Regular blog followers know about the three-day block of high volume, the crash training block (explanation text here and summary stats here). For those of you that want the short story, it worked. I achieved my first bump in fitness this season.
For those that want gory details, those follow.
I think there are some important points to make about the training block itself and what happened the week following the block.Something I didn’t discuss last week was exactly how I felt by day 3. In a single word, flat. What happens at the end of a big training block (and when people are overreaching in their training) is a feeling that you are working harder than your heart rate monitor shows. A week ago Sunday, my legs felt as though I was working in Zone 4, but my heart rate monitor was showing low Zone 3.
Important point – when you are tired, you cannot force your heart rate to respond to the level of your rating of perceived exertion.
I wasn’t running a power meter on that day, but I know from past experience that power is low, heart rate is low and rating of perceived exertion is high.
For the three-day block, here is summary heart rate data:
Zone 3: 32 minutes
Zone 4-5a: 21 minutes
Zone 5b-c: 0 minutes
Monday following the block, was light stretching and light weights. Legs didn’t feel too bad. Though I’ve viewed this as a nice surprise in the past, I knew what was coming.
Tuesday’s morning swim was a clear indication that I was tired. I couldn’t make the intervals on the main set, so I simply sat out several 50s and tried to stay out of the way of my lane mates. (Which was tough because I couldn’t get out of my own way.) The Tuesday run was barely classified in the jog category.
The weather was fully cooperative this week, with off and on rain. The Wednesday ride was on the road, a loop that included hills, but no intensity. My legs still felt tired.
Though the Thursday swim was slightly better than Tuesday (I could make more of the intervals), I was still low on energy. The trail run in the afternoon was really a hike-jog. (Great day in the drizzle, very peaceful.)
Friday, was an easy 30-minute walk in the rain. (Last week Friday was 4hrs of riding, day 1 of the block.)
Saturday’s swim was better, I’m starting to get some energy back. I was in the pool 1:15 at what I consider a moderate-effort workout. Rain all morning kept me off the mountain bike until late afternoon. I couldn’t stand the thought of a trainer ride, so waited until the wind and sun dried off the Horsetooth Mountain Park service road. This was the only off-road option I thought would work without tearing up the trails and making a mess of the bike and me. Total ride time was 50 minutes. It is a road that climbs just over 1000 feet in 2.2 miles. I kept the intensity down and would classify it as a strength workout. (Last Saturday I was on the bike 3:15, “out” 4:20.)
There are several ways to structure a crash training block and the recovery week. Because I needed a boost in preparation (base) fitness, I didn’t have the ability to drive intensity at the same time as the high-volume block. (Which will NOT be the case in a couple of months, where I’ll do another big volume block that will include more intensity.) In the week following this crash training block, there was almost no intensity above Zones 1-2 until yesterday, Sunday. Obviously, training volume was slashed as well.
My measure for both the effectiveness of the training block and my recovery was yesterday’s group ride. The goal was to hang on the wheels of lead riders for as long as possible. I was able to make that happened for about three hours, which was good. The last hour of the ride, I suffered a strength bonk (my legs refused to power up the last climb); but by that time Ron Kennedy and Bill Danielson were the only two left. They took mercy on me and waited.
In the summary below, notice I was able to drive significantly more time at higher training zones in a single day than I could manage in accumulation last week. That is intentional – cut volume, increase intensity.
For the 78.5 mile (2933 ft ascending, 18.7 mph avg. speed, including warm-up and cool down time) road ride:
Zone 3: 33 minutes
Zone 4-5a: 33 minutes
Zone 5b-c: 2 minutes
I’ll continue to work on fitness by putting a mountain bike ride on Saturday, followed by a road ride on Sunday. The strategy and mix of these workouts will change as the season progresses.
Sub-10 hours at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race.