The first month of 2019 is coming to an end. January training has me working on my base fitness, with some checkpoints thrown in there, too. As we near the end of the month, I feel the training volume and intensity growing a bit. This month, I’ve trained anywhere from 8.5 hours to 13.5 hours a week. There have been more outdoor runs, but I’m still stuck on the trainer for bike training sessions. I’m enjoying swimming at my “new pool” at Drew Wellness Center, even though the locker room is so incredibly small that it’s difficult to get dressed without getting everything wet. I traded a great locker room at the YMCA for a bad one at Drew, but the Drew pool is far superior to the YMCA pool, all 25 meters of it! Here are some highlights from January’s training.
Key Swim – Checkpoint Fast 100s
January 10th saw my first checkpoint swim of the year. This included an 800m warm up, a 1500m pre-set, and then 3 rounds of 3x100m very fast effort. I did these on the 1:45 with my lap times coming in around 1:38 – 1:41/100m. Since I’ve been swimming in a 25yd pool for 3 years, it’s hard for me to gauge whether these times are an improvement from the previous year. Using an online converter, it looks like 1:40/100m comes in around 1:30/100yds. That would be an improvement from last year where I was more in the 1:35/100yds range, and previous years I’d be happy with 1:40/100yds. It’s exciting to see improvement. One thing about this workout, though, I really gave it my all. After a swim, I head to my office and eat a big bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee. That usually gets me ready for a busy work day ahead, but I was absolutely zonked after this workout. I had a cloudy head all morning, and had to take a 20 minute power nap after lunch just to get my head right. Yikes!
Key Bike – 4DP Test by Sufferfest
January 19th had this killer workout in the books. This 4D power test by Sufferfest is similar to an FTP test but harder. Check out this video for an explanation on the execution of the workout. After a warm up, there are two 5 second all out sprints with 2 minutes easy spinning in between (I’m okay at this point). Then, there’s a 5 minute best effort. That was tough! I averaged 243W, 100rpm, and 184bpm for this interval. There was a 5 minute easy spin before the 20 minute FTP test. It’s suggested that you hold 80% of your average power over the previous 5 minute interval. That had me aiming for 194W for 20 minutes. I ended up averaging 189W, 92rpm, and 187bpm for the 20 minutes. After 10 minutes easy spin, the final test was 1 minute all out, which I did at 254W NP, 90 rpm average, and 189bpm max HR. Phew! Off the bike and out for a 15 minute easy run, which really felt like a cool down after such hard efforts on the bike. Test results gave me an FTP of 188W. I’m not too concerned with my FTP. I have no idea if that’s an improvement or not over previous years as I’ve never trained or raced using FTP, and it’s not a method my coaches use, either. I just hope I don’t have to do that again for a while!
Interesting thing to note: I started using Mg12 oil every day in the week leading up to this test. I had a long run scheduled for the next day and I had NO residual fatigue in my legs from this power test. If that’s not proof of this product, I don’t know what is.
Working on that Heart Rate
My heart rate has been a thing of anxiety for me ever since I first put on a heart rate monitor. The old adage of “220 minus your age” as your max heart rate just doesn’t work for me. That’d give me a max HR of around 185bpm and, as you can see from my bike workout, I frequently reach and exceed that number. My coaches were concerned, too, so I had my heart tested at Furman University in May 2018. I had my HR, VO2, and lactate tested while doing intervals on the bike trainer and running different efforts on the track. The conclusion was that my heart just runs one or two deviations higher than the average. That said, having your HR that high on a workout does stress your body more, which requires more recovery to make gains. My coaches have me running slow, with walk breaks every 5 minutes so that my body can get better at clearing the lactate. I have seen a huge improvement in my running HR. Last year, I would have an average HR of around 175-185bpm for a Z2 run. Now, I’m seeing my HR in the 160s, which is amazing.
On the bike, my HR wasn’t so much of an issue, but recently it’s been creeping up there. My trainer workout last night left me frustrated as my HR got up into the 170s and just wouldn’t come down. I backed off the effort a bit, and tried not to get too stressed out. I had a trainer workout scheduled for this morning, but I decided to get the extra sleep and push the workout to this afternoon. Hopefully, my body will have recovered from whatever’s going on and this workout will be better.
Not every workout is great, and I’m trying my hardest to listen to my body. An elevated HR can be an indication that my body is fighting and illness or injury. Backing off a bit is preferred over pushing harder and harder and getting sick. Fingers crossed this afternoon’s trainer workout puts my mind at ease.
2019 Race Schedule Finalized
I’ve finally booked all of my big races for 2019. You’ll find my race schedule here. It’s likely I’ll throw in some shorter, local races in between these, depending on how I feel.