Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Intervals

After taking it easy yesterday on the trainer watching Nys and Gadret take it to them in Kalmthout last year, I had some intervals to do today. As thunderstorms threatened I was able to get them all in. I did 8x3(3) @ VO2 max and did them back to back without a break. It was hard and my wattage was lower than I wanted but still in the zone for each interval. Here is a peak...

I am getting excited about the weekly cross workouts on Wednesdays and Sundays and last year I saw a big drop off in CTL in September which I hope to avoid this year. As the weeks go on and the cross workouts turn into race simulations I hope to see some of this training start to translate.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

8x30 Seconds Over 450 Watts

Today I had a physical exam which included the usual poking and prodding. Once finished, I was informed in the waiting room that a lady had hit my car in the lot. She lost control in the parking lot, jumped the curb and skidded into my car and a small tree. My front driver side light and bumper took a bump and now the real hassle of getting it fixed begins.

I headed on down to do 8x.30(.30) intervals over 450watts. I warmed up for about 20 minutes and then set the watch for 30 seconds. I did them on/off and although it was not as painful as the 1 minute intervals last week, it was still hard. My best 30 second interval was around 490w. These were not all out efforts and I tried not to go over 500w for the interval. My best mean maximal power for 30 seconds was 993watts back on July 27th. My best speed today for 30 seconds was 26.6 mph.

The rest of the ride was spent doing either tempo or easy pace.

Riding on my normal route near the Chattahoochee is great. It is very scenic, quiet, and every now and then you get a nice cool breeze off of the water which is about 5-10 degrees colder than the air.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This Week's Plan

The first CX practice was last Sunday at the STL in Auburn, GA. We had around 10 guys and we did skills, tempo laps and 2 hard intervals. We also warmed up for about an hour before hand. Next week will be similar but we should have many more riders. I did not feel as if I had very good form but it was only the first practice. Jeff Welp looked good though so watch out!

This week:

Monday -- 30 minutes tempo and 30 easy

Tuesday -- 8x30sec >450 watts ( 30 sec rest) in a 1.5 hour ride

Wednesday -- 1 hour easy tempo

Thursday -- 8x3(3) VO2 max intervals

Friday -- 60 minutes hard tempo

Sunday -- 2-2.5 hours CX practice

Now that school has started it will be hard to raise my CTL very quickly since most of my rides will be between 1-1.5 hours. But, if I can hang on in the 70's until October I will be ahead of last year.

The new HUP Noir kits should be coming next week as well as my new blue skinsuit! It has been too hot for a black uniform so maybe I'll save this for awhile.

I watched the Falcons tonight and had mixed feelings about the team. D'Angelo Hall needs to stop getting his jock handed to him. Vick needs to figure out what kind of human he wants to be now and get working on that. Atlantan's and sports talk call in guests need to be less invested in high paid sports stars and live their own lives.

I was not impressed with 2 Urban Licks Saturday, but their spicy Cesar was very good.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Week So Far and New Bike

Wednesday I tried to do the 7x4 VO2 max intervals but the heat really bothered me so I bagged it after 1x4 because I felt like shit and rode easy back to school. Thursday I did the GTC Thursday Night World Champs and it rained(!) which cooled things off. We were able to do 22 mph over the rolling course and I averaged 268w for the ride and had a nice accumulation of time in VO2 max and anaerobic zones. The efforts were good and I felt strong throughout. Friday I did 45 minutes of hard tempo riding.

My CTL is right around 70 and my TSB is only slightly negative at -5.

Sunday is the first cross practice around here and everyone is looking forward to it. I rode yesterday on my Cannondale cx bike and I think the bottom bracket needs help. I'll give it a try and if it is bad I have the back up.

Here are my two bikes for the fall:

I have not ridden a 1x9 before so I am looking forward to seeing what that is like.

I am also looking forward to eating at Two Urban Licks tonight!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

8x1 The Fun

Either I am a wuss or JBV is trying to kill me. This 4 week block was the one I cringed at when I saw the training plan. Mainly more anerobic efforts with some tempo on the easier days. The 8x1 minute set with power over 400W and with 1 minute rest in between efforts almost killed me yesterday in the 96 degree heat.

