Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Full Moon 5K - Kaboom!!!! I exploded.

Last weekend I thought I would do a test run and see where my fitness was. Its been a while since I have run a 5K so all I know is how I used to run them.  I didn't rest for it. I was in Tulsa that weekend so I did an awesome swim workout at the Jenks Aquatic center in the morning then did a good 2hr ride on the bike. The run was in the evening. Based on my interval times, I felt that I could run high 19 to low 20 min.  I tried to get my fast running daughters to go with me but they both had excuses. It was a big race. Over 2000 people showed up for it and a Def Leppard cover band was at the finish with unlimited free beer to all. (age appropriate racers) It was going to be a nice evening for sure.

The correct way to run a 5K is to be able to hold the same pace throughout. I did exactly the opposite. I hit the 2.5 K then exploded. At 3 K I had a very strong urge to walk. Mentally I regrouped and readjusted my goal of just finishing under 21 minutes. I still managed to grab 3rd in my age group. I still can't believe that. I guess if you do the age adjusted calculations it gives me a low 18 minute 5K if I was young again.

So what went wrong. I went out at a conservative pace for me 5 years ago... not today. I also think my endurance is lacking. I've only been back at this for 5 months so I guess I can't expect too much too soon.
I uploaded my Garmin stats. Those of you who want to see how not to run a 5k... here it is. Enjoy;-)

Untitled by robchance at Garmin Connect - Details

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Last week things just started to come together. I had a few days where I couldn’t train due to work obligations so I decided to really hit it when I got a break. I got on my trainer and churned out 4 intervals of 6 minutes in the upper 270-low 280 range for an hour with a normalized watt score in the 230’s. After that, I took the bike off and went on a balls to the wall ride with the locals into the wind and hills for 22 miles resulting in a NP of 237 watts. I was expecting a social ride... Obviously, it wasn’t. After the ride I was able to run 2 miles in the 6:30/mile range by pushing the straights and jogging the curves on the track. Big breakthrough workout! That’s getting me back where I used to be. Progress through intensity. Below are the files from my interval session followed by the road ride. The hills started around 45 to 70 minutes into it. Some big numbers there. Look at my heart rate. I haven't seen numbers like that in a long time. 
I’m getting more comfortable running under 7 minutes a mile now. 6 to 7 mile tempo runs are in the 7:15- 7:20/ mile pace range currently. I’m able to negative split my long runs which is a habit I have always adhered to. 
My swimming is still lackluster. I am able to get in at least three swims a month but Im still able to hang with the guys that do three swims a week when I go. Swimming isn’t on my top priority list but as my races approach, I will have to address it. 
I came across an article in Inside Triathlon. This guy is doing just what I have found through all my years of experimenting with training really works. A link to his blog. here . It’s impressive what Sami did.  Personally, I don’t think everyone has the mental strength to train like this. Every training session involves some kind of torture. It’s not pleasant unless you are into that kind of thing.... I always have been :-)

Monday, April 30, 2012

April Update 2

I thought that I would post a quick update. I continue to see results in my progress. It’s encouraging to feel myself getting stronger and feeling the old Rob coming back.  I finally cracked the 160 lb barrier in weight and I’m now down to 158 (71 kg). I’m starting to get comments about my weight loss now.

I have done a few breakthrough workouts recently. Last week I did a 5 mile run followed by a 56 mile ride (200 watts NP) followed by another 5 mile run. The goal on the second run was to run it faster than the first one. I ran it one minute faster, 37 and change and it felt good. The one kilometer intervals have been making a big impact.

This week I have been riding with some of my old training buddies in Tulsa when I was able to break free from Joplin. It’s just good to get back to my old training grounds. My interval time remains on the trainer. Nothing beats it.

In March I was running my 13.1 mile training runs in 1:49- 1:45. Yesterday, the day after a long ride I was able to knock out one in 1:40. Just missed the 1:30’s. 1:40 is a pace a few years ago that would have been easy but I was very excited because it was almost 10 minutes faster than I ran a month ago. It’s looking very realistic that I could be doing these in the low 1:30’s by September.

