Ten year photo challenge

The current ten year photo challenge that is all over Facebook and Instagram has had me thinking a great deal about the past ten years and comparing myself from 2009 to now in 2019.

In 2009, I had a 24 hour business and I was working long hours. I hadn’t yet fallen in love with triathlon but I was into cycling.

Looking only from a performance point of view, I am significantly

  • Faster
  • Stronger
  • Leaner
  • More flexible

 

In the past decade, the only measure of my performance where I can pinpoint a degree of deterioration is my agility. I am not as agile as I was when I was 29 years of age and this mostly is coming from my core, even though my core strength is significantly stronger now.

While I can handle more volume and more intensity now at almost 39 years of age than I could in 2009 when I was 29 years old, I do need to focus on recovery now, for example mobility sessions, foam rollers, etc., to assist my recovery in the same amount of time I was once able to.

If you had told me when I was 29 years old that I was going to be faster, stronger, leaner and more flexible by the time I reached 39, I would have laughed.

This has caused me to think hard about the next ten years.

Can I prolong the signs of aging and deterioration from a performance point of view? Can I say I will be stronger and faster in 2029 than I am right now?

A few years ago I read a report stating seasoned amateur marathon runners were still seeing improvements within their performance in their early 50’s while elite marathoners would start to see a decline in their mid-30’s.

I do plan to start focusing on becoming more agile. This includes playing a lot of ball games with my kids that will increase my flexibility and agility in areas where I would otherwise not need to extend myself. When I do my mobility sessions, I will spend a little extra time working on my back. In addition to this, I will donate some time researching the topic.

I will still continue to work on speed, strength and improve my flexibility. I made a promise a few years ago that I would do the following for the rest of my life:-

• Lift weights a minimum of once a week
• Three mobility sessions per week that are approximately half an hour per sessions
• Three core strength sessions per week that are a minimum of 10 minutes per session

I know as years roll on I will need to add things to this list. I often look around at the aging community in Tasmania and wonder, ‘What if that person started yoga in their 30’s, or if that person started lifting weights in their 40’s, or if that person had just made small changes in their diet in their mid-20’s, etc.’ Had they done so, would they have better flexibility and mobility in their later years and have a better quality of life?

 

2009 weighing around 95kg

Tim Egge 2

 

2019 Weighing around 77kg

Tim Egge 1

 

I look forward in doing a follow up blog in 2029.
Let me know about your past ten years. You can email me tim@trainsmooth.com or leave a comment below.

When a training diary starts to pay dividends

I have kept a training log for around ten years or so now. Mostly just recording swim, bike, run and strength sessions and any data my Garmin would provide from these sessions. I also recorded my weekly body weight. This alone has been useful to go back through and look for reasons why I may have been injured, or why in one race I arrived in better shape than another, and breaking down a training session or a race.

In mid-2016 I started to collect a few more bits of data like oxygen deprivation sessions, mobility sessions, using swim cords, meditation and I also started to collect my body composition information every week.

In 2017, I started to also include any rehab sessions, any body maintenance sessions like using foam rollers, massages and all hours worked.

In 2018 I started to collect sleep data , (time, quality, etc), daily step count, diet quality, stress levels, motivation levels and towards the end of 2018 I started to record when I use compression clothing, when there is a family events and when I take a nap.

In addition to this, in August I started to log all my daily food and drink intake on good and great days but didn’t record any information when my diet wasn’t all that good….. more on this soon.

In June 2018, I started to give each day a ranking, if I am moving closer or further away from my goal. I call this my Target Chart. In August 2018 I started to rank every training session in regards to how valuable that session was.

At the start of this year I have started to record my morning muscle soreness and my daily body weight.
There is a trend here. Over time, I have slowly started to collect more and more data instead of just jumping in hard and fast with the data collecting and falling off shortly thereafter. I developed new habits slowly over time so I can stay consistent over the long term.

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Nutrition Log
As already mentioned I started to track everything that I consumed on good days and great days since August 2018. As of this year I have started to record everything that I ate and drank every day. I use a notepad and I will write the time, the food intake and calories. Nothing flash, just pen and paper.

I know there are many great apps out there that can do this easier but I have found over many times of trialling and failing, that I am more conscious about what actually enters my mouth if I have to write it out instead of hitting a few buttons on my phone.

This nutrition log has proven to be more valuable than I could ever have expected. I really have been creating a blue print on what is working for me and how I can change what isn’t working. More on this in a minute.
Looking at everything:
While I have been collecting all this data over the years, from time to time I look at it and take some small valuable information from parts here and there, that help shape what I will be doing in the months ahead.

