Sunday, June 10, 2012

Trial and error

Triathlon training is getting fun, folks. My weeks are now full on tri-mode: swimming and biking 2-3x week, running 3-4x week plus a few walks in between, with total volumes from 80 to 100 miles and guess what? I'm loving it! My body is adjusting pretty well, I think, and I am becoming rather obsessed with everything triathlon related, but I don't hide it, I am a bit anxious about what is coming. So much to learn and so much room for improvement, I hope.

Swim -
I am very slow in the pool, averaging 2:10/100m and loving the pull buoy because it's so much easier to swim with it, and I have a somewhat ok technique, but with a weak catch and pull (I think I am of the Bambino type). One thing I know I've improved upon is bilateral breathing - no issues there, however I know I am still lifting my head a bit and not relaxing my neck properly. Another problem is endurance, without the pull buoy I feel like drowning and I'm trying really hard to find a slow kicking rhythm, otherwise I don't last more than 50m. Also working on using my core muscles more by trying to rotate my body so I don't look like a floating pancake. Hopefully I can take another video of my swimming soon and you can point out all my flaws.
One thing I have not mentioned though - I am terrified of open water swimming. I used to swim in the ocean, without a wetsuit, so I know I can do it, but I haven't tried since I was 20 years old (that's quite a long time ago!). Thankfully today I made the jump, so to speak, and I bought a wetsuit because once you're committed to this sport, and I know I am, there is no point in spending 45 bucks in a rental when new suits go for $160, like this XTerra Vortex 4, which seems to be a good bet, given its popularity amongst triathletes.

Bike -
On the bike, I can hold some decent times for long-ish distances, averaging 16-17mph for a 2h workout, but having some issues with my saddle and aero position. The saddle is supposed to be good, it's a fizik Arione, but it may help if I tilt its head down a little - my lady bits are screaming in pain after most long rides even if I wear the most generously padded bike shorts. I also need to pay attention to my head position when riding in aero as neck gets stiff and a little achy if I don't switch positions every 15 min or so. One last thing is bike control and using appropriate gear ratios. I am not quite sure what to do because I don't have an onboard computer that counts RPMs and I am in love with the big gears like every newbie, so I must be overusing those in climbs instead of gearing down when needed.

Run -
With 2 marathons under my belt this year and another one this coming October, I feel rather confident there, I am definitely enjoying my runs - so far!, but again, I'm not the speediest mouse out there. I am hoping to finish my next marathon somewhere between 4h15-4h30, but today I got a taste of the (Ironman) endurance training medicine, and more precisely, running in zone 2, and it was horribly bitter. I don't know how my coach chose the 139bpm as my zone 2 average, but this better be wrong, it was the most painfully slow, crawling, trying-to-keep-a-running-form-when-I-could-have-walked run ever!! To put it into perspective, today I run 1h at a 8:17min/km pace, 3 full minutes slower than my 5K race pace!! WTF. Even when I started running 3 years ago, I was running faster than this. I know it's normal to feel this way about these runs, but I didn't feel like I was putting in the effort described here: "Starting to work just a little and you can feel your HR rise". This was no workout at all, damn it. Anyway, my coach gave me a Lactate Threshold test to do on Tuesday, so I will come back with my results then, but I think I know where this is going - all over the spectrum. My resting HR is 52 while my max HR is close to 200. When I ran the Paris Marathon I averaged 165bpm, so I was nowhere near my max. I think my zone 2 is rather beween 140bpm and 150bpm, but we shall see.

In the meantime, I found some good links about HR training on
Zone 1 and Zone 2 training explained
Lactate Threshold Heart-Rate Testing Protocol

Enjoy while I torture my brain.


  1. Great job! Where do you find the time for all of this with your family?! LOL I hear that HR training is very frustrating but beneficial. Hopefully you can adjust to it soon. I don't like open water swimming either. It's creepy! :oP

    1. Oh it's always a challenge, of course, and more of a challenge of dealing with my own guilt. I already work insane hours, so spending little time with my boys because I go out and run/bike/swim it's not easy, but I am lucky for having the best husband in the world who cooks, cleans, takes kids to sports, does grocery shopping, laundry etc etc, plus working out, so I feel that they are ok with watching me becoming a super-mom who kicks triathlon's and marathon's ass. I hope I am an inspiration to them and if I can only plant the seed of pushing the limits and living a healthy lifestyle, that keeps me going forward and letting go of the guilt.

      I usually go to the pool from 9pm to 10pm, run/bike early in the weekends and after work during the week, mostly after 7pm when we're done with dinner/homework. This will only get worse once the Ironman volume kicks in. But I told them to give me 2 years to achieve this goal and then we'll see ;-)

  2. You are going to do great. Triathlon is so awesome because there is always a plus. If one event goes poorly you always have the other two to look on as a positive. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

    1. Unless it's the first one and you drown, or the second one and you crash, or the third one and you pass out. :-) Haha, I rather not think about it, I still need to learn to put on a wetsuit and change a tube. But I'm looking forward to all these challenges, there is a huge upside to all this just by meeting people like you and attending those events. Yay for endurance sports!