Friday, December 02, 2022

I'm Getting Concerned Now....

This is getting serious! I've started taking notes and putting in some proper planning of my training sessions.  No more making it up as I go along. The key focus is the running, but I'm definitely aiming to keep improving my cycling fitness.

For next few months I'm going to be doing a session of long intervals, short intervals, an easy run and a longer run. Bike-wise... well, I'm probably still going to make that up as I go along.....

So far this week I've completed a good set of six 1-kilometre reps at a good pace beyond target 5k pace and a really good set of one-minute efforts at the fastest pace I've run so far. I've made notes on the paces and distances and have next week's sessions planned and ready to go.

On the bike I rode the Ineos training session with Tom Pidcock on Monday. It was pretty hard work. Wednesday, I tried a group workout riding the ramp FTP test - except it was the lite version and too easy to actually achieve an FTP gain. That set the scene for today's ride. Despite still feeling the aftereffects of yesterday's fast intervals on the treadmill, I was confident I was going to smash it on the full ramp test. The thing about the ramp test is it goes from easy to working hard to oh my god my heart wants to explode really bloody quickly. I slumped off the saddle after I hit the spiral of death at just below 320W. I got the result though. A 7% increase, taking me to an all-time high FTP, 4W above my previous best, from four years ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Feeling it Again

It wasn't intended to be a low volume week, but it turned out that way. That's not to say I didn't complete any decent sessions. I completed the final stage, number six, of the Zwift Tour of Makuri run and ride. The run was easy paced, the ride was medium effort till the last few km - and we can guess which way the intensity headed.... 

I also completed two training session on the treadmill and one on the trainer. The highlight of the week was Saturday, where I marshalled the summit of the Blorenge mountain in the fell race of the same name. It's fair to say the highlight wasn't the standing on the summit in the fierce winds and rain for 45 minutes - that was pretty nasty. No, it was the very short run to it and back from it to the car. I wasn't exactly wearing running kit - three layers plus heavy-duty gore-tex coat and rucksack of extras - but I actually ran it and I felt pretty strong! It feels like the training is working, even if it is highly treadmill based at the moment.

For the first time in years (getting on for a decade), I'm feeling I want to race again and I'm looking forward to powering up the hills once more....

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Focused Training

It's been a week of slightly lesser intensity than last week, despite last week starting light, it ended with a boom. Despite the lower intensity - according to Strava - it's been a solid week. I knocked out both the run and ride stage 4 of the Tour of Makuri on Zwift with easy-ish effort level Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, I ran a short training session of three groups of five 1min reps off 30s recovery. Paced at 108% 5k pace. Realistically I should be faster than that for short reps but my resting heart rate was still a little on the high side and I factor things by that. Friday was a short session on the bike, consisting three ramped efforts, each one longer than the previous. The final effort was hard, requiring me to lift from the seat in order to complete.

Today I really focused in on a session which I used to do many many many moons ago. Six 1km reps at faster than 5k target pace with a 2-minute recovery. I ran the first three at 106% but ramped the last three up to 109% (which was faster than Thursday's short reps!). It felt hard but I think I had more. I'm not quite at the stage where I can really push myself to the limit but that will come in time. (I've no trouble doing that on the bike, so it's just a confidence thing, having deteriorated so far with my running). Anyway, of all the session I used to do, this was the one I used to really target the 5k.

I finished off the day's training with stage 5 of the Tour of Makuri on the bike and ended up riding harder than the recovery ride it was meant to be. I didn't get competitive - well, not until the last kilometre - but I had to ride a bit harder than intended to stay in the pack. Eventually I got dropped and rode in with another rider until the last k - when stupidly they went for it, and I couldn't help myself....

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Reaching New Highs

It's been a good weekend of training. Yesterday I rounded out the Zwift Tri-Academy Run with a decent 30-minute finish run. My legs weren't fresh after the last couple of days training, but I managed a solid, ramped pace. Up next was a steady ride, stage three of the Tour of Mukuri Islands ahead of today's Zwift Tri-Academy Ride - except I got overly excited coming into the last ten to fifteen minutes.

I was riding in a decent little group with good speed, all set to complete the stage at an average of 80-85% FTP and then it went a bit wrong. The group broke apart as several of the riders went off the front and before I knew it, I was chasing, overtaking and leaving them to eat my dust as I powered my way to the finish, claiming a new 10-minute power average PB by +9 Watts. It wasn't supposed to be that way....

Anyway, back to today. I wasn't sure if I should wait a day before completing the Tri-Academy finish ride but in the end, I decided to go for it. Midway through the 25-minute ramped ride in, I wasn't sure I'd made the right decision. I was finding it hard and the power was an average of 5 watts or so lower than during yesterday's ride - and it felt easy yesterday (before the last ten of course). Anyway, it was too late to cancel so, after the 25-minute section and a 60 second recovery, it was game on.