Over this past Christmas period, I took everything I had collected and really started to break everything down. I made lots of notes, wrote comments and really delved into everything I had on record. A few things that stood out to me are:

  • My diet quality for a week was significantly higher when I would have oats for breakfast. As one snack I would have some rice crackers and for another snack, a nut bar, and on these weeks when my diet was on point I would also meditate two to three times a week. Any time I only meditated once during that week, my diet quality was not as high.
  • My cycling fitness would show signs of improvements when I would add a strength endurance ride on the Monday after a weekend of a long bike and gym session on the Saturday and a long run on the Sunday. However the improvements were not as obvious if the Monday ride was more of a recovery ride.
  • I need to spend around 2-3 hours a week focusing on recovering my body or the quality of the sessions are not as high. These recovery sessions include mobility sessions, using a massage stick and Venous Drainage.
  • I noticed with my sleep. My training quality, weekly volume and motivation levels were all higher when I would get between 47-49 hours sleep per week and the more sleep I would get during a week (50hrs, 54hrs, etc) the less value the sessions were, the less volume I would do and the less motivated I would become.  This actually took me by surprise.

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Diet Quality in 2019
My race weight has always been around 78kg. I would often just lose a heap of weight over a training block and start walking around with a six pack and say I am race weight ready. At the start of this year I was weighing 81.8kg. Now I am currently weighing 77.1kg and I haven’t got a six pack yet, however I am by far leaner all over, legs, arms, shoulders, etc. I have never experienced being this lean before and I still have some fat left to lose as I still only have a four pack!

Every day this year I have been writing down everything I have consumed. I haven’t had a “cheat day”, however I have had some “cheat meals”, and on each occasion this was when we would go out with friends and family.

I believe the success of this was the result of my focusing on what really worked from the diet log I have been recording since August last year, and I am also focusing heavily on what isn’t working for me since I have started recording everything consumed from this year.

As I mentioned, I have been recording my diet value every day since early 2018. The rankings for this is:
1. Horrible
2. Poor
3. Average
4. Good
5. Great

This year I have 6 great days, 7 good days, 5 average days, 0 poor days and 0 horrible days.

I will do a follow up blog on this in May when I race 70.3 Busso.

Tim Egge

Recruitment Drive

I am currently looking for three athletes who would be interested in my online coaching services at a reduced price that I can review as a case study on for my podcast and blog.

The three athletes personal details including name will be kept private as all I want to share is the process, the direction we are taking and the highs and lows as we build towards your goal.

This is a great opportunity to have good quality coaching for only $50 a month.

Coaching Services Include

• 100% custom training programs that are based around your goals, family, work and lifestyle. This is very personal.
• Ironman, 70.3, Olympic and sprint distance athletes accepted.
• All levels catered for.
• Unlimited access to me via email, phone and Skype.
• Regular feedback.
• Video analytics.
• Access to the Train Smooth private Facebook group.
• Athletes accepted from anywhere in the world.
• Updates and changes to your program if and when needed.
• Help and assistant with injuries and rehab if needed.

$50 a month

** Only three spots avlable** 

 

How to join

Please email tim@trainsmooth.com with some information about yourself.

Pricing & Payment

Please note that all prices are set in Australian dollars. All payments are to be made via PayPal Subscription.

 

Month In to running power

So it has been a month since I got my Stryd power meter and I have been playing around with it on a number of different runs like threshold, VO2, trails, treadmills and aerobic runs. While I spent a lot of time in the past year reading and learning about training and coaching to a run power meter well before I ever got one myself, I am really enjoying the process of testing what I have learned and learning a lot along the way.

One thing that has been occurring quite often is people asking me what do I think of it and is it worth getting one.  In this blog, I thought I would touch on a few different runs and in coming blogs I will dive deeper in the analytics.

All sessions I am consistently comparing the power vs how I would feel if I was doing this on feel.  I will say that using a power meter cuts out any of the fluff.

VO2 efforts: I completed a 4x 3min with 4min easy between.  I noticed I really struggled to run slow enough during the easy recovery of 70% of my FTP. I just know that in the past I would run these parts way too hard.  Also notice that in the last 3min effort that I had to push a little harder than I may have just to hold my numbers.  I feel the Stryd power meter provided a higher value to this run.

Threshold and sweet spot runs: I have completed a few threshold and sweet spot run sessions and not really much to report here. Looking at the data after the session was cool.

Running Hills: I really like running hills using my Stryd power meter as I know I can get the right metabolic benefit that I am trying to achieve within the session meaning if I was doing a threshold session or a VO2 or an aerobic sessions, if I stick with the number set, I am still achieving the correct benefits. In the past when I would run up hill, it would be very hit and miss with getting what I was trying to achieve.

Aerobic:  Nothing really to report here except that on one easy aerobic run I had to keep my watts around 220. I ran 4km out and 4km back. Running out I had a tail wind and on the way back, sticking with 220 watts in the head wind, there was only a 30 second difference in time. Thought that was cool.

 Trail Runs: I have only done easy aerobic runs in bush trails so keeping watts around 220 throughout seemed easy to manage.

Treadmills:  I completed a sweet spot run of 15min @266, 3min @208, 10min @266 on the treadmill and this was very easy as I didn’t need to adjust for hills, changes to road, or think too much.  I simply set the treadmill to my power numbers and off I went. Loved it.

Data Geeking: I will go more into the data side in the next blog and look at the cool shit I am focusing on.

 

Run Power Zones

Last Wednesday I completed a critical power tests (FTP) so I can work out my power zones and start structuring my training around my power meter.