I set my watch countdown timer to 1 minute and after warm up I set it off and started the workout. By the 4th effort I was pretty baked but my power looked good. At that point in the heat I decided to take 2 minutes off and then do a second set of 4. I realize the whole set was supposed to be 8 back to back but with the environmental conditions that hot (heat index around 103) I rested another minute.

After the 8th interval I was sufficiently fatigued and did some tempo back to school. This is a pretty standard workout but I hardly ever do it so it was really hard.

Today is a nice easy tempo workout and tomorrow will be 7x4 (4) at VO2 max which will also hurt. I am going to try and make the Thursday GTC ride and make a second group if possible, focusing on hard tempo. The weekend will bring the first CX workout so that will be fun too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It is Hard to rest Correctly

With the heat and increased motivation, taking a rest week is difficult.

So far this week I have done two workouts of easy riding (~180watts) and two of tempo riding (45 minutes of tempo at around 236watts). However, in the 100+ degree heat while the effort is easy, the heat makes it much harder so I was wondering if I was resting at all. Also, my CTL (chronic training load) was in the -27 area on Monday as a result of a hard training week last week. I was wondering as I do these easier workouts, what would be the ideal CTL loss and TSB (training stress balance) for the rest week without getting "too fresh" or going back into the next hard training week having gone too hard in the rest week.

My coach was easily able to tell me what to look for in my daily data record. He said that as my training week went on I should see a gradual loss of CTL and gain of TSB so that my TSB would be zero or positive for 1-3 days. This would indicate freshness and that I rested properly. My CTL will drop but it is better than trying to keep it high and enter the "over-training" phase.

It is hard to see that CTL drop because of the work put in, but trust is the issue, trusting your training plan, and your discipline.

One of the neat things about training with power is the ability to use spreadsheets to predict what efforts you have to do in order to bring a statistic like TSB up/down to a specific level. I can simply enter in my predicted TSS (taining stress scores) into the spreadsheet and watch what will happen to my CTL and TSB. So, I can create a ride(s) with the intensity and length that will allow me to get to the desired TSB level without going too far either way. While not a 100% accurate measure of what is really going on physiologically in my body, it will be closer than any other measurement tool available.

It is the same technique one would use for tapering for an event.

Lastly, I asked about a "magic number" for CTL to climb to in order to have enough physiological adaptation and be "fit" and competetive this fall. It seems like 80-100 tss/d is the range for CTL for optimum performance in many riders. That is probably ideal for those with unlimited training time. I think I will be lucky to get it to 76 tss/d before October.

Everyone always says that the best performances are built by good rest weeks and using the power meter is is clearer to me why this is the case.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

10 Days Over 90

So far we have had 10 days over 90 degrees and with the heat index, many of those have felt like over 100 degrees. There is little relief out of the 90's for about 2 weeks. Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be 101 degrees. It has not rained in 10 days at least.

I have ridden every day for the past 2 weeks and every time I feel I have gotten used to it, I feel just as hot the next day. Being in air conditioning does not help. In fact, if I were to work outside for 7 days I would be acclimated. The indoor/outdoor fluxuation (even in the car) really screws up your sweating systems. The air conditioning feels damn good though.

Sunday I did a group ride that was pretty challenging and for awhile I was just hanging on (especially up the hills). The pace was high and we caught a break in that it was cloudy most of the ride.

This week is a rest week and the highest I will go is doing some tempo work. If I can keep my CTL around 70, I hope to be able to ramp it up to the mid-70's by the first part of September.

I have bought my plane tickets to nationals. That will be the last, final race.

Today at school I had a 14 year old try to kill himself by putting a paper clip into the wall socket. There was flames, and smoke but he was able to let go without going into cardiac arrest. He had wrapped paper around the paper clip where he held it as if this would be a brilliant adaptation. I asked him if he knew that electricity could kill him and he said "no". I don't know what to think anymore.

Anyway, if it is going to be 101 tomorrow and I have to ride easy, I may opt for the trainer. It was nice being the only rider out today in the heat. It made me feel totally stupid and superior at the same time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ramping Up Before Rest

I was able to get in 2 good VO2 max workouts this week and I have decided that although the 5 minute efforts will eventually help me in 'cross, they are harder for me to do than the 3 minute efforts. But, they have gotten easier over the last 4 weeks. Here is an example of what the power graph looks like for 2 5 minute efforts and a 3 minute effort.

