On Saturday I finished the 6 week Sweet Spot I program on Trainer Road (TR). This also marked my being 6 weeks back into training. Here are my thoughts on training so far:
- Really happy with the progress so far, feel like I’m about back to where I was….except for longer endurance stuff, that will have to wait until I’m riding outside.
- It’s time to really pickup the run. I’ve been spoiled training inside where it isn’t -20, but I need to get back to it if I want to hit my goals for this year.
- I love power data! The virtual power on TR has definitely motivated me to push in workouts and I’m working harder on the bike than I ever have before.
- Sunday I completed my 2nd FTP test (my first was the first TR workout) and my virtual FTP jumped from 250 to 289! This is a combination of an increase in fitness, and being so new back into training when I did it the first time that I had forgotten how to really push myself.
- Virtual watts don’t compare to real world watts though, so no sense in comparing with someone who has a power meter. My numbers may be off by as much as 30 watts, but as long as I keep the setup the same I will get consistent readings to track progression.
- So far I’ve done 2 workouts at my new FTP and they both REALLY hurt. Today I did 4x10min at FTP and only hit my power on the final interval. I may roll my FTP back to 285 or 280.
Looking ahead I’m going to use this next 6 week period to develop my bike and run in unison.
- I plan to ride 3-4 times a week, and run 3-4 times a week.
- I’ve moved on to the Sweet Spot Base 2 plan (6 weeks). The plan is 3 rides a week. I will either pick another ride from the ride library, join a group spin, or only ride 3 times a week.
- I want at least 3 quality runs per week. It’s still slippery around here so I can’t too anything too hard. I’d like to get into some interval running, like 4 x 2k hard, 1k easy to get my speed back up. An early season goal is to get back to running just under 4:00 pace on hard intervals.
- I don’t see any runs over 24k in the near (or not so near) future. I’m not running a marathon or doing an Ironman, and think I can get more out of harder runs.
- I may get into the pool sometime in the next couple weeks, but it’s not really a concern of mine right now.
Yesterday I went on my first real run of 2014. My plan was to run 9-10k with 3 1k repeats. I was hoping to hit sub 4:00/km pace for each of my repeats, I wasn’t really concerned about overall time. I started out with 2k easy. I was running about 4:30 pace and felt really good and light on my feet. My first repeat was a net uphill (slightly). I felt like I was moving well, but only managed 4:03. I ran a kilometer easy, then km 4-5 was another hard one. This one was a net downhill. My legs felt a lot free-er this time and I ran a 3:57. My 3rd repeat, from 6-7 was my best. I felt really good and ran 3:51. I’ve learned it can take me a couple hard efforts before I settle into a rhythm and I really feel good pushing it. I decided to cut my run just after 9k because my left achilles tendon was really sore. Not sure what that is about, but I’ll keep an eye on it.
We got dumped on today and for the next couple days I’m sure the sidewalks will be slippery, so I will likely not get in as much running this week as I’d hoped. I want to be getting in 3 solid run workouts per week. These don’t include easy recovery runs or junk miles. Ideally I’d do 1 tempo, 1 interval (until I can get to a track), and 1 longer run. I’m going to continue cycling at least 3 times a week, ideally 4 or 5 times. I’m not too concerned about swimming just yet. Once March hits I’ll make sure I’m swimming twice a week.
I didn’t stay on top of keeping writing about my training on a weekly basis in January so here’s a review of the month.
It’s All About the Bike
In January I rode 30 times in 31 days. Most of my rides were 1 hour, and 28 of them were with Trainer Road. According to my Trainer Road FTP test (which is +/- 30 watts in accurate, but consistent) my FTP Dec 31 was 250 watts, which put me at about 3.2watts/kg. Again, this is likely high, but for as long as I use the same setup it will give me a reading that is consistently off by the same amount, so the numbers can be useful for myself. I spent the month following the 6 week Sweet Spot Base I plan. At the time of writing I have 1 week left, and at that time I will test again. Based on the rides I’ve done I expect my FTP to move closer to 270 watts after my next test.
I really like using Trainer Road. The workouts are structured, and the little virtual power bar keeps me motivated to keep pushing through a workout. The Sweet Spot Base I plan has 3 workouts a week. On days I didn’t have a workout scheduled I’d pick one from the list of options (usually a 60 minute one, but sometimes I’d go for a shorter 45 min workout).
I’m really happy with where my cycling is at. I hadn’t ridden since Muskoka (early September) and I think I’ve got most of my power back (I didn’t have any sort of power last year so I don’t really know). Endurance for the 4+ hour rides is a different story, but that’s not really something I’m interested in working on while I’m riding inside.
I didn’t end up running very much in January. This was a mix of my cycling focus, and poor weather. We had a lot of VERY COLD days, and sidewalks were slippery. I ran 7 times in January. 6 of the runs were at an easy 5:00-5:10/km pace. I did 1 quicker 5k to see where I was at and managed 20:45. I was happy I wasn’t further off my 5k time from October, but still a little disappointed because of the time that I’d lost. As the weather improves into February I will be shifting into more of a run focus that includes a structured plan.
Swimming…..or lack there of
I didn’t get into the pool once in January. I haven’t done a swim workout since August. But…..I’m not too concerned. I will try to get into the pool a few times in February, but I wont really pick it up until March. I plan to do a really heavy swim week (about 20k) sometime then to really focus on my stroke and improving efficiency. I’m also considering working with a coach once a week, or every couple of weeks to improve my technique. Last year I improved my swim, but those improvements had stalled by May and I never really got any quicker. This is where I think a coach can help.