Thursday, August 12, 2010

End of season motivation

So it is that time of year where my motivation typically drops.  And this week was the first week.  I figured it is a good time for a little experiment.
In my attempt to run 6 days a week, plus my purchase of WKO I've been watching a number of different variables during training.  In particular I can see the impact of a specific workout on my body and the training stress as it accumulates.  Overall I'd say WKO is pretty accurate with a few exceptions.

The most important thing I've begun to understand is the accumulation of fatigue and the impact each workout has.  As an example...I re-tested my FTP post-fit and exclusively aero.  It came out to 305.  So all my training power zones shifted down about 20 watts.  There are a lot of reasons for this drop.  First, hip angle while aero is different and most people sacrifice power in favor of aerodynamics.  But this does have a significant impact on my training days and the fatigue they create.  Racing at 290-295 watts no longer seems unreasonable with an FTP of 305.

I've noticed a relatively high level of fatigue on long rides.  I'll get home and be wiped out, the days after I need recovery.  Well there is a good reason for that.  My long rides have typically been near 250 watts.  If I sit up completely straight my FTP is 325 and so a 250 watt ride is a zone2/3 ride.  Fairly easy overall.  However I've been completely focused on riding aero.  And while aero my FTP is actually 305.  That is a solid zone 3 effort.  It doesn't feel like a big deal when I'm riding, but I do feel it the next day.

It isn't that a longer zone 3 ride is all that hard.  When I finish my rides I feel fine.  At the Racine 70.3 I was able to run with no problems at all.  But the toll it takes on future training days is pretty dramatic.  My training stress will sometimes drop to a -30.  And my Monday workouts are horrible.  Typically I try to do an easy ride/run on Monday, but then I don't recover at all and Tuesday sucks too.  Tuesday is supposed to be an interval day, so I can't be wasted for that effort.  I have found myself skipping Monday afternoon workouts completely depending on how bad Sunday was - that's not good either.   

Part of the issue is that I am doing harder interval efforts.  It isn't like I am training for Ironman and need to be spending extended amounts of time doing easy zone 2 efforts.  I have been training for Oly and 1/2 Iron races.  As a result I need to be doing harder efforts, zone 3 and zone 4 to build some speed.  But I also need to include some longer endurance work.  Both of those require recovery which my typical training plan appears to be missing.  So while I might be able to get in 15 hours of training where almost all is zone 2...I have found it rather difficult to get in 15 hours with both longer workouts and harder interval workouts in the same week.  When I try my quality workouts suffer big time.  Just getting volume isn't bad, but I need the quality to improve.  Racing 1/2 Irons isn't a zone 2 effort.

So this week has been a bit different.  Sunday it rained fairly bad so I rode on the trainer.  It sucked.  I made it about 2.5 hours before I caved in to the boredom and went for a run afterwards.  I figure 2.5 hours is my 1/2 Iron time.  So good enough.  I felt guilty.  I did a pretty tough DVD, so it was a harder ride in general...and on the trainer I can't coast.  So overall it was a good ride.

Monday I swam, but I took it pretty easy and kept it mostly recovery.  Monday afternoon I took off completely.  Despite my lack of motivation I still felt guilty.  My guilt led to eating.  So I learned that part of why I work out is to prevent eating.  Tuesday I did my interval ride (FTP test) and was pretty happy with my results.  I followed it up with a 40 min run.  Wednesday I slacked again and only swam.  I was going to run and should have run...but it was just so damn hot.  BLAH!!! 
Today I have a 2hr run.  It's even hotter out.  Aimee is trying to talk me out of running.  it won't work.  Missing some of the filler workouts is one thing, missing a key workout is not acceptable even when I am not motivated.  I will say this...if it is still near 95 and so humid you can see the water in the air with blistering sun...the run may stop at 90 minutes.  It will be a game time decision.  2 hours will be my longest run of the season.  Tomorrow I'll do a tougher swim, but plan to keep the afternoon really easy again.  Then I'll move towards a tough weekend of interval running, masters swim, and long ride.

In essence this has become a rest week...but I am trying to guage what I can do from a base fitness standpoint and still be a functioning human.  So this week had several easy days with harder days in between.  I feel good and am recovering no problem.  It is also giving me a bit of a mental break despite the guilt.  WKO reflects the recovery as well. 
Next week I am going add in some very easy workouts on M, W, F just to see how my body handles it and how WKO reflects the difference.  That way I can get a better guage on how I am recovering in general. 

I already know what too difficult is, now I need to get a feel for what too easy is.  Then I can figure out what just right is.  I just know wnen WKO puts me in the -30 range, I'm pretty wasted.  If nothing else I think my Mondays need to be easier, my Wednesday will depend on how hard my Tuesday interval ride is, and Friday is usually an easy day to prep for the weekend which is typically hard.  Realistically I need to determine what to do on Monday and Wednesday afternoon.  Doing an easy ride/run is too much unless I really keep the power waaaaay down.  But that is important.  If my plan calls for an easier ride I do a zone 3 ride, I won't recover.  So I have to keep myself in check.

Like always I want to do more than I am able to or should do.  I need to find the appropriate level of training for my current fitness and build from there.  Jumping into high volume high intensity training is a recipe for injury, burnout, or both.  15 hours with intensity is too much.  My training plan may call for that, but if I never hit it, then the plan was useless.  I need to figure out what I can maintain for longer periods of time as that consistency is what will build my fitness.

From a training perspective it has been an interesting race season.  I really feel like my training has been all over the place.  During the off season I was very focused, the racing really threw that off.  I have some time before Myrtle Beach, I need to get refocused...and then I need to take about a month off of serious training.

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