It is not much to look at really but shows that if you concentrate on a flat road you can maintain good wattage for the interval.

I also had the pleasure of doing 8, 12 second sprints today. They were done as follows: 2 in 39x17 (standing start to mimic 'cross starts), 4 in 53x17 rolling at 14mph, and 2 in 53x15, also rolling at 14 mph. They all went pretty well and I rested for about 2.5 minutes in between. Here is the data and what the power graph looks like:

In August 2006, my sprint power was much greater than right now. I was averaging over 1000W for 12 seconds and over 1300W for max power in the sprint. So, I still have some work to do there.

I recovered from the century better than I thought considering the heat that day. But, next week school starts and my overall numbers will take a hit because it is a rest week and also my training time will be cut significantly.

A year ago my CTL was about the same as it is now, and peaked at 72 tss/d on the 13th. But, I was not training as hard after that and it only decreased from there which i do not anticipate happening at the same rate this year. I would like to get it to 80 tss/d by the middle of September, but that remains to be seen. Here is a picture of what my last 28 days looks like (I had two days totally off because of a virus with fever).
Ideally I would like to get my CTL as high as possible before late October but it will be hard with reduced training time, school and other things of greater priority. I understand how to raise it better now and what to avoid.

I got my new 'cross bike built and it is light at 17 lbs. Not sure of the ride yet but it looks nice and I'll give it a try in a few weeks. The better thing is that it only cost me $350 for the bike.

Monday, August 06, 2007

On Tap This Week

I took it easy today since yesterday was pretty tough on me. I'll bet many folks who did the century feel the same way.

This week I will do two interval sessions concentrating on VO2 max. Tuesday will be 6x5(4) and Thursday will be 7x3(3). The 4 minute rest intervals tomorrow will be tough. I normally need 5 minutes recovery in between. The 3 minute intervals are more manageable and I can do all 7 back to back, taking each on/off with no rest.

Wednesday will be a recovery day. Friday I will commute to school and work in 60 minutes at tempo power unless I melt in the heat. I will also work in 2, 39x17 sprints; 4, 53x17 sprints; and 2, 53x15 sprints (all sprints are 12 seconds).

Sunday I will try and either find a group ride over 2.5 hours, or I will ride by myself for the same length, concentrating on as much tempo as possible.

In a few weeks cyclocross workouts will start on Sundays but it is really too early for that. I understand the need to do them since it is really fun. I will try to do some but will probably ride from another location to the practice and back since I have a lot more to get done then just the CX workout.

The Marietta practices will start right around Labor Day and I cannot wait for those.

Everything gets more specific now and weeks 7-12 will be very, very tough.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Covington Century Week

After being a bit sick last weekend I rebounded this week with the most miles/time I have done all season. In the last "free" week before school starts again I was able to get in 13 hours and 238 miles.

I took it easy Monday-Thursday and mostly did endurance pace or tempo pace. On Friday I did 7x3(3) blocks at VO2 max. These were a bit sluggish but I was able to do all 7 intervals in the proper power zone.

Sunday was the Covington Century which is pretty flat and usually pretty fast. I was going to do 50/50 with the group and solo. It was actually pretty stupid since at mile 50 I was feeling good in the lead group and after 10 solo miles later I was dying like a dog. The main culprit was the heat. The heat index today according to the Weather Channel was 105 degrees. I went through 15 bottles in 50 miles and some of these were ice bath bottles.

I ended up finishing in 4 hours 50 minutes but I hit every sag in the last 50 miles, even the one at 90 miles! In fact, I had a seat for about 10 minutes and the last 10 miles were pretty rough.

In terms of statistics, the entire ride was 20 mph and an average power of 180 watts. I burned 3300 calories.

In terms of CTL, I am now approaching 70 tss/d and maybe I can get it to 80 by October. I am back in the negative in terms of training stress balance and would have still been there if not for the illness.

This week I will go back to the VO2 max workouts I need to do and work on some sprinting as well. If all goes well I will hit 70 tss/d next weekend and hopefully my top end is getting ready to adapt.

My new bike will be done this week as well.