First Kona Push

17th June 2015, I was communicating via email with my than coach and now mentor Allan Pitman about a failed Ironman I had just completed.  He wrote back –

“I think you really just lack the belief that you can go faster – off a swim and bike like that, a 10.30 is very doable.

It goes against common beliefs but I think you need to spend the winter getting your swim stronger and committing to 10hrs of cycling every week from the start of July till Cairns next year (June) just make that “what you do”.
You simply need more development – make 2015/2016 your development year”
I went into a three month retirement after this race and really thought I would never do another triathlon again……….. (Two years later I got the 10:30 Ironman)
However I think about these comments from Allan often and this was one of the reasons I have started the three month cycling challenge with cycling everyday of winter.  While at this stage I am struggling to find the ten hours a week of cycling, I have been consistent with around eight to nine hours of cycling each week so far.
Taking what Allan said a step further, I really am after a solid 12-18 months of uninterrupted, consistent basic development training with an average of 15-16 hours a week with load weeks being 20+ hours.  If I can arrive in November 2020 with a strong body that is well prepared then I will have six months of focused specific training towards my first Kona push in May 2021.
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This Week’s Training
This week is the second week in a row that I hit all my targets in the core part of my training as well as all the extras.  Going back through my training log, it was November 2018 when I hit all my targets two weeks in a row for the core part of my training and I need to keep going back to April 2018 when I completed all my targets two weeks in a row for both the core part of my training as well as all the extras.
I enjoy looking back through my training logs as things like this can stick out like dog balls and hopefully will drive me not to repeat the same mistakes.
Personal Best:
I got an hour personal best power output on Wednesday when I did a session that was 40 minutes hovering under threshold (HUT) sitting at 250 watts.  The hour personal best power was 231 watts beating my previous one hour power of 227 back in October 2017.
It really sounds better that it actually is, these are different training sessions than I have ever done so I can expect these “personal best” to pop up a few times over the next month.
40min HUT.JPG
Also a I noticed my Chronic training load (CTL) is the highest I have seen it this week since Today’s Plan introduced swim/Bike/Run into their platform.  This week’s CTL is 70.6 – This number needs to double over the next year.
Running at MAF
Seeing as all my runs of late have been easy to moderate while I focus more on the bike, swim and gym, I thought I would change from running to my Stryd power meter and start running at my MAF heart rate being 140 beats per minute.
It has been a few years since I ran at MAF.  The concept was created by Dr Phil Maffetone and the rough guidelines are 180 minus your age.  There is a bit more to it than that but it gives you the quick outline.  For the rest of winter I will keep all my runs at around 140 bpm.
I am now 23 days into my cycling challenge, one of the issues I am finding is the lack of time to run.  I think I have done more brick runs in the past 23 days than I have in the past two years combined. I ordered a treadmill to hire for the remainder of winter.  I hope this will alleviate some of the stress in looking for opportunities to go out and run.  The treadmill arrives Tuesday.
Compliance: 
  • Swim: 93% compliance – I cut one swim short 500m as there were a silly number of people swimming in only three avlable lanes with most people swimming slow and I really struggled to get in what I did.
  • Bike: 92% compliance – Friday I had worked 12 hours and went out for dinner with the family followed by watching my son’s basketball game so by the time I got on my bike it was 10pm.  I did the minimum of 20 minutes of cycling as I had to wake up at 4am the next morning.
  • Running – 100% compliance – I was still running at 10:30pm Sunday night to get my shit in.
  • Strength – 100% compliance.

 

Core Training

  • Swim: 3 sessions with a total of 6.5km
  • Bike: 7 rides with a total of 226.3km
  • Run: 4 runs with a total of 40km (all runs were off the bike)
  • Strength: 3 sessions with 2 in the gym and 1 at home

 

Extras

  • Mobility: 5 sessions (I have been asked about these, will do bog on soon)
  • Oxygen Deprivation: 3 sessions
  • Meditated:once
  • Body Maintenance: 4 times on the foam roller

 

Time spent training

  • Core part: 15:47 hrs
  • Extras: 3:15 hrs
  • Total: 19:02 hrs

 

Getting my targets in

I have always been a pro wrestling fan.  It started when I was around eight years old. Even now, there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t click on a wrestling news website and get caught up with everything that is happening within the business.  One of the terms pro wrestlers like to use is “got to get my shit in”.  The meaning of this is they want to get their signature moves in within their match.

I’m no different, I too like to “get my shit in” within each training week.  I like to call these “targets” when around the kids so for the sake of this blog, i’ll just refer to my shit as targets.

This week’s goals were simple, hit all weekly targets within the core part of my training (swim, bike, run and strength) and complete all the extras (mobility, oxygen deprivation, meditate, body maintenance).

