Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A busy week

I'll be out of town this weekend (a trip to NYC for a Broadway show), so this upcoming weekend is pretty much a bust for training. I'm going to try to cram as much in during the week as possible. My short term goal has been to get 6-7 hours per week of training in during this 3 week period (Feb. 26 thru March 19), so it's going to be a real effort to fit in the time.

Got a nice 3.1 mile run in this morning. The air was cold but the wind was light, so it was pretty comfortable overall. Just shy of 29 minutes for the loop -- right in line with recent efforts. No training tonight, since we're going to a cooking class with two other couples. Should be fun, but I'll need to be up bright and early for a 1 hour trainer ride in the morning. Hopefully I can tack on another 1/2 hour in the evening without depleting all my energy for the Thursday morning swim class.

Stay tuned!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Benefits of core strength training?

As I related in an earlier post, my trainer, Jenny P, put me on a strength training regime as part of my triathlon coaching program. While I haven't been on the program for very long, it's been interesting to observe the effects. There's a noticeable improvement of the muscle tone of my mid section -- helped somewhat by the lose of 5 pounds -- and I'm feeling stronger in some of my sports disciplines.

For example, I finished today's swim workout with a 300 yd free swim. I was pleasantly surprised at my 5:30 time. -- probably a good 20 seconds faster than I would have usually swum the distance. Hardly ripping up the pool, but I felt strong throughout and my stroke held together very well, even at the end.

Now if I could just learn how to stand on a Bosu ball!

A good weekend's work

Saturday had the promise of a good day -- at least according to the weather forecast. But by the time I left the house to go for my bike ride, it was still cool, partly cloudy, and windy. Still, not too bad for February.

I rode a 26.5 mile loop from Free Union, through Boonesville and White Hall. Typical Albemarle County ride -- nice, not too busy roads, with more than a fair share of short, steep climbs. There's one nice long flat section in this ride that parallels a stream, and I was able to get down in the aero bars and really go hard. Speaking of the aero bars, the adjustment to them has been very smooth. I like the aerodynamic advantage, and I feel like I can really put some power onto the pedals when I'm tucked in.

Did the ride in 1:37:34, at an average of 16.3 -- doesn't sound too fast, but I felt pretty good about it, considering the terrain.

I wrapped up the weekend on Sunday with a weights session and a brisk (tempo and temperature) 3.1 mile run. Knocked about 30 seconds off my usual time around the loop, but didn't feel like I was pushing it any harder than usual.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What a difference a day makes

Feeling much better today. I skipped my evening spin session to get a bit more rest, and turned in early after a glass of red wine.

Got up bright and early today (5:30!) and zipped over to the pool for a swim session. Did 2200 yards, with 5 x 100 yards on 2:15 in the middle. I held pace pretty well, completing each repeat in around 1:45. I was encouraged that I didn't run out of gas on the last couple, and maintained my tempo and pace.

Finished the session with a 500 yard free in 9:55. Again, a very steady performance. While my speed isn't going up by leaps and bounds, I'm getting stronger at holding a consistent pace for longer distances.

Tomorrow looks like a nice day, so I'm heading out for a road ride in the afternoon. While I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself, it'll be interesting to see if I'm riding any faster over familiar territory after some consistent indoor training and the addition of aero bars.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hitting the wall

Stopped by the gym last night, after working late, to do my weight work. The session went pretty well, but I've been dragging terribly since then -- feeling blue, tired, sore, wrung out -- you name it. I even missed my swim class this morning -- slept right through the alarm.

I'm hoping that it's not a nutrition issue. As my training log shows, I've been cutting it pretty slim on calorie intake for the last few days, while I've jumped right back into the training routine after a short break last weekend.

For now, I'm going to continue onward and upward -- a 1/2 hour run during Colin's soccer practice, then a 1/2 bike tonight. I'm going to strive to get to the pool early on Friday and make up today's missed session.

Update (Thursday night) -- got smart and listened to my body. Did a short run (16 minutes) when I got home, then took the rest of the night off. Will get up early to make up my swim tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The night is right -- for trainer rides

One of the keys to my training this winter has been my purchase of a magnetic trainer. I've got my bike locked into a Minuro 850D in the downstairs family room, and I probably get at least 3-4 rides per week on it.

Getting used to riding on a trainer takes some time. Initially it's pretty boring (OK, it's almost always boring), but you get used to it. I've found that a 1/2 hour ride isn't nearly the chore it used to be, and longer rides are getting easier as well.

For the most part I structure the rides as such: a 5 minute warmup, setting a good tempo and gradually raising the heart rate to around 60%, followed by interval sessions where I increase the resistance while maintaining a tempo of 90-100 RPM. Usually the interval sessions will be 4 minutes hard, then 1 minute easy, with the heart rate increasing each time, until the last few sessions are at 80-85%.

As I go along, I'll probably concentrate on increasing the duration of the "hard" intervals and improving my aerobic fitness. Since the weather looks good on Saturday, I'm planning on getting in a 20 mile ride, and we'll see how the winter's work has helped so far.

Enough for now -- I've got a weight session tonight, but otherwise it's a rest day.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Morning runs rock!

When you can get out of bed, that is...

This morning was one of the good ones. I'd gotten everything ready the night before, so all I had to do was roll out of bed, slip on my gear, grab some coffee and grub, and get going.

