Friday, March 31, 2006

Daily double

I'm really starting to see some improvement in the knee and leg. It feels stronger and more flexible each day.

Got a swim in yesterday -- 2100 yards total with a timed mile (1750 yards) in 34:31. It's the first time I've swum a mile non-stop, and a real confidence builder for the longer Olympic-distance events. Topped off the day with a 9.3 mile bike. I just got my bike out of the shop after a tuneup and it's running very well. Averaged 18+ mph for the ride -- faster than usual for me, but the course was relatively flat by local standards. Best of all, the knee held up well.

I'll just keep crossing my fingers and hope for continued improvement!

My training log at

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yoga and stretching

Took a yoga class last night at ACAC downtown. Hopefully I can work this into a regular routine -- class level was fairly easy, but I got a good stretch and a nice relaxing hour. Ideally I can make the class day a "zero" or "easy" day in my schedule -- a good chance to let the body recuperate.

I've been keeping up on my stretching as well, though the 45 minutes twice a day is a very difficult commitment to keep up on. I did miss my morning session today, but I'll be sure to work a session in tonight. Gradually my leg/knee is getting stronger -- the only worrisome issue is continued inflammation -- it still looks puffy, though there's no pain to the touch, or signs of bruising. Sounds as though a stepped-up icing routine is in order!

By the way -- did an easy 15 minute spin on an exercise bike yesterday -- no problem. I'm going to work in a 20 minute session today at lunch.

My training log at

Monday, March 27, 2006

Swim, swim, swim...

While my leg has kept me off the bike and run, I've started to pick up the swimming side of training. Counting today, I've done 4 swim workouts in the last 5 days: 2150 on Thursday, 1500 on Friday, 2300 on Sunday, and 2100 today.

It all started to catch up to me a bit in today's master's class. I had to cut my last few sessions out after my foot and toe started to cramp. Before that though, I did a 300 in 5:25, which is a PR for me.

My leg continues to improve, thanks to time, treatment and stretching. There's better mobility in the knee, and the quad muscle feels stronger. I did a brisk 30 minute walk with my dog this morning, and tossed a few jogs in for 50 yards or so. Everything held together OK. I may try a few very light cycling sessions this week. A new experience tomorrow -- yoga. Hope they don't laugh at an old non-flexible guy!

My training log at

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back in action!

At least to a limited degree. Went to the pool last night and did a nice 2150 yard workout -- 700 warmup/drill, 7 x 100 on 2:15, and a well-controlled and steady 750 in 14:59. Not exactly blazing speed, but great to get back in action. My knee felt fine during the swim, but I could feel a soreness in my left leg ITB throughout. I'm going to try and work in a 1000 or so yards at lunch and do strength training after work.

In other news, I'm stretching like a madman. Jenny P has me on a serious stretching regime -- I'm putting in 40-45 minutes every morning and evening, and I still usually end up leaving something out because of time. It's given me an appreciation of just how inflexible and tight my leg muscles, in particular the hamstrings, are. I've adopted the attitude that the stretching right now is just as important a part of my training as swimming, running, or biking. If I don't get this turned around there's a good possibility I'll be limping from one injury to another all summer.

Best to invest the time and energy now!

My training log at

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Still stuck...

Saw my personal trainer last night. She got me started on an agressive stretching routine -- 30 minutes, twice a day. I'm going with her advice and staying off the bike for a couple more weeks.

The entire issue with my knee and quad is quite frustrating, but I've got to approach this with a positive attitude. Start stretching, improve my flexibility, get more time in at the pool, keep track of the calories -- I can keep on track even though I'm losing training time, and improve some important issues at the same time. The good news is that I'm in better shape now than I was last summer, thanks to a lot of hard work this fall and winter.

Just be patient, loosen up, and hang in...

My training log at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Frustrating but necessary...

Well, it's been a week since my last training of any kind. Out of sympathy with my knee I took off from swimming and strength training as well.

All in all, the break probably was a good thing for me. I'm picking back up tomorrow with light cycling in the morning, and swimming later in the week. I'm going to limit total training time to 4 hours for the week, and keep intensity down. No running as well.

I'll keep it up to date....

My training log at

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I've accepted that a little off time is a good thing for me now. My trainer suggests that I may be suffering from a bout of ITBS, which makes some sense. Although this episode has come on rather suddenly, I was suffering from a bit of pain in my left leg/knee prior to this flareup. It may be a combination of some strain on the ligaments as well.

