Tempo Tuesday

I've been putting a big focus on heart rate training these days, and my body is really responding to it. I wish I had gotten into it more a long time ago.

I have two main heart rate workouts I'm doing. One is my one hour negative split Tuesday tempo run. I run down the bike path for 31:30 keeping my heart rate at 75% of max. Then I turn around and keep my HR at 90% of max on the way back (8 miles total). It's mostly downhill going out, and uphill coming back. I've done this workout 5, maybe 6 times now and I'm seeing my times improve a lot. Last week and this week were really good, and the weather was identical so I was able to compare workouts. My tempo pace improved by 8 seconds per mile this week. All total my tempo pace has improved by almost 40 seconds over the last 2 months. I'm due for a bad tempo run, but I'm hoping I can get in a few more weeks of improvement before I hit a plateau.

The other workout is my long run. I'm trying to keep my heart rate at 151 (or below) on my long runs. This is to build my aerobic endurance. Sunday my average heart rate was 151 so I finished right on the edge, which is what I was aiming for. If you're wondering where I came up with 151 as the magic number, here's the formula:

1. Take 180

2. Subtract your age

3. Take this number and correct it by the following:

-If you do not workout, subtract another 5 beats.

-If you workout only 1-2 days a week, only subtract 2 or 3 beats.

-If you workout 3-4 times a week keep the number where it is.

-If you workout 5-6 times a week keep the number where it is.

-If you workout 7 or more times a week and have done so for over a year, add 5 beats to the number.

-If you are over about 55 years old or younger than about 25 years old, add another 5 beats to whatever number you now have.

-If you are about 60 years old or older OR if you are about 20 years old or younger, add an additional 5 beats to the corrected number you now have.

For my other runs, I keep my heart rate below 151 also with a few exceptions. I do a recovery run with 3 20-second surges in it and I think my HR creeps up above 151 briefly while doing those. I'm also now doing a hill workout every week (just started last week) and my HR goes up while doing hills, but I take it easy running to and from the hill.

I'm really getting hooked on running these days, and I'm starting to think about spending more time running and less time on triathlon. Maybe it's just a phase, but I'd kind of like to learn more about Arthur Lydiard's methods and see if I can get my mileage up to 100 miles per week. I'm a long way away from that now (35-40 mpw), but I'd love to see if I can do it and how my body would respond to that kind of mileage. It might break me, but then again it might get me to the starting line at Boston.

Speaking of Boston, here's a video of Kara Goucher preparing for this year's Boston Marathon...


Garbage in, garbage out

Eat like crap, and you'll feel (and perform) like crap. Garbage in, garbage out.

I used to eat healthy, very healthy. That was eight years ago.

Now....I've gotten lazy. I think I eat healthier than the average American. I never eat fast food, for example, mainly because it doesn't taste good and makes me feel like absolute crap for the rest of the day, and I don't destroy a bag of Doritos while watching TV. But I haven't been eating like someone training for an Ironman either. I've been taking shortcuts and eating too much processed food.

So I'm going to change my diet and see if that helps me reach new training levels and control my blood pressure (which is still a little higher than I'd like, but lower than last summer).

The new diet starts April 1....

....here's hoping it doesn't end by the 3rd or 4th.


Lovin the long run

Long runs have been good to me this year and I look forward to my long run all week. I struggled on one a few weeks ago, but other than that they've all gone according to plan. I've hit my goals and felt strong on all of them.

For the past 3 Sundays, my long run has been 2 laps of the arb loop. I've b
een getting more and more into heart rate training and monitoring my heart rate during workouts so today I decided to run by heart rate more than pace. Typically, on my long runs I choose a pace and go for it. Today, I had a different plan.

I wanted to run at 80%-82% of my max heart rate the whole time. That proved a little more difficult than I thought it would be with the hills in the arbortetum, but I think I d
id a pretty good job. Here's the HR graph....


Tonight I tried to win an entry into Ironman Wisconsin 2009, and I came very close. My ticket had number 510558 and the winning ticket was 510559.

It wasn't meant to be. So my focus will remain on The Great Floridian and Ironman Wisconsin 2010.


Pain Pays

Saturday was the last of the indoor TTs at SBR. It was a rematch between me and Eric. Last time I chased him the whole time and closed the gap at the end and lost by 6 seconds. This race started out like the last race with him pulling a 100-200 foot gap. I was climbing faster than him, and he was descending faster than me.

I hit a few of the hills pretty hard and closed the gap. Then I attacked the downhills so I wouldn't lose much time and I was able to make a pass and open up a 100 foot gap on the next set of hills. I figured I was in a pretty good spot since the course finishes on a hill...but there's a short descent before that hill.

He closed the gap to under 30 feet on the descent and attacked at the base of the hill and closed within 10 feet. I gave it everything I had and we both stood and sprinted
to the finish line and....

....we tied. Dead even....down to the hundredth of a second.


