Workout of the Week!

23 02 2010

OK, this was the first workout of the week, so it was the best one! ūüôā

There are some das though that you just feel right. This morning I woke up, got a yogurt and on to the bike. I was happy that I could “sleep in” as I only had a one hour Tempo Ride scheduled for the morning, a real luxury!

So I start the computrainer, load a previous performance from September/2009 to keep me honest. Well, that was a bit of an issue. I wasn’t really able to keep up with me (I was about 10W lower at the same HR)! Having said that, I did quite alright!

If  you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see the data on the left:

  • Normalized Power: 179 Watts
  • Heart Rate Avg: 139 Bpm

The most surprising for me though, was that I usually find the bike workouts at this Heart Rate very hard, and today it was so easy to maintain a good power and HR!

Well, I guess we have good and bad days. This is¬†definitely¬†a good one! ūüôā

March 8th is approaching, when I will start the real training… Peak Performance Program for IM Lake Placid. I had a look on what is waiting for me, and the first long bike is 4 hours. Well, I might change that, but we will see. That is for another post!


MAO Maintenance Program update

18 02 2010

It has now been 3 and a half months since I started to follow Mark Allen Online (MAO) Maintenance Program. I’m just going to say one thing: I AM FEELING GREAT!

Don’t take my word for it though, as you probably know, I’m a number’s guy!

When I first contacted Mark Allen, it was because of Bryan Payne. He is one of my triathlon buddies, a crazy one. One of those guys that go out for a 6 hour bike ride on a Saturday… IN THE¬†MIDDLE¬†OF WINTER (-15C)!! In any case, he recommended¬†it, speaking highly about the program.

I sent out an email using an address on their website and to my surprise, a few hours later I got a reply from the man himself, Mark Allen! Not an automated response, but a true response to all my questions! A few emails later, I joined the program. My first task? Take 2 months off. Don’t follow any program.

It took me a while to get used to doing nothing after been on a schedule for so long. But the funny part was that after a few weeks, I was a lazy guy again! It didn’t take me much to enjoy a good BBQ and Beer¬†with no regrets for the performance the next day. This was¬†definitely¬†the time I consumed most wine last year. Not sure it was exactly what Mark meant, but boy was it good!

After the two months flue away, I started training again, and man, was I in bad shape. I could only think “I hope Mark knows what he is doing, because I feel like crap!”. I started following the low heart rate zones, and seriously, it was a joke. My first run I averaged 8.4 km/h, can you imagine that??

It actually took me about 2 months to get back to a¬†reasonable¬†shape, but I’m feeling so good now, it is not funny! I have so much energy, like I haven’t had in a long time. Not sure if¬†I’m quite at the same level I was before my Ironman last year, but I’m no too far off and I’m feeling so much better!

Anyhow, lets go through some numbers.


It is hard to provide a lot of numbers for swimming, but I do time every lap I do in the pool and I can give you an average per 100 meters at peak 2009, before MAO and today. Lets use a 400m at medium effort as an example:

  • June 2009 (Peak): 1:45/100m
  • November (before MAO): 1:55/100m
  • Now: 1:45/100m

Don’t ask me why, but I might be even a bit faster than last year! I have considerably cut down on swimming, as I’m trying to follow the distances and intensities of MAO, although I’m still swimming with a masters group, which makes it a bit tricky. I guess that means Less is More!


I have a LOT of data from the Computrainer, so I can show you a workout on the same course and close HR averages. The thing about the bike on MAO is that it was the only sport I found was really hard. Unlike swimming and running, I found the intensity (feeling) much harder at the prescribed HR. I always had a pretty low HR while biking, and staying in the prescribed zone is quite a bit of an effort. I wouldn’t say it is super hard, but it wasn’t a piece of cake.

I ride a lot the Muskoka IM 70.3 course, as it has a lot of rolling hills, but not very steep. These results are based on WKO+ Normalized power of that course:

  • June 2009: 2 Hours 40 Min, 160W, 127 bpm, 87 rpm
  • November: 1 Hour 45 Min, 148W, 141 bpm, 84 rpm
  • Now: 2 Hours 30 Min, 166W, 140 bpm, 87 rpm

I can’t say I’m as good as I was during my peak last year, as my HR is a about 10% higher while my power is only 4% higher. But considering where I am in my training (i.e. maintenance vs. peak), it is not bad! I am better than at the same time last year!!


Now this is hard to compare. I used to run between 155 to 165 bpm on my base runs (~12km/h)… and the prescribed HR zones are so much lower (127 to 147 on long runs). Having said that, I started to do some easy runs (140 to 150 bpm) closer to the IM¬†France¬†race ¬†(example below). In any case, I can say that it used to be hard to run 1:30 hours and today it is soooooo easy (although slower):

  • June 2009: ¬†1hour, 10.8 km/h, 147 bpm (no cadence data at the time)
  • November (treadmill): 50 min, 8.4 km/h, 140 bpm, 79 rpm
  • Now (treadmill): 45 min, 10.5 km/h, 144 bpm, 84 rpm

In other words, not quite as good as I was on my peak last year, but strangely enough, it looks like I’m not that far. I guess when you’re bad at a sport, it is easy to get back to it! ūüôā


Yea, well the two months not working out much plus wine, beer, bbq… was a uphill battle:

  • June 2009: 88 kg
  • November: 94 kg
  • Now: 92.5 kg

The extra weight is going to be a problem, specially biking, as it is about 5% hit in the performance. I hope overtime I will lose the extra chubbiness.

I’m not so convinced that it is all fat though. I might have added a bit of muscle too with the¬†strengthening, which I’m doing… 1.5 times a week!


I’m feeling GREAT. I can’t remember having so much energy in a long time. I’m really looking forward for this season! I have a feeling it will be a good one… ūüôā