Monday, January 25, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 4

Recovery week!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Swim 2000m; TR Goddard (1 hour)
Wednesday: 8k EZ run; yoga for hips/hamstrings/back
Thursday: Swim 1800m; TR Looking Glass (1:20)
Friday: 8k EZ run; TR Slide Mountain (1 hour)
Saturday: 18k long run
Sunday: 2200m swim; TR Pioneer (1 hour)

Funny, last winter a 10 hour week would have been a peak week!

Thoughts of the week:

The long road back to work.
It was a little weird to have so much energy and extra time last week. Nice, though. The swims were good and I seem to have comfortably settled into doing 6000m a week. I'd love to add a fourth swim, but there's really nowhere to fit that into the schedule. Doing pretty well to manage three of them, really!

Sciatica was acting up on my left side this week, which happens every few months. A little quality time with the big bad orange guy there and it's largely resolved. Also my chair at work sort of started to disintegrate, so I'm currently auditioning new chairs. Which has led to the revelation that my old office chair sucked really really badly. The various options for my new one are so much better! Why didn't I get a new chair ages ago!

Loving this winter so far. The bay still hasn't frozen over!
My runs were really good this week, with one small exception.

On Friday's run, about 2k in, I was kind of zoned out and hit Mr. Manhole cover up there (who puts that in the middle of the sidewalk??) and rolled my left ankle. Yep, the sprained one. Damn it. Fortunately it felt fine after about 30 seconds of walking around and cursing, so I continued on the run (the cursing is key, I find). No issues with it the rest of the day on Friday or for Saturday's long run. But Saturday evening it was kind of vaguely sore, and I can tell it's taken a few steps back in healing. So I skipped my planned brick run on Sunday in favour of rest, which I think was the right choice. I will probably wear a brace for my next few runs and see how that goes. I'm fairly certain it will be fine, so I'm not too worried about it.

EZ run = no guilt on stopping for a selfie. OK, I don't feel any guilt about that anyway. Selfies forever!

A photo posted by Sam J (@sammykaye71) on

Let's see, what else. The trainer rides felt really easy this week, which is probably how they should have felt, given I went from 7 hours of rides down to 4! All set to do some crazy bullshit this upcoming week.

The sun!! You guys the sun was out!! It's actually pretty startling how big a difference that can make on winter runs. A little sunlight makes the wind and cold easier to take.

That's about it! Other than that hiccup with my ankle, it was a good week. I used my sudden extra time to take the kids sledding and help the little one do the requirements of her chef badge for Brownies, and got the house cleaned up. So it was pretty nice.

The plan for this week:

Monday: rest; foam roll to keep that sciatica calmed down
Tuesday: swim; TR - Haku (1 hour)
Wednesday: Tempo run
Thursday: swim; TR - Phoenix (1:30)
Friday: EZ run; TR - Tray Mountain (1:30)
Saturday: TR - Big Mountain (3 hours) + brick run; swim?
Sunday: Long run; swim?

I am kind of excited for the trainer rides this week because I've started watching The 100 on Netflix. It's terrible (the premise makes zero sense) but at the same time it's awesome. It's sort of a futuristic Lord of the Flies where instead of being shipwrecked, the characters are landed on a future Earth after a nuclear war has wiped out civilization, and everyone is really, really good looking and well groomed and they all make endlessly stupid decisions. It's perfect for the trainer because it's silly and fluffy but also totally entertaining. Can't wait to watch more!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 3

Week 3 = peak week! How'd it go?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: TR Hunter (2 hours); 2200m swim
Wednesday: 9k tempo run with 5k @ 5:01/km
Thursday: 1600m swim; TR Cumberland (1:15)
Friday: EZ 7k run; TR Tunnabora (1 hour)
Saturday: 23k long run; 2250m swim
Sunday: TR - Town Hill (2:45); 8.6k brick run

Oh come on, I couldn't have swum or run one minute more?

I'd say that went pretty well. Feeling good, strong, and mostly really really hungry. I seem to have burned quite a few calories.

I did my Tuesday swim at a different pool than usual. I'd always sort of vaguely known that pools can be 'fast' or 'slow' but didn't realize just how big an impact various pool design factors can have. I couldn't quite believe some of my lap times, but a little googling afterwards cleared up the mystery - the Tuesday night pool has gutters, while my usual pool doesn't. Those can make a big difference in how the water gets reflected back at you while you swim. It's nice to know where I can go to feel fast! Even if it does mean having to totally recalculate my paces in a pool-specific way.

Wait, I was doing all those sub 2 minutes? What? Yay for better pool design!
(this also explains why I often felt really slow when swimming in the outdoor pool in the summer - that pool has an extremely shallow shallow end - you can literally scrape your hand on the bottom if you reach a little too deep doing front crawl - which also makes for a 'slow' pool. Obviously it's not that I'm actually a slow swimmer. Clearly it's the pool.)

