Monday, March 31, 2014

Swim Camp Week

My outseason is complete!  It's hard to believe that my outseason training is already over.  It was shorter than most years, because I signed up for the Grand Rapids Half Ironman on June 8th-so I have to start getting in half iron shape a bit earlier than normally.  

All in all, I am very happy with my outseason.  I had a few goals for myself during my 11 week build: 1. Ease into the running as I was recovering from my heel stress fracture 2. Bike, Bike, Bike-3 days per week, short, intense workouts. 3. Get my FTP up to last year's end of the year watt equivalent 4.Get some moderately long runs in (8-10 milers, consistently over the course of the last 5 weeks).  I can HAPPILY say I achieved (or was very close!) to achieving all of those goals.  My heel feels good-not 100%, after longer runs it definitely doesn't feel completely normal, but I've comfortably worked up to 20-25 mile weeks and don't feel like I'm backtracking at all.  Where I'm at biking is extremely close to where I was in August last year (certainly NOT endurance wise, but speaking in terms of FTP).  I hit 3 rides a week in all but 2 of the weeks (that I only hit 2) and most weeks I hit or exceeded my number goals.  Unfortunately, the last 2 weeks I was definitely feeling the effects of overachieving the bike intervals, and my last few workouts weren't the numbers I would've hoped for.  But I know that that was my body saying cut it out with the overachieving intervals, so I'm ready for this easier week I'm starting.  I was consistently able to get in 7-10 mile runs over the last few weeks, at paces I'm extremely happy with considering I was not able to run more than 3 miles in December.  So, I'm happy with my outseason, my dedication to the training plan (of course-did not do each and every workout as planned, but modified as need be, listened to my body, and maintained consistency), and most of all-happy its over.  While the workouts were all relatively short, they were HARD.  Ready for an easy week, thats for sure.

Thus begins my 1 week swim camp-a time that is supposed to jumpstart my swimming since I haven't been in the pool since October.  Today was my first swim of the week, I completed 2,000 meters relatively comfortably-threw some fast 50s in at the end, just to see what I was working with after nearly 5 months out of the water-and I'm not terribly disappointed.  While not up to my normal pace by any means-I can't say I hated the swim.  I actually missed the smell of chlorine.  Sick, but true :)  I followed up the swim with an easy 3 mile run.  Over my season training, I complete a number of swim/run bricks, and I actually missed it.  This week will consist of a total of 3 swims, 3 run workouts (still streakin' though-today was day 90), and only 1 bike-an easy, transition week, as I get into an 8 week half ironman plan to end on June 8th.  This is actually the earliest I've been in the pool in the last few years-it usually takes until May to drag my butt back to the pool, but this half is forcing me to get in the water early-which I'm sure wont hurt me any!

Most importantly-I feel great right now. My head is in the right place going into this half ironman plan and my body is feeling healthy.  Certainly not as fast as I'd like to be, but being healthy is so much better than being a little quicker and injured in one of the 3 disciplines.  Let's hope this continues!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Training ups, training downs

I cannot believe that I'm already in week 9 of my outseason plan.  The last 8 weeks have absolutely flown by!  I can happily say I've been hitting my plan with full integrity- hitting each workout mentally strong, focused on my numbers, with few setbacks.  Unfortunately, this has been the week of setbacks!

I started the outseason with an extremely low FTP-I know this happened for a few reasons. 1. My first true ride back was the day I did my FTP test-so I couldn't expect any great results after a few months out of the saddle.  2. I was pushing-but not FTP test style pushing (the starting to see spots, clock moving backwards, almost near puking style testing).  So after a few weeks of riding, I was hitting numbers that were 10 watts above what I had tested at-and fairly comfortably (I felt it was close to my actual FTP).  As I started hitting numbers higher and higher, I was really looking forward to my next FTP test.  Week 8 (last week) was a test week, and I went into it positive and motivated. I could not wait to see what I could do after a consistent 8 weeks of training.  Sure enough, my hard work paid off. I jumped nearly 20 watts from where I originally tested, which is huge!  I know I saw that much of a gain due to the reasons I stated earlier, and also truly hard work and testing smart.  I was ready to start hitting my new numbers for the next chunk of my training!  

I completed that FTP test last Sunday (March 2nd) and had additional rides scheduled that week for Wednesday and Friday.  Sure enough, while the new numbers were tough to attain, I hit them and felt so proud of my new zones I earned.  Seeing progress is such a boost in motivation, and I was ready to start this challenging week off with a bang! Unfortunately, my body had other plans.  Saturday I came down with a head cold (which I'm sure an 8 mile run in the sleet that morning didn't really help the situation), and still have it today (Tuesday).  Yesterday was our first 50+ degree day of the season, so I rearranged my workouts for the week in order to throw on my new capris and hit the pavement.  I cannot begin to describe how crappy this run went!  I felt slow (ha-not felt slow, WAS slow), sluggish, my head cloudy, it was difficult to breathe, my heartrate was skyrocketing-an all in all mess.  I wanted to be picked up and driven home-but the negative of an out and back loop is that you HAVE to run back as far as you run out.  So, I kept on truckin' home, to discover my total run time was almost equal to my 8 mile run time Saturday.  Just a terrible run!

So I wanted to really hit it today to make up for that terrible run.  I had on the schedule a 2 mile easy pace run and 60 minute bike, with 3x12' Zone 4 intervals during the ride. Going into this workout I had little to no motivation, but due to time restrictions later in the week, I knew I had to get it in.  So I got on the treadmill and jogged my 2 miles, felt fine, but sluggish still.  Then I got on the bike, warmed up, and tried my first interval.  I was dying! I was nowhere near the watts I was able to hit last week for my test and workouts.  Typically, if I'm experiencing this, I'll throw on some Linkin' Park (guilty pleasure-but nothing pumps me up more), throw my head down, and dig deep-but it was just not happening.  I was at the bottom of my zone 4 with heart rates way into zone 5.  I recovered after the first interval and tried the next-actually felt worse.  I ended up just riding in zone 1/2 for the remainder of the hour.  While disappointing to have 2 sub-par workouts 2 days in a row, I realize that my body is probably telling me I need to take it easy and recover from whatever bug I'm trying to beat.  I'm happy I got the time in the last few days, but may need to back off on the intensity until I'm feeling better.  Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow feeling better, because I have 4x5' Zone 5 intervals on the schedule (which would be incredibly tough even 100% healthy!!!).  

I can't believe I only have 3 more weeks of my outseason plan!  I'd love to jump a few more watts getting into my next training block-a Half Ironman plan to build to the Grand Rapids Half Ironman on June 8th. I'll then have an unstructured week of training (which will end with the 200K of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds-so much for an off week).  Finally, my 12 week build into Ironman Wisconsin begins June 16th!  I am really excited for this year of training because I'm feeling good so far (besides this little cold)-my heel is feeling better, hammy is holding up so far, and most importantly, my head is in the right place beginning this year's journey!

That's all for now-I'll hopefully be checking in far more frequently now as training hours are beginning to add up :)