Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One-Hour Workouts

50 Swim, Bike, and Run Workouts for Busy Athletes


Note: I purchased this book with my own money.

You get that for which you pay. This book delivers on its promise. None of the workouts are "run for one hour" either. As an active triathlete, I am always looking for workouts to insert into my annual training plan. This book comes with 50 base, tempo, and speed workouts in each discipline. Basically, that gives you five or six workouts you can incorporate into each phase of your training (base, build, peak, etc). In addition, the authors provide advice on almost all the workouts on how to change it up, adapt it to your situation, and create different flavors of the same workout. For those of us that crave variety, this book doesn't have enough workouts to build an entire annual training plan for every distance, but it does have some really good workouts and advice on how to implement them.

I gave this book five stars because it is deserved. What frustrates me, however, is a lack of "advanced workouts" that coaches save for the athletes they are personally training. Even just one or two of those per discipline would have been nice (and that's really the only complaint I could come up with :-). Overall, this book is an excellent value. A few judicious purchases of other books with workouts combined with some internet research, and you'll have everything you need to fill in the workouts for an entire season of triathlon training.

This book is available from VeloPress and other fine retailers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Culmination of an EPIC Fail

or

How I took a site seeing tour of the Silver Comet Trail from the passenger seat of a motorized Mule.

but the post title is more catchy, no? :-)

So, Friday, I pulled off one of my usual "let's be a tad bit lazy" stunts and waited until after work to go for my swim. Originally, I had planned to swim at the gym on the way home. Nobody in my neck of the woods swims on Friday afternoon. They are getting ready for their Friday nights I guess. That all changed when word came through that Matthew's hardship transfer had been approved and he could play football Friday night. Georgia has this high school designed to limit recruiting by not allowing transfers to play varsity sports their first year. Matthew as going to play his first game at a high school near the Silver Comet Trail. Very convenient for me from work, but I would need to swim at the gym by Cumberland Mall.

I headed over to the gym around 4:30-ish. This one is very busy and it was packed. Every lane was full. Somebody was even waiting for a lane. When one opened up, he offered to let me swim with him. That's not something that happens at my gym either. When a lane opened up, I moved, but 15 minutes later, two more people showed up and once again, I was sharing a lane. Not a big deal for me. I've just never shared a lane for an entire workout. I thought since I had some extra time, I would just take an extra 400 yards on to my planned 3600 yards. My arms were toasted when I was done, and I ended up doing 4000 yards in an hour and eighteen minutes, including rest periods.

Matthew got into the game for one play. He attempted a 47 yard field goal, which fell 7 yards short. It was straight as an arrow though! They ended up winning pretty convincingly too.

Saturday, I was up bright and early for Matthew's soccer tournament. Unlike last weekend, we were blessed with decent weather. I watched Matthew's first game and ended up reffing until almost four o'clock in the afternoon. Dee Dee asked me on the way home if I was "really" going to get up and ride my bike in the morning. I had blocked out a couple of hours for a swim, but due to Matthew's schedule, I ended up getting the entire morning off. I showed up at the Silver Comet Trail with the intent of riding 4 hours.

The ride started out OK. I made it out to the 30-ish mile marker staying steady in Zone 2, when I heard the thump thump thump of my back tire. I pulled over and sure enough it was flat. I proceeded to change it. One thing I will say is that every rider that came by asked me if I needed help. What a great tri/cycling community we have. I put the first tube in with no problem and got started back down the trail. At the thirty one mile marker, there is a tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel, I heard my tire pop. I pulled over at the sitting area there were two guys on road bikes were resting. I put in my second tube, and I "think" there was something wrong with valve. It let all the air out pretty quickly.

One of the gentlemen was kind enough to give me a tube and a spare canister. I took great pains to fill the tire up properly. They took off on their merry way. I got on my bike, went six feet, heard the pop, followed by the sound of hissing air. In disgust, I sat my butt back down on the rock and took out the third tube. That was when I noticed some fraying on the tread of the tire. It didn't go all the way through, so I wasn't concerned about it. Well, not a lot. Some ladies came by on their road bikes, and I asked them if they had a spare tube. They were kind enough to let me borrow one and their bike pump. After getting the tire on yet again, I decided it was time to head for home. I rode with the girls for about half a mile when that tube popped as well. With a sigh, I got off and started walking. The girls offered to meet me at the rest stop at mile marker 20 (11 miles away) and give me a ride. I thanked them and told them the sheriff would be by in a bit, and he could give me a lift back to a rest area.

