Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday: 4 mile run

Back to running. Easy slow run. I could still feel my achilles somewhat, but now I don't know if it is just mental. Hopefully that is the case. 4.39 miles; 40 minutes.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday: 56 mile bike + week recap

Legs felt good again today. After reading one of Lance Armstrong's books last night, I sorta felt inspired to go for it, though I still remained under my heart rate cap (159bpm). Rode the first 2 hours with an average of around 240-242 watts. Then finished off the last 30 minutes increasing the effort up to my higher aerobic end (156-159bpm), which corresponded to about 270-280 watts. I felt like I was flying, though obviously being on the trainer, I wasn't moving at all! Drank 32 oz of Gatorade, 1.5L of water, and ate half a Powerbar. Total ride: FL: 2:30:18; 249w; 151bpm; 80rpm; 22.4mph.

Week Recap.

Overall volume was very low as I couldn't run. Bike volume was lower than expected as well. But my achilles is feeling better so I'm happy about that. I also had a couple good rides at the end of the week. I will start running again next week. Bike: 266 miles. Run: 2 miles.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday: 56 mile bike

56 mile ride. Heart rate was high from the beginning, probably still from the lack of sleep, crappy food and alcohol throughout the week. But legs felt very good so rode a little harder than I have been lately. Rode the first 2 hours at around 220 watts, and then the last 34 minutes at Ironman race pace (250-270w), remaining under my heart rate cap (and zone 2 and aerobic threshold) of 159bpm throughout. It actually felt kind of easy. Total ride: FL: 2:33:49; 234w; 147bpm; 79rpm; 21.8mph. I expect my heart rate to come down as I begin to do more race pace rides and get back to sleeping and eating healthy. But overall, I am happy with the effort and feel confident that I am on pace to reach my goal of a 260-270w Ironman bike ride in November.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday: 56 mile bike

After eating crap and drinking too much alcohol over the last couple of days, I feel like I haven't done much training this week. Today was the first time that I have really worked out since Tuesday. It's been a good mental break. Even still, looking back at the training log, my volume isn't too far from where it should be.

56 mile bike tonight. My heart rate was high. And I felt like I have put on a couple pounds during the week. But my legs felt ok. Not great. But not bad. 56 mile rides are starting to feel routine even when I don't feel great. The ride: FL: 2:42:47; 203w; 134bpm; 81rpm; 20.6mph

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday: Day Off

Have been at a conference all day from early this morning until late tonight. Won't be working out. The day off will probably be beneficial in the long run.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday: 2 mile run

Tried to pick up running again tonight. Achilles is still messed up. Cut my run short after struggling for 2.4 miles. I won't try running again until next week. I'll substitute running time with more time on the bike for the rest of the week and try to pick up swimming this weekend. I guess it's about time I started to swim anyway. But I'm pretty bummed about my achilles and my running.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday: 42 mile bike

Today's bike ride was tough. My legs felt heavy from the beginning. I felt like I had no energy. And I could never really settle into a groove. By the 90 minute marker, I had already drank lots of water, 32 oz of Gatorade and eaten a powerbar. Usually that will last me 3 hours. Not today. While riding, I also thought my heart rate was high for my power output. But on average, it turned out to be within the normal range. Total ride was 2 hours: 215w; 135bpm; 80rpm; 42.21 miles.

Tomorrow I was planning on riding a recovery ride, but may just take the day off the bike instead. I am also going to pick up running again, mostly limited to recovery runs. My achilles is not perfect but feels much better than last week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday: 56 mile bike

Recovery ride for 56 miles. Felt very good with no soreness from the weekend. Achilles is still bothering me a little but not nearly as bad as before. For the ride, I drank 2L of water, but took in no calories. For recovery rides, I tend to need only water and don't really crave anything else, though I don't intentionally withhold eating or drinking calories. This is probably a good thing as I am trying to shed some pounds. The stats for the ride were as follows: FL: 2:49:54; 183w; 117bpm; 79rpm; 19.8mph. One observation I have noticed as I have become more fit is that my heart rate drops very quickly after working out, especially when I don't stress myself too much, such as after recovery rides. After tonight's ride, literally within 90 seconds, my heart rate was down to 59bpm.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday: 4 mile run; 82 mile bike; week recap

Woke up and my achilles was still tender but not as bad as the last several days. So that's good news. Ran 4.37 mile recovery run at 9:09min/mi. I haven't been wearing a heart rate monitor while I have been running and have been training by pace. However, I am curious as to what my heart rate levels are during my runs. So I may strap one on for some of my runs next week for purposes of observation only.