I was able to convince myself to get back on the foam roller a couple of times last week, which was very good for me. My hips have been a bit cranky while sitting at my desk at work, but the roller is like magic for that. I've learned the key points are really my lower back and my glutes. I do think, however, that I should try and get in some yoga for runners, because that's also really good for my hips. Another thing to find time for! (this longer, deep release version is even better...but, longer.)

Picture time!

5k of tempo, done! Super proud of myself for sticking with that one for the full 5k with no breaks. I think that's the first time I've made it through that one without stopping at 3k.

Safety LED for an early morning run. Lots of reflective stuff on my gear, too. #staysafe

Impromptu strength workout on Friday night helping the kids roll giant snowballs. Those suckers get heavy. Cat for scale. Bear in mind he's a bit of a chunkster, so that is one large snowball.

Back to training on the ATB route! Awesome long run with Sam and Nicole this week.

Hard training = keeping an eye on the resting heart rate. All good.

A couple of things have come up a few times lately, so here's answers to two occasionally asked questions:

1. Are you sure you aren't training for an Ironman?

Yes, I'm sure. No full Ironman for me this year.Yes, the training hours are a little bonkers, but this is all laying groundwork for a) doing some kick ass half irons this summer and b) a full Ironman in the future. But not this year.

2. How do you find the time?!

Now there's a good question, because this time last year I wouldn't have thought I could have found the time for this. But I've been building up to it for a while, and the time has been carved out of my schedule gradually. You don't, generally, just wake up one day and decide 'I'm going to start training 13 hours a week'. It's a process.

Reason #1 I can train is that guy back there.

I'd say for me it largely comes down to three things. 1. A super supportive husband who is easy to negotiate with to free up time for both of us to get our workouts done (colour coded spreadsheets are sometimes involved). 2. I have a short commute to work (15 minutes), so I'm not losing a large part of my week there. 3. My kids are old enough to entertain themselves and not get into trouble while I'm on the bike trainer, and they aren't currently involved in time consuming activities. Right now they are in Girl Guides and swim lessons, which are pretty easy to schedule around.

There's other factors, like we don't have cable so I don't really watch TV (other than Netflix on the trainer), but those three are the big ones.

Now, as much as I enjoyed last week, I'm pretty glad this week is a recovery week. The house pretty much goes straight to hell while the husband and I are both training hard, and a deep clean is desperately needed. Recovery week = time freed up to clean up this dump. Lower standards on some things, like housekeeping, is key to doing a lot of training, really.

What's a recovery week look look right now?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim; TR Goddard (60 minutes)
Wednesday: easy run (8k)
Thursday: swim; TR Looking Glass (80 minutes)
Friday: easy run (8k); TR Slide Mountain (60 minutes)
Saturday/Sunday: Long run (16-18k); swim; Trainerroad Pioneer (60 minutes) + 6k brick run

You know. Recovery. Totally. HA.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 2

This week was a bit of a test. I chose the hardest of the base building plans from Trainerroad because I wanted to challenge myself, but also wanted the option to drop down to the medium volume plan if I need to. The bike volume didn't really increase this week, but I was curious how I'd react to that volume when combined with adding in interval work on the run, and doing a fairly lengthy long run.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 1850m swim; TR Eclipse (90 min)
Wednesday: 5x1000m interval run
Thursday: 1900m swim; TR Galena (90 min)
Friday: Easy 10k run; TR Glassy (80 min)
Saturday: TR Phoenix (90 min) + 8k brick run
Sunday: 1300m swim; 21.5k long run

So far so good! The workouts felt great, and overall physically I finished the week feeling tired but strong. Some little niggles in my legs Sunday night that tell me I need to stop slacking on my foam rolling if I'm going to continue with this sort of volume, but I'm pleased and ready to continue the next week of the plan. The plan has 3 weeks of build followed by a recovery week, so with week 3 upcoming that means peak week. I'll also be increasing my run volume a little before cutting back next week to recover in both sports.

It is so nice to leave for work in the morning and see daylight! When do we get to ride outside again?
Swim volume was a bit down this week, but that's to be expected. Now that we aren't on vacation it's much harder to fit it in - although hey, I'm pretty pleased I'm closing in on being able to get in a full 2000m in the 40-45 minutes I have to swim on Tuesday and Thursday mornings! I'll continue to do what I can there, but I don't want to sacrifice too much weekend quality time with the kids to the Gods of Chlorine. Have to prioritize, and time spent on cycling and running gives a better return on investment right now.

Now that real winter seems to have showed up (damn it), back to my 'outdoor track' for speedwork. It's an 800m loop that is kept snow/ice free and has minimal vehicle traffic. The only drawback is it's not totally flat, which adds a fun extra challenge to interval and tempo work!

My interval run workout was super satisfying. 5x1000m with 400m recoveries. The paces on the 1ks were a bit off what I was doing in the summer, when I was getting under 4:30 on them, but faster than I did them last January. So I'm satisfied with where I'm at there.

