Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Functional Threshold Power Test #2

My Endurance Nation OS plan called for a 40 minute FTP test to track progress and reset training zones. Instead of going all out for 20 minutes and taking 95% of the NP which is what I normally do and I know it is one of the 7 deadly sins of determining FTP, Endurance Nation prefers that you do a 2x20' with a 2' rest between and use the NP (normalized power) for the entire 42 minutes as your FTP.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I switched to my Tri bike last week so I really didn't know what to expect with this test. I managed to do the first 20' interval at 274W and the second 20' interval at 270W. It appears that I pretty much coasted or soft pedaled during the 2 minutes which didn't help my overall numbers. Next time I'll pedal at a wattage of at least 150W.

I didn't expect more than a 10W increase to be honest with you and especially doing it on the Tri bike. My weight has dropped about 2.5lbs to 155.5lbs since my last test so with the 10W increase and the lower weight, by new w/kg # comes out to 3.8W/kg which is 0.2W/kg below the magic 4W/kg #.

I'm close to reaching 2 of my season goals only 2 months into my season so I guess I'll be raising the bar again. Goal #1 is an FTP of 280W and Goal # 2 is reaching 4 w/kg. I ended the 2008 season with an FTP of 280W-285W but the difference is that I spent 99% of my training time on the bike whereas this year, I'm training for 3 different disciplines and therefore, time is limited and the reason why the goal is the same as I achieved last year.

I was supposed to do a brick after the test but I need to catch up on work, eat lunch, and pick up my cleaning as I'm heading to Puerto Rico tomorrow to visit with a customer and sample the local fare. I guess my 2 x 20' workout for Thursday will be done on the hotel bike.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Moving to the TT bike

I decided to switch to my TT bike for all of my workouts as I haven't spent much time on it or in the aero position. I was planning on making the switch in May but with a threshold power test on Tuesday, I figured this was as good of a time as any.

Plan called for:

2 x 12' @ 95 - 100% FTP
2 x 15' @ 85% FTP


30 minutes with first 15' at MP (7:32) and last 15' at HMP (7:14).

I ended up doing 262W and 263W for the first 2 intervals and 221W and 223W for the second 2. No issues in the aero position and I found it easier to generate the power on the TT versus my road bike. Strange as this was the opposite last year.

Trying to find my legs

Wednesday called for a 45' run with 4 x 30" strides and a MS of 4 x 1 mile at TP or 7:05. I swam for 45 minutes in the morning and put off the run until early evening due to rain and motivation. instead of running on wet pavement and carrying a light, I headed back to YMCA to use the dreadmill. I did a quick warm-up and started the first mile interval. I bagged it at 0.60. My PE was very high and so was my heart rate. Maybe it was the new environment or the coed in spandex on the elliptical in front of me. I walked for 3 minutes and started the second mile. I bagged this one at 0.70. Bagging the miles becomes easier the more you do it. Walked for another 3 minutes and started mile 3. I stopped it at 0.75. I just couldn't concentrate so I decided to bag mile 4 before I even started it and switched to 200m and 400m intervals. I had no problem completing 3x200m and 3x400m at 6:49 and finally stopped the workout at 42 minutes. I uploaded my data and realized that my ATL and CTL are at all time highs and my TSB is hovering around -24 w. No wonder I was suffering.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FTP Intervals with a brick thrown in

Monday was an off day but I did spend 45 minutes floundering in the pool. Today called for 2 x 20' intervals and then a 45' brick run at EP or 8:49 with 5 x 30" uphill strides. Intervals were surprisingly easy and I did the first one at 252W and the second at 253W. I need to test as my FTP is probably around 270W but I'll wait until the schedule calls for it which I believe is next Tuesday. I start adding VO2 work on the bike in 2 weeks and this work typically boosts my FTP.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday's run workout

I'm coming to the end of week 6 of my Endurance Nation OS plan and the Sunday run appears to be changing for the next 3 weeks.

Plan called for:

Run 0:45
WU: 15'easy, including 4x30" strides

MS: 2 x 200m at Z5/IP
3 x 400m at Z5/IP
3 x 200m at Z5/IP

WD: 5' easy

IP for me right now is 6:39. I didn't pace real well on the first several intervals and ended up in the mid 5's to upper 5's for the first 2 and then tried to dial in the pace for the 1/4 mile intervals and ended up 6:23, 6:33, and 6:37. Not a bad workout and I had no issues completing any of the intervals. I did take extra time stretching at the end of the workout as my left hamstring always gives me issues when I do speed work.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life is too short

I learned Friday morning that my company lost two employees as a result of the crash of Continental Flight 3407. One was returning home to Buffalo after a meeting in our divisional office in NJ and the other who works as an engineer at our manufacturing facility in Buffalo died when the plane came crashing through his house. What are the odds???

Friday was a tough day not only because of the loss of 2 co-workers but because I live on airplanes and fly anywhere between 75,000- to 100,000 air miles a year. In fact, I was in NJ all week and flying home on Continental out of Newark when they were experiencing wind gusts of upwards of 75mph.

