Training Week: 8/11-8/17

Swim: 12,300 Yards (2:43) 
Bike: 107 Miles (5:53)
Run: 21 Miles (2:38)
Total*: 76 Points (11:16)
————————————————————————

Swim: Despite this being a recovery week with less cycling and running, I didn’t get to the pool as much as I had hoped. I did have one frighteningly quick workout where I saw some splits I haven’t seen before (unfortunately, this was balanced by a couple agonizing sessions, including a long 8 x 500 meter set on a 30-second rest interval that caused at least as much psychological as physiological stress). As I have learned, the swim will be there as long as I can keep the consistency, which is a lot more difficult in practice than it is on paper.

Bike: The highlight of this week was a long ride in western Maryland that followed a good chunk of the bike course of the Savageman Tri, a race that is infamous for its difficulty. The ride was supposed to be another hard 4-hour ride at upper-tempo/half-Ironman pace–this will be perfect, I thought–and things were going fine for the first 15 to 20 miles as I was able to average north of 245W over gorgeous rolling terrain. Then the descents started to scalp my gains–on the bright side, I set a new PR for max speed at 49.3 mph–and the ascents started to test my physical wherewithal.

By the time I was halfway through the ride, I had already put in three extended efforts at close to threshold power–6.5, 11, and 6 minutes, respectively, pushing north of 270W, which was what I needed in my lowest gear to keep from falling over. Needless to say, I was gassed. Then at mile 40, things just got silly. Starting with the famous Westernport Wall (“the steepest climb in all of road triathlon”), the ascent to the top of Savage Mountain (around 2,500 feet of elevation gain, it appears) was cruel and unusual–every bit as challenging as Colorado’s front range. 220W was all I could muster for the next 10 miles, which took me almost 50 minutes.

The Westernport Wall

The descents, too, were treacherous, but the scenery was beautiful, and I highly recommend the West Virginia/Western Maryland area for some choice (albeit challenging) riding. When all was said and done, I’d ridden 70 miles in 4 hours (a paltry 17.3 mph) at a disappointing power level (213W avg / 230W normalized) but with 7,800(!) feet of elevation gain. One day, I will be back to take on the full bike leg as part of the Savageman Triathlon, and I’ll actually come ready with the proper gearing and a healthy respect for the terrain.

Run: After Saturday’s ride, I took a full day off on Sunday (typically my long-run day), so this week was consequently light on the run. This rest was welcome, as I plan to get in a few 30+ mile weeks in the coming month of training.

Total: This was a much-needed recovery week after four consecutive high-volume weeks. Still, I got in a couple good rides on the bike, a few solid swim sessions, and my typical Thursday hill intervals for the run. This coming weekend and week, it’s back to real business with some heavy volume and intensity planned. Just six weeks out from my key race, the time to make incremental fitness gains is short, though I feel that I’m almost where I want to be in all three disciplines. As always, the wild card is staying healthy enough to get in adequate run training, though as my strength, I have some leeway there.

*I have a non-standard system for quantifying my training output. (Swim Miles x 4) + (Bike Miles / 4) + Run Miles = Total Points. Listed time is time spent swimming, biking, or running, not rest between intervals, walking, etc.

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