Monday, July 15, 2013

Triathlon Training Log: 7/8 - 7/4 (Week 3)

If I hadn’t gotten into the habit of putting these Training Logs up every week, I’d probably skip this week’s.  It’s been hot, I’ve got a sore right ankle and a pulled right calf, I missed two workouts, and I didn’t even commute on my bike as regularly as I would have liked last week.

Ugh.  This is not the way that successful triathletes train.

With that said, I feel like the workouts that I managed to put in were at least good, quality workouts, so maybe that makes them worthwhile.  I guess we’ll see.

I swam once last week.  And that sucks because I’ve got an actual swimming race coming up this weekend, and I wanted to get into the water at least two, maybe three times.  But, you know, sometimes Real Life intrudes on the Triathlon Dream, and that’s just the way it is.

Still, the one workout I did get in was the best swimming work I’ve done in months.  My friend Ben pulled up in the lane next to me, and we raced for a good, long time.  And then I closed with just a touch of quality stroke work, and I’m not gonna lie, I felt great afterwards.

We did:
  • 5 x 100 @ 1:30 warm-up
  • 5 x 100 @ 1:30 hard (holding between 1:08 and 1:11 per 100)
  • 5 x 100 pull @ 1:30 (holding between 1:13 and 1:15)
  • 200 kick
  • 100 easy swim
  • 8 x 50 @ :55 alternating fly/free.  
The butterfly 50s were all-out, the freestyle ones were easy.

So yeah.  We rocked out that first working set of 5 x 100’s freestyle, and I held the pace high during the 100s pull.  But it was the 4 x 50 butterfly that made my day.  My splits were :32, :32, :35, :33.  I don’t care what anybody says, that’s not bad for a 40-year-old guy who swims twice a week.

I’d really like to race a 100 butterfly.  I bet I could go under a minute from the blocks.

Swimming Total: 1 x swim workout (2300 yds); 23 pts.

I rode my commute twice last week, Monday and Tuesday, and then we started to see persistent threats of rain.  I make my decision about whether I’m going to ride or not based on Weather.Com’s hourly predictions each day.  Basically if there’s more than a 50% chance of rain in the afternoon, I generally bag the commute ride, so that I’m not stuck sitting on the train in soaking wet clothes on the way home from work.  Because that sucks a lot when it happens.  So from Wednesday to Friday last week, we saw a 60% to 70% chance of rain every single day in the afternoons, often with lightning predicted, and from my company’s weather guy, the thunderstorms were given a “high degree of confidence” in the prediction of storms.  I therefore bagged the commute ride three days in a row, and bottom line, it never rained.

Thursday evening I wound up going out to try to claw back some of that lost mileage, and I wound up riding for about forty-five minutes.  Typical tempo ride.  The first five miles were an easy 17 mph, then I cranked it up to 19 mph for the next five, and then I spent the last five slowly coming down from 19 mph to an easy spin and cool down.  In the end, I felt like that work was well worth my time, if not quite as far as I would have preferred.  But it was getting dark, and I didn’t want to chance riding in twilight.

I confess that I blew off Saturday’s ride.  Some family stuff came up, so I couldn’t make it to Saturday morning Tri Club practice, and then instead of going out on my own earlier in the day, I plopped down with a monster cup of coffee and watched Teejay Van Garderen blow it on the last climb of the day at the end of Stage  14.  Van Garderen is one of my favorite riders, but he’s a frustrating guy to cheer for, and Stage 14 was reminiscent of his performance in the Olympics last year.  He had every chance to win in London, but he just didn’t play the break right, and that’s kind of how I felt about Saturday, too.  I mean, I don’t want to knock the guy because he’s an incredible rider, and it’s easy to be an armchair Directeur Sportif; plus, he won the Tour of California, so it’s not like he’s having a bad season, or anything.  

But still... Argh!

You’re in a break of fourteen, and yeah, that’s a challenge, but it’s also a goodly part of the reason why you’ve managed to stay in front of the peleton all day.  And Van Garderen had a teammate with him.  So late in the stage Van Garderen is trying multiple solo attacks in an effort to get away from the group and ride the last 10 km solo to the stage’s finish.  That’s fine, but he can’t quite get any seperation from the group, and by the time they reach the 3 km mark, he’s shot his wad, and he falls off the back of the break.

Question: What the Hell has your teammate been doing this whole time?

The strategy was sound.  Van Garderen was easily the best time trialist in the break, so if he’d gotten away early enough, there was a good chance that he could have ridden solo to the end of the stage.  But the break itself was large enough that most everyone in it still had fairly fresh legs, and therefore Van Garderen never managed to actually drop anyone; they’re just weren’t tired enough.  So why not put your teammate on the front of the break earlier, control the tempo, and just smoke the crap out of everyone with 15 km to go?  Yeah, your guy is gonna blow up long before the end of the stage, but you’re already betting that your primary rider, Van Garderen, will have better legs than everyone else at the end of the stage.  Why not commit to that?  At least this way, your tire the break out and leave them gasping so that when Van Garderen does make his eventual attack on that final climb, he can drop the other riders quickly and go off on his long solo attack.  As it was, it felt like a hedged bet when decisiveness was required.

Well, what do I know?  Maybe there was some reason that idea wasn’t gonna work, or maybe the problem wasn’t tactics, it was simple physical mechanics.  Folks get tired; it happens.  Anyway, Omega-Pharma Quick-Step wound up winning the stage from a bunched sprint of about a dozen riders, and something like that was probably always the most probable outcome.  It just wasn’t the outcome I wanted to see.

So anyway.  I made a point of getting up early Sunday morning and getting out the door.  Wound up riding an hour and fifty-three minutes with the first half hour a pretty easy spin, the next half hour doing intervals, and the last hour or so just a regular tempo ride.  The interval set was my usual 5 x (2:00 hard / 1:00 easy), which feels to me a lot like doing quarter-mile running intervals on a track.  It was a decent ride, though; I wound up averaging 18 mph for the full length, and that was with a fairly stiff head wind on the way out.

Cycling Total: 2 x commute ride, 2 x workouts (70.6 miles); 70.6 pts.

I didn’t run this week.  I’m trying to rest that ankle.  It seems to be getting a little better, but it’s hard to keep up my points output without running.  Reality is that I can’t always make it to the pool, and for as much as I like riding more than running, riding takes longer for the same amount of aerobic work.

I haven’t decided if I’m gonna try to run this week.  We’ll have to see how it goes.

Triathlon Training Total: 93.6 pts.

Well, that ain’t a lot of points.  I suppose that if it helps me get my ankle working again, then it’s worth it, but I needed to get at least one more workout last week, best if it’d been in the pool.

This weekend is the Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim.  I’m looking forward to it, but I find myself a little nervous now.  We’ll see how it goes.

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