, not so much. I did 4.6 miles before calling it a day. That afternoon, I wandered to the pool to do my swim test. One of the things I am really enjoying about these tests is that I am giving it my all. I am committed. I did 3x300 all out with thirty seconds rest. My times came in at 4:30 (ouch!), 4:44, and 4:45. That gives me a T-pace of 1:33, one second better than my last test. It's not much, but I'll take it. That's slightly better than my last swim test before Augusta last year.
Sunday morning, I actually slept in a little bit. I had breakfast and some coffee while I watched Chelsea dismantle Arsenal in the Premier League. After the game was over, I set my bike up on the trainer and downloaded the workout for the 6 mile time trial from Training Center to my Garmin XT. Well, it was the 5 mile TT workout, but I modified it to make it longer. The workout starts out with a build up: 5 minutes in Zone 1, 5 minutes in Zone 2, 5 minutes in Zone 3, then some kind of 2 minute recovery followed by the time trial. I wasn't expecting those 5 minutes in Zone 3, so it caught me by surprise, but I did what I was supposed to do and sucked it up.
When the Garmin beeped at me to start the time trial, I took off. Evidently, I have issues with pacing here as well. I started out at 25+ mph, only to watch my speed gradually decrease. Those were the longest six miles of my life. I had forgotten how much these things hurt. Again, I was so proud of myself. I did not look at my heart rate one time. It was just time and distance on the Garmin, and I was silently cheering and applauding as the miles ticked off. When it was over, I was drenched in sweat, and my eyes were blood shot. My time came in at 15:59, 22.5 mph average. After a 10 minute cool down, I hopped over the laptop and downloaded my data. I was very pleased to see a max HR of 169 and an average HR of 165, right where my numbers were for last year.
Tomorrow, I'm going to conduct an "EP" test. This basically involves setting the Garmin up in a 3 heart beat range around 80% of my aerobic threshold and seeing how far I can run in a certain amount of time. As my fitness improves, I should be able to run further during the same amount of time. I might work myself up to another running lactate hell test, but I doubt it.
I'm not THAT HTFU :-)