Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Febtober in Review

Two months of 2010 are already behind us!  It seems to be a good time to take stock of how things are going so far.  At a high level:

  • Injuries: doing reasonably well … my back is less of an issue than in years past … some run- and swim-induced overuse issues seem to have abated without becoming major issues.
  • Fitness: feeling strong on the bike and run, rediscovered by feel for the water with a 30,000-yard week last week but still not feeling FAST again there, yet
  • Stress & Sleep: staying ahead of things so far
  • Austin Endurance Ranch was a blast!!!

And now the fun part – training details.  Let’s compare volume & intensity for January + February over the past six years.

Year 2005 (AG) 2006 (AG) 2007 2008 2009 2010
Swim 17.7 26.1 29.4 44.0 31.6 40.3
Bike 85.6 89.5 56.4 75.2 60.5 89.6
Run 11.3 16.4 41.0 28.2 27.1 39.0
Other 16.8 14.1 19.8 16.6 8.6 4.9
Total J+F Hours 131.4 146.1 146.6 163.9 127.7 173.8

So what is interesting about the numbers above, other than that Chris must be a bit obsessive-compulsive in order to even have all of these numbers written down?

  • My high-level training approach in Feb/Mar is “swim/run volume with one day of intensity, minimal bike volume but three days of intensity.”  In January I was more focused on just getting into a routine again, so I had volume everywhere with minimal intensity.
  • 2010 volume is also a bit inflated thanks to the Endurance Ranch
  • During my last two Age-Group winters, my bike volume was high (riding with a cycling team) but my swim & run volumes were much lower than once I got established racing Elite.  I got my Elite license in April 2006.
  • In 2007 I had a huge run focus.  I built up to 74.9 miles in my biggest week ever (31 Jan – 6 Feb) and developed a stress reaction and strained a tendon.  Who would have expected that?  Seriously… I did a “slow” build-up, never adding more than 5 miles/week and never adding for more than two consecutive weeks, but when you step back and look at my monthly totals I had been over 11 hrs/month only once before that build-up, and that “over” was a whopping 13-hour month, so just over 100 miles in a month.  Then starting in November 2006 I did 15.8, 26.8 and 31.0 hours.  Obviously a bad idea.  But since then I have averaged 13.6 hours/month including injuries and time off, with a 20.0 a 24.2 and a 25.4 mixed in.  So if I can get into the neighborhood of 20 hours/month consistently then I should be able to achieve a balance of improved fitness and avoidance of injuries. 
  • I had a big swim focus leading into 2008.  2008 was my best year of racing, with the in-the-money finish at Lake Stevens and also some strong ITU races where I almost earned points.  I am happy to see that my 2010 swim numbers are close to those from 2008 in spite of the shoulder issues.

Volume is easy to analyze objectively.  What about intensity?

Swim: I had one test set before my shoulder got too sore to swim: 4x200 @ 5:00 from a dive.  I don’t have a lot of comparable sets in the past, but 2:03-4 seems rather strong.  A longer test set like 20x100 @ 1:15 would have been nice to see, too.

Bike: I have felt biomechanically strong and I have been happy to find a lot of seated-climbing power.  No test yet, though.

Run: Two track workouts so far: two weeks ago was 5x1200 @ 2:00 rest targeting 3:51-3:54, last week was a 3.5-mile cut-down targeting 5:40, 5:32, 5:24 by mile, then 5:16 pace for the last 1/2 mile.  I felt smoother and easier during the first of the two, but maybe that was a metabolically easier workout? 

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