I’m starting to think that Branson 70.3 might be a possibility.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April update

Here’s a short update on my progress. I went to Palm Springs, CA last month for spring break with the kids and had a great time. We visited LA, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. I ran and rode while I was there. This was a nice break enjoying the sunshine and it was great hanging out with my kids. After that trip I experienced a little setback. It’s just tough not to see my kids on a day-to-day basis and I wasn’t doing so hot mentally after I had to drop them off and head back to my small rental home in Joplin. I was working a lot and just skipped workouts in favor of drinking wine.

I’ve since kicked myself in the butt and started up again. Here is some of the latest data and progress.

Swim: I still haven’t been swimming. Just can’t get motivated to do it. Whenever I do I don’t have any trouble in that department so I know I will be able to ramp it up when the time comes.

Bike: My current FTP is around 230. When I started in January I was only able to hold 206 watts for 1 x 20 min and I was toast. Now I’m holding 235-240 watts for 2 x20 with a lower heart rate. I still need to ride more. I’m getting in maybe 2 rides a week 3 at best. But those are hard ones;-)

My goals are to increase the FTP to 250 or higher by September and be able to hold 200-220 watts for 3 hrs. 200 watts seems really comfortable right now on my intervals.

Run: The greatest improvements are here. Every run I do has some intensity in it and the results are showing. I have brought my 10-mile long run times down to 1:15. I am doing 1K repeats (4 currently) in 3:54-4:00 with 2 min jog……. Goal is to work up to 8 of these. My hill work is going well. A hill I used to have to walk on in February I now run up 6x.

Another indicator of my fitness is a workout that I did yesterday. 5K run 21:50 followed by 1:15 on the trainer with 4 x 10 min FTP intervals followed by another 5K @ 21:45. I know that’s not too fast right now but I was pleased that I was able to close that last 5K faster that the first one and run the fastest mile of 6:49 on the final mile. Eventually I hope I can get those 5K’s down to 20 min or better and run some 20 min FTP intervals on the bike in between. Getting my triathlon 10K under 40 minutes is a goal here. For a 50 year old, that would be a decent close.

My body weight has dropped to 161lbs and body fat 15%. It’s a long process. I haven’t done any long bike rides or runs so it’s harder to melt the fat away. My goal is to drop another 7 to 10 pounds by September and get the fat percentage less than 10%

I’m enjoying seeing my improvement and the progress that is occurring. That in itself is motivating. I try to make each workout a little harder and sometimes longer. Each workout builds from the previous and I’m keeping a close eye on fatigue and recovery. I’m starting to think about racing again. I’m not in race shape yet but Branson 70.3 in September has caught my interest. It’s close by and it has a difficult bike course which should be a great prep for Maui Xterra the month following.

More updates to follow as I continue to get fitter ;-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Curves Are Moving In The Right Direction

Getting back in shape is a difficult thing to do. I wish I had never let myself go. I was just looking back at some of the workouts I was doing 3 years ago and find it hard to believe I will never be there again. I have to keep reminding myself that it happens one interval, one workout, one training block at a time. It took me a long time to get to the shape I’m in now it will take me a while to get back to the shape I used to be in then. The benefit I have is that I know how to get there and what it feels like once you’re there. Looking at my performance curve over the last six weeks helps me stay motivated.

Just before my major personal catastrophe, I was doing most of my bicycle training indoors on the trainer. For the time spent, there is no better way to get the work done. I look back on some of my bike workouts done in 2009 on the road and see some the efforts put in. I would do 2200 kj rides in 4 and a half hours. I would follow that up with a track/tempo half marathon the next day. Today, I’m getting 900-1000kj rides done in 1:30 on the trainer. I’m thinking if I can build my fitness to be able to do 4 of these a week I’m well on my way. Then maybe I can throw in some hard runs following these once I adapt.

