Welcome to the coldest day of the year in Denver! I don't think we achieved a positive reading on the thermometer today. Fortunately, that gives me an extra bit of time to update this thing. I will run in almost anything, but at this temperature, it really just kinda hurts to breath if you don't wear a mask. If you do wear a mask, then it is only a matter of time before the moisture in your breath soaks the mask through and it freezes to your face. Best to just hit the treadmill, or take a day to rest your legs.
Luckily, we have had a great winter here in Denver. Lots of snow in the mountains, and hardly any to speak of here in the city. Last week was nice enough to ride outside - like 50's and 60's.
The past few months have been relatively relaxed as far as training goes. As I mentioned in my last post, the focus was on strength and some higher intensity efforts, while trying to bring my weight down to last year's race weight.
Generally, I stuck with that plan until just after the new year. On Jan 3 I switched gears to focus more on aerobic fitness and slightly longer sessions. I wanted to get 5 weeks of basic aerobic training and maintain my strength training before base building begins. Next monday marks the beginning of 12 weeks of base building, where time, distance, mileage will all be increasing from week to week. 90% of the work will be at or below my lactate threshold, with a focus on getting as much work in at the "sweet spot" as possible. The sweet spot is just under your lactate threshold. This is the training zone (either HR, pace, power) that can generate a big boost in increasing your speed at lactate threshold.
How do you know if you are training in the correct zone? Well, you need to perform frequent fitness tests in each sport to determine your new lactate threshold. This is exactly what I just did last week. I wanted to see if I had maintained something close to last year's ending fitness levels, as well as establish my training zones for the next few weeks. The results were positive, which I was pumped about, as that validates the theory that you can really cut back in the offseason, as long as you keep enough hard sessions in there. Here is what my tests look like by sport. You can adapt them to make them work for you, but these distances/times for tests can be extrapolated to establish training zones, as they are fairly standard.
Warm up easy 300-500 yards/meters
drill set 200 yards/meters
1,000 yard/meter time trial. As fast as you can.
Cool down to total 2,000 yards for the workout.
I tested with a time of 15:10, which is actually a little bit faster than my last test in 2010, so my technique work is paying off a little bit in the pool.
Warm up for 20 mins easy, but build intensity
3x1:00 fast pedal intervals at easy resistance but >100 rpms. 1:00 recover between intervals
5 mins easy spinning
4 minute VO2 max test - all out as hard as you can for the 4 mins (don't start too hard, you don't want to fade bad at the end).
11 mins easy spinning
20 minute time trial - all out as hard as you can for 20 mins (obviously slower pace than the 4 min test, again don't start out too hard)
Cool down for 20 mins easy.
My last test last year had 298 watts for the 4 minute test and 258 watts for the 20 minute test. The test I did last week was 296 and 251 respectively. Not too bad. To determine your lactate threshold wattage, take your 20 minute test and multiply by 95%. This is roughly the wattage you should be able to hold for 1 hour.
Usually I run a 5K all out and use Jack Daniels (seems ironic, but really, this Jack Daniels is associated with running as opposed to drinking) running tables to establish my training zones (just google it, you'll find it). This year however, I joined the Endurance Performance Coaching multisport club, so I am following Coach Cody Waite's testing protocol. We warm up for about 2 miles, then run 20-30 minutes at your LT heart rate. Check out this link for some instructions on how to calculate this: http://www.epcmultisport.com/blog/2010/11/23/building-a-base/comment-page-1/#comment-412
After you cool down. So, I don't really have a comparison for this, but the idea is that you should see your pace at this heart rate get faster. My pace for my 4 miles went 6:31, 7:21, 7:36, 7:38. Clearly I started out too fast, which was a mistake. My heart rate was very low on the first mile, which can happen. If it does happen, you should go by feel until your hear rate reacts appropriately. The more you do this the better of a feel you will get.
So, that is what I have been doing and how training has been progressing. I'm looking forward to base training and building mileage and fitness. I'm really excited to be on the EPC team too. Two things that have not gone my way is getting to my goal weight, and a lingering hip problem. I've knocked off a few pounds, but still have about 6-7 to go. As for the hip, Jaime thinks she knows what it is, so hopefully her amazing PT skills will get rid of the problem. Luckily it hasn't really caused me to miss too many workouts yet.
A lot to digest, but hopefully it makes sense. Please leave a post if you have questions. I'm not a licensed coach, but I have a decent level of experience, and certainly read and study the approaches to training very diligently. Happy training!