Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And my FTP is...

(Functional Threshold Power, that is).

About 245. That puts me at the lower end of "Good" or "Cat 3" cyclists. Not too bad given I'm a triathlete, not a cyclist, and I haven't been at this sport for super long. Obviously much bigger people will have a higher absolute FTP, but then I'll probably beat them up a hill =)

I didn't do the test quite right (after the initial 20 minute warm up, you're meant to do 3 x 1 minute efforts at 100 rpm, whereas I did them as 3 x 1 min all out), but I'm not sure that would have made a discernible difference.

Now I have that sorted, I can use it to calculate training zones, and then use WKO+ to analyse my workouts.

One of the neat features of the software is that it calculates what it calls normalized power. Normalized power recognises that when you ride with an inconsistent power output (for example, when riding lots of hills), that your average power will likely be a lot lower than the true physiological cost. It therefore "is an estimate of the power that you could have maintained for the same physiological "cost" if your power output had been perfectly constant". This is helpful on a lot of the long rides I've done with Kate, where the average power has been in the 120 watt range (active recovery), but the normalized power has been in the 170s (endurance zone).

I'll have to test again in about 6 weeks, to check whether I've improved - so it's both a good fitness test and a good way of dialling in training.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Felling pretty good (and some new toys)

I had a pretty good week's training last week. I was still feeling a blah at the start of the week, which was a hangover from the previous week and the half marathon. I missed a couple of bikes - partly because of feeling blah, and partly because I picked up a trial at the last minute (8:30 the night before), and that necessitated last minute prep, which was quite tiring.

But, I finished the week strongly, and felt really good on the weekend, particularly after a big day's training on Sunday.

Kate and I also have new toys - some Newton running shoes. The place that distributes them in NZ was selling last season's demo pairs cheap, so we both got some (although only the racing versions were available in our sizes). Thy definitely feel a bit different, although I haven't run in them yet. They recommend taking a few weeks to adjust before running in them properly - look here if you are interested in learning more about them. Best of all, they look hot (in an awesome, retro, sort of way...). They are designed to encourage mid foot/forefoot landing, which I have been working on anyway.

Now for the summary:

T - 2k swim, 55 minutes, did 10 x 100m, all in 1:55 - 2:00, which is better than the 2:00 - 2:05 the previous week.

W - 55 minute trainer ride - "aerobic intervals", which I cut short, because I got the call about the trial. AHR 151, Av Watts 170.

T - 1:05 swim lesson - worked a lot on balance. Pretty good, actually had the drills explained in the context of my stroke, which is a nice change.

F - 30 min run, 5:02 mins/km, 160 AHR. Was quite warm/humid, which I felt. Calf a bit sore.

S - 1:24:09 run - okish long run with Kate. Calf feeling a bit tight, but otherwise felt ok. 15.16 km, AHR 143. Did a 20 minute End2 effort - 4.18 mins/km, 173 AHR, which I'm happy with, because a couple of weeks ago, I ran 4:24 mins/km for the same AHR, and it's not as if I was feeling great today.

S - 4:08 ride, 93.63 km, AHR 134, Av Watts 125. Felt really good. Rode most of the hills (apart from Waitaks) in my big chain ring too. I'm definitely getting stronger.

We later on did a 30 min run, 5.10 km, 135 AHR. Felt great, and calf not at all tight. When compared to the last time we did an evening run after a long ride, felt heaps better.

Monday, September 21, 2009


This is my time according to the official results, so I'll go with that (particularly given there was no timing mat at the start). Oddly enough, I pressed stop at exactly 21.1 km on my Garmin, which is pretty rad.

What a race! Awesome course. Freakin' hard course (as will be evident from the elevation profile in my previous post). All up, there is about 275 metres elevation gain/loss. Really well managed race, with friendly marshals everywhere. Lots of people got out to support too, which was choice.

I hadn't run a stand alone half marathon before, and this course made working out pacing even tougher. I decided to break the race up in three parts, and make sure I paced myself properly (which is easy enough with the Garmin). The first 8 k is undulating, with a few steepish, but short, climbs. I decided I'd aim to average about 4:30 mins/km for the first part (and hope to maintain something like that up the hill). I did exactly that until the start of Carter's Road (the main climb), and I made sure I had a good conversation with whomever I could along the way (to make sure I wasn't working too hard). I think I did that too well, and perhaps left myself with a bit much to do by the time the climb came.

I ran the climb well, and averaged about 5 mins/km for the 4 k climb. But that took my average pace down to about 4:39 mins/km, and the next few k's were undulating, so I couldn't pick up much pace.

