Tag Archives: test

IMMT 2016 Training Update – April 11th 2016

Training has been moving along pretty quickly this season. Hard to believe I have already completed 10 weeks of solid training in prepping for Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August. I have been slacking a bit on the blogging front and it has been around 6 weeks since my last training update post.  I have been really busy at work as well as training. It is a constant cycle of Sleep, eat, train, work, train, eat, and sleep.


Overall training has been consistently progressing in an upwards fashion. Fatigue has been following along slightly above my CTL(Chronic Training Load) with no major spikes. My Friday recovery days have helped keep fatigue levels in check and my longer rides and runs on the weekend haven’t been more than 3 and 1:45 hours, respectively.

Looking at HRV(Heart Rate Variability) in the chart below, you can see that things have been progressing in an upward direction since the end of February. I have had a few sporadic low readings , but nothing compared to February. Despite the couple low data points, most readings have been in the 80’s with an occasional 90+ reading . HRV-wise, things are on the up-and-up.

iThlete HRV Timeline for Feb to April 2016

Performance Testing

My coach had recommended doing a 5k sometime in March and the St. Pat’s West End 5k in Allentown came up on March 20th. The course was also pretty flat, so it made for a good place to test my current run fitness. It was a pretty cool morning which was a little rough on my lungs that day. There was also a fair amount of people I knew in the race which would help fuel the competitive juices a bit too.

St. Pat's West End 5k Run
Click the image to see more St. Pat’s West End 5k Run pictures… Courtesy of John R. Hofmann Sr.

I started off a bit faster than I probably should of with ~6:48/mi pace. Although the first 1/4 mile was downhill. I was basically holding on for the next two miles, despite my lungs screaming for mercy. When I crossed the finish line my Garmin said 22:24, but the official race time stated 22:45. I was a little disappointed with the race time difference and I was not sure how they got such a different time than I did. There were some discrepancies on the course and they were scurrying at the last minute to fix things. Regardless, the slower time was still a PR for me by 1 second off my previous 5k PR back in 2013 and I finished 6th in my age group. So I can’t complain too much. And, of course, I now had a good test to setup my heart race and pace zones for my upcoming training.

I also tried to perform an FTP test on the trainer later that week, which was probably not the brightest idea. It was a total pain-fest since my legs were still sore from the 5k earlier that week, but I managed to squeak out a 1 watt improvement over my last FTP test. LOL! I really think I would have destroyed my previous FTP if I had fresher legs, but I was shocked I even improved 1 watt given the state of fatigue I was in. As you can see below, I just kind of lost it at about 15 minutes into the test

I really think I would have destroyed my previous FTP if I had fresher legs, but I was shocked I even improved 1 watt given the state of fatigue I was in. As you can see below, I just kind of lost it at about 15 minutes into the 20-minute test period but managed to recover and finish out the test without incurring a loss. Oh well, next time!

TrainerRoad 20-min FTP Test - March 23rd
TrainerRoad 20-min FTP Test – March 23rd

Swimming Improvements

Swimming is such an interesting beast. It was always the weakest leg for me since I only learned to swim (well properly with my head under water) back in 2008. I always seem to hover around 2:00/100m while swimming in the pool, but when I open water swim I am usually around 1:50/100m. I figured this was mostly due to my wetsuit and not having to make turns since I still can’t do a flip turn.

My coach, Todd Wiley, mentioned about taking some Go-Pro video of myself swimming in the pool and he would take a look at my form. I think it was a pretty easy assessment for him since he quickly got back to me indicating that I was pushing my arm towards the bottom of the pool on my catch instead of back(See image below) and my legs were too low. He sent me a couple articles and videos demonstrating what I should be doing and I eagerly watched them.

Swim Pushing down on the Catch
Swim Pushing down on the Catch

I started focusing entirely on my catch and making sure I was pushing back instead of down. This included keeping my elbow high and using my forearm and my hand to push the water back. It was almost and immediate improvement! Now my lap times in the pool are now consistently around my open water pace times. This has been a huge improvement and I am now thinking that another IM Swim PR time could be realized this season. I am eager to get out in some open water and see how this translates with a wetsuit and not having to make turns every 25m.

I also think, but not totally sure, that my legs are higher now since I am going faster with the proper catch position. I will have take some more video to get a before-and-after comparison.

Amrita Ambassador 2016

I will be serving as an Amrita Ambassador again for 2016. As you may know, Amrita bars are my go-to nutrition in races, training, and pretty much every day. They are full of powerful nutrients that keep me energized without polluting my body without a bunch of toxic chemicals.  They are plant-based, gluten-free, allergy-free, soy-free, dairy-free and they are REALLY good too!

Amrita Ambassador 2016
Amrita Ambassador 2016

If you would like to try them or order some, please go to Amrita Health Foods and enter the coupon code “britri16” at checkout to get 15% off.