Looking at the past six weeks, I am yet to hit all my weekly targets in the core part of my training nor within the extras. In fact, I needed to go back to the week of March 24th where I completed all core targets and the week of 3rd March when I hit my core training targets as well as all the extras.

Core Targets:

Depending on the time of year will depend what these targets are.  Currently these are my target numbers over the next three training blocks.

Please note that these targets are all “minimum” of what I want to achieve.

  • Swim – 3 sessions with a minimum of 6km in total.
  • Bike – 7 sessions with a minimum of 200km (ride every day)
  • Run – 3 sessions with a minimum of 40km
  • S&C – 3 sessions with a minimum of one in the gym (really aiming for two in the gym)

 

Extras Targets:

The targets I have set within the “Extras” are the minimum I like to hit each week all year round however as mentioned above, I have really sucked at achieving this.

  • Mobility – 3 sessions per week
  • Oxygen Deprivation – Minimum of twice a week that doesn’t include hypoxic swim sets
  • Body maintenance – 3 times a week (foam roller, self-massage, cupping)
  • Meditation – minimum of once a week however wish this was once a day.

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Photo of the Saturday group ride with half the riders fixing a flat tyre and the other half checking out the new Factor road bike.

Swimming:

Back in February, my son Jack and I filmed each other swimming with his new Gopro.  It had been awhile since I have seem my swim stroke.  I use to film myself swimming all the time and at one stage I would film myself once a week.

Looking at my stroke from the footage we took, I decided to make a couple of changes to my stroke.  I use to drive the stroke from my hips.  The changes I made was to start driving the stroke from my shoulders instead of my hips.  Obvious this made me take a step backwards for a month or so while I develop this new stroke. In March, I saw my swim times return back to normal.   Since March, my swim times have slowly kept crawling down. I have been getting faster by around 1 second per 100 meters per month (on an average swim session).

My swim has improved so much over the past few years. It break my heart that for the past few years I haven’t been able to display my improvements within a race as every race I have done the water conditions have been shithouse.

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Photo of Jack & I on hitting some trails on the MTB

 

Week 6 looked somethed like:

Compliance: 

  • Swim: 100% compliance
  • Bike: 100% compliance (I did have to cut the intensity on Friday’s session but kept the volume)
  • Run: 100% compliance
  • S&C: 100% compliance (I was playing catch up with a gym session at 9pm Sunday night)

 

Core:

  • Swim: 3 swims, total of 7.2km
  • Bike: 7 rides, total of 238km (2 rides on the TT bike, 3 rides on road bike, 1 ride on the spin bike and 1 ride on the MTB)
  • Run: 4 runs, total of 41.1km (first 20km run since Busso 70.3 six weeks ago)
  • S&C: 3 sessions with 2 in the gym and 1 at home

 

Extras:

  • 4 mobility sessions
  • 2 oxygen deprivation sessions
  • Meditated once
  • Foam roller 3x (only legs and hips)

 

Time Spent Training

  • Core: 15:47
  • Extras: 2:40
  • Total: 18:27

 

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Photo of Jack riding on his trainer.  He is still on track for the 93 rides in 93 days.

 

25 pounds of crap

When I created this week’s program, I always knew it was going to be a tough week as I was trying to fit 25 pounds of crap into a 20 pound bag.  With cycling every day, working 67 hours and trying to fit in my son’s basketball commitments. Something had to give.  This week my running couldn’t fit into the 20 pound bag with only managing to do 9km of running.

If I wasn’t depressed enough about my running this week, it is Ironman Cairns today and for the past four years I have gotten out of the freezing Tassie winter and into an amazing Cairns winter.  Hopefully will be up there next year to do the Ironman 70.3.

Training Compliance

  • Swimming: 100% compliance.  All sessions completed as programmed
  •  Bike: 90% compliance, While I cycled everyday this week, I had to cut two sessions in half due to unexpected work commitments
  • Running: 24% compliant, Missed an 11km run and also a 20km run.
  • Strength & Conditioning: 100% compliance.  Two sessions in the gym and one session at home as per program.

 

Personal Best

I did a cycle session that consisted of 10x 10 seconds MAX, 3min easy.  I got a personal best power output on 3sec, 4sec, 5sec & 10sec.  Out of the 10x 10sec max efforts, 7 of the efforts went past my previous best power.  This sounds great however this is the first time ever I have gone all out for 10 seconds so if I didn’t get this result I would have been concerned.

It did explain a lot on why when I cycle with the weekend bunch and things really heat up towards the end of the ride and it turns into a sprint finish, I am left behind like I am the ugly girl at the prom with my 10 second MAX power being 804 watts.  I would guess I am 20% behind the others within the bunch.  Understandable as they only cycle and I do triathlons.