I came across this video of how Andy Potts describes his training. I’m like Andy. I don’t mind putting in painful time on the trainer. It must be a swimmer thing. I don’t think everybody can train like this. It’s not a pleasant social thing.

I’m to the point now that instead of taking the entire day off to recover between workouts, I’m doing light workouts. It’s just another step forward. To facilitate further recovery I’m taking branched chain amino acids which contain glutamine. I feel this helps. I think many people get caught up in how much work you do and forget about the most important component... recovery. That’s where the adaptations take place.

The belly fat has been difficult to get rid of despite increased activity. I want to lose the pudge. I have started taking conjugated linoleic acid. There is some evidence that this can help in the trimming process. I have lost 13 pounds since I started this comeback endeavor so I’m also sure there is a bit of reorganization going on in my body composition as well.

Below are my latest performance curves for cycling and running. I have built some nice training models with almost perfect test/training correlations. Again, the red line is the negative effect of training, blue positive and green is projected performance improvements. I use this as a guide but I listen to what my body is telling me. My job often has me working 24 hours straight so that variable needs to be factored in. If I can’t do the workout like I’m supposed to. I either rest or take the day easy no matter what the computer tells me. I don’t have a pre-programed workout or coach so the pressure to get prescribed workouts in is absent. I just try to tweak the each weeks hard workouts to get just a little bit more progressively. I haven’t swam in three weeks but I’m going to crank that up once I get the cycling and running up to speed.

Above is my run and below is my cycling curve

I’m headed out to Palm Springs, CA to hang with the kids and my family next week. I should get in some good workouts done out there plus some good family time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Progress Continues

The month of February has been a good one for me. I have been able to stick with the program and have seen obvious gains in my fitness. I resumed tracking my training with Raceday Apollo. I feel this is the most scientific training log out there and it's Mac friendly. Each workout gets a stress score based on my power meter outputs, Garmin downloads and swimming interval times. It allows me to project my fitness levels in advance and track my training stress and recovery. In short, it gives me a number to quantify the fatigue and ache in my legs. With those numbers, I am able to tweak a little bit more out of the next set of workouts to produce future positive gains in fitness.

My swimming has been infrequent. I swam 4 times this month. I just can’t get to the pool and get in a good workout. The folks in Joplin just aren’t ready for a dedicated swim workout. I have been to Tulsa a few Saturdays to workout with the group there and had some great workouts. I am still waiting on getting a deal on a Vasa Ergometer. I feel that I have good swimming technique but, presently, lack the power and endurance due to my infrequent swims. I feel if I had the indoor trainer I could work on this at home and progress the power just like the bike workouts on my Computrainer. I might just get by with one swim per week. Below is my swim graph. The two large peaks are from my Tulsa workouts at the Jenks Aquatic Center. Both were greater than 100 points per swim. When I used to swim with Jessica Meyers in 2009 we used to do workouts like that three times per week.
( the red line is the negative effect that training gives you, the stress. The blue line is the positive effect. The green line indicates the the delayed performance result you gain from the training. Performance testing is necessary in order for this to be accurate)

My bike workouts are mostly all on the Computrainer. I have done a few outdoor rides on the mountain bike for technique and endurance but I get the best workout in the least amount of time indoors using the ErgVideos. I haven’t been able to be as frequent as I would like due to my work schedule and the fatigue levels in my legs. I want to be able to put in good effort when I train.

