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.