Took an hour break or so and got on the bike for 56 miles. I am feeling great on the bike. My fitness has really spiked in the last couple of weeks, all from zone 1 riding. I was planning on taking it easy yesterday and then doing a bike field test today to see where my fitness is. However, based on the data from my rides, I know my fitness has increased. I don't really need new training wattage zones for another four weeks. As of and for now, I'm just training by heart rate. And because I can't run my normal volume, I decided to skip the test and focus on biking volume for the weekend. My rides have been easy and comfortable. Monday through Saturday served as recovery. And so I don't think I have overstressed myself by biking more than planned for this week. I'm feeling very strong and confident. Today's first ride: FL: 2:39:25; 214w; 131bpm; 82rpm; 21.1mph.

p.m. Recovery ride for 80 minutes. 26 miles. Felt good but heart rate, probably to be expected, was about 10bpm higher than normal. 177w. 82 biking miles for the day.

Week summary. Pretty good week overall. This was my final week in my foundation phase, which has lasted the last 16 weeks. I felt good throughout and really feel like my fitness is improving. The data on my rides seem to confirm that. Obviously, I am upset about my achilles. But it seems to be getting better and there is still plenty of time. So I am not too concerned. I am feeling more motivated than ever. Total for the week: 23 miles running, which was only about 10 miles fewer than I had scheduled. So not too bad. 325 miles biking.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday: 4 mile run; 112 mile bike

a.m. Achilles is still bothering me and not sure what to do about it. Ran 4 recovery miles this morning. 9:10min/mi. Then hopped on the bike for 56 miles on the Florida 70.3 course. My heart rate was high for the first half of the ride relative to my power output, but may have been caused by drinking coffee right before (which I don't drink that often). I felt great otherwise and my heart rate soon settled halfway through the ride. Drank 32 oz of Gatorade and 1 L of water. Total ride was, FL: 2:40:44; 210w; 136bpm; 83rpm; 20.9mph. Even with with the high heart rate, the ride was still well within zone 1. I skipped the brick run due to my achilles.

p.m. Repeat of this mornings bike ride. No run. 56 miles on the Florida 70.3 course. Felt good throughout and am feeling very motivated. Total ride: FL: 2:41:18; 208w; 132bpm; 81rpm; 20.8mph

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday: 19 mile bike

Recovery ride for an hour. 19 miles at 170w. My achilles is still hurting but feeling somewhat better than the last couple of days. So that is encouraging.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday: 3 mile run; 56 mile bike

Woke up and was feeling tired despite not training yesterday. Worse yet, my achilles tendon is still bothering me. I think I may have overdone it on Monday, when I should have run a recovery run but stupidly switched to an aerobic run. This week, after all, is a recovery week and so I shouldn't have been overstressing my body, especially after the previous big weekend. Hopefully, it will start to feel better soon, but I'll have to take it easy on the run this week--even easier than initially scheduled.

I ran a very easy recovery run this morning, 3.28 miles in 30 minutes, and then opted to skip the second and slightly longer run I had planned for the evening.

For the evening workout, I fell asleep when I got home for about 20-30 minutes and then waited a little longer to hop on the bike. When I finally did, my workout consisted of a very easy recovery ride. Earlier in the the week, Gigs asked if and when I plan on ever riding in zone 2. The short answer is yes, and very soon. But I'll give a more detailed response when I have more time this weekend. In the meantime, I am very pleased with my progress over the last several months simply by staying in zone 1. The improvements are much more than I could have imagined in such a short time. Just to give you a point of reference, as recently as December and specifically on December 31, 2007, a typical recovery ride looked like this: FL: 2:59:29; 160w; 118bpm; 77rpm; 18.7mph. Two to three months later, tonight's recovery ride looked like this: FL: 2:48:40; 186w; 118bpm; 79rpm; 19.9mph.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday: Day Off

It's been a while since I took a day off. My left achilles feels somewhat tight and I am feeling tired. So no training today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday: 56 mile bike

a.m. Quite surprisngly, I was able to fall asleep at a relatively decent hour. So I woke up early and felt pretty refreshed. I biked the Florida 70.3 course and felt fantastic the entire ride. I ate a power bar early on in the ride as I didn't eat beforehand, and drank 32 oz of Gatordae and 1.5L of water throughout the ride. My average heart rate was even lower today for the same kind of power as over the weekend. 124 bpm. I wouldn't put too much stock in one ride and my heart rate tends to be a bit lower when I ride early in the morning, but I am happy with the way my fitness is progressing as I am consistently in the same range. Total ride: FL: 2:43:43; 201w; 124bpm; 84rpm; 20.5mph.

