Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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.