Wow! Only 20 more weeks to go until Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Week #6 was a pretty solid one. I had almost 12 hours of volume and a few points shy of a 700 Training Stress Score(TSS). That equates to a average intensity of around .8(80%) overall for the week. Pretty high for a early season training week, but I am getting close to a easier week coming up the week before heading to Sedona. The week in Sedona should be pretty full of activity though with a bit of cross-training to boot.
I had a couple of the dreaded red blocks on TrainingPeaks, but one was a strength training and the other was my shorter speed interval swim session. Desite missing those two workouts I still was only 33 minutes off my planned volume. If I would have done those I would have been probably 30 minutes over. Hey I don’t want to overtrain right?
Looking at the bigger picture, progress is gradually increasing with slight amount of fatigue. One thing to note is that there are not any real large spikes in fatigue(pink) so I don’t think I am throwing too many “curveballs” to my system. Comparing to last year I am well above where I was at this same time, but I am also competing a month before too. I can definitely feel the fact that your endurance and fitness build from year to year.
Looking at TSS week to week, I have steadily progressed from my last rest week three weeks ago. The intesity(IF) has also increased as well. Next week should be another build week before an easy recovery the week before heading to the Southwest from some warmer temps and lots of outdoor training.
Well it’s taper time! All the hard training is behind me now and I will gradually decrease my training volume over the three weeks before Ironman Lake Placid . It works out quite nicely with the start of the Tour de France too. One of my biggest fears during the pre-race taper period is getting sick. This happens to many triathletes as their immune defenses are at an all time low from all the training. Hopefully, my plant-based diet will help guard me against that with all the good nutrients I frequently indulge in.
I started off the week with an active rest day of mowing my lawn. Taper time is always good for catching up on some of those things that get let go during all the training. The rest of the week consisted of typical workouts. I eliminated the two-a-day workouts, so I end up with 2 workouts in each discipline instead of three.
Wednesday was threatening rain so I ended up getting on the trainer again to attempt a final TrainerRoad20min FTP test while also watching the Tour de France. The FTP test started out ok and I was feeling pretty good until about 2-3 minutes to go. I this sharp pain down the left side of my back. It felt a pulled muscle and I had a hard time taking a breath. It forced me to briefly stop pedaling until I worked it out. I eventually did and tried to re-coop my lost wattage, but it was too late. It ended up giving me an FTP of 223, which was well below my prior FTP of 234. 🙁 I know this is in correct, so I just manually changed it to 230 again. I am also about 7 lbs lighter than I was during the last test so my watts/kg went from 2.79 to 2.9.
Some Bike Maintenance
Another thing that always seems to get put off is bike maintenance. Friday evening I finally got down to degrease my drivetrain and re-lube everything again. I also did a good wash and cleaning of the entire bike as well. My sweat tends to be quite caustic and I really need to do that more often. I also tried putting some bike tube sealant in my rear tire. I really have no idea whether any of it actually got in there or not, but I hope so. I checked over everything and all seems to be good to go.
My long, slow distance(LSD) workouts on the weekend were cut in half, except for my swim which I cut back 15 mins. Swimming doesn’t really take that much out of me, especially when I take it really easy. And for the effort of getting to the pool I might as well take advantage of it.
We were heading up to Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos on Saturday to Sunday for my in-laws family vacation so I got out on the bike a little earlier on Saturday. I stayed on more flatter terrain for the ride to keep the intensity down a bit. It is amazing how fast a 3 hour bike ride is when you have been riding 6 hours every Saturday. I covered a little over 50 miles for an average pace of around 17.4 MPH. I skipped my brick run just due to lack of time.
My Sunday run was a bit of an adventure since I really didn’t know where I was going. Although I had spent a big part of my childhood at Lake Wallenpaupack, I was not familiar with the area we were staying. I only needed to run for an hour and a half, so at least is wasn’t the typical mambo long run I would usually do.
We stayed in the Ledgedale Area and Ledgedale Road turned out to be pretty nice. It was a pretty quiet road trafficwise, but when there was a vehicle you didn’t have too much room to get out of their way. The guardrail was tight up against the road on one side and there were pretty high weeds on the side. Despite that most cars got over enough and it was a really nice road to run on. I had one dog barking and coming after me but never actually made it to the road. Another one was a Weimaraner, fortunately on a chain, barking like a maniac at me. Other than that it was pretty cool. The road followed the small inlet to the lake.
Week 15 wrapped up with the end of 3 weeks of building volume. This last week topped out at around 16 hours, with a 4:20 bike ride on Saturday and a 2:40 run on Sunday. Due to my late start on Saturday and dinner plans that evening I wasn’t able to get a brick workout in time. Despite the expected fatigue with that volume I have feeling pretty well. I have resolved the issue of not eating enough on the long bike which has made the Sunday runs much more pleasurable.
My long bike on Saturday covered the 65 miles Dream Come True ride route which is easily followed with the white DCT marks on the roads. One note is that if you don’t see any marks, continue straight since they only seem to mark turns. It is a beautiful ride through the hills and valleys just west of Allentown. I lengthened it up a bit with some extra riding around the area totally about 72 miles total in 4:25 mins. Not too bad for a leisurely ride.
I also transitioned my bike over to my “race” setup for the upcoming Black Bear Half Iron triathlon on June 1st. I washed and lubed up the bike, changed my brake pads over to the SwissStops and put on my carbon race wheels. I also finally got around to putting on my XLab Torpedo Water Bottle Mount between my aerobars. I have had this mount for awhile now sitting in the bag, but was hesitant on putting it on since it didn’t fit real well between my bars. I did have to move my aerobars apart a bit because the length of my bars don’t give a whole lot of room for the bottle. I also could not find anywhere to mount the computer since there was no room on the Torpedo Mount plate and the headbolt they provided was not long enough to mount on my headset cap. I ended up putting the Barfly mount sticking to the outside on my right aerobar. I actually had to angle it down a bit so my arm didn’t keep hitting the lap button. Not an optimal setup, but it does keep me from staring at the Garmin all the time.
I also got a new XLab Mezzo bag to hold all my spare tires and tools underneath my XLab Turbo Wing Mount system. It is pretty nice size to hold stuff and fits nicely out of the way. A much cleaner setup that what I had before. Now with the 3 bottle holders neatly tucked in a more aero position, I am going to take off the frame-mounted cages for races to give a more cleaner profile on the bike.
I realize most of this will do nothing for me on the super-hilly Black Bear bike course, but it is just a prep for Lake Placid which is what is really important.
Looking back at last year, I am a couple hours ahead in volume and TSS this year. That is kind of the plan. I am hoping to top out around 17-18 hours here and then start increasing the intensity a little bit. I am also planning on moving to 2 week builds and 1 week recovery from here on out. This tends to benefit me more with the added intensity and it also works into my schedule better too.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) has been on a bit of decline, but nothing unexpected from the increase in volume. I have been keeping an eye on it and adjusting workouts accordingly.
Next week will be a pretty easy week while I rest up for the Black Bear Half on Sunday. This is going to be a pretty demanding race and I will need all the recovery I can get. After that I will be back at it for two weeks starting at about 16+ hours, then a rest week before my training camp weekend in Lake Placid. Things are gonna start to hurt now!