Here is the session below, I took each interval and overlapped them on this power curve.

 

bike one.png

 

Jackhammer 

Due to most of the feedback I received last week was about my son Jack, I thought I should give an update.  He is 100% compliant with his cycling having rode everyday this week.  All sessions were on the indoor trainer.  He also won his school Cross Country race, competed in five games of basketball over the weekend.

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Block One Summary

As mentioned in last blog, this training block was focused around recovery and getting the body use to training with the added gym sessions again so numbers right across the board are down with the exception of some power numbers on the bike.

Cycling Power:

This is from a FTP test I did three weeks ago where I got a 4min, 6min, 10min, 15min, 20min & a 30min best power out put.

Block 1 - 7

Some note regarding my FTP & power to weight:

  • My current FTP is 283 watts @ a 3.72 watts per kg,
  • Last test I did was in February and results were 275 watts @ a 3.57 watts per kg
  • Test prior to this was in May 2018 and it was 284 watts @ a 3.55 watts per kg

These results took me by surprise as I wasn’t expected to see such an increase with power to weight.

 

Block Summary:

  • Core = Swim, Bike, Run S&C
  • Extras = Oxygen deprivation, Mobility, meditation and body maintenance (I do not count legs up in this)

Block 1 - 1

 

Other information

So I keep track of hours I work, hours I sleep, I score my daily diet (as you can see it’s been shithouse), I score my daily drive (motivation) and I score and rank a number of funny little things.

Apart from my compliance rating that I have only just started playing around with in this training block, the rest isn’t new.  I have been tracking some of these things now for years.

Extras

 

Session Valuation

This chart below I rank the value to each session.  For example in week four, you can see I completed one lower value ride in yellow.  This ride was with my son and it was all at his level.

Value

 

Score Charts

This is what I am scoring my shit off

Block 1 - 6

 

Run power 

I have only been collecting run power from October, here is the peak run power curve

Run power

 

Leg Spring Stiffness Chart

In a nutshell, the greater you can get your leg spring stiffness, the faster you can go at no extra oxygen cost meaning free speed.

This is my peak leg spring stiffness curve

Leg spring stiffy

 

Ability Table & Load Chart

Some other charts I look at are my ability table and more so below is my load chart for the past month.

Block one

 

Next Training Block

The main focus for the next four week training block is very much cycle focused as I will ride everyday through winter.  I will do my best to maintain everything else but if I need to miss or cut a session, it will be anything apart from the bike.

At a glance, five rides per week will be on the road bike, one ride per week will be on my TT bike and one ride per week will be on a spin bike at the gym however I have given myself an option that one day a week I can swap the road bike for my mountain bike and hit the trails.

First training block

The first block of training is done and only twenty five left.  I did use the word “training” very loosely as the objectives with this block was recovery from last season and get ready to start training again for next block.  This week however was the first week of “real training” where I started to really volume, intensity and with the added weight lifting in the gym.

Saturday was the start of the cycle challenge that will last 93 days.  I am excited about this as my cycling as been stagnate for some time now.  I started to really focus on it last winter and was seeing some improvements then from August through to February, I really struggled to be consistent in my training and my bike suffered the most. In approximately six months we lost a family member, went on a big family holiday, got the house ready for sale, sold the house, moved to the new house, got chickenpox, got whooping cough and I put on 10kg in that six month.

This week I increased the gym sessions to lifting twice a week.  Since I turned 35 years old, I have been in the gym lifting weights once to twice a week depending on the time of year.  With so many sessions missed in December and January, I decided to change my strength training from lifting in the gym to low cadence session on the bike, running hills, swimming with large paddles and aiming to do three core sessions per week.

Now I am back lifting weights again, it is something I have promised myself I will do for the rest of my life. I do this not to be a stronger athlete, The aim is to be a strong 80 year old and 90 year old.  I can see myself now in the nursing home looking around at all the oldies drinking their tea while I’m downing a protein shake talking about my recent gains.

 

New Bunch

I rode with a new cycle bunch who are filled with A & B grade racers and without doubt all are at a much higher level than I am in skills & ability. It is a strange feeling knowing before you leave the house that at some point during this ride you will be dropped by this bunch and wondering just how long you can hold on for.

It stood out like dog nuts that their skills are so much higher than what I was use too.  I often ride with a weekend group and that group seems very unorganised compared to this group.  My lack of handling skills showed every time we turned.  I rarely peddle through corners instead I like to lean into them and peddle out of the corner where this group was full throttle during every turn.