After walking down the trail for about 10 minutes, the sheriff shows up and gives me a lift. It's about then that I realize my (Dee Dee's) sunglasses are no where to be found. Sometime between that last flat and getting picked up, I lost them. Now that I think about it, I may have set them down in the back of the Sheriff's mule. Any who, the sheriff game a ride back for 16miles to the trail head at the start of Paulding County. There was a bike shop there that quickly got me fixed up and back on the road. I ended up missing the first half of Matthew's first game on Sunday, which really pissed me off.

Even now, three to four years later, I am still learning. I need to put my pump back on my bike where it belongs. I need to check my equipment EVERY TIME before going out on these long rides.

Thank you Paulding County Sheriff's Department. I am and will always be very grateful for the public service you provide to our community.

Wes

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I was just peeking back, and I've been doing this blog thang for over four years now. That's kinda cool... and scary :-) My first coupla months posts are so funny to me now.

Yesterday was speed day in the pool. I picked out a classic Friel speed workout. It basically involved three sets of 100s. He suggested 5, so 3x(5x100). The first set of 100s is your base time. The rest of the sets were holding pace. My first 100 came in at 1:23. No no no. Too fast. my second was 1:28. Better! My third was 1:24. No no no. Too fast :-) I settled on a 1:27 average and nailed the rest of the workout. It was HARD holding that pace, but it was wonderful achieving that small victory.

I followed that up with a run last night. I have more games to referee this weekend. As such, I wanted this to count towards my long run. I wanted to run an hour to an hour and a half depending on how I felt. Well, my feet and ankles were still very sore. I felt better after the 50 minute mark for about 10 minutes or so, then all went to hell in a hand basket. I managed 7.2 miles in an hour twenty. Long, slow, painful. but done :-)

So Happy It's Thursday, y'all!

Wes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Bike TT (sort of)

The start of the school year brings changes to my schedule. I can no longer be slack ass in the morning. If I don't get up and get my workout in around 5 AM-ish, then it doesn't get done till lunch, or even worse, till after work.

This is not entirely a bad thing. I've taken to bringing my bike with me to work again. Columns Drive is a mere 2.5 miles from my office. That's just about the perfect warm up distance, is it not? The general flatness of Columns Drive makes for a fast controlled workout, but it doesn't allow for things like hill repeats, etc.

Around 12:15-ish, I suited up on the fourth level of the parking deck (free show?). After spiraling down the ramps, I exited out onto the road and paused to allow the Garmin to pick up the satellites. I wasn't sure what my legs had left in them for me this day, but I in my mind, I wanted to go hard.

I rode along the interstate and felt an unfamiliar coolness in the air. Coolness may not be the right way to put it. Let's call it a lack of stifling heat. Fall is in the air. Down by the river, I made a left into the park and proceeded on the gravel packed trail to Columns Drive. I can't go faster the than 12-15 mph hour here. It's irritating to a numbers geek like me, but it is really a good thing. It allows my muscles to get nice and warmed up.

Once wheels hit pavement, I kicked it into overdrive. I intentionally left the Garmin screen on pace and distance, rather than HR. I could glance at my watch when I wanted to to see my heart rate. I rode hard. My heart rate started in Zone 3, and I thought that I wasn't working hard enough. Yet, my speed was over twenty miles per hour. I was encouraged by this and kept the effort high. At the end of the first 5 mile loop, I thought to myself that I might do the second loop easy and the third one hard, but quickly changed my mind. I wanted this to be a true TT type effort.

The second lap was harder, but I gritted it out. I felt the weariness in my legs from the weekend, but I am still amazed that my cycling muscles responded so well to my demands. By the end of the second lap, I was toast, and it was all I could do to pedal easy for 10 minutes to cool down. Then, it was back through the park, up the big arse hill (or two!), and back to the office.

That night, I loaded my data into Sports Tracks. I was curious to see how my TT turned out. The first thing I did was update the distances. Garmin is pretty good about calculating distances, but it ended up being off a little bit. I then forced the data into 1 mile increments. I did not hit "lap" when I started the TT, so I was going to have to use my brain to decipher the results.

With the exception of the the first mile (half of which was through the park), all of my miles were over twenty miles per hour! This made me happy! It shows that I do have some speed in this body. I'd like to be able to hold that pace for an hour, and I'm debating on whether or to make that a goal for this upcoming training cycle, on top of my 85 mile goal for 4.5 hour ride.

Not guts. No glory.