I'm easing into some ITBS stretches, medicating with Advil, and enforcing rest until Monday. I even skipped this morning's swim class, something I rarely do. I just need to approach this as seriously as I've been approaching training, then get my schedule reordered so that I have more rest opportunities. With luck I'll be back on track relatively soon, without losing any fitness.

And there's still plenty of time before my first event of the season, in Luray.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Common Sense

Well, it's time to face reality -- I've overdone it. My body and mind are weary, and worst of all, my left knee and quad muscles are a mess. I can trace the knee problem back to a few minutes of pickup soccer with my son, aggravated by a session of one-on-one bball. To top it off, I didn't slow down once the damage was done, but went ahead with my 30 mile ride on Sunday.

Now I'm in pain, and just plain tired. I'm cutting out the rest of my schedule this week, except for swimming. I may do a short ride on Saturday, but I'd probably be better off doing nothing more strenuous than walking the dog.

I'll update as the week goes on.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A solid week on to the next

Finished up my training week on Sunday with a 30 mile ride. It was pleasantly warm here in central Virginia (about 75-80), and I did a favorite route in the western part of Albemarle County, ducking through the foothills of the Shenandoah. A very strong ride for me -- 30 miles in 1:52, for a 16.3 average -- all through hilly terrain.

Totals for last week were: 3 hours, 52 minutes cycling -- 59.7 miles; 1 hour, 12 minutes running -- 8.1 miles, 2 hours swimming -- 5050 yards. In addition two 1/2 hour strength training sessions.

The goal for this week is pretty similar, although a sore left knee and quad muscle may hold the running total down a bit, and the weather may not be so kind for cycling next weekend. After this week, it's time for a recovery week, consultation with my trainer, and a 90 minute massage. That'll be sweet...

My training log at

Friday, March 10, 2006

Grinding it out

I've been going at it pretty hard this week, and I'm starting to feel the strain a bit. Yesterday's run went pretty well. I got 3.1 miles in during my son's soccer practice, but felt like I was running on fumes near the end. I'd forgotten to bring a post-run snack with me, and I ended up feeling very spent with no way to refuel.

Got up early this morning for a one hour spin on my trainer, and really felt like I was on empty for much of the ride. I still managed the full hour, dividing the time up into a 10 minute warm up, then 5 sessions of 6 minutes hard/4 minutes easy. For the hard sessions I kept the pace at over 16 MPH, with my HR in the 70-75% range. I'm pretty convinced that "trainer speed and distance" doesn't have much to do with "real world speed and distance," but it gives me a relative level to work at. And the resulting HR seems about right for improving my aerobic base without going too hard.

I'm sensitive to the thought that I may be pushing a bit too hard. I'm feeling hungry and just a tad flushed and feverish. Still, my HR was dead on at 56 this morning, so I'm going to keep grinding it out this weekend. I've got a 3 mile run on Saturday, and then I'm going to bike 28 on Sunday (should be a beautiful day.)

My training log at

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Schedule flexibility

One key to successful training has to be a certain degree of flexibility. I don't think a week goes by that I don't have to alter my training plans to some degree, whether the cause is weather, scheduling, or whatever.

I'd planned on doing my 3.1 mile run yesterday evening, then strength training at lunch today. But last night we needed to get our son to the doctor (he's been fighting a fever for a few days), and today I realized I couldn't wait any longer to get a hair cut.

So instead I did the run this morning, and will stop at the gym after work. The morning run was probably better anyway, since the dog gets a nice bit of exercise before she's left alone all day, and there's nothing like the feeling of getting a good run in on a beautifully crisp morning like today. Now I've just got to get in the time after work.

Speaking of running, my tendonitis is a minor concern at most now. I haven't tested it over long distances, but the regular 5K has virtually no effect. There's a slight stiffness at the beginning that fades within a quarter mile or so. It may be time to start increasing mileage or intensity next week.

My training log at

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rear wheel sensor

Adding a new computer with a rear wheel sensor to my bike has been a nice addition. Since it has a cadence feature it's easier to keep my RPMs on track while I'm riding on the road and in the trainer. In addition, I've got better points of reference for my trainer rides.

For example, when I rode this morning I broke the body of the ride into 10 minute segments, with 6 minutes harder, 4 minutes easier. To esthablish a consistent baseline for the hard segments, I simply kept the indicated speed above 16 MPH. Purely arbitrary, but it seemed to work pretty well. When I was maintaining that speed, my HR moved up into the 70-75% range and stayed there pretty consistently. That puts my HR at about 140-145 for relatively long stretches -- a good effort level, but not one that'll shatter me -- perfect for building a good endurance base.

