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A triathlete kind of day.

I swam 2,900 yards (sorry, no picture). I’m slightly faster from my Masters swimming but hardly, really. I’m going to drop down to one day of Masters and do 2 days on my own. I enjoy swimming with the group, but I need more long sets which I’m just not getting at this particular class.

Then I worked on my bike. Got the trainer tire off on the road tire back on, the Di2 battery is charged up and everything ready to ride outside tomorrow. I’m hoping to get in my first outdoor ride of the season late tomorrow morning. It will still be chilly outside but I need to get out.

And, of course, I had to run. It was a gorgeous 60 degrees which means that all Minnesota runners are required to go outside and run in shorts. I ran 6 miles and felt great.

I’m excited and nervous for my ride tomorrow. Only 8 more weeks until my race and I’m just now getting outside. I think I can get out tomorrow and Sunday looks okay for a long ride outside. I hope so!

Sadness is...

Waking up at 4:30 to make it to 5:30 swim practice only to find that the pool is closed due to a broken pump. I drove back across town to another pool for 6AM practice but could only stay for a half hour. 1200 meters of swimming, lots of driving.

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Oceanside 70.3 - 3/30/15

Flat. I’d love to just leave it at that and tie a bow on this post - not write anything up at all and let the day sail off into the ether. Thought of it. But when you do what I do, pretending something didn’t happen because it turned out not-ideal is a shitty thing to do. Like jumping into a dumpster on-course and hiding when I realized I was not moving well.

Power was down ~20 average this year compared to last. This year I was 311 average and 325 normalized. And I was a bigger human being by a bit this year. Maybe 12 pounds. So I regressed in 2 extremely key categories. Rode a 2:19 this year and last. Looked like a faster bike day overall by about 3-4 minutes in 2015, so important not to be fooled by those numbers. Though I do think the silver lining here is that I am riding a better bike - a more fundamentally sound bike & position as I’ve been really focusing on it. Makes me believe that when I get myself straight, I should be able to do something. 

Build felt good. I wrote a post ago - went for a big run focus and hit a snag a couple weeks ago. As I dealt with it leading up to the race, I drew on posts I’ve read from other athletes in the past about injuries forcing rest and breakthrough runs!! Whatever it took to stay positive. And I believed in it for as long as I could…until the 6:20 mile pace I started on felt harder than I thought it should have. But I had no pain during the race. Not even in transition coming out of the swim. I enjoyed the build, learned from it, believed in it and still believe in it. Just didn’t happen. I was on that run and slowing down and thought to myself - this body is not going to let me run anywhere near the split I’m after. So things need to clean up.

Tough start to the year. Doesn’t feel good from a competitive standpoint. I am not representing myself, and I am not representing the work. That sucks. But ‘sucks’ lights a fire. ‘Doesn’t feel good’ lights a fire. Clearly, one is needed.

You can’t just have what you’ve had. That’s a good thing.

Read the complete article at http://madworldnews.com/navy-seal-war-survival/

Navy SEAL Reveals War Survival Story, But That’s Not Why He’s A Badass

As we all know, Navy SEALs are some of the most elite warriors of the military. Proving that point is former Navy SEAL Mike Day, whose mission in life is to “care for and lead my wounded brothers and sisters.” How he’s accomplishing that mission makes him a badass. Day is now t…

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Only 8 more weeks until Ironman Boulder 70.3. 

I’m having a mini freak-out about it. I’m feeling good about my run and my swim, but I’m a bit behind on my biking. I couldn’t bike at all the week of the cruise and I missed a bike this week. I’ve got a long bike on the trainer later today and hopefully I’ll feel better about the whole thing after that. 

It’s amazing how quickly confidence goes away.

Having  two “A” races, the 70.3 and Go! Half Marathon, at the same time isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. Normally I have just one race I care about and do other ones as training experiences. This time around, when I’m running a lot, I feel like I’m not biking enough. When I’m biking more, I feel like I’m not getting in enough run days.

And yet I find myself getting ready to put myself in the same position for the second half of the year. I put in for the Moose Mountain Marathon for September and want to sign up for the Goofy Challenge for January. In this case, though, they are both running goals so hopefully that will be better.

Performing in ITTs: The Virtual Race

Having done 10+ indoor time trials (ITTs) in the past three years, and three this year alone, I feel confident saying that too many athletes under perform in this setting. (And I was one of them) The fact is that ITTs are the same as any other TT, and should be approached in the same manner.

There are four common strategies for TTs. The first is the “all-out” mentality. In this strategy the athlete 100% of the time starts out too quickly; decreasing wattage is paired with an increasing heart rate throughout the effort, leading to a sub-par average power/normalized power.

The second is the J-shaped strategy. In this method the athlete starts at a higher intensity, settles into a consistent effort, and then maxes out nearing the finish. This is the method most commonly used, and if done to a lesser degree, can be effective. The third and fourth strategies are even and negative splitting, which are self-explanatory. (If it isn’t self-explanatory, even splitting is keeping the same pace/power the entire duration, and negative splitting is increasing pace/power the entire duration)

This is no scientific study, but based on my observations at the numerous races that I have attended, there is a clear difference between the top performing athletes and the remainder of the field. The main variable is of course ability, the second is race strategy.  In all the races I have attended, the top performing athletes are choosing one of the three following strategies: shallow J-shaped, negative split, even split with pickup near finish. The majority of the remainder of the field is choosing the all-out or deep J-shaped strategy. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if the athlete is purposely doing a J-shaped strategy, or is forced into it because they went out too hard. HR and wattage diagrams such as the one below would clear that up. It is also obvious when you compare their other results to their ITT result.