What’s Coming Up?

Now that we are moving into race season, I have a few things coming soon. At the end of April will be the St. Luke’s Half Marathon which is always a fun local event. Although not real fun when you get a stomach bug the morning of the race like I did last year. I am hoping to get a PR time there since I challenged one of my co-workers to get some competition going.

In May, I will be racing in the French Creek Olympic Triathlon for the first time. Another local event which will be my first triathlon tune-up event. Knowing the French Creek area, it should be a rather hilly event for sure.

In June, I’ll be racing at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse also for the first time. That should be a good indicator of my fitness prior to Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August. I am expecting similar terrain so it should be a good test. Should be a fun season!

That’s all for now…thanks for reading!


FTP Test Gone Bad!


FTP Test Gone Bad
FTP Test Gone Bad 

20 Minute Test – TrainerRoad.com

For some strange reason I got the bright idea to attempt doing an FTP test on Trainer Road last night. It was my second ride of this week, which is also the 2nd build week in my training cycle. Ya know when your body really starts feeling some fatigue from the previous weekend? Not only that, my first ride of the week was a pretty much a 40k time trial(below) so an easier ride this day would been a smarter option.

When I first started warming up, I felt a little stiff but didn’t think much about it since it was a warm-up. During the 3 1 min high cadence spin-ups I could still feel the stiffness in my quads and I was struggling to maintain the goal watts. Then the 5 min “clearing effort” pretty much destroyed any psychological help I may have had to help get me a little further in the actual 20 minute test period.

I managed to hold on for about 5 minutes and after that I realized there was no way in hell I could maintain this for another 15 minutes. An easy spin then ensued. Another day maybe.

Training Log-Prep Week 3-NYC & Miles For Meg

America, New York, New York City, North America, Park, Places, Skating, USA, United States, city, iPhone
Central Park Skating

I started off this week with a day off from official training, but that didn’t mean I didn’t rack up any miles on my feet. I attended the National Retailers Federation(NRF) expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on Monday. My wife came along and while I was talking to vendors, she was out perusing the streets of the city. We took the Bieber Bus up and I ended up spending about 4 hours at the show. I set my Jambone UP to timer mode and it said I tracked about 2 miles while expo-ing. Walking and talking for 4 hours just exhausts me.

We made reservations that evening at Candle 79, which is a highly acclaimed vegan restaurant on East 79th Street just east of Central Park, so we had some time to kill. I stopped off at  B&H Photo on 34th & 9th Ave while Denise made her way up from Chelsea Market. It worked out perfectly as she was coming up the block as I exited the store. We then took the subway uptown and walked through Central Park for a bit. We still had a couple hours to go, so more walking. I tracked 10 miles for the day.

We eventually made our way to Candle 79. It was very nice and I was a bit overwhelmed by all the options that I could eat the menu. My wife, who is leans more to the Paleo side of things these days, didn’t have quite as many options. The tables were turned. I ended up overdoing it a bit with soup, appetizer and entree, but still found some room for dessert. It was pretty good.


Enough of the gallivanting around NYC, and back to training. The work week was pretty basic with a couple rides on the trainer and a couple swims. On Wednesday, I did a graded treadmill test as per Joe Friels’ Triathlon Training Bible to measure my current LTHR for the start of the season. My results were not that impressive, but neither were my first FTP test. I hope to do this at the end of my prep phase and after each base phase to assess my run fitness and progress. My LTHR was around 167-170bpm.


Saturday was the Megsmiles day, in honor of Meg Cross Menzies who was tragically killed by a drunk driver while out on her morning run on January 13th. It was pretty fun following everyone who was cranking out some miles that day. I started out with a 2 hour trainer ride and then threw on my shorts and headed out for a 4 mile brick run after. I tried to take my dog Yuki, but he wasn’t too fond of the wind blowing in his face. It was a nice run, a little cool though.

Park, Places, Run, Running, Seasons, Winter, times of year
Running into the Sunset

Sunday I was feeling a bit groggy in the morning. Perhaps a 4 mile brick run after a 2 hour trainer ride was a bit much for this early in the season. Regardless, I did head over to Rodale Fitness Park for an EASY hour and ten minute LSD run. It was nice day for a run, but I was feeling it. I think I will take another Monday rest day next week.

That’s about it that week. Nothing too exciting. I do have a new race announcement coming that should be pretty cool. More on that later.

My Plant-Based Diet Experiment Update-Blood Test Results

As I sit here writing this post, I am 4 months into what I thought would be a 1 month experiment. I am still going strong with my whole foods, plant-based diet. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that I would continue this after my “A” race of the year, Ironman Muskoka 70.3 was completed and a week of vacation that followed. I thought I would atleast have a couple “celebration” meals, but I never deviated. I really have no desire to go back to all crap I ate before. The food I am eating now is so tasty and nourishing, it is well worth the extra time and effort in the kitchen(and a few more trips to the bathroom too! ). The improvements I made in this years’, much more difficult, half-ironman race compared with last years are testament to the fact that this diet provides all the nutritional needs and more for endurance training and competition.