Frozen Lower Princess Falls, taken with a zoom lens from the parking lot at work.
For my Friday run I went up the Chedoke radial trail to check out frozen Upper Princess Falls - I noticed from the parking lot that the lower falls was frozen and took a chance on the trail still being clear to run so I could go see the upper falls. Sure enough, the trail was clear and I had a fantastic run! Plus it's all downhill on the way back, which is good fun.

The frozen Upper falls. Almost exactly 5k from my office!
The bike was excellent this week. I got my power and setup straightened out and things now feel 'right'. Having done some of the traditional style base building, it's kind of funny how my perceptions have changed. 90 minutes no longer really feels like a long ride. That's sort of disturbing. Especially knowing that there's some lovely 3 hour style ones coming up very soon. Adding lots of stuff to my Netflix cue to keep me entertained!
Interchangeable trainer selfie style 6A. What the hell is on the floor in the background anyway? Cat toy?

So, good stuff, well done, etc. What's on tap for week 3?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: TR Hunter (2 hours); swim if possible
Wednesday: tempo run
Thursday: swim; TR Cumberland (1:15)
Friday: EZ run; TR Tunnabora (1 hour)
Saturday: 24k long run; swim
Sunday: TR Town Hill (2:45) + brick run

An increase in bike time (although the overall training stress doesn't go up much). Another test to see how I can handle this. I've already missed my usual Tuesday swim this week due to scheduling stuff, which is making me antsy! But I'll either make it up tonight or tomorrow morning if I can. Damn swimming. Anyone want to install an indoor lap pool in my backyard? I'll let you come use it whenever you want!

Goal of the week: don't neglect the foam roller!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Muskoka 70.3 base build week 1

Switching up the titles now that I've started my 'official' base training for the Muskoka half iron. This week I started an 8 week half iron triathlon base plan with Trainerroad (high volume version), which will then be followed by an 8 week build and an 8 week specialization. Technically there's more than 24 weeks until the race, but that gives me some flexibility to take extra rest time after Around the Bay and taper properly for the Chilly half (which I am now officially signed up for).

The workouts:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 2100m swim; TR Slide Mountain (1 hour)
Wednesday: 10k run with 2x2k intervals @5:00/km
Thursday: 2000m swim; TR Cumberland (1:15); 6k brick run
Friday: 2000m swim; TR Ericsson (1 hour)
Saturday: 20.16 long run; 1700m swim
Sunday: TR Big Squaw (2:30 OMG); 7k easy run

Ahhh, vacation. So much more time!

The training plan started with an FTP test Tuesday, but I subbed in a sweet spot workout to stay on the safe side with my ankle. And also I didn't wanna do one. SO THERE. I may have to suck it up and do one soon, though, since my FTP feels off. And not in a good way. (The rest of this will probably only make sense to Zindine, so feel free to skip to the good part of the post - the pictures!) I've been trying to remember if I changed to a trainer tire after I did my fall FTP test. I think I may have done the FTP test with my regular tire, and that might explain why I'm having so much trouble hitting the TR power targets now that I'm doing sweet spot work instead of the aerobic base stuff - I suspect my FTP is currently set a little too high, and that's after lowering it 10 watts recently. I think it needs to go down another 5-10. I've spent enough time with Trainerroad now to know that something is wonky because certain workouts feel harder than they should. The trainer tire is much heavier duty, so if I did do the FTP test on the stock tire perhaps that explains things. At any rate, I think I'll lower my FTP a bit and see if I can get the effort level to feel right for the first workout this week.

OK, on to the good stuff! How the week went. It featured a lot of this:

I may be sick of cheese. I know, I didn't think that was possible...

Some of this:

I didn't die doing bike intervals! Yay!

Good times:

Running the year with some of my favourite running peeps! And I was very pleased how good the pace felt on this one. Promising.
My husband ran his longest run ever (27.5k!) and then did this:

I know EXACTLY how that feels.
And I found the speed in my legs again! Yeah! I did 2x2k fast on Wednesday without really looking at my watch and was surprised to be right around 5:00/km on them. I haven't forgotten how to run fast!

Technically from a different run. FAKER! I didn't take any pictures of the interval run. Blog fail.
And I did my longest trainer ride to date on Sunday, which was fairly miserable because man I was capital-T Tired for that one. But I slogged through it! All two and a half hours and no I'm not looking ahead in the plan to see what that goes up to later on because I don't really want to know.

Really, no complaints about the week. Hit all three sports pretty strongly.

Week 2 of the base building plan:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim before work; TR in the evening
Wednesday: interval run at lunch
Thursday: swim before work; TR in the evening
Friday: easy run at lunch; TR in the evening
Saturday: TR, brick run, swim(?)
Sunday: Long run with the Iron Canucks (20k ish); swim (?)

The trainer workouts this week are all 90 minutes except Friday which is 'only' 80 minutes, but they are all sweet spot and won't be easy by any stretch. So this week is going to be challenging! And I'm not sure how many swims I'll be able to get in now that we're back to work and school and such. Hopefully at least 3, but if that has to drop down to 2 for my own sanity, well, that's how it'll be. I have to work with the time I have, and swim is the hardest one to schedule, so it gets dropped. Just how it has to be.