Either way, athletes are going out too hard. It can be more difficult to judge intensity/effort when you are not outside, but knowing your HR and power values can help mitigate this risk. Below is a profile in Training Peaks from my most recent ITT. As you can see I followed a shallow J-shaped strategy. The race was 6.03 miles. The first 30 seconds or so I used to get up to speed, and then you can see the power settle in. (Power is pink, HR is red) The biggest takeaway from this chart is the near perfectly flat line of HR. (A barely legible increase throughout) The wattage goes up and down a bit as this was a Central Park course and required constant shifting. This is the trick of ITTs. Unlike outdoor TTs, you cannot see the hills. The green and red lines on the CompuTrainer screen, and your position on the course is clearly shown and important to follow throughout. (You can see there was one section I clearly miss-timed my gear change) Then nearing the finish of the race is paired with spiked wattage. This is the J-shaped curve you should be looking for in your ITTs.

Even and negative splitting is a realistic and reasonable approach; however there are a few downsides. First off, you are losing major ground by not quickly getting up to your desired speed in the first 10-15 seconds of the race. With negative splitting pacing is critical. Going out too slow may leave you with too much left in the tank, and be difficult to make up for in the end. In order to perform a negative split you should be experienced enough to know precisely what power you can hold for that duration, and possibly practiced that type of pacing in training. Also, because so many athletes go out too hard, you are faced with the mental risk of seeing your competitors gain an enormous amount of distance on you. Of course they will almost always fade later, but it can be a mental roadblock if you are not prepared for it. With this said, if you are inexperienced, your attempt to negative split will probably come out more even then you think.

Even going out at the pace I did below, I was in near last after the first mile, and by the end moved up to 3rd out of 16. The two that beat me ended up winning the entire ITT. (all the heats) This goes to show the degree to which athletes poorly pace themselves in this setting.                                                                                                                                                                                 Know your ability, pace to that ability, and maintain a healthy mental state.

www.noreastertri.com

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I’ve been off the grid on a cruise but I’m back! While Mike worked hard to keep training during the trip, I mostly ate. And ate. I managed to run two miles on deck and lift twice during the 5 days we were on vacation, but mostly I ate.

Back to reality!

This morning, before we flew out, I found a fantastic trail to run. The Cady Way Trail was amazing and full of people doing fun things. Running 7 miles while listening to music on the beautiful trail was a treat. There was a run group with a water stop there that made me miss my group at home a little, but it was fun to see them.

Running here in Florida makes me a little jealous. We have to work so hard to run all year around in Minneapolis. Most of the time I enjoy it, but thinking about how easy it would be to run out the door every day in shorts on clear pavement AND being able to bike outside all year long would be amazing. Being able to bike, in particular, would be wonderful.

No more wishful thinking and eating all day. Back to training!

This was my second night this week riding 20 miles alone in a Lifetime spin studio.  I don’t think triathlon is lonely sport, but it definitely favors those who are comfortable training alone.  I suppose I could ride a stationary bike in the main training area with the treadmills and TVs, etc. but I prefer the spin bikes because they have clip pedals and power meters.  Tonight I took it easy and kept my heart rate <120 because I’m running a half marathon on Saturday.  

Finished just after sunrise at the Venice Pier. Paced Tracy for 11 of her 13 miles (we parked separately and she ran to meet me). We did not make it to 14 miles due to time crunch, work got in the way. Proud of her for getting a half marathon in before work! I’m please with my 11 miler. I felt strong and could have kept going. Contemplating another run after work to complete the 14 miles.

Ironman Warps Your Brain

One of the challenging aspects of triathlon is balancing three sports. A typical triathlon training schedule will have 9 workouts over 6 days. At first, endurance and strength is a limiter to how much time you can spend doing each discipline. But eventually, if you are lucky enough to stay healthy and remain interested, there comes a point that you hit your own personal training max, and I have hit mine.

I’ve gotten to the point that I just can’t keep “adding on”. If I spend more time on one thing, then something has to be sacrificed. Here is a look at my training hours since 2010:

The last 2 years I had 500+ hours of training. I already have more hours logged in 2015 than I did at this point in those years because I’ve been able to add some evening workouts now that both of my kids are in college. This year, I’m averaging almost 90 minutes a day not including prep and clean up time. I’m not even training for a full distance Ironman or marathon. I’m doing Boulder 70.3 and some half marathons and the training is still incredibly time consuming.

This is how Ironman warps your mind. You average 90 minutes a day of training, 7 days a week, and somehow you still feel like you aren’t doing enough. It’s really bugging me that I’m falling behind on the 2,015 in 2015 Challenge and that I’m running less miles than last year. Even though I’m swimming and biking a ton more that I was at this time last year, I feel like I’m not doing enough because the run miles are lower.

I wish I could add more run miles to my schedule, but I don’t see how I can do it without wearing myself down. Right now I’m being a triathlete, not a runner, so I have to look at the whole picture. Training hours are the best way for me to put things into perspective and convince myself to not be upset about falling behind. 

I wonder how long it takes to become a normal person again.