p.m. I had every intention of biking another 24 miles tonight to make it 80 for the day. However, I'm just getting home from work and it is now 11pm. So, unfortunately, no more biking tonight.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday: 11 mile run

a.m. Woke up and just didn't feel like running. Forced myself to go. Very easy recovery run. 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking. Once I started, I felt great. 4 miles. 37 minutes.

p.m. I was planning on running another recovery run for 5 miles. However, I felt great from the get go and turned the workout into a normal aerobic run. Ran 7.04 miles at 8:31min/mi. I need to be careful not to overdue it this week. This is a recovery week and will impact the next 4 week training cycle which will be a little more intense than what I have been doing. So I need to recover from my previous training and rest for the next training bloc. I don't mind keeping the volume up, but I need to back off the pace for most of the rest of the week, irrespective of how I am feeling.

I've decided to take the night off the bike, which I don't like doing. One missed workout, especially at the beginning of the week greatly impacts other training and the rest of the week. However, I'm going to try to go to bed at a reasonable hour for once. Doubt that will happen though......

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday: 3 mile run; 112 mile bike; week recap + upcoming training

Started out with a 3.39 mile run. 8:50min/mi pace. Then strapped on the heart rate monitor for the first time in a couple weeks. I'm glad I did. One of the best days I have ever had on the bike. And the heart rate monitor confirmed it. Rode the Florida 70.3 course on the computrainer. I averaged 200 watts at a heart rate of 126bpm. Though those watts are not nearly as high as my best rides, that is the lowest my heart rate has been for that kind of power. I had a comparable ride two weekends ago, where I averaged 129bpm at 206watts. Both were great rides for me. And so I can tell even by just doing these zone 1 rides, I am become much fitter. Next week, as I explain below, hopefully will confirm it. I ended the day with another 56 miles. 201w.

Overall, it was a pretty good week, running 41 miles and biking close to 300 miles. Looking back at my training log, I had a weak spot on Monday, where I didn't bike. And I could've biked a few more times throughout the week to continue bringing up the volume. I would like to be able to achieve 300 miles biking without having to rely on two big bike days on Saturday and Sunday, though I still plan on riding close to 112 miles every Saturday and Sunday.

Next week is a recovery week, which is the final week of my 16 week foundation phase. The volume will increase slightly, but most of my runs will be in my recovery zones. Recovery runs include running at about 9min/mi and walking every 9th minute. My recovery bike zone is 114-123 bpm at 75-85 rpm. On Sunday, I will conduct a field test on the bike to see where my fitness is compared to the beginning of the foundation phase, what will then be 16 weeks ago.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Splitting up the run and the bike on long biking days

Brandon asked: Why not just run 6 miles in a row?

A few reasons. First, the two runs serve two different purposes. The first run was a recovery run. So the pace is slower than my normal aerobic run. I used that run just to get the blood flowing, but didn't run enough, I don't think, to cause much stress. I didn't wear a heart rate monitor, but I'd guess that my heart rate for that run was probably around 120-135 beats per minute on average. I used that run to continue increasing my overall volume without risking injury. I feel like I need to throw in recovery runs throughout the week to keep the volume up without getting injured, as I'll explain more below. The second run was part of a brick. It was probably too short to add much aerobic stress, but long enough to get the body used to running bricks. The benefit of brick runs, I have found, is not necessarily to increase cardiovascular fitness, though that may be an attendant benefit. But really I think they help to get the legs (and mentally) used to running after the bike. Bricks I don't think need to be that long as long as you keep your overall volume up during the week. The risk of injury is too high. And I have also found that as I have increased the distance of my brick runs, my overall volume tends to suffer as I am too tired to do any other runs But the more you do bricks (at least for me), the more you get used to that "bad" jello feeling from having just biked. Mentally you know it will go away in just a couple of miles. The purpose of my bricks is to get used to that bad feeling.

Second, and related, is that running too much after biking, until you build up, is a recipe for injury. It is way too early, I think, as the Ironman is 7-8 months away, to do too long of bricks. The benefits don't outweigh the expected risk of injury.