Happy hump day, y'all!

Wes

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Quest for Fly

I didn't think much about the light rain the night before, nor the drizzle that coated my face when I went out on the deck with the dogs before dawns early light. This is what happens to you when your spouse is on the early shift. You wake up at 4 AM anyways.

A little coffee, a little breakfast, a little dawn's early light, and I'm off to the fields to referee at the first soccer tournament of the season. When I arrived, I saw cars pulling out of the parking lot, and teams and parents were standing at the base of the fields. This was not a good sign. Upon exiting the car, I got word that all start times were delayed two hours by the county. You don't piss off the county. I've learned over the years to take it as she goes. I went home and came back in two hours.

The fields were crawling when I returned. I found out that two of the parks were closed. The tournament people shortened the games on our fields and inserted games from the closed parks in between. Throw in a thirty minute "referees don't know how to keep the games on time" delay, then an hour of thunder and lightning, and it made for a VERY long day.

The good news?!? There's always good news. Even with referees from two parks, there was plenty of opportunity for Matthew and Jimmy to pick up extra games. They did very well. I, myself, refereed five games and made it home around 10 PM. Super thanks to Dee Dee for getting us pizza so we didn't starve!

Sunday, things went much smoother. The two parks were still closed. The schedule was all mucked up again, but we were pros at it by now. I opted to stick with my schedule while Matthew and Jimmy picked up more games. I started work at 10 AM and left the fields at 6:30 PM.

Even though this was a recovery week, the sheer number of games morphed it into a run focused week. I managed to ride my bike once, swim twice, and run a whole bunch! I'm thinking I got my money's worth. I get to do it again the next two weekends :-)

After seeing my schedule for this weekend's games, I decided to try to stick to a normal workout schedule, with the exception of Thursday and Saturday. Thursday, I will do my medium bike, and Saturday, I will ref games all day for my long run. That should work out well. With that in mind, I went to the gym last night while Matthew and Dee Dee were at soccer practice to get my form swim in.

I did my usual warm up of 200 swim, 200 pull, 100 kick. Then, I did 6x50 drill, 2x50 swim golf, and 4x50 build. I then moved into a 5x200 technique focus, concentrating on one single item for the entire 200 yards. I focused on: keeping my head down, high elbow, rotation, bilateral breathing, and flip turns. No, I still don't do flip turns on a regular basis.

The new book I have, One Hour Workouts, encourages you to try different strokes to improve your overall swim fitness, and I was dying to try Fly! LOL... I put my fins on and started out with just the kicking motion. After getting about 10 yards down the lane, I fell into a rhythm and was actually doing pretty good, until I saw someone watching me through the window. My fly quickly disintegrated into a discombobulated mess. Still, I managed 100 yards of dubious fly, and I was happy with that. The bonus was nearly drowning the young kid in the lane next to me.

The way my legs feel, I'm not anticipating any intensity this week out of the pool, but you never know. Tomorrow is always a new day.

and I want more fly....

Wes

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Swim TT

I'm not one for tests. I do them early in the season to get some idea of where I am starting at. Over the past two to three years, my numbers really haven't changed all that much, and I'm the kind of guy to go with "good enough". But I wanted a little taste of HTFU.

Evidently, not enough to go early. I waited until 4-ish. I work from home on Thursdays. It was a hop, skip, and a jump to the gym.

I started the session out with what has become my standard warm up: 200 easy, 200 pull, and 100 kick. YES. I KNOW. I have actually been doing kick. It's all part of my nefarious plot to take over the world. Patience, dontchaknow?

After the warm up, it was time to add some speed with 4x100 build, each 25 yards getting faster. Finally, I did 2x50 all out, bringing me to an even 1000 yard warm up. I like round numbers.

The thought did cross my mind to bag it and just do a regular workout, but this was a recovery week. Short, sweet, and intense would be nice. Besides, I could sandbag a little on the first one to make sure I was "into it".

I hit "go" on the watch and go I did. A hundred meters in, I was no longer sand bagging. I swam fairly hard and came in at 4:31 for my first 300, averaging about 1:30 per 100. For my second interval, I wanted to come in faster, and I tried, and I was disappointed when I came in at 4:32. It was still good. For the last interval, I lost interest a bit, and I fought the water too much. I came in at 4:38. This was not the negative split I was hoping for.

There was a lesson in there for me though. I can swim faster without so much noise and thrashing and come in under 1:30. That's the form I am looking for. That's the style of swimming I need to extend past the 100 yard mark.