I got dropped around 33km into from the 47km ride.  Not because I blew up like I had hopped was going to happen, simply a lack of focus turning a corner that went up hill. I lost of few meters that turned into 20 meters that turned into 50 meters and I simply couldn’t close the gap.  During this time I clocked a 1 minute personal best power output of 484 watts (see below).

I was able to keep the bunch within 100 meters till the time came when they started swapping off and everyone spends around 3 seconds on the front then peals off.  The pace just goes through the roof.  It was my goal to take two turns on the front before blowing up and being spat out the back but I didn’t get a chance to blow.

Ride one.JPG

 

Cycle Challenge with Jacky

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My 10 year old son Jack is also doing the three month cycle challenge where we will do 93 rides in 93 days.  Sunday afternoon we went out for half an hour on the bike in the cold, wind and rain.  We rode easy on the flats, very easy on the downhills but anytime the road went up, it was game on.  One hill Jack attacked and I stayed behind me.  I looked down at my Garmin to see I was on 620 watts and as I was yelling out the watts to Jack,  The little shit attacked again dropped me like a bad habit.

The great part about this ride was Jack never complained once about the conditions we were riding in and if I suggested we should go longer, he would have been up for it.

 

Training Block Summary

In the next day or two I will publish a detailed summary on the first training block and a look at what is next.

Week Three – Developing Markers

The goal for this week was simply build consistent training with the added strength work in the gym and recover through the volume.  Therefore it was a boring training week to write about.

I have spent some time looking at data from Kona qualifiers (KQ) and my own data and I am in the process of developing a “key markers” chart.  More or less what an average 40 year old KQ can run a 5km race in, what are their threshold swim pace, what can they lift for five squats, etc and compare these numbers to my current numbers as well as past numbers.

Yes it appears I have no life.

From a percentage standpoint, I need to improve

  • Swimming: Need to improve by 15% (snapping duck crap) 
  • Cycling: Need to improve by 6%
  • Running: Need to improve by 5%
  • Ironman (overall) 10.3%

These percentage are really just at a glance.

Good news is I have two years to make this gains, I don’t need to rush or miss important steps along the way as I have a race I am training for like in past years, I can dive a little deeper in different parts of my training and take my time within a training block.

 

Cycling & Run FTP Tests

This is a test week for me, Last Tuesday I did a swim CSS test, Thursday I did a run FTP test and Saturday I did a cycle FTP test.

Run FTP Test

Last rFTP test was 10th October

  • rFTP was 277 at 85.5kg (3.25 watts per kg)
  • Leg spring stiffness of 10.14
  • Form Power: 73.8 watts
  • 3min TT @309 watts
  • 10min TT @285 watts

 

My Results this week:

  • rFTP is now 319 watts at 78.2kg (4.07 watts per kg)
  • Leg spring stiffness 11.85
  • Form Power:  83.7 watts
  • 3min TT @347 watts
  • 10min TT @328 watts

 

Run Training Zones: 

So working off this rFTP number, these are my run zones:

  • Easy 50% – 80% (160-255 watts)
  • Endurance: 81% – 88% (256-281 watts)
  • Tempo:  89% – 95% (282-303 watts)
  • Threshold:  96% – 105% (304-335 watts)
  • VO2 MAX: 106% – 115% (336-367 watts)
  • Anaerobic 116%-300% (368 – 957 watts)

 

 

Cycle FTP Test

Last FTP test was 9th February. My cycle fitness was far from good.

  • FTP was 275 watts @77.1kg (3.56 watts per kg), while my FTP had decreased from June the year before, my power to weight ratio had increased slightly.

 

New FTP as of 18th May

  • 283 watts @78.2kg (3.61 watts per kg) my FTP had returned back to its normal number with the bonus of power to weight ratio improving.

 

Cycling Training Zones

  • Easy 30-59% (85-167 watts)
  • Endurance: 60-79% (168-224 watts)
  • Tempo:  80-90% (225-255 watts)
  • Threshold: 91-104% (256-294 watts)
  • VO2 MAX: 105-120% (295-340 watts)
  • Anaerobic 121-300% (341-849 watts)

 

I start the Train Smooth Cycle Challenge from the 1st June.  While I hope to see an improvement in my cycling performance, I would guess my power to weight ratio will decrease over the next few months before we will see a spike in it.  Reason comes from two ends.

  1. I normally put on some weight over winter.
  2. I want to test supplementing with creatine and creatine will put on a few kilograms of water weight.  From 1st June, I will do a week at 20g per day and back it off to 3g per day for the remainder of the cycle challenge.  Once I am off creatine, it will take a few good weeks to lose the extra water weight I had put on but I am keen to see what adaptations from supplementing I will get.