For setting the fastest time on the hilly course at the team TT, I won a jug of Hammer Heed, a bottle of Hammer Gel, a flask, a gift certificate for SBR Coaching and a gift certificate for Race Day Events. Sometimes it pays to suffer.


But it doesn't always pay...

For those who have been following my blog for more than a year, you may remember that I have a spring tradition of buying a new plant. For normal people, that would mean they now own several plants. I own one.

I would love to own more than one plant, but my track record clearly shows that I'm not ready for the responsibility.

I'm not sure how I cut myself potting a plant, but this proves that my problems with plants begin, and unfortunately do not end, with the potting process.


As for my training plan, I just finished month 2 of my base training. I'm now starting base 3 (4 weeks). That means my volume continues to go higher. Tempo is the name of the game this season, so I'll continue my Tuesday tempo runs and my Wednesday tempo rides (some of these will be bricks). I'm now adding hills on Thursdays. Long ride and run on the weekend, as usual.

I actually repeat base 3 so I'll do two months of this program before moving into the build stage of my training. Then the volume comes down a tad and the intensity goes up again. This is when I'll really start to focus on my mid-summer half ironman (still debating between Door County and Racine) and do a lot more race specific training - more long bricks, more intensity....


Random stuff

Cannondale has signed Chrissy Wellington so the two-time world Ironman champion is now riding a Cannondale Slice. Hopefully this will help give Cannondale a little more presence in the multisports world. The slice is fast, but you don't see many around.

Here's the link to the full story: http://www.cannondalecommunity.com/en/local-news/multisport/default.asp?item=334818


Gold Bike is Missing: (from bikeradar.com)

GT’s intriguing Golden Bike series is set to kick off the first leg of competition at next month’s Sea Otter Classic in the US - but one lucky ‘winner’ may have already taken home the prize.

According to GT marketing man Robb Zbierski, one of the company’s specially finished GT Zaskar race bikes was lost in shipping last month – while the shipping label arrived at the intended destination in an envelope, the bike did not. In addition to the flashy gold paint job on the frame, the bike also features a custom gold finish on the Shimano XTR drivetrain, Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels, and Ritchey bar and stem.

Just as was the case with Lance Armstrong’s stolen – and recovered – one-off Trek Equinox time trial bike, Zbierski is hoping the bike’s distinctive appearance will hamper any potential illicit sale and will lead to a quick recovery.

Nonetheless, GT is offering a US$3000 reward for the bike’s return. If you've seen it, drop GT an email at goldenbike@gtbicycles.com.

**** We accused Robb of shipping nothing but the label as a publicity stunt.


Thelma. My new bike rack arrived today, the Saris Thelma. It's pretty schnazzy. I've had a Saris Bones and didn't like it at all. It was okay with one bike, but two bikes was a little scary because it bounced around a bit and I didn't trust the straps. Plus I didn't like strapping the bikes by the frame because it scratches them.

The Thelma holds the bikes by the wheels so your frame is safe from scratches and it's more secure. I also ordered a hitch so all I need to do now is install it and I'm good to go.

I was debating between a roof rack and the Thelma and the Thelma won for a few reasons. #1 - roof racks are expensive. #2 - I don't trust myself with a roof rack. I'm afraid I would forget my bikes are on top and drive into the underground parking and destroy my bikes. I've also heard they kill your gas mileage. So the Thelma it is. I think I made a good decision.


Looking Ahead

Finally, the weather is warming up, the snow is melting and spring is in the air. People are riding outdoors, running and generally getting back in shape. So what did I do this weekend? I rode indoors.

I did an indoor team time trial Saturday at SBR. Each member of the four person team rode for an hour so it was a tough workout. Two members rode hills and two rode a flat course. I rode hills.

My goal = 280 watt average.

I came close with an average of 275. I weighed in at 171 Saturday so I averaged 3.56 w/kg. I want to average 4.0 w/kg at time trials and to do that I need to get my watts up to 300. Losing a few pounds won't hurt either but I've been struggling to lose weight lately. It's frustrati
ng. If I can get down to 165 and get my watts up to 300 I'll hit my 4.0 w/kg. If I can't lose weight, I need to get my watts up to 310. That's a big jump from 275.

I've got some work to do.

I don't know how my team did yet because the overall results haven't been posted yet, but I was told I set the fastest time on the hilly course so I'm happy with that. The last of the indoor TT series is this Saturday so I have one more day on the trainer.


Sunday I met Jim in the arb for a long run. Those familiar with the arboretum know that it's a fairly challenging 10K loop. There's a fair amount of small hills, which add up to quite a bit of climbing when you do a couple of loops.

I've been having a pretty good year for long runs and Sunday was no exception. We kept the pace fast enough to be challenging, but not so fast we couldn't carry on a conversation the whole time. We ran for 2 hours at an 8:30 pace so we got 14 miles in for the day. I haven't run 14 miles since the Ironman so it felt really good to get in some high mileage, and to have 8:30s for a long run be a conversational pace is really encouraging. I put a lot of work into my running this winter and I feel like it's paying off.

