Wednesday, February 24, 2010


So this past week has been fun.

It was a rest week, so I dropped my training hours from around 13 down to 8, maybe less. I also did all my baseline testing.

Saturday I did a 2:30 ride all at easy aerobic levels. Typically I'd hit the first hour of that ride pretty hard and do intervals...but not this week. Sunday I followed it up with another 1:30 aerobic ride. I ran on both days, nothing hard.

Monday I did my swimming baseline test. I averaged 1:14 for 10x100's with 10s rest. I was somewhat surprised by that result as I don't really feel as if I am in good swimming shape. It typically takes me a little while to get to these speeds. During the test I was going hard, but I was holding back a little because my shoulder and endurance. I didn't want to blow up on my first day of testing. For some reason I have this fear of blowing up. Sometimes to do great things you have to run that I'll have to work on that. All things considered the swimming test was very good. I won't use that test data for too much while I work on my shoulder, but I'll be re-testing every 4-6 weeks and want to make sure I don't lose anything in the water either.

Tuesday afternoon I did my running test. This consisted of a 3.5 mile run in my neighborhood. The course is hilly in that there are 4 climbs. At mile 1 there is a quarter mile section of a light uphill climb...maybe 1-2%. (I don't really have any idea, that's a guess.). then there is a little break and at the 1.5 mile mark there is a shorter steeper hill. Once I get my Garmin I can quantify grades and distances. After that there's about a half mile break until the next hill which is maybe .3 miles and maybe 2-3%, I then loop around the neighborhood, come down the hill and go up my main street to my house which is another .3 mile hill but a bit steeper.
Since this is the first time I'm doing real testing for running I'm not as concerned with the hills or distances as I am about consistency. I'll be using this course for all future tests and can compare overall times to see if I am getting faster.
I finished the course in 25:18 which equates to 7:14min/mile assuming the distance is truly 3.5 miles.
Assuming that is accurate, it is my second fastest run ever. At the end of last season I did a small sprint Tri and hit 7:07min/mile for a 5k. That still stands as my fastest.
But this test certainly proves that I am in really good shape right now as that sprint Tri was dead flat on the run. If I had done a 5k test on a track or flat stretch of road I think I might have been able to break 20min. One of these days I may have to try that.
Maybe there is something to this running 6 days per week afterall.

Bike Test:
Sometimes you can tell that things are just going to go your way. Thus was my functional power test.
I planned this test to be last because I knew it would force me to rest during the week...and rest I did. This was easily the most rested I've ever been for a FTP test. Typically I'll do some really tough workouts a couple days before and then just do some easier stuff the day before. This week I worked out very little other than the tests. I think I got on the bike Sunday and briefly Tuesday.

My previous test was Jan 6. I was completely unrested and didn't complete the test. I was very worn down and could tell I wasn't able to hold my wattage. I redid the test on the 10th and held 314 watts for a FTP of 298. (subtract 5%).
So it has been almost 6 full weeks since my previous test and I was looking forward to this. I also had a really good idea that my wattage had increased. I was hoping to hold 325 watts for the test itself.

I started the video as normal (spinnervals). warm up easy for a bit. But this time, since I am really trying to be more detailed I started tracking my warmup. I did the 1x3 min hard at about 350 watts. Took the rest and did the 1x3 minute efforts at about 360 watts. I wanted to make sure I put in a really hard effort I could quantify.

Then for the test. For those that don't know, an FTP test is a measure of your power/endurance over a 1-hour period. in many tests however you'll only do a 1x20min all out effort. Only because it is challenging to really do the 1-hour test and maintain concentration throughout. Based on the results of the test you can then determine all of your wattage training zones. If used properly it is much more accurate and meaningful than heart rate or percieved exertion. If you can't hit specified matter what your HR says you didn't do the work.

So after my 5 minute recovery from the warmup efforts I started the test. Based on the initial efforts I knew it was going to be a good day. My goal was to hold start at 315-320 and bump it up at the 10 min mark. At about 5 minutes into the test I was at 322 watts and my heart rate hadn't broken 150 yet. My HR is typically lower, but 150 was a bit low for this type of effort. My legs were feeling really good. I told myself I'd dial it up at the 10 minute mark.
At about 7:30 my body adapted and my HR hit about 152 and my percieved exertion went up as my breathing got a bit labored. At 10 minutes I said "to hell with it" and shifted down to a heavier gear. At that point my average power started ticking upward and I was near 329 by the 15 minute mark.
I backed off one gear and brought my cadene higher as that is a bit more comfortable for me. My power stayed the same for those 2 minutes...and for the final 3 minutes I cranked it back up.
At the end of the day my wattage was 332. Instead of an improvement of about 11 watts, I improved 18 watts or 6% over those 6 weeks. I was extremely happy with those results as I had been hitting the bike really hard.

A lot of people don't understand let me convert this into speed.
So if everything else remains the same the difference between 314 watts and 332 watts on a 25 mile course is 24.76mph to 25.29. Over that distance I would be almost 1:30 faster. Overall that is a pretty impressive improvement for me.
If I hold 25.2 for an OLY bike will be one of the top splits depending on the race.
I did notice that now my interval rides are going to be REALLY HARD. Even my aerobic rides are at a decent wattage. Should be interesting to see how my legs react to the added work.

So overall the week has been very successful. The next four weeks will have a bit less training because of a class I have to talk all day on Saturdays. But my goal is to continue with the run/bike program and let my swim stagnate a bit. I think I'll be making an appointment with an ortho next week. Perhaps an MRI is in order...if the tear in my rotator cuff is worse, it could cause some of this pain.

If so maybe I can get a shot of cortisone for this season and do the surgery in the fall. I've heard shoulder surgery sucks big-time. But I've tried just about everything and relief has only been temporary. I think this has to be caused by the tear.

As far as diet and nutrition...the last two weeks were basically eating by that i mean I didn't really track what I ate. Typically that means I overeat...and to a degree I did. But because I was still working out a lot I really just at more calories but was still in a small defecit. This morning I checked and was 210. So that was a nice surprise.

So that's it for the moment.

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