Training Week: 8/18-8/24

Swim: 17,600 Yards (3:54) 
Bike: 220 Miles (10:41)
Run: 32 Miles (3:25)
Total*: 127 Points (18:00)
————————————————————————

Swim: This was a solid, consistent week of swimming. My recent focus has been on lengthening sets–I am now doing 15 x 200 rather than 12 x 200, 8 x 400 instead of 8 x 300–in order to simulate the demands of a lengthy, 1.2-mile swim. When I leave the pool with fatigued shoulders and feel lingering soreness the next day, I know I’ve done my job. I’m getting stronger in the water–I am now doing my 400s at the pace I was doing my 200s at the beginning of the summer–but the time improvements are slim and getting slimmer. I am reaching a natural plateau that I may not exceed without a change in routine (i.e. more and/or harder swimming, working with a coach, swimming with a team/group, strapping plastic slats on my hands and binding my feet together…things like that). That said, this plateau may fall within the “good enough” level for age-group triathlon swimming and the additional effort may not be the best use of time and energy, but we’ll see how I fair in upcoming races.

Bike: The bike was good news and bad news this week. I had a breakthrough on Saturday, when I drove down to the flatlands of coastal Delaware to ride the Diamondman 70.3 course, where I’ll be competing September 9th. The prescribed workout was ~80 miles with 56 miles hard (around half-Iron level), but I felt strong and ended up holding around 10 watts higher on the hard portion than I had planned, or 251W average (~3.85 W/kg) for a 2:22 split (23.6 mph). I have never seen north of 250 watts for such a long period, and I was comfortable doing extended stretches in the 260-270W range, which was extremely difficult for me to maintain not long ago. However, the effort took its toll–I felt trashed at the end despite proper fueling. Had I needed to, I doubt I could have run a fast half marathon in that state. So I learned something important with the workout: my 235-240W target for half-Iron competition is probably right, even though I’m capable of better.

For the bad news, I was riding in a bike lane when a car pulled out from the right side of the road and ran directly into me. I went crashing over the hood of the car before rolling off and hitting the pavement. Luckily, I and my bike are okay–I have some elbow and hip soreness and my front wheel needs to be trued, but other than that we escaped unharmed. However, my iPhone, which was in my jersey pocket, was not so lucky. The driver said he didn’t see me, and I suppose this kind of thing is inevitable. I hate to ride the trainer more–I can’t get nearly the same power for my perceived exertion that I can outside, and it’s terribly boring–but cycling in Philadelphia is so dangerous; almost every ride I have some sort of close call. The bike paths, with all the weaving pedestrians and cruisers riding two abreast, are almost as hazardous as the roads. Nothing makes me miss living in Colorado like cycling in Philly.

Ethiopian Fare

Run: After Saturday’s bike effort, my legs felt a little sluggish at the outset of my Sunday long run, but after 3-4 miles I had warmed up and was running smooth and fast. Within the 15-mile run, I was able to split 10K, 10 Mile, and half marathon segments of 37:01, 1:00:17, and 1:20:35, the last of which is about what I’d hope (though not necessarily expect) to run at the end of a half Ironman. That night, I refueled with Ethiopian fare to emulate my (athletically superior) distance-running brethren from the horn of Africa.

Though I will never outrun the Bekeles down the home stretch, the comfort with which I am holding various paces in my runs (and at comparatively low heart rates) is proof that I am developing good run fitness on low mileage (24 miles per week average in 2012). If I can stay healthy enough to increase my mileage by 25% in 2013 (to, say, 30 miles per week on average), I am sure I’ll continue to make gains.

Total: This was an excellent week in terms of volume and performance. On top of back-to-back breakout workouts over the weekend, I logged a healthy amount of training all week. In general, my body seems to be coping with the training stress better than ever–I recovered quickly from the long bike and run, and I feel only moderate fatigue at the close of one of my highest-volume weeks ever. If I can continue this kind of quantity and quality of training in the coming weeks, I should be prepared to perform at my best at the end of September.

*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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