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On Edge...

Posted by niemsco Nov 28, 2007


Had a great thanksgiving.  The race in Wisconsin wasn't one to write about.  It was in the teens and the course was covered with ice.  It stormed the night before, we drove in a blizzard to get up there.  But I did it anyways and ran the 10K in 43:50.  Was my slowest 10K to date, but certainly the coldest.  I had gone hard the day before so I wasn't worried about it, I'll get em next time.  The next day I went for a recovery run.



On Saturday I felt horrible.  I think sticking around in wet clothes the day during the race got me sick (am I'm still sick!).  I did about an hour easy on the Computrainer simulating the Wisconsin IM course, then stayed in bed the rest of the day sick.  I was supposed to do a longer bike and run, but decided I would try and put that until Sunday.  Sunday I did it, I went on the IM Wisconsin course on the CT and went hard hard hard for 60 minutes, then an easy hour, then a 45 run where I did 30 minutes building to a zone 5 pace.  Yep after that I was more sick... Hmm I'm wonder when this is going to stop?



So onto Monday, I'm suppose to do another hard run.  Now I never do two hard run days in a row, but originally my hard run after the bike was suppose to be Saturday.  I was feeling better so I did it anyways.  I actually ran great, faster than I did in my 10K race.  Then after I went on the vasa later in the evening for dry land swimming, I got sick again.  So obviously I see the patter of my body keeps breaking down and I get sick.....



But on Tuesday morning I go to Masters swim anyways (can't miss a workout).  I again feel good and have no problems.  I know later in the day I have this pukin hard bike ride on the CT.   When I get to it I start going at it.  Basically I'm working some high wattage in some intervals and I don't think I'm going to make it.  It was one the hardest bike sessions I've ever done.  The CT has really taught me how to train hard on the bike.  I'm already seeing improvements in the wattage I can hold.  Man was I happy I did it, but then I got real sick.  Not sick sick, but I was just out of it.  I loaded up on cold medicine and went to bed as I had a 105 minute run the next day and a recovery swim.  But these were an endurance pace zone 1. 



I figure every day I wake up and I feel good... why not, you only live the day once.  I'm surprised I recover over the night, just to break down again at the end of the day... like an old car that keeps getting fixed.  I got the run in but have some stomach issues, swim is fine.  But the nose is just running like crazy.  Cold medicine at night... just had it. 



That's my current dilemma.  I figure if I dread working out in the morning I won't do it, but I actually feel good.  Its all above the neck, so my philosophy if its above the neck, you can work out just watch it, below the neck forget about it...  I'm going to keep this up until Sunday where I'll take the entire day off, but then I have to fly to Boston for a few days for work (sucks!). 



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training update/power update

Posted by niemsco Nov 21, 2007

Last post I left it on Monday, so I'll start with Tuesday.  I'm actually feeling pretty good, not worn down yet.


On Tuesday I had Masters at 6am.  I've been continually improving on my swim, more than anything else.  One of the main sets we had to do was 5 200s descending, with 150 inbetween for recovery.  I was to start at 3:30 for the first 200 then descend 5 seconds on each one, 3:30, 3:25, 3:20, 3:15, 3:10.  A few weeks ago I think I wrote about my 3:14 or so that I was happy about, so this seemed to be challening.  On my first 200 I went 3:20.  I thought that might be too fast, but I was pretty relaxed.  Next 200 was 3:10.  At that point I figure just keep going for it.  Then 3:10, 3:06, 3:05.  Man I felt good after that.  A big improvement in just over a week.  Not sure where this is all coming from, but maybe that vasa ergometer is really doing something.  I've been working on the form and getting the stroke count down also, concentrating on catching the water early.