50% of my division's employees are virtual - meaning we work from remote locations such as our home and of the 50%, 40% do the majority of their traveling by air. This easily could've been me. When you fly on imperfect machines, flown by imperfect people in imperfect conditions, you must expect the worst. I think Will Frischkorn of Garmin Chipotle said it best when he was blogging about the death of fellow cyclist Frederiek Nolf, 22 of Team Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator who died in his sleep at the Tour of Qatar earlier this month:

"It’s truly amazing how fragile we all are, and how much is taken for granted. A powerful reminder to live every day with passion, love, and enjoy it all, for one never knows how long it will last."

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who lost someone in the crash.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Endurance Nation FREE 30-Day Membership

Endurance Nation is offering:

I'm drinking the Kool Aid, why aren't you?

5K Test - 52 second improvement

My Endurance Nation OS plan called for a 45' run with 4 x 30" strides and the main set being 3 x 1 mile @ Z4/TP with 4' easy between. Since I was sick last week and wasn't able to test, I decided I would substitute it for this workout. I didn't pace well on my first test so I made sure this was a priority. I dialed the pace in at 6:44 for the first 2 miles and then dropped it to 6:40 for the remaining 1.1.

I ended up with a 20:48 for a new VDOT of 47.6 or an improvement of 2.2 points. I cut 52" from my last test so it is safe to say, I'm getting faster and I have Endurance Nation to thank.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

FTP Intervals with a brick run

My Endurance Nation OS program called for 1:15 on the bike and a 20' brick run. For the bike, the plan called for 2x12' on at 95 - 100% of FTP and 4'off and then 2x15' on @ 85% with 2' off between interval sets. A 5 minute transition and then out the door for a 20' run with the first 10' at MP and the last 10' at HMP.

My numbers were as follows:

Interval #1: 12' @ 256W
Interval #2: 12' @ 259W
Interval #3: 15' @ 224W
Interval #4: 15' @ 221W

Legs felt a little heavy at the start of the run but started coming around at minute 8. The new shoes felt great and no pain to speak of during or after the run. I've got a 45' Z1 run with 4x30" uphill strides tomorrow so the additional time in the shoes will be a good thing and help me determine if they're a keeper.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New running shoes

I've been experiencing some ITB issues on my left side and feel as though my shoes are causing the problem. The store put me in some Mizuno Wave Rider 11's size 9 and off I went. The size 9 should've been a red flag but I listened to the store owner as she said "trust me". The toe box of said shoe felt like a swimming pool and I felt like I was wearing clown shoes. 225 miles later, I decided enough was enough.

I went back to the same store only because of convenience and was helped by a very knowledgeable young man. He put me on the treadmill again and really advised me against a stability shoe based on what he saw and suggested we look at other neutral shoes with less firm heels. The pair that felt the best was the Asics Landreth. At least it did up until I tried on the new - 2009 Mizuno Wave Rider 12. OMG - what huge difference. The Mizuno felt like home and with the new model I was able to size back down to my normal 8.5 with a perfect feeling toe box. There are so many changes that the shoe feels and hopefully performs much different than the previous model. I've got a short brick tomorrow and a long slow run on Sunday so I should be able to tell if these are a keeper or not. If not, it's the Asics Landreth for me.

Back in the saddle again

My sickness ended up being the flu. My youngest came down with similar symptoms on Sunday and her nose swab on Monday came back positive.

I took the weekend off and started back with the Endurance Nation OS plan on Tuesday. I bagged the FTP and 5K test and performed 2 x 10' and 2 x 12' FTP intervals on Tuesday and Thursday and 3 x 1 mile @TP on Wednesday. I've managed to maintain the watts and the pace that I was putting out prior to getting sick so I appear to be back on track.

I'm in NJ next week for a sales meeting and luckily, there is a YMCA close by so I should be able to stick to the plan. I hate performing FTP intervals on a Life Cycle so hopefully they have spinning bikes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

2 steps forward, 1 step back

My training is on hold due to me picking up some type of virus or something during my last business trip - damn that recycled air! We headed to Disney with my parents for a quick Sunday thru Friday tour of 4 theme parks and I started feeling some aches later in the day on Wednesday. Earlier that morning, I ran 50 minutes (4 x 1 @ TP) in the resort's fitness center and just assumed the aches were due to riding Tower of Terror, Rock & Roller Coaster over and over and the run. Boy was I wrong. I woke up Thursday AM congested, swollen glands, and a heaviness in my lungs. The heaviness turned into non stop dry coughing which progressed into a wet cough that felt like I swallowed boiling soup every time I coughed.

We arrived back home Friday evening, too late to see the doctor so it looks as though I'm in a holding pattern until Monday, when I hope to get some relief. BTW - 7 days to the day from first flight to onset of symptoms. I guess I need to get one of those SARS masks that were all the rage a few years ago and wear it when I travel which will be again in 8 days.

What's frustrating is that I was seeing big gains in my swim endurance, run times and efforts at threshold power on the bike. Better to get this over with now as my A race is still 237 days away!