I'll experiment as time goes on with either increasing the amount of time in that zone, or increasing the minimum speed level on the hard efforts, depending on the training benefit I'm looking for.

I've got a 1/2 hour run on the schedule for this afternoon/evening. The weather's pretty nice here today (sunny, high 40s, medium wind), so it should be a pleasant time.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Swimming improvement

Back in the saddle after a weekend off. Went to NYC to do "The Lion King" on Broadway. A good show overall -- I'd give it a "10" for costumes, lighting, sets, spectacle -- and about a "4" for actual drama. But, there's nothing like nighttime in Times Square. We stayed in the Upper West Side, the Hotel Beacon -- a nice property, excellent location on 72nd and Broadway. Dinner at a great little Italian place, the Southside Cafe -- recommended, even though it blew my calorie counting all to hell. Try the Cappalini w/seafood.

But I digress. Master's swim class at lunch today was good. About 2 months ago I had really hit a plateau in my swimming, and had even gone back a bit. My times were flat, or even slower, and I felt sluggish in the pool.

Lately, though, I've definitely picked up strength and speed. Longer distances are no big deal, my breathing is well-controlled, and I'm actually getting faster! One of our sets was a 4 x 100 yds on 2 minutes, and I nailed each one right about 1:40. Best of all, my times were pretty consistent and I never felt "choppy" - just smooth and strong. I'm certain that I wouldn't have gotten more than one of the 100's under 1:45 even a month ago.

Tomorrow it's an early morning bike ride, then an evening run. I may try to get strength training in around lunch time, but my schedule probably won't allow that. Looks like this weeks goal will be 6.5-7 hours total training time.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Reality and rest

Since yesterday afternoon was so nice, I changed plans and did a 3.1 mile run rather than an evening spin session. A good decision -- I ran a nice stretch of quiet road during my son's soccer practice and kept a good pace, right around 9 min/mile. The tendonitis in my ankle is becoming less and less of an issue. I think I'll keep at the current level of 9-12 miles per week for about two more weeks, then slowly increase distance and incorporate some speed work.

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks last night -- I was dead dog tired. Rather than get up early today to spin, I caught an extra hour of sleep. I'm going to take a zero today, with the exception of my strength training routine. Total swim/bike/run for the week is 5-1/2 hours. That's actually quite respectable by my standards -- I'd averaged a bit over 5 hours/week for the last 3-week training cycle, so a slight increase in each of the next two weeks will allow me to reach my goal of averaging 6 hours/week for this 3-week period.

It's a tough balancing act -- I'm trying to increase my training hours while hitting a nutritional balance that allows me to lose weight at the same time. I've got to listen to my body while balancing out the obsessive side of my brain that's telling me I've got to train more.
Patience, I think, will be the key.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Still on schedule!

As I related a few posts ago, I'm trying to keep my training hours up this week although I'll be out of town this weekend (Friday afternoon - Sunday night). So far, so good -- with a bit more effort I'll make it up to 6-1/2 run/swim/cycle training hours, with two strength-training sessions as well.

Hard swim this morning. A big set of drill and kick work in the middle of the workout left me pretty gassed, and two ladder swims at the end took what was left. It didn't help that I was trying to keep up with a guy in the class who's about 15 years younger than me. I could probably take him, but he was wearing these incredibly large fins that gave him a big speed advantage (at least, that's my excuse).

I've got a 1 hour cycle scheduled for tonight -- a good time to catch up on the Tivo. A 30 minute run is on tap for the morning, and I've got to fit my strength training in as well. Hang in there!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2-fer Wednesday

I put in two bike sessions today. Got up early at 5:30 AM for an hours worth on my home trainer, then doubled back for an hour at the gym in the afternoon. All in all it went pretty well. I concentrated on pushing the lactic threshold for extended periods in the morning session, then settled in with one of Jenny's spinning CDs for the afternoon session.

Spinning to the music was a bit strange -- I usually don't exercise to music, and I had some difficulty settling in to the tempos -- the music often seemed a bit too fast or too slow for my liking. After settling in, though, it was a pretty good session. My heart rate held pretty solid at around 140 or so for the most part.

One interesting note -- this was the first time I rode the trainer with my new rear wheel computer -- it's hard as heck to hold certain speeds compared to actual road riding. I guess it's because there's no momentum keeping me moving forward.

One more bike session -- Thursday evening -- and I've got three hours down for the week. Not bad for being limited to the midweek!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.