I left myself go on the downhill, and just ran as hard as I could. I obviously gained a lot of time, but the constant, fast, running downhill hammered my legs. I couldn't push much at the end (normally I have a really big sprint), although I still passed a few people. I think this was partly because I paced myself well, and partly because my legs were mashed - I certainly wasn't overly fatigued at the end, just sore!

Apart from running the first part a bit slowly (which was better than running too fast), I paced really well. I passed people consistently throughout the race, and only 1 person passed me. Most people took off to quickly to start with, and I'm glad to have avoided that. I knew I'd beat most people uphill - what surprised me was that I bet most people downhill. People don't know how to let themselves go - although I haven't been specifically training downhills, having a naturally/trained high turnover helps a lot of the downhills.

I finished 35th out of 317 competitors, 31st out of the men. Pretty happy given how I'd been feeling during the week. For anyone who is interested, by AHR was 184, max 192, which indicates that the zones I have been working in have been about right (maybe a little low, but these rates will have been elevated because of the race).

I'll be interested to see how I do in Auckland on a (for the most part) flat course. I'll aim to pace similarly (effort wise), but will head off a little faster than this time. Kate's pretty good at picking how I'll do - she picked sub 1:35 here, and she thinks sub 1:28 for Auckland, which sounds about right.

Now, because I don't have photos, here are some interesting graphs:



Heart Rate distribution (which indicates, apart from the early up and downhills, that I've increased my effort steadily, and there's been some heart rate drift):

And pace (I didn't quite take splits every k, but this gives a pretty good indication of how I paced myself):

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'll have a complete report in the fullness of time; however, suffice to say that was tough! Not just because of the ups, but because the downs mashed my legs!

Here is the elevation profile (generated from my Garmin data), just to prove I'm not a complete pansy/over-exaggerater.

Awesome race. Well organised, and heaps of fun.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feeling really good last week (not so much this week)

I won't bore you with the details - if you're interested in what I've been doing, you can check them out on the Buckeye Outdoors plugin.

Last week was a good training week. For various reasons, I missed a swim (and didn't make it up), but I got everything else done, and I did it well.

I commuted again on Wednesday, and was 5 and 8 minutes quicker respectively for the rides to and from work than I was in June (same HR).

I did a 20 minute high end aerobic interval during the long run on Saturday, and I held 4:24 mins a km, which I'm happy with.

I did a long (longer than I was supposed to, but we had a lot of mucking around) ride on Sunday, and although at times the pace was pedestrian, we did some great climbs, and I did a bit of a TT on the way back home around the waterfront, and I was comfortably holding 35 - 40 km/hr while staying aerobic. See Kate's post for a good run down on the ride.

We did a run some 2 hours later, and I was able to hold sub 5 minute km's while staying easily aerobic.

I am feeling good.

Well, sort of. I felt like I might be coming down with something (and having Dad think it's ok to cough all over the house might not be helping), so I have taken the last couple of days off. We have the Legend Half this weekend (my first stand a long half marathon) and I want to be healthy. Plus, after this week, the hours start building up, so I don't want to risk coming down with something nasty. I'm feeling a lot better today, and will see how I feel tomorrow.

On the injury front, everything seems to be going pretty well. I'm feeling strong.

So touch wood (double, in fact)!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A great couple of weeks' training

Yes, I know, it's been a while (and yes, I know, this post has no photos...).

The last couple of weeks have been grand; it's amazing how much better I feel having had a couple of weeks of injury and illness free consistent training (give or take).

Apart from my left calf going into spasm while running down Old Mill Road (upwards of 20% gradient), the running has been going well, and I've had a couple of 4 hour rides. We also went for an awesome 1:30 run in the Waitakere Ranges on Sunday. Basically ran up a hill for 45 minutes, then came down/up/down a rather technical decent. My legs have been sore for a couple of days since - good sore. It's been a while since we've done a good off-road run, and it's amazing how much harder your legs have to work.

Also, I've been able to play with the Powertap. At the moment, I'm just riding as normal, getting a good idea of the sorts of watts I will normally produce, and what different wattage levels feel like. It's also a little scary how inconsistent my power output is.

I'm currently reading Training and Racing with a Power Meter, which is basically the bible on Power Meters. Once I'm done, I'll do a test to establish my FTP (Functional Threshold Power - essentially, the power I can hold over a 1 hr TT) - you can then use that to work out training zones (which are more accurate than using HR), and can track your training using WKO+. So my training will be the same, and I'll be doing what Paul schedules, but I'll be able to do the workouts more accurately/efficiently, and track my workload much better.

Promise I'll have some pretty pictures soon =)