Third, my goal right now is just to keep the overall volume up and continue increasing it. That means I needed to run 6 miles today, and run a brick, but didn't want to run 6 miles as a brick for the reasons mentioned above. I also didn't want to run 6 miles before the bike, as I would lose the brick run. One other option would have been to run 4 miles as a brick, but then I would have only run 2 miles before the run; I think that is too few. I think splitting up the runs 3 + 3 allows me to get the overall volume and also serve a beneficial purpose.

Finally, I am also trying to get used to hopping on the bike having just exercised for 30-60 min right before. I've noticed in every race that I have done, that my heart rate is sky high when I first get on the bike because of the swim and the transition. It usually takes 30-40 minutes to settle. I don't have a pool nearby, but I still want to get used to drinking, eating, and biking with my HR higher than normal. Without the pool, that means I need to run before the bike.

You may also notice that since the first initial 56 mile ride, I rode an additional 26 miles. So I've also split up the bike as well. In this case, I have split the bike because again I think it will reduce the risk of injury and plus it is very tough mentally to sit on the trainer for much longer than 3 hours. I will do just that as the Iroman approaches, but I don't think I could maintain that type of focus this far out (i.e, 5-6 hours for Saturday and Sunday). I'm afraid that I'd just not ride at all. So I think it's better to split it up. Ultimately, my ideal Saturday and Sunday workout will look like this: in the a.m., 30min run followed by a 56 mile bike; 30min brick run; and then repeat that in the p.m. That will be a total of 112 miles biking, and about 12-14 miles running for each day. Once I hit Ironman specific training, then my workout will look more like the workout suggested in the question you posed: 60min run; 112mile bike straight; and then 60min brick run.

During the week, I'll also split up the bike, for mostly similar reasons. I think this serves three purposes: first, it increases overall volume while reducing injury; and second, working full time, it is very difficult to find the time to workout for more than 1-2 hours straight. So I'll take what I can get. An additional 30 minutes on the bike everyday, which may not seem like a lot at first, adds up to an additional 50 or so miles per week. Finally, sometimes I'll bike recovery in the morning and harder at night, or vice versa. So, like the run, I sometimes will bike once in the morning and once at night.

Saturday: 6 mile run; 82 mile bike

I've started out the day with a 3 mile recovery run. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what do for recovery runs. According to the McMillan calculator, my recovery runs should be around 9:11-9:41. While I don't think is too slow a pace to run, I feel like it creates more pounding than usual. So I have started to walk instead and keep the pace somewhat elevated during recovery runs. By elevated, I mean for me of course, which isn't very fast. This morning I ran for 9 minutes and then walked for 1 minute. The total run was 30 minutes long. I didn't walk the 30th minute.

I started out running the first mile at 8:49min/mi pace, and then walked a minute. However, while that pace is on the lower end of my aerobic runs, and though I felt good, I also felt that it was too fast for recovery. So for the remainder 2 miles, I ran at 8:57min/mi pace. I think that is probably about the right pace if I include walk breaks. The total run including walk breaks was 30 minutes, 3.31 miles, 9:04min/mi pace.

Next workout was a 56 mile bike followed by a 3 miles brick. I rode the Florida 70.3 course. Felt fantastic at the beginning, but then mentally began to fade after two hours. I at more than I usually do for a 56 mile ride, eating a powerbar and a pria bar, drinking a 32oz bottle of gatorade, and a 1.5L bottle of water. I thought I might have been bonking with the mental fade so just put down as many calories as possible. Normally, I just drink water and some gatorade during a 56 mile bike. During my last Ironman, I didn't eat anything on the bike except gatorade and water. Total for the ride was FL: 2:44:36; 197w; ###bpm; 84rpm; 20.4mph. I felt fine during the brick run after the first 5 minutes though my back has been acting up. Run was 3.08 miles at 8:45 min/mi pace.

Finished off with an additional bike ride of 26 miles at 196w. Felt much better on this ride than the first ride. Total for the day was 82 miles.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday: 10 mile run; 26 mile bike

a.m. Run 3.08 miles. 8:45min/mi. Legs not feeling great and back hurting. Lately, I have been typically feeling this way the day after having not run the previous day. I think I should feel better during this evening's run.

p.m. I felt much better than this morning. Legs felt great. Felt great cardiovascularly. Only problem is that I ate a big dinner less than an hour before the run. Not so smart. Got a small cramp within in 10 minutes, but it soon passed. I guess good training for the Ironman. 7.04 miles. 8:31min/mi.