Tuesday PM had a Computrainer cadence workout.  I did this one a few weeks ago, it was pretty tough, it goes like this:


WU: 5 min easy

20 min of SLT (30 sec left, 30 sec both, 30 sec right, 30 sec both)

MS: 10x45 sec spin-ups (:15 @ 110, :15 @ 120, :15 @ 130) w/ :45 @ 100 rpms btw then 5 min @ 90 rpms, 5 min @ 110 rpms, 5 min @ 90, 10 min of single leg training, 5 min @ 115

CD: 5 min


I pushed this at a pretty high heart rate, getting into zone 5.  The last 5min at 115 is a pain in the rear, but worth it.  I also determined my FTP (funtional threshold power) to weight ratio.  This is some ratio described in a book call, racing and training with power (I forget the exact name).  I was around a 3.00.  This is actually not that great, I feel a little depressed, but now I'm determined to get this up.  Basically the less you weigh and the more power you put out, this will go up.  3.00 was in the Fair/Good category.   Arghh!  My FTP is at 190watts according to the power test I did last week.  I'll do it again in a month and see where I am at.  Maybe the data was off the first time (I'm hoping :).. ).   The bike is the most important for me to improve on as it promises the biggest reductions on my IM time, so I plan on working on getting this number around 5.00 or in the high 4s.  I'm not sure if I can lose weight below 140 and be considered healthy.  The swimming is actually making me look bigger, ughh...


Wednesday AM: Long run 90 minutes, zones 1 and 2, windy and rainy, horrible but fun.  And I do train with an iPod most the time, except the track, but never race with one.  I usually run alone, so I need something to keep me busy.  I actually fine running hard with an iPod as a distraction, you need to really focus on your breathing and your form when racing, iPod will slow you down, but its great for training runs and especially on the computrainer.  


Later today I'll do a recovery swim before I head off to Wisconsin.  Its suppose to snow later today so it may be a long ride.  Got the 10K tomorrow morning, legs are a bit out of it from the last two days, but that's life

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recovery week over

Posted by niemsco Nov 19, 2007


Ended up finishing the week in good shape finally. 



Friday: Masters Swim, then a 25 minute brick run after.  Stomach was a little queezy during the run.



Saturday:  When 1:45minutes on the computrainer in zones 3-5, then finished with a 30 minute run directly after.  Did it early enough to where I was done before anyone else was up.



Sunday I took the day off.  My folks were coming down from Wisconsin for a visit.  It was my mom's birthday and my daughter was really excited about it.  This Wednesday night we will drive up to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and I'll run a turkey trot 10K up in Madison.  I don't really have any expectations, and won't be doing any resting before hand.  I have long run and swim the day before.  Should be fun though.



Today starts another hard three weeks.  I just got finished with an hour run where I did 5 intervals of 5 minutes in zone 5.   Rested 90s to 110s inbetween each one.  Later today I'll work out on the vasa.  I started running with some perscription orthodics in my Newtons.  I'm breaking them in, but they seem ok.  I've had foot issues for years, but just ignored them until finally my doctor convinced me otherwise.  Quiet week at work, a lot of people gone, except for me....



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FTP test

Posted by niemsco Nov 15, 2007

Going back to last weekend I have to say I again didn't get my long ride in like I hoped. I was to ride 3 hours and 2 of those hours hard.... pukin hard. But instead just an hour and twenty minutes, not pukin.... I'm not giving up hope though. Lots of motivation just a few bum weekends.  Swim is doing better than expected, bike could be better.  This week is suppose to be a recovery week so the workouts during the week haven't been as difficult as previous:


Monday: Run 45 minutes (easy), X-Train 15minutes (just went 15 minutes on the Vasa)



Tuesday: Masters am (75), and a tough Cadence workout on the CT (90min). Tuesdays never seem to be easy.



Wednesday: Easy 50 minute run, Easy swim (30min)



Today I did what's called a Functional Threshold Power test(90min). My coach actually wanted to come over to my house and monitor me on this while I did it. I said come on over. He lives in the same town luckily so I definitely wanted to take him up on this. I guess the purpose of this test was to figure out what kind of power I'm putting out based on heart rate. The test was sort of brutal and I'm still feeling it. After warming up I went 5 minutes as hard as possible, then eased back then eventually began a 20 minute time trial trying to maintain over 200watts. Now for me, being 140lbs, 200 watts seems to be a lot, at least it pushed me to the edge in that 20 minutes. Throughout the entire time he took some data constantly asked about RPE and then in the end we got a decent outlook of where we need to get to.   He kept asking me questions when I was dying.... I was like ease up already man I can hardly breathe! 