I have no idea where it came from because I really did feel knackered but for that 5-minute max effort free ride I managed to hit an average of 259W which is +5W on my all-time best effort, not just the comeback. Happy with that! I rounded out the day with an easy 6.7km on the treadmill, ticking off stage 3 of the Run Tour of Makuri Island. From what was a low-key start to the week's training, it's definitely finished on a high note. Rest day tomorrow....

Friday, November 11, 2022

Lower Intensity

So, since last week I've taken things a bit easier. I completed the third of the Zwift Tri-Academy ride and run workouts early in the week, with an easy run and ride before that, on the weekend. My resting heart was unexpectedly high Monday and Tuesday, far higher than I'd expect from the training and I did have a few sniffles, so I put that down to fighting off a bit of a cold. It explains why I found the Tri-sessions harder than expected. Anyway, my resting heart rate was heading back to normal Wednesday night, so I let the handbrake off for a virtual group run and ride Thursday. I particularly enjoyed the ride, where I really ramped up the effort on the climbing finish and gained a ton of places. Rounded things out with a medium effort run and solid row today. There'll be more of the same on the weekend. 

Friday, November 04, 2022

Inside Twenty-Five

Hot on the heels of Sunday's little milestone, I broke 25 minutes on the treadmill for the 5k tonight. Run with my now usual 2%incline. It's been a decent week so far. A pair of Zwift Tri-Academy training sessions on foot and saddle, a solid 60-minute group ride yesterday and tonight's run. I was feeling good and decided it was time to do it. I set off slightly under pace but soon nudged the pace up. Little by little. Gauging it nicely, heading home just inside the cut off, in 24:53. I can't say it was easy, but neither was I on the limit. There's more to come...

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Another Little Milestone

Okay, it was racked up on the treadmill, but today was my first non-stop 10k of running so far. I didn't exactly pelt it along, but I did run with a 2% incline to give some compensation to it being on the treadmill. I did also increase the pace little by little throughout but never really got to anything approaching fast. Every day is about making a small gain here, a small gain there, here a gain, there a gain, everywhere a gain again... drifted off on one there, for a moment. Those small gains will eventually sum to a big one.

Things are all still on track and more importantly, I'm still mad keen for it. And for the record, training since Wednesday has been a row and recovery ride, the first run session of the Zwift Tri-Academy, a hilly ride and some cardio yesterday and today's run, of course. More Tri-Academy coming up this week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Broke The 3k Barrier

I was close last week, at 2.9k for the 15-minute run section of the duathlon. This week it was time to break that barrier. I didn't spare anything for the run, exactly matching last week's average power on the 35-minute ride. So, I was pleased when I did, in fact, break the 3k barrier. Overall, I scored 5 more points than last week, but with 30% less runners and riders, didn't quite make the top half. There's always another chance in the spring, when we get to do it all again....

Training wise, it's been a medium effort since last week's virtual duathlon. Two runs, three bike sessions and a 5k row. I was mindful of tonight's final duathlon, so wanted to come in with fresh-ish legs but still needed to log some decent training. Coming up over the next three weeks, I'm taking to the Zwifts Tri-Academy training plan, which I kicked off with the first bike session on Monday. The first run session should be Friday, all being well.

Going to feel at a bit of a loose end come next Wednesday...

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

More Than Enjoyed That....

Been waiting all day for it....  The Zwift Duathlon League race three. How bloody sad am I? - Don't answer that.

I took a complete training rest day yesterday in preparation. I was in determined mood and went for it. No holds were barred. Beforehand, I looked up my average power from last week and set this week's effort above and beyond throughout. That rewarded me with a big fat FTP increase of 3% or 6W. Then quickly off the bike and onto the treadmill. Again, I looked out my average pace from last week and from the gun set my pace a little higher.

As to the results, I very nearly, only a few places off, almost made the top half of my age category. Scoring 3.5% more points than last week. More than happy with that. Going to be hard to top that in the final race of the series next week.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Nothing If Not Consistent

It's been more good training this week. Up Wednesday was the second race of the Zwift duathlon race series and I managed to score an impress extra point as compared to last week's score. I was down on the ride, my legs were not feeling fresh, so I was surprised to make up those lost points plus one extra on the run. I might try and factor my rest day in for Tuesday next week, so my legs will be slightly fresher for race number three.

Friday was a good interval session on the 'mill. Above target 5k pace by 45s for 1 minute, laddering down to above target pace by 15s, for 2 minutes 30 and back up again. I set the pace +5% and the incline to 3% to really drive the effort. It was hard but maybe even then I had some more in me. I know the treadmill isn't like real running, but it really focuses me to complete whatever session is in front of me and although not real life, on every session I seem to go a little longer or a little faster - or a bit of both.

