Monday, April 22, 2013

Triathlon Training Diary: 4/15 - 4/21

Last week was Week 1, the start of a new 4-week training cycle and the week after my first multi-sport race of the season.  I took it easy early in the week, but by Wednesday, it was business as usual  Actually, this past week turned out to be the heaviest training week of the year so far, at least in terms of the number of aerobic points I put in.
Since leaving for my business trip in Albany last week, I haven’t been able to get the feel for the water that I had before I left.  That shows up in my average splits when I’m swimming, and it shows up in the simple sluggishness I feel when I’m working out.  I tried to cope with it one Wednesday by doing a long set of 100s on a descending interval  But while that helped, it didn’t exactly fix the problem.
  1. 4 x (5 x 100):
  1. 5 x 100 @ 1:40
  2. 5 x 100 @ 1:35
  3. 5 x 100 @ 1:30
  4. 5 x 100 @ 1:25
  1. 200 Kick
  2. 300 Pull
So.  Truth is, these last few weeks have been stressful for reasons that have nothing to do with triathlon.  I’ve written about some of them here, but most of that stuff I try to keep private--both as a matter of Editorial Policy and as a matter of common sense.  There are people who blog about their work; there are people who blog about their marriages and their families.  But those things are not the focus of this blog, and so I’m not going to get into them overmuch here.  I will, however, say that I took a day off on Friday, basically because I felt like I needed a day to get my head together after what was a very stressful week and because it’s nearly the end of April, and up to yesterday, I’d only taken one regular vacation day all year.
Anyway, that left me with some time on my hands on Friday, and I decided to use it to try to get myself right in the water.
  1. 200 SKIPS[1]
  2. 10 x 200 @ 2:55
  3. 8 x 50 kick @ 1:05 (fly / free)
  4. 5 x 100 pull @ 1:30
  5. 100 warm down
That’s a pretty long swim workout for me these days, but the truth is that I’d planned to do more.  I cut the last set off because I felt like my stroke was falling apart.  What’s infuriating about it, though, is that even with all of that brute grunt-work in the pool, I still never actually felt good.  I swam easy for ninety minutes, and there are some advantages to being able to do that, but in terms of times, my pacing was slow, and in terms of feel, I felt sluggish all day.  It’s not the end of the world, but all things considered, it is frustrating.
Swimming Total: 2 x workouts (6500 yds); 65 pts.
That looks like a lot of swimming, but aside from the sheer aerobic benefit of working out twice for whatever period of time it involved, I’m not sure how much I got accomplished.  Still, it’s also true that you’re not always going to have your best stuff, and there’s something to being able to work through it and come out the other side.
I rode my regular commute into work four times last week, Monday through Thursday.  I felt a little sore and sluggish early in the week after last weekend’s race, especially Monday, but it wasn’t too bad, and I’m pretty sure that riding--and doing a little active recovery--helped me get past the soreness.
I rode again on Sunday because it was such a nice day outside.  I hadn’t planned to go out, but when it’s beautiful, and you’ve got a little time, sometimes you have to take advantage, and so that’s what I did.  I wound up staying out for just an hour and riding tempo.  Not super hard or anything, but a touch outside my comfort zone.  That put me at around 19.5 mph riding with the wind and maybe 17.5 mph riding into it, over pancake flat terrain.  I also almost got killed by a spectacularly oblivious old guy driving a Honda SUV, but being as I managed to dive out of the way without actually crashing my bike, I suppose that all has to be forgiven.  
As with my swimming, I don’t particularly feel like I’ve had my best stuff on the bike lately, but I’m still handling the bike fairly well, so maybe the feel of the thing is just a function of the fact that I was riding at the end of a long training week?  Who knows?  I’m not gonna beat myself up about it.  I was out there, and that’s what counts.
Riding Total: 4 x commute ride, 1 x tempo ride (62.5 miles); 62.5 pts.
I ran twice this week.  
On Thursday, I ran five miles at about the same pace I rode on Sunday--not hard exactly but a touch above my comfort zone. I ended up averaging about 8:20/mile, which is an aggressive pace for me but not unsustainable or anything.  That run was nice because the weather was in the mid-60s--and it was therefore the first time all season that I’d been able to run in just shorts, a t-shirt, and a ball cap.  I ran at lunch from my office on the West Side, across 66th, and then into the Park.  From there, I headed north, alternating between the road and the Bridle Trail until I got past the Reservoir, where I turned around.
New York City can be a tough place, but it’s great in the springtime, and the Park is a beautiful place to run.
My other run was Saturday morning.  The Tri Club met for our regular practice and decided to go long.  Steve laid out a five-mile route, and then Ben and I tacked on a little more to the end of it, and then we headed out.  For the first forty-five minutes or so, we just talked and ran, about the bombing, about our families, about whatever.  At that point, Steve turned to go meet his wife, and Ben and I kept going, and at a certain point in there, we both stopped talking and got a little more serious about just holding it together.
Ben and I have run long together a bunch, but we’re not overly consistent about it, and indeed, as we discussed at around the six-mile mark, this was the furthest we’d gone together in a year or more and the first time we’d gone over an hour in more than a month.  Still, Ben’s been training for a half-Ironman, and my knees held together nicely, so I have to say that I was satisfied with the effort overall.  It was a good run.
We wound up going exactly eight miles at about 9:00/mile pace.  That was a textbook long, slow distance (LSD) run for me, and I felt great all day afterwards.
Running Total: 2 x running workouts (13 miles); 52 pts.
Total Aerobic Points: 179.5.
Final Thoughts
That was a good training week, and I feel good about what I got accomplished.  That said, my previous high for the year was about 145 pts, so this week represented a significant jump in my training total. I’d be more worried about that if the week itself had been a more run-focused week, but because the jump in points owes largely to that long swim workout on Friday, it’s less of a concern.  
Still, for anybody reading this to get tips for designing their own triathlon training regimes, I don’t typically recommend increasing your aerobic point totals by more than 10-15% per week.  If you have one discipline that’s much stronger than the others (like I do), then maybe you can get away with it if the increase comes from doing your best thing.  But making a habit of doing these big increases is generally a way to get injured.

[1] 200 Swim / 200 Kick / 200 IM / 200 Pull / 200 Swim.  So the set is actually 1000 yards.

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