I have advanced my intervals to the staple 2 x 20 min at threshold. It’s a workout that just takes just over an hour but yields great results. Eventually, I will be able to that workout twice a week. My FTP has currently risen to around 217 watts. I am able to average over 222 watts for both of the intervals. When I started, I was only able to hold 206 watts for just one and I was blown. My heart rate averaged in the 150‘s vs 160‘s in January. My w/kg improved from 2.6 to 2.85. So I’d say I have gained around a 10% improvement on my FTP bike power over the past 6 weeks. It’s a long way from where I was before, but it's a start. Below is my bike graph. Note the drop in performance with the higher training volume last week and the predicted green pop if I allow myself to recover a few days later. The trick is to watch the red and green lines and listen to what my body is telling me. The more those lines diverge the more I dig myself into an overtraining hole. I also need to add more tests to this model before it becomes valid. I'm basing it on my 20 min threshold interval.

My running has improved too. My steady state runs at a 150 HR have improved to sub 8 min/ mile pace from 8:30. I’m not near the running fitness where I need to be but the graphs and my overall feelings have me moving in a positive direction. Recently, I have been throwing in some 3 min threshold intervals on the backside of my long runs which are up to 10 miles now. This week I started adding some 30/30 high intensity vVO2 max Billat intervals on the back side of my off road hilly runs. I'm starting to feel the heels fly again.

I haven’t been able to hit the running frequency that I would like but I have been focusing more on quality more than anything else. I just want to see the running score numbers come up weekly and my graphs move upward. If my knees and aches and pains allow me, I will add more runs. Below is my run graph. Note the two negative peaks from my runs on Feb 19th and 26th.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Its been a few weeks since I updated my progress. I’m doing well. I have been able to maintain my training consistency and progress my fitness. I’m focused and I’ve started keeping better tabs on my data and results. This is a good sign. I’m getting serious again. The training I do today will show it’s results 14 days from now.

I am using Golden Chetah to track my cycling data metrics as well as Raceday Apollo to track and plan the rest of my training and plan out my season. Using this software will help me peak at exactly the right time. I just started keeping track of this February 1st so I will post some charts next time.

Currently my goals are to maintain running frequency of 5 days per week and cycling 4 days per week. My runs are focused on strength. I run hills instead of speed intervals. I’m keeping the run score at 30 to 70 per day and I will slowly progress it as I adapt. Cycling and running are my priorities. I have only been swimming once per week.

My cycling has been almost entirely on the Computrainer with Erg Videos. I have purchased enough videos to put together a training program that was generated on the Erg video site. I just turn it on and a new ride comes up somewhere cool with a group of pro cyclists that focus their ride at my threshold level. These rides are hard! My bike scores are over 100 each time. (My 5:20 ironman bike score was 350) My energy output per ride is around 700-1000 kilo joules with intensity factors in the 90’s. There is something about riding with these guys. I just feel like I’m there with them and a part of the group....My brain thinks I’m one of them riding along at 25-30 mph. I’ve also noticed that my cadence is higher. I average in the high 90’s now. I’ve had to bolt the trainer down to keep it in place for those power surges. I remember in Ironman Kansas when ex pro cyclist Curt Chesney went by me..... This guy was riding at an entirely different level than most triathletes. His cadence was so controlled and in the high 90’s to 100. Maybe I can transform the new Rob into something like this.

I have been swimming with the Rufus Racing group at MSSU on Thursdays. It’s a nice pool. Last week I did a set of 15 x 100 meters on the 1:45 at 1:15-1:20. I was hitting 50 meter intervals in around 35. My speed is there and I think as the season gets closer I can increase the frequency to 3 to 4 times per week with longer intervals and get my swimming endurance back up pretty quickly and still finish in the top swim pack.

My running has mostly been on trails around my house. There are some hills that used to slow me to a walk. Now I can run up them. On the flats, my pace has improved from 8:30 to sub 7 min/ mile. My legs no longer ache or feel flat and the heels are starting to fly again. Below is a picture of the roads I have been running on.

I’m excited about my progress. I’m able tofit into my 30 waist jeans again. My body fat has decreased to 17% and my overall weight stays stable at 169 lbs. My goals are to get the weight down to 150-155 lbs and body fat to less than 10% by October.

Updates and good news to follow.

I clip from my ride today with the lads.