My T-pace is pretty close to where I left it back in May, and I'm OK with that. I'm not really trying to improve my swim for IM AZ. Now, its on to the bike and run tests.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wes

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Get It

ponder, ponder, ponder... Triathlon consumes me. Work has been busy as all hell, but I still find time to think about triathlon. Every day. I'm re-reading my 10 Hours a Week e-book, and I glance over at Dee Dee, who is on the couch, setting a new high score on Bejeweled Blitz.

I understand now. I understand this concept that morphed from the 10 Hours a Week thingee into the Long Course Training Manual espoused by Endurance Nation. No, this is not a commercial, and I am not a member of Endurance Nation. Rather, I am a student, and a teacher with a lifetime of learning and understanding ahead of me.

Many of the ideas at Endurance Nation have their roots in 10 Hours. First and foremost: balance. If you overload your life with triathlon, if it consumes you, then assuredly you are making sacrifices in other areas of your life. Pray that the cost is not too high.

Second: quality. Volume is OK. You need some volume, especially if you are doing the longer distances, such as a half Ironman or full Ironman. During the shorter time frames, you can maximize the quality by tweaking the intensity, making yourself stronger. A lot of time is spent in Zones 3 and a smaller percentage in Zone 4, depending on the race distance of course.

Finally, as a self coached athlete, you have to work to achieve your goals. If you don't want to do the work, then you are just wasting your time making goals in the first place.

What I have been doing for the past month is a superset of 10 Hours. My weekly hours were right at 9 for a while, then the past couple of weeks they have jumped to 13. In a few weeks, they will jump to 16 and stay there pretty steady until its time for IM Arizona. The funny thing is, with the exception of race simulations, I'll never ride the full 112 miles in training, nor will I run a marathon (in training). I will be counting on the frequency and the volume/intensity to prepare me for race day.

Thus the beauty of the Long Course Training Manual's basic week. There aren't many training plans out there that have three days of running in a row, nor two days in a row of long(ish) biking. There's an idea in endurance training where we split our long run or long bike into two days, one in the evening and again the following morning. That's the basic idea here. The steady overload of the muscles over back to back sessions stimulates the body in the same way as a single workout. Only, it takes much less time. More time means more balance.

Will this work for me? meh... No risk. No reward.

I've devoted a lot of time over the last three years to getting better at triathlon. I've not regretted a single minute, but somewhere inside me, there was once a guy that wanted to be the chief technology officer for a company, and a guy that wanted to work on improving himself and his relationships. That guy needs to be brought back into balance.

I closed the e-book down and shut the top on the notebook. The hard drive whirred as it went into hibernation. I gathered Dee Dee from the couch, and we head off to bed. Thanks to her training schedule, I am now a morning person, and 4:15 AM comes mighty early.

A smile crosses my lips. There are challenges ahead. I'm feeling pretty confident.

Wes

Monday, August 16, 2010

In Search of Pace

Highlights from a Busy Weekend
  • Congratulations to Lauren and Duane who were drawn at random to receive some anti-Monkey Butt powder. I have been using it pretty consistently on my long rides for the past couple of weekends. I ride long on Saturday and Sunday. I'm happy to report that with a little bit of Body Glide, and some Anti-Monkey Butt powder, my nether regions are all healed up now! Send me your address to my email so that I can forward it to the appropriate peeps.
  • I found some pace charts in some book I was perusing on the web (Going Long??) that offered paces roughly corresponding to your five zones. I decided that I would use "zone 2" pace for my long swim on Friday. It basically consisted of a 800 yard warm up and cool down, with as many 400 yard intervals as I could get in during an hour. At my zone 2 pace, I should swim 400 yards in 7 minutes. Well, I was coming in at about 6 and a half, without even trying very hard. Somebody needs to take a new swim test, or all the tests for that matter.
  • Saturday and Sunday were my long rides on the Silver Comet Trail. I was doing some research on the interweb, and I've set myself a goal of doing 85 miles in four and a half hours when my "real" Ironman training begins in a couple of weeks. I managed 112 miles on Saturday and Sunday, averaging 18.5 mph. I'm not far off.
  • On my ride Sunday, I got tagged by something with a sting. Not sure what it was, but it bounce off my helmet, landed on my knee, and quickly registered its displeasure with my getting in its way. This, on top of getting stung in between my toes by a wasp a couple of weeks ago! That hurts!!
  • Despite working so hard on Saturday to get to 66.5 miles (19 mph avg, and I actually took 5 minutes longer coming back), the Garmin told me I only spent 30 minutes in Zone 3. I "thought" I had done 2x30 in Zone 3. I was disappointed!! Still have work to do!
  • My run off on Sunday was simply wonderful. My long runs have really been paying off. I managed to negative split my 30 minute run: 10:02, 9:43, 9:19 or something like that, and the last mile was slightly uphill the whole way. I was workin it!
  • I'm in search of another half Iron distance race to tune up for IM Arizona. Augusta just doesn't fit into this family's plans at this time. As much as I'd like to take another crack at it, sometimes, you just gotta let it go.
Let's make it a great week, y'all!