Biked 26 miles after the run. Felt pretty good. No heart rate data but based on watts and feel I was probably well within zone 1, approximately 199w.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday: 30 mile bike

This was a tough ride. I had planned on riding 56-80 miles for the day. Just didn't feel normal. I didn't necessarily feel tired. But my legs just never really loosened up. Cut the day short. Rode 90 minutes at 189w.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday: 11 mile run; 24 mile bike

a.m. Run 4.01 miles. 8:44min/mi pace. Felt relatively fresh considering little sleep last night.

p.m. Run 7.04 miles. Legs felt a little sore at the beginning but then warmed up at about the 4 mile marker. 8:31min/mi.

Bike 24.10 miles. Took a good 30 minutes for legs to kick in. They felt pretty heavy at the beginning, probably from the run right before, but loosened up as I went along. 192w.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday: 7 mile run; 24 mile bike

Run 7.1 miles in 60min. 8:27min/mi pace. Still no heart rate monitor. Cardiovascularly, I felt pretty good throughout, starting at 6.8 on the treadmill increasing every 10min by .1 until I hit 7.3. The top of my zone 2 or aerobic threshold is usually right around 7.3-7.4. For the past several months though I have usually only gone as high as 7.1 and 7.2 to build up aerobically. Still have some discomfort behind my knee. But am just sorta running through it hoping it will somehow heal over time.

Bike for 71 minutes. Felt great and wish it wasn't so late so I could ride some more. No heart rate or cadence data. 24 miles at 195w.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday: 3 mile run

I don't know him, but I have been following this guy Tim Luchinske's
blog. I like how he posts his workouts every day. It's pretty inspirational. He is pretty hardcore, running 100-140 miles per week. I won't be putting up those kind of numbers, but I do think there can be a lot of benefits (for myself) to posting daily. Two of the main problems I have been running into is finding the time to post a weeks worth of workouts in one sitting, and also remembering exactly how I felt or what I was thinking during specific days and workouts. So I'm going to try to start doing the same and sorta copy his format (hopefully, he won't mind).

I started out this morning with an easy 3 mile run in 28min. No heart rate monitor. That's the slowest I've run in a long time, but wanted to run a true recovery run, a pace determined by using the McMillan calculator. It was tough to run at that pace. Whether this is the case or not, I feel like there is more pounding than running a naturally quicker (relative of course) pace. I'm afraid of getting plantar fasciitis again by running too slow. The only time I have ever gotten it was when I ran for 4-6 weeks at a very slow pace last year (10min/mi) to stay under a certain heart rate cap. I'm fitter than I was last year so I can now run quicker at an even lower cap. However, I don't think I'll run this slow again, but instead will take walk breaks (every 9 minutes) to bring down the heart rate or pace during recovery runs. (That's the method I used to build up my fitness in the first place even during general aerobic runs). Hopefully, I'll soon be at a level of fitness where my recovery runs become a bit quicker.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Well, it's been a while since I last provided an update. I got very busy at work billing my highest total hour output in my career in February. I have been continuing to train pretty consistently (which means I have been sleeping only 4-6 hours a night) and will provide the workouts shortly.

As a quick update, I am in Foundation Week 14. After this week, I will have two more weeks of foundation and the begin my endurance period. The endurance period is similar to but differentiated from the foundation period by a slightly higher heart rate cap. Volume will increases as well. I am schedules to do Ironman Florida 70.3 in less than 11 weeks. However, I am not training specifically for this race and do not care much about the time or short-term improvements. My only goal is to peak in November. So I do not plan on doing any workouts at half ironman pace (I am not even training at Ironman pace yet), just gradually increasing the volume.

I have built up to 300miles biking and 30 miles running. My running suffered a little as I had to deal with a minor injury. The last three weeks of running have been 24, 28, and 31 miles. Rather than jumping up the running miles too quickly again, I decided to build up slowly to let the injury heal. I'm not too concerned about the relatively low volume as it's still very early. Biking has been in the 250-300mi range. This week will end up being around 34-35 running and 310 biking. All workout have been limited to zone 1 and zone 2, capped at 156bpm (though I rarely get even close to this cap, particularly on the bike). Having said that, I am currently not using a heart rate monitor but training by pace, watts, and PE (I cut my chest pretty badly while using an old HR montior during a run and am letting that heal). I think I have a pretty good idea of where my heart rate is at certain watts and paces so I will train monitor-less until the cut heals or I enter the endurance phase, whichever comes first.

I will begin updating on a more regular basis, if for no other reason than because I think it will motivate me to train harder.