Sunday, February 9, 2014

IMMT Training Week 3: Ramping Up

First week with coach's training plan and it was easier than I feared. There was a big jump in the overall number of hours spent swimming, biking and running, mostly due to a few missed workouts last week, but I didn't feel defeated. I could have slept better, but I promised myself to make it more of a priority from now on, instead of staring at my computer screen clicking at random for hours. But I am not a morning person (yet) and when I do most of my workouts in the evenings, I find it hard to wind down before going to sleep. But let's rewind and see what coach had in store for me.


On Tuesday I thought I was getting sick again. I had a runny nose and my cough had gone worse, but by the end of the day I was not feeling sick enough to miss my first "swim with instructions". Yep, one of those workouts for which I had to actually print and ziploc bag the details. And not only it had instructions, but it required ALL THE TOOLS! Here are the details with some of my times.
[100m swim + 50m finger drag] x 2 (2:19, 1:17, 2:21, 1:12)
3x100m kick with fins 15sri
3x100m pull+paddles 20sri (2:09, 2:11, 2:11)
Main set
400m swim on 9:30 (8:06 for 350m oops!)
50 breast stroke on 1:30 (1:16)
4x100m pull+paddles descending on 2:10 (2:07, 2:13, 2:14, 2:17 - not really on 2:10)
50m breast stroke on 1:30 (1:18)
8x25 [3 fast, 1 easy] on :45 (:30, :32, :30, :34, :30, :31, :30, :34)
100m breast stroke
I did my warmup, then swam the main set like a champ and was quite amazed at my 400m TT time... only that I had lost track of lengths and missed 50m. D'uh, not so fast afterall. Anyway, I was pretty happy with my times, especially after all these intervals with the pull buoy and paddles when I thought that I killed my arms.

On Thursday, at the group swim, we had to do 150s, up 50 from last week if you've followed my previous recaps. But this time it was half pull/paddles, half free. And my times were already faster than Tuesday's. I am not calling it progress yet, could have just been peer pressure from swimming in a group, but I swam a few 50s under a minute and I could barely believe it. I know that we all have good days and bad days, but for a bad day, Thursday is one to be remembered.

Last swim of the week was today right after my hour long run on the treadmill. Since I lost coach's instructions for this workout (don't ask), I decided to do a stroke rate ramp test instead, to see how far I've come since 2 years ago when I did it for the first time. And I was pretty surprised with the results. I started with 60 strokes per minute and increased the rate by 2 strokes each time, and ended with the results below (about 15-20s faster per 50m than the first test):

Stroke Rate   Time (50m)  Nr. strokes  Effort level (1-10)
60                 0:59.8          26              3
62                 1:00.1          27              3
64                 1:01.7          29              4
66                 1:00.8          29              5
68                 1:00.5          30              6
70                 0:59.0          31              7
72                 0:58.4          30              8
74                 0:57.4          30              8
76                 0:56.3          30              9
78                 0:55.8          30              10
Then I set my wetronome on a slightly faster than my normal stroke rate (68) and did a 600m pull, with an average time of 2:12/100m. I'm gonna need a sharper brain to interpret these numbers because right now I feel very confused. It's quite clear that if I move my arms faster I swim faster, but around the sweet spot it's not very clear whether I should make any changes. I may try with a slower than usual rate and see if I manage to glide a bit more and improve my time around those parts because I doubt that I could finish an Ironman swim on an all out effort.


I started the week with a free 1h ride that included a few single leg drills and a long 20m fast spin on little resistance.
I included screenshots of both my power zones and heart zones (which I haven't changed since my first 20min test last year, but seem to be relevant, still). You can see that they don't really match, so I asked my coach what it means. I suppose that my heart rate is higher than where it should be, but I'm not surprised since I've put on 8lb since last year and the heart knows. My resting HR is up 10bpm since last year too, which shows a dip in fitness. Oh well, you gotta start somewhere.

On Wednesday I did Black on Trainer Road and on Saturday I returned to the group cycling classes. I was a bit apprehensive and afraid that I would not be able to stay put as coach asked. But he was watching my rpms closely. My eyes were on my power and I told him that I wouldn't go above 75-80% FTP. I did good in the end, put in some effort in the climbs, but nowhere close to the threshold like everyone else was supposed to. I spent almost 2h on the bike though, so I chose to go easy in the last 20min and didn't feel too awkward for slacking at the front of the class.


Three runs this week: 5k, 7k, 9k, all pretty easy, but I had to go outside for the 7k since I ran out of time and didn't want to pay 8 bucks just for using the treadmill for 45min (the cost of one gym visit without subscription). It was -15C and I hated every minute of it. Had to run in the middle of the road, dodging cars because there are no sidewalks in Brampton without 2 feet of snow on them.
It also took me a long time until I found the best placement for my buff for it not to slide down. I ended having a bad night with a lot of cough, so I paid the price. Not sure I'll go out again until the temperatures go up by 20 degrees C. Until then, back to the office gym and the treadmill.
In a nutshell

Good week, which I survived unscathed. However, in the strength department I sucked. I only did 3x1min plank on Tuesday and nothing since. No bridges, side stepping or clam shells, thus giving zero attention to my hips. I was also pretty lazy with the foam rolling and stretching, so this is exactly what my main issue is. I don't do these things unless you beat me with a stick. I don't know what to do. With zero accountability, I get zero results. When will I learn?! Ugh!