The test is 15min warm up with 4x 50m efforts throughout.  3min maximum effort followed by 20min easy recovery followed by 10min maximum effort with a cool down at the end.

To find the FTP, you find the average from the 3min and 10min efforts and take 90% of this number and this will be the FTP.

My results were:

  • 3min: 297 watts
  • 10min: 284 watts
  • FTP: 278 watts

There are a number of ways to test and find your FTP, I personally am subscribing to the Steve Palladino method not only to find my FTP but also his zone list (below are my power zones).  Typically zone lists will have a simple zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 but with Steve’s zone lists have more greater details and takes more of the guess work out of it.

Tim's rFTP numbers

Power to weight:

I am really overweight at the moment. I was weighing 85kg when I did this and traditionally my weight would normally be around 81kg this time of year and my race weight would be somewhere around 78kg.  Also as mentioned in my past blog, I am really unfit at the moment but having said that, lets play around with these numbers for shits and giggles.

Only taking into account power to weight and my Ironman power being 85% of my FTP (race power today would be 236 watts) and also comparing it to my goal time of a 3:30 marathon time.

Now I expect these numbers to really change as I get closer to my Ironman in May next year, hell, I would expect these numbers to change by January when I do a marathon down in Hobart.  While my race weight is around 78kg, I also looked at 77kg and 76kg.  I don’t think going under 76kg would be a healthy option for myself as I would be all prick and ribs.

Race watts today: 236

Power to weight

As mentioned I have a marathon in thirteen weeks that I really should start training for. I plan to run this marathon at my Ironman power number (85% of FTP).  While my current FTP is 278 watts, if I was to increase my FTP to 286 watts (8 watt increase) with a body weight of 78kg, this would give me a race power of 243 watts and this should result into a 3:30 marathon…….. on paper anyway.

Love all this shit.

 

First run with power

Following on from my past blog, I am keen to document running with a power meter and eventually coaching with a power meter.  I received my Stryd power meter on Monday and connected it to my Garmin and went for a run.

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Current Fitness:

To start putting things into context, my training has taken a back seat in the past five weeks, so with this my fitness has taken a rather sharp nose dive and my weight has been climbing like a mountain goat. In the past five weeks, I have only ran 9 times with a total of 47km with the longest run being 11.6km.

To give a bigger overview of my training, a combination of swim, bike, run & strength training comes to a total of just over 26 hours for the past five weeks. This is the lowest I have seen this in years.

First run with power:

I wanted to jump in head first.  I decided to do a 12km loop with a combination on sharp and gradual climbs, sharp and gradual declines and some flats.  This will be my longest run in seven weeks.  I wanted to run this all at my Ironman effort (not pace, heart rate, etc but as I think it should “feel”).

I would be careful when I looked at my power numbers, I wanted to check my watch at set parts of the run and see what the numbers were doing. The times I would check are:

  • Half way down a hill
  • Half way up a hill
  • Half way along a flat section20181001_154758.jpg

Coming from a cycling power background, you need to forget a lot of what you already know about power meters.  When I would look at my watts during this run, I would see

  • No major spikes of power going uphill. When cycling with power and riding on feel, you will normally see a rather big spike in power when riding hills.  Yes the power increased but nothing really over 50 watts at the steepest hill and the longer gradual climbs the increase of power was only around 20-30 watts.
  • No major drop in power running downhill, again when riding downhill, it is common to see a major drop in power but with running, you are still producing power with every run step.  Yes power would drop but only around 20-30 watts.
  • Power stayed really consistent throughout the run and I can see that it would be a lot easier to control than a bike power meter.

Run Data

Below is some data taken off my Final Surge account. I will deep dive in the data from sessions in coming blogs but the things that stick out are my GCT balance (I seem to favour the left leg slightly as I guess I have had past injuries in my right legs). My leg spring number seems low but with current fitness that is to be expected.

Some items not listed in the data files are

  • Temperature: 13 degrees
  • Water consumed: zero
  • Weight lost: 1.2kg

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You can see below I stopped five times during this run due to traffic. Each stop was between 5 seconds and the longest being around 20 seconds.

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I ran this at my Ironman effort but this is over 2 minutes slower than I would expect to see the run at the same effort in the lead up to an Ironman.

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And of course, I listened to Metallica during this run

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Running with power

Late last year, I began learning about power meters for runners, I have read countless books and articles, viewed athlete’s data files, listened to podcasts and watched videos on YouTube.  I must have hundreds of hours clocked up in learning about this topic.

I even went as far as creating mock programs for runners at different levels (FTP) for different races (5km, marathons, Ironman, etc) as part of learning more about running, training and racing with a power meter.  I did old fashion spread sheet programs, programs on Final Surge and programs on Today’s Plan

I feel like I have the theory part at a level I am comfortable to talk about, I need to now start learning the practical side so I can have a greater understanding on training, racing and coaching with a power meter.

This week I finally got around to purchasing a Stryd power meter that I hope to receive in the next week or two.  I thought it would be cool if I started blogging about what I have learned already, what I will learn in the coming months and see if we can all learn as much as possible while having fun and see what I believe will be a valuable performance tool.