Wes

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Amazed (in a stupid kinda way)

I came off another 13 hour training week, and I've had time to think. Those longer rides and runs have a way of providing those opportunities. I find myself wishing that I had been in this kind of shape before the early season half Ironmans. A learning experience, certainly, but that's not what I've been thinking about.

The long stuff that I have been doing has been hard. I'm not surprised that its hard. I remember that first 14 mile run vividly. I just didn't expect "hard" to come so soon. There are these humps that have to be gotten over, at 65 miles on the bike, and 9 miles on the run. The humps have left me wondering, how will I ever go the distance.

This, in turn, has left me pondering the training for my last Ironman. Have I already forgotten the sweat, toil, and tears that went into that event? Have I forgotten the magnitude of the event? Am I taking all this for granted?

In retrospect, I can still see myself riding the wave of euphoria each and every day in my training. I mean, I did 6(!) 100 mile bike rides in preparation for Ironman Florida. The newness of Ironman and Ironman training carried me through the day. I think a lot of the aspects of that amazing day, and the training it took to get there, is still settling in, and in many ways, this second Ironman is part of the process. I view this as the true test of the Ironman spirit.

You can ride the endorphin high through your longest event the first time, and you will indeed be a marathoner/Ironman/ultra(wo)man, and nobody will ever be able to take that away from you. However, if you want to test your mettle, go back and do it again, knowing what you know now. It's a whole nutha kind of test.

I read something interesting in this month's issue of Triathlete Magazine that rang so true with me. I'm looking at this Ironman as a last hurrah for a while. Next year is going to be a serzly toned down year for me. Amanda Lovato said that to her, the most important thing is keeping it fun. That's something I can understand.

OK! Enough! It's time for the Great Monkey Butt giveaway! We'll do the multi- entry dealio. If you comment on this post, you get one entry. If you post it on Facebook, two. If you put it on your blog, three, and if you tweet it, four. I'll take your word for it that you are and will do each of these things. I do not plan to check up on you! I will be giving away some regular and the femme version of Anti-Monkey Butt Powder to two of my readers. How about we do the drawing this weekend (Sunday!).

Annnnnd, if you want a chance at a Garmin 310XT, DC Rainmaker is giving one away at his blog! Head on over and get your entry in!

Let's have a great week, y'all!

Wes

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Color Me Flexible

After capping off my biggest training week of the year, I eased into recovery week right on schedule. I used to complain about Coach's recovery weeks. She lightened up the hours, but rarely the intensity. She knew what she was doing. I, on the other hand, do not. My goal for the week was to hit about 70% of my hours for the previous week, with little to no intensity (read all Zones 1, 2 type work).

Everything proceeded according to my nefarious plan. I skipped my first scheduled swim because the crew was doing open water on Saturday, and I wanted to be there. Then, I missed my second scheduled swim due to daddy duties, which was fine, but I ended up swimming three days in a row. I figured back to back to back was OK as long as I reigned myself in a bit and kept it short. I wrapped up with the week with my normal back to back bike rides.

Normally, Monday is an off day for me, but I needed to be in traffic court on Tuesday with my son, so I ended up doing Tuesday's workouts on Monday, thusly biking three days in a row too. Good thing I opted out of the intensity!

I've heard stories of people, gentlemanly (read old!) people such as myself, doing Ironman on as little as 10 hours of training a week. Now, I'm not brave enough to try that, mind you, but I AM focused on getting in my quality workouts each week. I was perusing my training calendar for the past few months, and July was a huge jump for me. I spent quite a bit of time on races in June, but still. It looks like I jumped 50% across the board. No wonder my body has been tired! I also completed my one and only four week cycle (3 weeks work, 1 week recovery). From here on out, I'm on the master's athlete cycle of two weeks work, one week recovery. We'll see how that goes for a while :-)

Have a great week, y'all!

Wes