So I decided to set a crazy goal for Crazylegs. I want to break 30 minutes. Last year I ran it in 32:40, which is a 6:36 pace. To break 30 minutes I need to hold a 6 minute pace for 5 miles. I'm not confident I can do that, but it's going to be fun to try. Why not, right?


I've been working on my training plan lately and trying to set some goals for the season and pick my races. It's tough to do because I love to race and I want to race everything. But this year I think I'm going to race less so I can get in more training volume for The Great Floridian. That's my "A" race for the year so I need to stay focused. I'll also pick a half ironman to do in the middle of summer but I haven't decided which one yet. I'm thinking I might do the Door County Half or the Spirit of Racine again.

Or maybe I'll have to do the Rhode Island 70.3 instead.

But right now I'm getting anxious to do some early season duathlons and time trials. And now that I have a goal for CrazyLegs, I need to start focusing on that and working some more tempo runs and track workouts into my program. It's good to have goals....even if they are crazy.


Those pesky details...

Friday I decided to take the afternoon off work and enjoy the weather with a long ride. Having already done a 75 mile ride this year, I figured I'd map out something in that range. Winds were supposed to be from the West, so I decided to head west and enjoy a tailwind on the second half of my ride when fatigue will be sure to set in. I love riding west of town so it seemed like a great plan. Tailwind on the way home...great route.. nice weather...perfect day...right?

Forgotten detail: My 75 miler (a month ago) was intentionally flat. I wanted to do some distance and save the hills for later when I'm in shape. So I rode East.

I grabbed my book of Bombay Bicycle Club routes and found one that was about 65 miles. It started at Elver Park and went out toward Blue Mounds and back. I figured if I left fro
m work, did the route and returned to work I should have about 70 miles. And I love riding around Blue Mounds. Perfect.

(If you're in shape.)

Forgotten detail: Last week I biked 65 miles....for the whole week!

I set out a little after noon with the lunch ride and was wishing I had gone with a different plan. Everyone came out for the ride so there was a big group and I wanted to ride
with them. But I had a route programmed in my gps and a pocketful of Fig Newtons so I stuck with the game plan and kept going straight when the group turned off Raymond Road onto Tawhee. It's rare that I ride with my ipod, but today was one of those days so I turned on my music, enjoyed the warm air and started noticing my legs felt sluggish. Not good.

Forgotten detail: I have never ridden around Blue Mounds this early in the year.

The first half of the ride was into the wind so it was a little slow, but fun. I ran into Mike from Crono Metro and rode with him until Black Earth where his route sent him back to Madison and mine continued on to Blue Mounds.

I hit Mounds Park Road at the halfway point and my legs were tired already. Mounds Park Road has more than 800 feet of climbing and will take you to the highest point in Wisconsin if you chose to finish the climb up into the park (that will give you more than a 1,000 feet of climbing, I believe). I chose not to.

The climb was brutal and I was quickly reminded that I do not have my climbing legs yet. I was struggling. The only thing I had going for me at this point was that one of my favorite songs came on my ipod and I hit the back button when it was over so I had a chance to listen to it a couple of times (it's a 5 minute song).

With Mounds Park Road out of the way, I got to enjoy a very long downhill where I was able to "cruise" at 32 mph for several miles. Very fun.

Forgotten detail: The climb from Midtown to Raymond Road is an 18% grade.

On the way back I realized I routed myself back on Midtown which meant I would have to climb that short, horribly steep hill up to Raymond Road. I was spent, and it was very, very tough.

When I got back to work I grabbed my recovery drink from the fridge and heard, "You look

I was.

One last forgotten detail: Water. I ran out at mile 45.


Yesterday I waited for the rain to stop so I could get my long run in. Around 4 o'clock, the rain let up so I headed out....just in time for it to turn to snow. It snowed the whole time, so I ran in slush for 90 minutes. My feet were soaked and my legs were tired by mile one - still fatigued from Friday's ride. And the wind was brutal and cold. I ran 20 seconds per mile slower than last week. It was one of my worst long runs ever.

Today, my legs ache. I'm tired and sore and I have to swim tonight.

I'm on a mission to make up for my lack of swimming all winter. The most yards I swam in one month last year was about 46,000 so I set a goal of swimming 50,000 yards this month. I'm at 14,600 right now with 3000 planned for tonight.


This weekend SBR is having a team time trial. Each rider rides for an hour. I tried to put a team together, but it fell through so I figured I'd hope for good weather and plan for a long ride. Then Jess at SBR told me one of the guys who does the indoor TTs was trying to put a team together and asked if I was planning on doing the TT. I said I would do it so now I've got an hour at threshold to look forward to...indoors...and the weather is looking pretty good.

But it should be a good test of my fitness.


I don't really feel like blogging, but I haven't posted anything in a while so I thought I'd post some music....