It was cold, about 28 degrees, but there was no wind, so it was actually quite comfortable. With Ginger in tow, I took in a 3.1 mile course around the neighboorhood. Didn't have my HRM on, but the overall effort felt just about right. Good and steady, taking the hills in stride.

Left ankle tendonitis is slowly fading, though it was getting sore by the end. I'll continue to limit the overall miles to 10-12 per week, with long runs of 4-5 miles, until April.

BTW, that beautiful sunrise picture is from somewhere in Sweden, not Charlottesville. But you get the idea...

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 20, 2006

On my own...

Scooted down to Master's Swim Class at lunch time and found out that Helen, the regular instructor, was ill. Another instructor slapped a program up on the board, but she couldn't stay.

Her program had way too drills on strokes I'll never use (sorry, I suck at butterfly) so I went out on my own. Did:

500 -- easy warmup
300 -- kick, no board (alternating free, breast, and back)
6 x 100 -- free on 2:15 (did each interval ~1:45-1:50)
6 x 50 -- kick, no board on 1:15 (fins)
500 -- free (in 9:40)
100 -- cool down
2300 total

A pretty good workout. I was pleased that I was able to hold my speed together in the 6 x 100 without suffering a meltdown. 2:15 was just about right, 2:00 would have left me completely gassed.

The 500 was encouraging as well -- I concentrated on keeping the stroke smooth and breathing regular and finished with plenty of fuel in the tank. I should consider multiple sets of 500's as I work towards Olympic distance events this summer.

I've got an appointment with Jenny tonight to review weight work. I need the refresher -- ended up forgetting how to do several routines on Friday.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

A few days off

Went to West Virginia over the weekend to visit my mom, who's 72 and suffers from a progressive neourological disorder. She's still at home, though with round the clock care -- hopefuly for a little while yet.

Took the opportunity Friday to stop at Timberline and get some skiing in -- my first trip of the year. Timberline's an unpretentious little place, but has a nice mountain and some fun slopes. Probably did about 60% of my runs on the Blue slopes, including a very nice new trail called "Twister" that snakes around the south side of the mountain. Took one run down the a Black slope -- went fine, but I've got to ski very defensively on the steeps -- Blues are more my speed!

What with travel and cold weather, I didn't get any workouts in on Saturday and Sunday. That's probably just as well, since I was starting to feel a bit worn out. My average aerobic training hours for the last three weeks has been over 5-1/2 hours per week, compared with about 4-3/4 hours per week for the same period in January. I'm stepping back to 4-1/2 for this week, then kick up the level a bit for the next four week period.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

When you're 47, you're middle-aged, no doubt about it -- and I'm feeling the effects of it today.

I did get a second bike ride in yesterday -- 30 minutes in the morning, and 45 in the evening. I'd hoped to go 1 hour, but my legs were pretty much shot after 45 minutes. This morning's swim class was good, up to a point. My opening 500 yd. warm-up felt nice and smooth, with a time of 9:53. It's encouraging that I can rack up longer distances at an under-2 min/100 yd pace with no real strain (and I flipped every single turn, as well.)

But after a killer kick session in the middle, I was out of gas for the final sets of 100s. Just couldn't hold pace. Still got most in around 1:30-1:35 (with fins). Post workout, my shoulders are sore and tired -- no doubt a result of the addition of my new weight work. I'll just have to adapt!

Feeling a little fatigued -- need to ensure my calorie intake is keeping up with with demand!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And sledding as well...

Forgot to mention that I got some nice sled runs in this weekend. Sunday dawned sunny, with about 5 inches of the white stuff, and no snow on the roads. Just about perfect, if you ask me. Check out my form on the picture...

Rise and shine!

I'd hoped to do an early-morning ride today, but decided last night that it would be too darn cold in the AM for me. Hopped out of bed at 6:20 AM, grabbed my coffee, water bottle, and a bananna and headed downstairs to hop on the trainer.

Good 30 minute ride -- the bulk of it alternating 4 minutes of hard (75-85% HR) with 1 minute recovery. Now I just have to discipline myself to tack on another 60 minutes tonight. Well, I'm still watching the TIVO'd Mary Pickford on American Experience, so I've got something to look forward to.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Weights -- whew!

As I said yesterday, I've never been much of a weights fan. But it's interesting how the field has changed. Had a good session with Jenny, who ran me through a set of about 10 different activities. About 1/2 of the work was with a Bosu ball -- an interesting device that stresses balance while doing activities with weights. Squats, especially, were a real challenge and had a definite "feel the burn" aspect.

Otherwise, a set of range of motion exercises with an emphasis on the core muscles, plus a free weight session with an incline bench. The whole regime should take about 30 minutes, and be done twice a week. I'm going to have to be sure to work this in so the sessions integrate well with my other workouts.

In other news, got in a good 3.1 mile run this AM -- steady pace, around 9:20/mile, but felt good over some nice terrain.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Personal training

Tomorrow is my first actual training day with Jenny P, a trainer at my local club -- ACAC in Charlottesville. Jenny's name tag has the motto "Perpetual Motion," which describes her pretty well -- loaded with energy.

We'll be taking a look at some core strength training. I've never been a fan of strength training, but I'm trusting her that It'll pay dividends in my overall performance.

On the nutrition front, my weight was down to 179-1/2 today. That's pretty fast weight loss -- about 6 pounds in 2 weeks or so. I felt a bit dragged out in swim class today, so I'm going to increase my calorie intake to 2750-3000 cal/day and try to keep the weight coming off at a somewhat slower speed.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.