2016 Training: 8 Weeks of Build, Sort of

2016 Training: 8 Weeks of Build, Sort of

The last 8 weeks have been a build phase in my training.  Well, at least that’s what the past 8 weeks were supposed to be.  The reality is that I spent a lot of my time spinning my tires and not really going anywhere.

By the numbers:

  • 121.25 hours of total training
  • 15.16 hour/week average
  • 0 days with no training
  • March 31 was my shortest day, 30 minute easy swim
  • Time spent swimming – 27:59:00
  • Percentage of training time swimming – 23.1%
  • Distance swam – 84,311m
  • Days I swam – 48 of 56
  • Time spent cycling – 68:42:30
  • Percentage of training time cycling – 56.7%
  • FTP Improvement – 5W (325 – 330W)
  • Cycling TSS – 3357.6
  • Time spent running – 21:30:06
  • Percentage of training time running – 17.7%
  • Distance run – 289km
  • Longest run – 30k
  • Highest weekly milage – 59.3k (20.8k was lowest)
  • Time spent doing other exercise – 3:00:00
  • Percentage of training time doing other exercise – 2.48%

2016 Build Training Graph

What I did well:

  1. A couple good run races.  The Achilles 5k I ran an unexpected PB of 16:53, and at the MEC 15k I was happy with my 56:40.  These races came as a bit of a surprise because of my poor run training I’ve done this year to date.
  2. Improved at the Ajax Indoor Tri 2.  In all 3 disciplines I improved from January.  I was especially proud of swimming almost 9% further in the pool this time.
  3. Consistently in the pool.  I was in the pool 48 of 54 days in this block.  Also, I’ve upped my swimming from 1500m to 2000m per swim.  All of this increase has come from stretching out my main set from 500m to 1000m.

What I didn’t do so well:

  1. Manage training load.  This impacted my swim, bike and running over the last 8 weeks.  My 8 weeks were split into 2 phases of 3 weeks hard, 1 week easy.  In both phases my TrainingPeak account is filled with workout notes of bailing out of workouts because my legs were flat.  I felt lethargic, and flat for a lot of workouts.  After taking an easy week I didn’t recover at the start of phase 2 like I should have felt.  This means I loaded up too much fatigue and/or I didn’t recover properly (time between workouts, nutrition, sleep, etc.).
  2. Prioritize running. This goes hand in hand with the point above.  Running, especially if it’s cold and wet, isn’t always the most fun.  I’d pick a ride over a run more often than not.  I averaged about 36k of running per week, and I had 3 weeks with less than 30k.  This is not good enough.  Running is where a triathlon is won or lost, and I need to make sure I’m running regularly.  This includes tempo runs, intervals, and bricks, not just a long run and easy runs.

Plans for race specific training

My first real triathlon of the year is the American Triple T.  It begin May 20.  I want to do well, but the race is a fitness test.  I’m not sure how my body will hold up to the format – Super Sprint on Friday night, two Olympic tri’s on Saturday, and a Half Iron on Sunday.

  1. Work in a big run week.  This is something that wont be difficult, as this first week, and potentially half of next week, I’m without my bike as a crack in the frame gets fixed.
  2. Consistent run workouts.  Even when I have my bike back I need to get in at least 2 run workouts per week.  These are hard bricks, tempos or intervals, that are in addition to long runs and easy runs.
  3. Analyze where I went wrong and begin to create a plan for Maryland.  I have big goals for IM Maryland, and another 8 weeks of lacklustre training in the lead-up to that race wont help me achieve them.  I need to look through my data and try to determine what I can do differently.  I have this block before Triple-T, and then another small block before Tremblant 70.3 to experiment.  I’m considering moving from a 7 day period to a 10 day period where I try to fit in all my key workouts.  Alternatively, I could just tone down the workouts in a normal 7 day cycle.

Other Notes

  • I finally got around to riding High Park.  I did a few loops there on my easy week last week.  It’s not amazing riding, but not bad for riding in the city.  Ellis Road Hill is decent for Southern Ontario, and there’s a good downhill with a bend to practice descending.
  • I’m hoping my 8 year old, second hand Pinarello will be like a whole new steed when I get her back.  I’m having a crack behind the bottom bracket fixed, as well as a full overhaul.  In the 4 years I’ve owned the bike I’ve never done this, and there are a number of parts that are worn out.  Headset bearings are gone, cables are stretched, chainring is worn out, bottom bracket needs replacing.  I’ll be without my bike for about 12 days, but she should return in better condition than she was when I first bought her.
  • I’m beginning to wonder if my Jujube’s on the bike are actually creating a dependance during exercise.  I shouldn’t actually need fuel for a 60-90 minute workout, but I’m finding if I don’t have fuel I’m getting hungry early on.  Something I did merely to break up trainer workouts may actually be doing me more harm than good.  I will experiment with eliminating them from workouts and see how I perform.
  • My Mom became a triathlete!  She completed the Lifetime Ajax Indoor Tri.  This was a big accomplishment for her, and she did great.
Lifetime Indoor Tri 2 – The Third Leg of the Triple Crown

