Week 4 – Good Start

30 03 2010

Tuesdays are great! Yea, you still have a long week of work ahead, but I’m fresh since I don’t workout on Mondays.

As you can see on my previous post, I workout a total of 15:41 hours, which is a lot considering it was the 3rd week of training. I’ve compared that to the third week for IM France when I trained 11:39 hours. That’s 4 hours more!

Now, the interesting part is that I’m feeling very well. Absolutely no muscular pain or any other pain for that matter. I’ve seen a consistent improvement across the board: swim, bike and run.  For example, Sunday, I’ve done 4×400’s on a 50m pool at 1:40/100m, which is not bad at all for me. Running is a different story. I’ve been able to maintain the same pace for much longer at the same HR, but my actual speed has not changed much at least not as much as my power output on the bike, which brings me to my workout today…

1:30 Hours with 139 bpm and 183 W (normalized power)

Week-4 Tempo Bike (click to enlarge)

It is interesting to see how the power is actually going up even towards the end of the workout. In fact, it was easier to output a higher wattage at the end than it was at the beginning of the workout, probably because I was warmed-up.

In any case, so far so good. Lets see what the rest of the week will look like. I need to find a way to get more sleep… I’m sleeping about 7 hours/night. Ideally I would like to stay at 8 or at least 7:30 hrs/night, which would provide me a better recover…


Week 3 Summary

29 03 2010

If this is week 3, I’m not sure I’ll make it to week 20!

Week 3 - Click to Enlarge Graph

IMLP Bike course

27 03 2010

I had to do a 4 hours bike ride today, so I loaded the IMLP (Ironman Lake Placid) course on the computrainer and off I went.

After doing IM France last year, I thought that IMLP Bike would be a walk on the park, but as it turns out I was wrong. I don’t think IMLP is harder than France, but there is a big difference. France is like a triangle, it is basically 80 km uphill, until you reach the summit, then you get a bunch of rolling hills and at the end you just go downhill back to the transition area. The good thing about it is that you have a chance to get some rest before starting the marathon.

IM France Bike Course Profile

Lake Placid is a 2 loop course, the course is like an U. You have a very steep long downhill, which starts just about 10 km into the course, then when you reach the 35th Km, you have rolling hills with short steep climbs and it goes up and down for a long time. It is hard to keep any pace or even power since it keeps changing the grade. However, make no mistake, you are going up most of the time. At the end of the loop especially it is pretty steep, but the steep portions are never very long. The problem? Well we are going to start the marathon quite tired without having the opportunity to save the legs at the end.

Lake Placid Bike Profile

I did the first lap in 3:27 Hours, which means that “if” I could keep the same pace for the second lap (I would not be able to do it today!), I would be on the 7 hours range for the whole course. I just hope I get my act together, because my endurance is not there yet. The last 30 minutes were brutal, but overall I kept a good wattage output and other than the last 40 min, my heart rate was pretty low.

4 Hours Ride 2010-03-27 (Click to Enlarge)

If you look at the orange line, it represents the profile (altitude). I’ve applied some smoothing to the graph to make it a bit easier to analyze, which shows the wattage relatively flat during most of the workout, dropping on the downhills and getting back up on the uphills. What I didn’t like was the increase of the HR around the 3 hour mark. It was due to the uphill of the end of the first lap, but the power didn’t increase as much as the HR… which means that a have a long way to go with building my endurance.

Overall I’ve been seeing my power output increasing quite a bit on the shorter workouts and even compare to two weeks ago, when I was supposed to do 4 hours and had to cut it short… I ended with more than 10 watts better Normalized Power. Not bad for only two weeks. But there is a catch, I was sick 3 weeks ago.

3 Hours Ride 2010-03-13 (Click to Enlarge)

Regardless I think I’m improving, but only time will tell. One thing is for sure, this is not an easy course!

Spring is here!

19 03 2010

For people in Canada, spring is a big deal! I never really understood this until I moved here, about 11 years ago.

When I first got to Canada it was beginning of April… I will never forget driving to Algonquin with a couple of friends, one of them got to Canada the year before and he kept asking me to leave the windows open. Coming from Brazil, 18C is not weather for open windows!!

Now I know exactly why Canadians feel like that! And that is kind of how I feel now, running outside!

I just finished a 50 min Tempo Run, still trying to keep my heart-rate between 136 and 146 bpm, which is much harder to do outdoors than on the treadmill. I noticed a few things:

  1. My cadence is slower outdoors (80 instead of 83 rpm indoors)
  2. My heart-rate and pace are all over the place
  3. I feel much better outside!

What makes it even harder is that I moved closer to a park (Sunnybrook) that, although great to run, it is pretty hilly, which does not help when you trying to keep a certain cadence and HR zone.

Click to Enlarge Picture

I tried my best to keep my HR low, but at the last hill, running up hill in the park in the middle of a bunch of dogs and kids playing, I just couldn’t walk! I know, I should leave my ego at home… but just for 5 min, going up a 6.6% hill, I had to run! I could not disappoint the kids!! 🙂

Now I’m just hopping the weather holds for the long run on Sunday.