Today was a double header. Five 800m reps at ever increasing pace, starting just below 5K target pace for the first one, before hitting +15s above target pace, up to +25s above target. My legs, again, weren't fresh - getting to be a theme, and I know I need to have rest but I'm just so damn keen. Keener than I've been in ten years! I'm monitoring my resting heart rate as an indicator of fatigue and while it's staying level, I'm cracking on. After the run came a 35-minute recovery ride, albeit with five to ten minute of solid climbing effort in the middle, it was mostly lower intensity though.

Probably going to be more tomorrow (we all know that's going to be definitely more tomorrow) ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Too Easy...

It was Zwift Academy 2020 workout 5 tonight and it was too easy. I set the treadmill to 3% to make it harder but it was still too easy. I didn't want to increase the pace as I wasn't sure if I'd struggle in the latter stages but in the end it didn't push me. It's definitely a sign I'm getting there. This session would've been hard going a month ago. Going to repeat with a 5% pace increase and see how it goes (but not tonight).

After breaking 26mins for the treadmill 5K on Saturday (with 2% incline), a good 70 minute recovery ride Sunday and a return to the Concept 2 for 20 minutes of steady rowing yesterday, I feel that the 25 minute 5k is almost here - and I mean a real one, not some trumped up treadmill effort!

Looking forward to tomorrows Zwift duathlon...

Friday, October 07, 2022

Academy Accomplished

After Wednesdays virtual duathlon and yesterday's hill reps I was expecting my legs to feel the worse for wear. Happily, I felt okay. Not exactly fresh but not too bad so I decided to attempt the finish ride and see if I'd made any improvement. I was confident I would beat my base ride. And beat it I did. Although I was a little disappointed with the improvement on the long segment, only making a 7% improvement, verses the 14% gain on the sprint and 16% on the medium. Overall, I'm happy. It's all still heading in the right direction...

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Racing Again... Virtually...

Tonight was the start of a four race Zwift duathlon race series taking place over the next four weeks. Ride as far as you can in 35 minutes. Followed by a ten-minute transition to switch across to the treadmill. Then run as far as you can in 15 minutes.

After volunteering to clock 10000 steps a day, Monday to Thursday, for a work thing, my legs weren't feeling entirely fresh. I haven't been exactly pelting it on the treadmill to get the job done, but I have been doing it on a gradient to get some benefit. I can safely say, the legs are feeling even less fresh right now. Suffice to say tomorrow's planned Academy Finish ride is getting pushed back to Saturday, to leave me a rest day Friday.

Back to tonight's race pair and the start of the ride was less than optimal. I was merrily pedalling along in the start pen to get warmed up and, being on the trainer, didn't pay attention to the fact I was in the small front ring - ooh, er, matron! The race started, I cranked up the effort, realised I was in the small, changed to the big - and subsequently took the chain off. Cue 30s of faffing, off the bike, chain back on, me back on and away. That put me dead last but at least I had some rabbits to chase - and chase I did. I went at it hard, not sparing the legs for the run and sustained over 200W for the 35-minute ride. For my effort I triggered another FTP rise. Up by 4W (2%). Pleased with that. what with my less than fresh legs.

Without much pause for thought I was off the bike and onto the treadmill, setting things to run mode, and then ready for the off. I say ready, my legs were feeling a bit wobbly, but a few minutes of walking before the start helped. And before I knew it, it was time for the run.

It was a good run, but overall, I should have had more faith in how the trainings been going. I underestimated my pace and although I steadily increased my pace throughout, I finished with far too much left. I should have had more confidence and set the starting pace higher. I will not make the same mistake next week.... oh, I forgot to say, the racing... I bloody loved it!

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Rest Day Tomorrow...

Training continued to pick up after a slow start to the week to end on a high note. Thursday was good, and for me, very quick short reps. Friday was a short blast on the bike with good power sustained for the duration. Yesterday was another session on the treadmill, workout number four of the 2020 Zwift academy. I knew I was working. It was hard but I stayed focused and was able to slightly increase the pace for the second set of two. And finally, today was the final workout of this year's Zwift academy on the bike. It was another solid session but maybe didn't quite push me as hard as it should have. A sign I'm still improving? Well, I guess we'll see if that's true after the finish ride, which I'm looking to do midweek.

Oh, and I almost forgot, because I had a bit left after the bike session, I decided on a cheeky treadmill race of 7.4km - that's a new Olympic distance category in case you were wondering - not. I wasn't really racing but it's good to have some rabbits to chase. After a hiccup at the start, namely, the grocery delivery turned up, I set the treadmill to my target pace and started chasing. Little by little I inched the pace up. Inch by inch I ran my rabbits down and managed to complete the last 5k in 26:40 which is over a minute up on my 5k marker of a week or two ago. And for the record, I used my now standard 2% incline to match outside effort more closely (or so they say).

I feel I'm making really good progress. I've still a long way to go but as I complete each session, I feel a little fitter, my pace a little faster, with more endurance and more power on the bike.