One thing I wanted to do was make sure that I was meeting those nutritional needs through a blood test analysis. I used the InsideTracker website from SegTerra. They had sent me a 30% off coupon via email so I decided to get the full panel analysis which came out to around $200. After signing up, they have you pick a local LabCorp testing facility to make an appointment for your blood draw. There was a testing facility within 10 miles which made it easy, although the girl that took my blood that day did not instil a whole lot of confidence in me. She stuck the needle in and starting making “huh?” and “hmmm?” noises when nothing came out at first. I am not a big fan of needles and have fainted before at the site of them, so when she did this I instantly starting feeling the room spinning. Eventually the blood started flowing and I filled up the 4-5 vials pretty quickly. Then it was off to the lab they go.

My last blood test was back in January 2012 and several of the standard cholesterol-levels were a bit out of range. I thought this was a good comparison since I was still eating meat and diary several times a day at that time and weighing about 25-28 more pounds. After about a week, I received an email back from InsideTracker indicating that my results were in. At first glance, I was a bit disappointed as I thought the improvement would be greater. After thinking about the fact that it was only 3 months, I soon realized that every cholesterol-related marker had made a good shift in the right direction. We are always looking for everything to be a quick fix and this was one example of me still having some of that mindset. Making a lifestyle change to eating a healthful diet is a change whose results will come gradually over time. Just like a habit does not broken overnight, neither does its affects. So without further ado…

The Results….

Results Comparison Jan 25 2012 Sep 1 2012 % Change
Total Chol (mg/dL) 239 209 -13%
HDL Chol (mg/dL) 58 72 24%
LDL Chol (mg/dL) 162 143 -12%
Triglycerides 93 67 -28%
Chol/HDL Ratio 4.1 2.9 -29%
Glucose 96 88 -8%

So as you can see from the chart above, every one of my cholesterol-related markers has moved in the right direction. The best part was that my HDL or “good” cholesterol increased and my Chol/HDL ratio has decreased substantially. My LDL’s are still a bit high, but they are moving in the right direction. I would like to see that down in the low 100’s. Even still dropping 20 points in 3 months is not too bad. Also, my triglycerides have moved from the top of the normal range to more into the center of the optimal range.



One mistake I may have made was getting my blood tested immediately at the end of my training season andimage especially after my highest training volume week of the year. A couple of my markers were low, but that could very well be from the state of fatigue I was in at the time. The other nutrient markers that were out of range were Vitamin D & Potassium(see image to the right). I will probably get this checked again after the New Year.  One nutrient I was concerned about was Vitamin B12 which is the only vitamin that you are supposedly not able to get from plant sources. Atleast anymore. B12 comes from the ground. We used to absorb it by working in the dirt, but now since we are so removed from that and live in such a germa-phobe society we can only get it from the animals that absorb it.. Anyway I am pleased to  see that my Vitamin B12 is right in the “sweet spot” of the range. All of my other nutrients we all normal so looks like most things are pretty good.


New Sprockets Dieter!

dieter5I am a huge Mike Myers and SNL fan, so whenever I can stick references to that in I am all over that. Anyway, before heading on vacation, I decided to change up the crankset on my tri bike to a compact(50T/34T). There are a lot of hills on most of the courses I ride and riding my old road bike, which has a compact, I realized how nice it was to spin up the hills at 80+rpm. This and the fact that after all the trials and tribulations of the faulty crankset that Cycles BiKyle originally put on my bike, I needed to restore some confidence in my bike lasting a long distance event without issue.

Photo May 27, 9 28 09

I took my bike over to Sleeping Dog Pro Cycles in Topton to take a look at it and at first he wasn’t sure if I a compact crank would work with the front derailleur and the bracket on the bike. He offered to test it out with my other bikes’ crank to be sure. Fortunately it worked and he even had a Shimano DuraAce 7950 Compact crank, in my crank arm length(172.5), on closeout…Sweet! He installed it while I was on vacation and I picked it up the day after I got back.

Photo May 27, 9 27 36

I took my first ride on the bike on Saturday with the new crank and it was awesome! I did a few hills in the beginning of my ride to see how it felt and my cadence was definitely higher and it made them seem so much easier. This will really help eliminating that cramping feeling in the run during races. And also provide guilt-free non-spinning rests on steep downhills! Smile The chain does rub the derailleur a little in the easiest gear on the back, but it isn’t that bad really. When John showed it to me in the shop it sounded worse. Below is the GPS track from my first ride with the new crank. Wasn’t a stellar ride due to it being my first ride since back from a week and a half vacation and it was especially hot.

LSD Ride by schwinbp at Garmin Connect – Details.