I’m still biking indoors though, come on, 6C in the morning is still freezing cold for biking, after all I am still Brazilian!!! Water freezes at 10C down there! 😉

First Week of IMLP Training

13 03 2010

First week and unfortunately it wasn’t the start I was expecting. I started the week with a stomach flu and did my first workout on Thursday morning, a 2:15 Hours bike ride at a not impressive 161W, 145 bpm. Just no energy.

Still on Thursday I swam 3km, but not very impressive either. The problem is that today is Saturday and I had another disappointing workout, 3 hours at 161W/140bpm. I was suppose to go for 4 hours, but I just didn’t have the energy. Since I can allow myself to do only 75% of the workout, since it was biking indoors on the trainer… I decided to use that wild-card today.

Tomorrow I’ll be up early to star my swim at 7:15am and a bit later 1:20 hours of run.  Lets see how that goes. I was feeling great until the the day before I actually started the performance training…. but lets have a look at what I did this year.

I was looking at my training after Carlos made a comment regarding his training last year. He believes that last year he had being training way to easy on his long bikes workouts. That made me think and I went back to my records to check what I was doing.

I looked at my power zones for the bike, which is now about the same as last year at this time and I compared that to what I’m doing now. I also looked at my time on each HR zone for the run. One thing to keep in mind is that I started my training for IM France in the first week of Jan/09 and I have just started my training for IM Lake Placid this week. So we are basically comparing Mark Allen’s off-season to Matt Fitzgerald’s peak performance training.


If you look at the graph above, the first thing that jumps out is the actual volume. The total training time on the bike in 2010 is only 4 hours less than in 2009, which is quite surprising considering that we are comparing off-season to season training.

The other interesting point is that the I’m pushing harder now than in 2009. Not much more, but still more time in Tempo Zone (163 to 195 Watts).

In summary, I’m training about the same volume and a little bit harder. The volume should change quite a bit now, since Mark Allen’s program has a quite heavy volume at relatively low intensity. The reason I say relatively is because the bases all the training in HR zones and the zones that he proposes for bike and run are the same… which for me at least, makes the bike harder and the run much easier. You will see on the next graph.


Here again we see that the volume is quite close, just 3 hours less compared to last year. However, the intensity is soooo different to what I had being doing! Last year I spent most of the time on Zone 4 (148-156 bpm) and 5 (157-161 bpm), whereas this year is basically only Zone 2 (122-141 bpm) and 3 (142-147 bpm).

The difference is absolutely shocking. However, that comes with a cost: speed.

Don’t laugh, but I’m spending most of my time at zone 2, which is between 6:14 to 5:32 min/km!! Yea, that slow.

Having said that, my runs are much more comfortable. I used to hate running, but now 1:30 hours is a peace of cake. I’m just hopping to see my speed increasing at the same HR, but according to other people that followed this approach, it takes months.

Time will tell. For now, I just hope to get back on my feet and get some good quality training next week. Volume will really pick up with the Peak Performance training!

Let the games begin!

8 03 2010

March 8th, 20 weeks away from IM Lake Placid. I’ll start my Performance Training… and it will be a lot of hours.

The first week and I already have 2:15 hours bike on Thursday and 4 hours bike on Saturday, not to mention 1 hour 20 minutes run on Sunday!!!

We have an old saying in Brazil, that obviously wont translate very well, but it is something like “If you are in the rain, you must get wet”. In other words, that is why I’m here for. If it was easy everyone would do it.

Regardless of the training, the important thing is to have fun, so lets do it!

Garmin 310XT Design Flaw

4 03 2010

Do you sweat when you workout? If you do, the Garmin 310XT may not be the best option for you!

I’ve been having some trouble lately with my Garmin and the HR reading, when using some specific shirts on longer run workouts. It actually took me a while to associate the shirt and the problem. The fact is that when a shirt is soaked wet, it sticks to the chest and somehow interferes with the signal. Now, to be honest I have only a couple shirts that are causing this problem. BTW, when I pull the shirt from the chest, the readings instantly go back to normal.

The sad note is that I first seen this on a race, although at the time I didn’t know what was the issue, but it was at the IM 70.3 Muskoka after throwing a cup of water on my head to cool down at the run…

In the IM France they had an “Anti-Garmin HR” device (below). At the time I was using my Polar S325X, no problem!!

You can't do this and expect Garmin to read you HR!

Anyhow, after sending an email to Garmin, I got the following reply:

Dear Hans Winter,

With the Premium Heart monitor the contacts are flat to be more comfortable. Then what happens is that during times of heavy perspiration the signal arches and there is not a way around it with the Premium Heart monitor. Some people have tried using gels under the contacts to ensure this does not happen but it is something we are looking into to find a definite solution. Thank you for your questions and have a good day.

Well, great GPS/HR but, this is a pretty bad design flaw. I never had that issue with my Polar. Every time it didn’t work, I had to change the battery and it would work again… wet or not!

Update: my HR monitor died this year (May/2011) and I decided to buy the Timex HR piece (strap and monitor) and is working flawlessly with the 310XT. Highly recommended!