Lifetime Indoor Tri 2 – The Third Leg of the Triple Crown

Sunday was the second Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon of the year at Lifetime Ajax.  My first Indoor Tri was their first race in January.  Unbeknownst to my competitors, it was also the third legs in the GTA Indoor Triathlon Triple Crown!  I had captured the first two legs (Lifetime Indoor Tri 1, and TTC Indoor Tri), but the third and final legs could be the most difficult with local stud Matt Leduc throwing his hat into the ring.


My swim has seemed to have plateaued, and even regressed in the last few weeks.  I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing with my technique, fatigue, or that fact that they’ve cranked the heat in my condo pool so that is resembles a hot tub.  I swam 28 lengths at the first Lifetime race, and I wanted to better that number this time.

The whistle sounded and we were off.  I usually do my first lap a little rich before settling into my pace.  There was a big digital clock on the far wall, so it was easy to see how I was doing when I would turn (I did open turns).  My first lap was 0:35.  After that I held a pretty steady 0:40 per lap.  I felt good in the water and tried to focus on being long and lean.  I was on pace to swim 30 lengths.  At one point I tried to pick it up to see if I could squeeze out another length, but I didn’t end up going any faster.  I tried not to pay attention to any of the other swimmers in the water.  I felt very aware of what my body was doing in the water, and although I was working, I felt very calm.  I was so sure of my pace that when I completed my 30th lap I began to get out of the water without looking at the clock.  The whistle blew just as I was getting out.

10:00 Swim – 30 lengths (25 yards) – 1:29/100m pace

I wouldn’t say the swim was as well organized as last time.  I didn’t hear any of the Lifetime people go over the rules, it seemed like it was assumed we did the race in January and knew everything.  I did do that race, so it didn’t cause any problems for me, but I was surprised by that.


I learned from last time that 10:00 to get to the bikes can fly by.  I quickly showered off with a little soap and cold water, and then was putting on tri shorts and a t shirt, and on my way up to the bikes.  I knew I had to adjust the seat height to 9.5.  I didn’t have to rush, I could organize everything and get settled in before it was time to go.


I wanted to hold at least 350W on the bike (I recalled that the bikes seemed to read a little higher than my PM).  I set that target right from the beginning, and stayed close to it for the entire 30:00.  Mentally I tried to break the ride up in to 5:00 segments.  The room was hot and it wasn’t long before I began getting uncomfortable.  Fortunately I was in a good rhythm, and I didn’t have to adjust the resistance.  Last time I was biking right next to Ryan.  We could see each others screens, and I can’t speak for Ryan, but it made me push harder on the bike.  I didn’t have that this time, and mentally it was more difficult to dig deep.  I was happy to make it to 15:00 at just over 350W, knowing I was half way and just needed to bring it back home.  In the second half I was getting really hot and started squirting some cold water down my back, which helped.  The last few minutes I increased the resistance ever so slightly and pushed that all the way to the finish.

Working on the bike

Working on the bike

30:00 bike – 356W (I think), 13.7mi, 44km/h pace


I remembered from last time that T2 also flies by.  Switching from bike shoes to run shoes and getting downstairs doesn’t seem like much, but last time I was at my treadmill only about 0:30 before the run started.  I tried to be quick.  When I got down to the treadmills it didn’t seem very well organized.  At the last race everyone from one wave ran in a row.  This time everyone was scattered.  I ended up off on my own separated from the main group.  I’m not sure if they gave any instructions because I couldn’t hear anything until they yelled GO.


My goal was to maintain 10.0 on the treadmill.  I didn’t manage to do it last time, but I hoped I was a little fitter now.  About 6:00 in I realized that I was really working to maintain the pace.  I tried to relax and just take it a minute at a time.  I tried to zone out and run, and the minutes kept ticking off.  With 2:00 to go I bumped up my speed to 10.5 and just held on until the finish.  In the end I was exhausted!

Hanging on

Hanging on

20:00 run – 5.35km – 3:44/km


I was happy with how I did.  I managed to improve on my results from January in all 3 sports.  I was most pleased with my run.  I was able to maintain my goal pace throughout, and then push it in the end.  I was surprised at just how fast Matt ran.  In 20:00 he put about 800m into me.  It’s an understatement to say that he is a much faster runner than I am, but 800m is massive, especially after a swim and bike.  At the speed I was running 800m is about 3:00.  In a heads up race I’d need 3:00 off the bike to hope to hold on for the win.