He mentioned my saddle height was too high and I rocked too much. I have a Scott Plasma, so I need to take a hacksaw to the top tube in order to get the seat down. That's just the way they make them, but not a problem. I thought I might be too high. So it was pretty invaluable information throughout so I was happy with that. I would say overall a success, pretty cool actually!  Not really a recovery day, but I've got an easy bike on the weekend. I still might turkey trot also.



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Newton's to the rescue

Posted by niemsco Nov 13, 2007

If you've read some of my previous posts I've made some references to a pair of Newtons I invested in about a month and a half ago. A few weeks ago I swore I would never wear them again and they were a waste of money. Maybe it was three weeks ago. Anyways..... I never tossed them aside or donated them like I suggested. Maybe I was too stubborn about the 175 price tag and wanted to wear them down to the core before moving on. In any event I continue to run with them.


I got them a few weeks before the Chicago Marathon and put about 50 miles on them before running it. I complained bitterly about leg pain in the last few miles, nevermind the heat, I blamed the shoes!! But even weeks after, I still had issues with the shoes and had lower leg pain.


To make a long story short I think these are the best shoes invented and I realized this on Monday. I decided to stick with the shoe obviously. I read on their website a few things that were interesting. Such as if you are not a true forefoot runner you may have some aches and pains as you will be using muscles you have not used before. This is similar to my computrainer. Computrainer tells me how efficient my pedaling is, actually measures the torque at each angle in the stroke. Bottom line is it tells you how efficient you are and wiggling here and there you can get the numbers up, but it hurts in the beginning. Newtons are the same. I guess I wasn't a true forefoot runner like I thought, more of a mid foot runner.


But let me tell you I went for a run on Monday and I was nothing but forefoot. I could keep a 100 cadence whether I was running 9min/mile or 7min/mile, and I never felt any pressure on my heels at all. I could really feel the actuators on the shoes propelling me forward. It took me 150 miles to get use to them and I was running like I never ran before. Now I can't say this is making me any faster, but because I do Ironman I'm very encouraged by the show because they enable me to maintain a high cadence on the forefoot, which is crucial when you are tired after the bike. I think it will improve my IM marathon time, but not sure about straight marathon time. I don't plan to run any straight marathons in 08, but will run some halfs.


I've become a true believer in these shoes, for now until something goes wrong :)... but one absolute at least for me is they changed my running style. If you are not a true forefoot runner they probably will cause some discomfort for awhile. And if you are a heel striker you should use these in moderation with other shoes as they suggest... believe me its going to tear you up. By the way, the shoes actually do wear from the outside in, so even though they look like s&*t on the outside they are getting more comfortable on the inside. They make this claim on their website and its true. I'll keep plugging away on them for at least 300 miles. I'm not doing a lot of running mileage right now, so I can save some money to buy others some presents for Christmas



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Posted by niemsco Nov 9, 2007


Its been a great week so far.  Probably the best I've had in awhile leading up to the weekend. 



Monday: Hard fartlek run (60min - 5 x 5 minutes at hard pace.  Got HR into 180s near end of each set); evening: X-train (45min): afternoon worked out on the Vasa Erg (10 sets), then planks, supermans, other core



Tuesday: Masters swim (75min) - great, swimming is improving, consistently near a 1:40 pace fairly relaxed; evening: Hard bike (75min) - 3 mile time trial.  I got the computrainer working again.  Not sure how, but I worked on maintaining high numbers on the spinscan which measures pedal efficiency.  I see that my right foot generates less wattage than my left, but its more efficient than my left.   With some work I can get both wattage and efficiency evenly distributed, but it takes some work.  May need to make some adjustments to my bike position.  The 3 mile time trial was ok.



