Sunday, 22 January 2012

Stepping back now to safeguard future performance is not a failure

That’s the thing with this methodology, it’s pretty much self adjusting and that tends to help in limiting the potential for doing something stupid and hurting yourself. In September I started aerobic base building aimed at the new year’s eve 10km race, and apart from one erg session a month did nothing out of that zone.  During that period I was finding a reasonable, and measurable improvement in aerobic capacity measured by pace when running or watts on the turbo trainer.

And then came January.  Based on the back of the base building period, I PBd at the 10km by 1min 20, then did a sub-20 min 5k, and then a hard race-paced effort on the erg.  Things were going well, the training was makings itself felt, good improvements were coming.
Then last week, I was out in the middle of nowhere all week looking at people up utility poles and in holes in the ground in Northern England in one of the coldest weeks we’ve had so far.

My running pace was off.  My erging pace was way off recent experience.  My bike performance was down by about 10W.  My RHR was up by about 10bpm.  My sinuses were blocked and gungy.  Overall I was a little under the weather.
Conclusion – the races took a bit out of me and I’m a bit under the weather.

Recommendation – go back to the base building again until the cycling club TT season starts again in April, increasing the intensity in March for one session a week.
So what are the data that are telling me this?

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Running
  • 7.33 km / 39:43 / 5:25 per km / AHR 145 / MHR 158 – I don’t the max is reasonable, coming from fiddling around with the HR strap
  • 8.0 km / 42:55 / 5:22 per km / AHR 144 / MHR 151 - backed off on this one
  • 7.55km / 40:40 / 5:23 per km / AHR 143 / MHR 151 - more backing off, taking it steady

Prior to Christmas I was running at around 5:00-5:10 per km.  Yes it was colder last week, but not that much and it wasn’t that windy or hilly where I was.  That’s the other good thing with this methodology, you can see performance changes quite easily.
It’s most striking on the erg
Total) 45:10.2 / 21 / 2:15.5 / A142 / M152 
1) 8:52.8 / 21 / 2:13.2 / A129 / M139 
2) 8:54.4 / 21 / 2:13.6 / A141 / M145
3) 8:57.7 / 21 / 2:14.4 / A147 / M150 
4) 9:09.4 / 21 / 2:17.3 / A148 / M152
5) 9:15.9 / 21 / 2:18.9 / A147 / M152

 You can see a big drop off in performance across the piece there for the 2km splits where ideally that should be pretty level, and has been recently.  That’s the biggest indication that I need to refocus on the aerobic function.

And yesterday’s hour on the turbo trainer added more to that argument with the average wattage being 204 vs the 215-220W I’ve been increasing up to recently.

So between now and March it’s steady the ship, looking at the long term course i.e. the 70-miler in July, rather than the short term gains now.
So what else has been happening here? 

I’ve had a glimpse of the future, acting as taxi for my daughter who’s into a bit of everything at the moment with some landmark moments for her. She’s ridden her bike for the first time, with minimal help to start off, she’s taken up archery lessons after school (possibly the most scary activity so far, my daughter with a weapon!) and today I’m taking her for an extended ballet lesson prior to her first public performance next weekend.  Cue opportunity for me to drop her off and then go for a long run.

The biggest event so far for her though (vying with the bike riding) is that she was selected as one of two readers from her year at the end of year carol service.  She’s only 7, and as she goes to a Cathedral School, that’s where they have their end of term services, so there she was 7 years old, speaking in a 900 year old cathedral in front of getting on for a thousand people (no pictures unfortunately due to the dark conditions, but I saw the video and she was great). Did she bat an eyelid?  No way, she read perfectly.

So which one am I proudest of?  It has to be riding the bike, but the reading in the cathedral comes a very close second.

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