Monday, March 17, 2014

Triathlon Training Log: 3-10 to 3-16 (Week 3)

I’ve been telling myself all season that I’m not gonna race that much this year.  And since the season’s gotten off to such a super-slow start in terms of training overall, I’ve even been resisting calling these Monday posts “triathlon” training logs, labelling then instead merely “training logs”.  But.  The YMCA’s Tri Club is now officially back in business, and I’m still coaching, so…  It seems a little silly.  
I’m still not sure how much I’m going to race this season.  However, to the extent that I’ve been training, it’s definitely been multi-sport training, and the YMCA is hosting a short Y-Tri at the beginnning of May, and I’m gonna compete.  With that in mind, I’ve relabeled these posts “triathlon training logs”, understanding as I do that there are a lot of triathletes out there--most, probably--who train a lot more than I do.  
Truth is, I haven’t pushed at all this season.  In fact, I’ve barely been training, and as far as that’s concerned, I don’t even have any goals.  Nevertheless, I’ve gotten out there three weeks in a row as of this writing, and that’s got to count for something.

I took Friday off, so that I could finally do our taxes.  That also gave me time to accompany my wife to the gym where she teaches on Friday morning, and I was able to put in 2400 yards in the pool while she taught aqua-aerobics.  As a side-note, it was totally fun to swim while watching her jump around on the pool deck with her floaties leading her class.
 -- 3 x 200 easy
Main Set:
 -- 6 x 200 pull @ 3:00 (aerobic)
 -- 50 easy
 -- 5 x 100 @ 1:30 (aerobic)
 -- 50 Cool-Down
I actually only meant to do 5 x 200 pull, but I miscounted.  Ha!
The next day was Saturday, and we had Tri Club practice, and afterwards, I hit the pool again.  That was another fairly easy, aerobic workout.
 -- 200 SKIPS*
 -- 6 x 100 @ 1:25 (a little faster than aerobic pace, but not quite tempo)
 -- 100 cool-down
Both times I hit the pool this week, the water was warm.  In each case, I responded by lowering the tempo and just trying to relax and put in yardage at a comfortable pace.
Swimming Total: 2 x swim workouts (2400, 1700); 41 pts.
I rode my regular commute twice last week, on Monday and Tuesday.  Both days were decent rides since it has finally started warming up a little bit around here.  I won’t say it’s nice, exactly--I mean, it was still only about 23°F when I left the house today--but that’s better than 15°.
I would’ve ridden more last week, but I wasn’t in the office on Wednesday, and we had inclement weather on Thursday.  I don’t typically ride in the rain, just because I don’t like to get all muddy like that on my way into the office.
Cycling Total: 2 x commute rides (11, 11); 22 pts.
We’re riding this weekend at Tri Club practice, and we’re supposed to have decent weather, too, so this coming week may be the first one in a while where I actually have some real riding mileage.  Guess we’ll see.
I didn’t run Monday on purpose because I wanted to rest my legs.  I then didn’t run Tuesday or Wednesday, either, because we had our first Tri Club meeting on Tuesday night, and because I wasn’t in the office on Wednesday.  Then Thursday was Math Night at my kids’ school, and Friday…  I probably could’ve run Friday, but I don’t usually run two days in a row, and I knew that I was gonna run with my club on Saturday.  All of which meant that by Saturday morning, I hadn’t run at all.  So I was not only short a run for the week, I was also running a little short on points.  As a result, I wound up running Saturday and Sunday both.
We put in a little more than five miles with the Club on Saturday morning, and that was a lot of fun.  I felt good, I ran well, and I like hanging out with those guys.  
I woke up Sunday morning, still at something like 87 points for the week when my goal had been 100+.  So I forced myself to stretch and hit the road again.  I felt stiff, and I won’t say it was the greatest run ever, but at least I got out there.  Truth is, I should probably run back-to-back days more often, but with my ankles as sore as they have been, I’ve been reluctant to push it.  However, I feel fine today despite having run twice over the weekend, so maybe the answer is that I just need to keep taking it easy and build into it slowly.  I mean, I like running intervals and running tempo, but if the choice is either run easy or don’t run at all, I guess I’ll have to just keep running easy.
Running Total: 2 x easy runs (5.3, 4.1); 37.6 pts.
Triathlon Training Total: 100.7 pts.
Ta-da!  Week 3 and 100 points exactly.
The Points System
Every post is someone’s first, right?
Well, if you’re new to the blog, here’s how it works: I train using a points system that I discovered a couple of years ago on Slowtwitch.Com.  I would gladly link to the original article, but I’ve been unable to find it.
Anyway, you get one point for:
 -- 100 yards swimming
 -- 1 mile cycling
 -- ¼-mile running
This gives you a rough equivalency that I personally use all the time for lots of different things:
100 yards swimming = 1 mile riding = ¼-mile running
That’s not precisely true for everyone, of course, but it’s the best one-size-fits-all formula that I’ve ever seen, and using it certainly helps in comparing one’s overall training week-to-week over the course of a multisport season.
With that, one hundred points becomes a useful benchmark.  It is:
 -- 10,000 yards swimming
 -- 100 miles riding
 -- 25 miles running
In each case, that is a decent amount of training for any of those individual sports, although to be fair, the best guys will crush that on a day-to-day basis.  Still, if someone tells you that they run 25 miles/week or ride 100 miles/week, you at least know that they are reasonably serious.
Finally, my experience with this shows that:
 -- 100 pts/week is about where you want to be to do a Sprint.
 -- 150 pts/week will get you ready for an Olympic.  This is me at 10 hrs/week.
 -- 200+ pts/week will get you ready for a half-Ironman.
 -- 300+ pts/week is what you need to do for a full Ironman.
All of these are rough guidelines, of course.  Your particular mileage may vary.
Finally, I train on a four-week cycle, using three working weeks (Weeks 1, 2, and 3) and a Rest Week.  I probably won’t take a Rest Week this week, however, because I don’t need it yet.  Truth is, I haven’t put in a real training week in nearly six months.  But I’m getting there, and it’s only March, so I guess there’s time.

*SKIPS: Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim.


  1. I like the points thing. It makes it easy to keep track of your effort. I follow Weight Watchers as I'm lifetime and am at my goal weight. Anyhow, they use activity points and that's how I can compare my level of effort or fitness for a time period.

    Sounds like you are off to a good start on your training. Good luck.

    1. Yeah, the points thing works. I've been using it for several years now, and it's helped me track my progress week-over-week in a big way.