Wednesday: 90min run, no prob; afternoon 30min recovery swim



Thursday: 90minute medium-hard bike; 45 minute x-train session same as Monday



Friday: Masters swim 75min; and 30minute run after that



This month's Triathlete magazine had an article in it that makes me laugh everytime I look at it.  Its got a guy sitting on a couch with his HR monitor on drinking beers.  I was startled to see that the empty beer bottles, Stella Artois, on his coffee table, the exact same beer I have in my fridge.  In fact I wanted to just sit back and be a couch potato after looking at that picture.  But the article was about recovery during this time of year, but obviously not being a couch potato, but then again not doing the kind of thing I'm doing right now either.   I thought about it for awhile and actually called my coach about it.   I'm was a bit hesitant at the time on the plan that I'm on.  But he explained that the workouts in this case are purposeful and we are trying to get some good data before we start the build for IM Arizona.  In fact he said it would be ok to overtrain at this point, I will have a month of recovery in dec/jan.  But in the end need to listen to my body to see how much I can take.  Frankly that talk made me feel a bit better and I'm cruising along.  In fact my swim has improved so much I'm averaging 10s per 100 faster than I use to swim.  Maybe even more.  That's quite an adjustment in less than two months.  Today I went at a 3:13 200, and I don't think I ever got below 3:30 when I trained for IM Wisc.  If I can keep that improvement up I can get around that 1 hr IM swim I would love to have!



The big problem will be on the weekend.  I'm not thrilled about the long bike, if I don't do it at 4am, then I probably won't do it as I'd rather spend some time with the family.  I explained that to him and he said he'd cut the bikes down and to spend the time with the family.  Probably have shorter more intense weekend bike sessions.  Well see.  I'm still looking for a running race to do, but am not overly thrilled about it.  I'm not sure I have leg speed to race, and I'm not sure what benefit I will get from racing if I'm not ready to race.  I'd rather train. 



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Yoga time

Posted by niemsco Nov 5, 2007

Last weekend I was in another rut.  I trained 11 hours out of the 14 I had planned because I again skipped the long bike.  I just didn't have any urge to get on the bike and ride for 3:30 hours, I went 30 minutes and that's it.  During the week I was able to finish everything fine.  If I can't get on the bike really early around 4 or 5 am, then I don't do it.  I don't like to eat into the schedule with being with the family, so its been a struggle.  I tried getting on the computrainer last night to make up for it during Sunday night football but found my CT is going beserk.  It doesn't give speed anymore, and doesn't vary resistance, so its sort of useless.  It was acting up earlier in the week I think something happened, now I got to call them up and get this resolved. 



I did start something new last week, which was Yoga.  Mostly a flexibility routine about 3 times a week for 30 minutes.  I'm constantly stiff so figured this might help.  I've also been seeing a chiropractor for my shoulder and now heel.  I hurt my shoulder many months ago and its never healed.  Its getting a lot better.  But now I'm getting some achilles problems on the left foot, problems I had just after IM Wisc.  Looks like the prescription is orthodics.  I think my insurance will cover this, at least I'm hoping.  I was prescribed orthodics six years ago for foot issues, but that was before I became a runner.  I sort of ditched them when I started to run as they really weren't built for that type of thing.  However these new ones should be but won't have them for a few weeks.  He suggested I tape my feet before running, but that's not going to work in T2.  I'm not spending time to tape my feet, but I'll try it out during normal runs and see if it helps. 



First part of the week I've got the following:


Monday morning (run): Step-ups BT workout.  15 minute warm-up, then 5 minute bursts at RPE of 8-9 several times.  In between get HR back down to RPE of 5.  10 minute cool down. (1 hr)

Monday evening: X-Train: Vasa for about 20-30 minutes, then planks, supermans, swiss ball, lunges, step-ups (45min - 1hr)


Tuesday: Morning: Masters Swim (75min)

Tuesday evening:  Suppose to do a computrainer time trial for some wattage testing, but probably just ride for 75 minutes as computrainer is broke.


Wednesday morning: Run long (90min)

Wednesday evening: recovery swim or vasa depends on time (30min)


That's it for now.

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