Weekly Workout Plan: February 11-17, 2013 (24 weeks to IMLP)

Last week was my first week this training cycle of over 10 hours of training.  Actually I ended up clocking in around 11.5 hours…no wonder it was a little rough waking up this morning.


I’ve noticed the effect of the increased training in other ways as well…mainly in one way.  For about the last 3 days I’ve been absolutely RAVENOUS.  Like, at all times.  I’m still doing pretty well in terms of healthy eating (besides a little dalliance Saturday night with some delicious Menomale pizza), but the volume of healthy eating looks to be on the increase.

Of course, last week I also hit it hard on a run test and a bike test, and I now have some results that I at least somewhat understand.  My coaches have set my heart zone ranges for various training purposes so I’ll be a dutiful heart rate monitor wearer for the next five months.

More on all that testing and whatnot to come.  For now, this week’s plan:

Monday: AM – rest (sleep in!); PM – strength
Tuesday: AM – 55 min run; PM – 2100 yard swim
Wednesday: AM – 60 min bike with intervals; PM – off (bike fit appointment)
Thursday: AM – 70 min run; PM – 1800 yard swim
Friday: AM – 70 min bike with intervals; PM – strength or yoga
Saturday: REST
Sunday: 80 min run

In addition to my training, I’ve got one very exciting training-related thing on the docket for this week…on Wednesday night I’ll be getting a professional bike fit.  I’ve never been properly fit to my bike, and as a result I have a lot of knee, neck, and back problems.  At least, I think they are partly due to fit issues.  Think enough to sink some $$ into getting situated.

I am also considering whether to clip some aerobars onto my road bike (I don’t have a tri/TT bike and can’t afford to drop the moolah to get one anytime soon).  I’m still gathering professional (and unprofessional?) opinions on the subject and have yet to decide.  Any thoughts and/or recommendations?

Go with the flow…

When it comes to endurance training, sometimes things just don’t go as planned.  One of the biggest complications: the weather.

This summer, the weather in the Disco has not been kind to those of us with outdoor workout intentions.  After 2 weeks of pretty consistent 100+ degree temps, this past week has brought all sorts of surprise unpredictable storms into my life.  On Tuesday on the way home from working out with Cali, I ended up in a torrential downpour…just walking the 3 blocks from the metro to home got me totally drenched, freezing, and begging for for flannel pjs and hot cocoa.  Or some weather-controlling mutant powers.

If only our storms were this pretty.

I’m a bit OCD about this training thing (ya think?), so I tend to get pretty flustered when I the weather interferes with my perfectly orchestrated plans.  This morning was no exception.  My sis-in-law and her fam are spending a little vacay in the Disco, so I had planned to get in my long ride and brick run first thing this morning before spending the day entertaining the little balls of energy that are our nephews.  But mother nature must have had other plans for me.  Just as I was preparing my pre-ride peanut butter concoction, I looked out the window to see…another downpour.  And a forecast to remain cloudy/rainy all morning.  BUM. MER.

Luckily, I have some flexibility with my time this weekend, so I can do my long run this morning and my ride tomorrow.  It’s much easier and less dangerous to run in the rain than it is to ride, and in fact I rather enjoy a good soggy run every now and then.

NBD for this weekend.  But the next couple weeks we’re pretty tightly scheduled on weekend activities and travel, so it’s going to be much harder to go with the flow when weather-related difficulties get in the way of my obsessively engineered plans.  I’d better be channeling one of my go to karaoke inspirations for positivity…


How do you deal with weather-related training interruptions?

If you had an X-Men style special ability, what would it be?

What’s your favorite karaoke song?

In the Zone, Parts 2 and 3

Yesterday morning was my running heart rate zone test!  And tonight I did a swim zone test as well!

You could say I’m totally zoned out.  HA!

For the Poconos 70.3, I am using a training plan created by Coach A.J. for those of us in the DC Tri Club’s Half Iron Program (HIP).  The training is based on intensity as measured through our heart rate zones.  Heart rate zones are one fairly simple way to measure exercise intensity (perceived exertion rate is another common and pretty much free method).  For our purposes, the various heart rate zones are determined by our average lactate threshold (LT) heart rate in each sport.

There are a number of places that will perform fancy physiological tests on you to determine your lactate threshold.  Usually you are hooked up to a crazy elephant trunk machine while you run on a treadmill or bike on a trainer.  Not only are they suuuuper unflattering devices, but these tests can run you in the hundreds of dollars.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much moolah to dump at the drop of a hat.

But the good news is, there’s a way cheaper, still reasonably accurate equivalent in performing field tests!  All this takes is sport watch or GPS watch with a heart rate strap.  As an entry-level triathlon freak, of course I had a couple of devices that would do the trick.  So I strapped on my Garmin and heart rate monitor strap and hit the road.

For the bike and the run, the test is pretty straightforward.  You first warm up for 15 minutes.  Then, hit the lap button, and start in on the fastest pace that you can reasonably maintain for the next 30 minutes.  Hit the lap button after the first 10 minutes, and again after 20 more minutes.  Voila!  The average heart rate zone you maintained for the final 20 minutes should be your LT heart rate!  Then, it’s a simple matter of math to determine training zones 1-5 based on a percentage of your average LT heart rate.  There are a few approaches to the formulas/percentages, but many websites that will help you figure out your training zone ranges.

I was a little nervous about doing this test accurately, mainly from the perspective of actually pushing it hard enough for the full 30 minutes (especially on the bike).  But my average LT rate for the run was about 10 points higher than that for the bike, which is normal according to Coach A.J., so I think I was probably close.  I also kept records of my average pace on each, so I have an idea of LT pace.  This should help me re-evaluate in a few months when it comes time to run these tests again.

So far as I know, there’s no commercially available heart rate monitor that will work in the pool.  So, the swim test works just on time and distance to determine LT pace.  For the swim test, I warmed up for 500 yards.  Then I swam 200 yards as quickly as I could maintain and noted the time.  After a 1 minute rest, I did the same for an 800 yard distance.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at my average 100 yard pace in both instances.

Now that I’ve done all the number-crunching, I can’t wait to get started on the training!  I’ve never done a zone-based training plan before, and I’m excited to see how this focus will improve my fitness.  I’d also be lying if I denied that I’m super nervous about my ability to actually stick to it on the days I’m supposed to stay in the lower heart rates.  I’m so used to pushing it as hard as I can, and that’s just not sustainable sometimes in the longer distances and the long haul of endurance training.

So, will I succeed at zoning, or end up on a highway to the …

You knew it was coming.  🙂

A few web-info resources on lactate threshold zone testing and training:

Gale Bernhardt for Active.com

Beginner Triathlete

Endurance Factor

Running Times