A Coaching Offer

Half the fun of triathlon for me is putting together my training plan.  I love reading about training - the different methods, the great coaches, the science, the studies, etc.  In fact, I enjoy that side of the sport so much I've been thinking about getting into coaching for a couple of years now. With my focus being on the Olympic distance for 2013 I'll be scaling back my training hours so I think the time is right to give it a go.

Obviously, a coach needs athletes so I'm looking for a couple of athletes to coach for 2013.  The cost is $35 per month.

What you get:

- A customized annual training plan built around your goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
- Weekly workouts
- Feedback/workout analysis
- Power file analysis (if you have a power meter)
- E-mail/phone support
- "A" Race plan - help with nutrition plan, pacing, goals, etc.
- TrainingPeaks Premium subscription

What I want from you:

- To follow the plan.

- Feedback.

Why $35 per month:

- Even as a TrainingPeaks ambassador, the coaching edition won't be free for me so I'll have some fees associated with coaching.
- I believe people take training plans/coaching more seriously if they're paying for them.

What type of athlete am I looking for:

- Someone motivated. Despite the low cost, I would like athletes who are serious about making improvements.
- Someone willing to follow the plan and provide feedback. This is a test to see if I can coach others to hit their goals, and the test is no good if athletes don't follow the plan.  

- Preferably someone training with power and/or gps, although this isn't a must. 

Are you interested?

- If so, shoot me an email at mdwolfgram146 at gmail dot com.
- Include a little about you, your racing/training history, your goals/races for 2013 and if you train with power and/or gps.
- I'll pick a few people that I think will be a good fit and we'll go from there.  To start, I only want a couple of athletes. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

I hope I covered everything.  If you have any questions, email me. 



Planning 2013

I've been itching to do a season focused on short course racing since 2009, and with me not getting a Kona slot and  USAT recently announcing that Age Group Nationals will be in Milwaukee in 2013 and 2014,the timing is right to change directions.  So 2013 is all about Olympic distance racing with no Ironmans on the schedule.

For those unfamiliar, Olympic distance is a 1500m swim (.9 miles), 40K bike (24.8 miles) and a 10K run (6.2 miles).  For me, that means racing hard for 2-2.5 hours.  It also means I'll be able to race a lot more which I'm very excited about.  I love to race.  

I've been so focused on Ironman the past few years I didn't notice all the other options out there.  Planning 2013 began with research - Rev3, Age Group Nationals, 5150, Hy-Vee, Lifetime, Best of the U.S., etc.  Lots of big races out there to shoot for.

I haven't been this excited about a tri season since 2008.

My season isn't set in stone, but so far it looks like this:

3/30 -  Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon - Lexington, KY
4/27 -  Crazylegs Classic 8K - Madison, WI
5/5 -    Rev3 Olympic - Knoxville, TN
5/19 -  Beloit Duathlon - Beloit, WI
6/1 -    Lake Mills Sprint Triathlon - Lake Mills, WI
6/8 -    Capital View Olympic Triathlon  - Madison, WI 
6/23 -  Muskoka Olympic Triathlon (5150 Champs Qualifier) - Huntsville, ON Canada
7/6 -    Janesville Sprint Triathlon - Janesville, WI
7/14 -  Lifetime Fitness Olympic Triathlon - Minneapolis, MN
8/10 -  Age Group Nationals Olympic Triathlon- Milwaukee, WI
9/1 -    Hyvee Olympic Triathlon 5150 Championships - Des Moines, IA
10/13- Rev3 Half Ironman USAT Long Course Championships - Anderson, SC

My key races will be Age Group Nationals and the Hy-Vee race.  I'll also find a few more local races to fill my schedule and will do some of the MATTS time trials, some aquathons, 5Ks, etc.

Right now the tentative plan is to focus on Olympic distance this year switching to more of a half ironman focus next year finishing with a late-season Ironman.  I really liked the late season Ironman, but I don't see myself returning to Cozumel anytime soon so that leaves Florida, Arizona or Western Australia.  We'll see how this season goes first.  I may have so much fun I decide to stick with Olys and halfs.        




I'm A TrainingPeaks Ambassador

The official announcement came out a few weeks ago, but with Ironman Cozumel and traveling to Mexico I haven't had a chance to write about it until now.  I was selected to be a 2013 TrainingPeaks Ambassador.  

Those who know me or have been following my blog for a few years already know this is the perfect team for me.  I've been using their software, both WKO+ and TrainingPeaks.com, for several years now.  In fact, when they announced they were taking applications for 2012 and again for 2013, several friends forwarded it to me saying it was perfect for me.  I applied both years and made the cut for 2013. 

As an ambassador I'll be sure to pass on any news about new TrainingPeaks features, webinars, good blog posts, deals, etc.  I'm also planning on doing a few blog posts throughout the year showing some ways to utilize TrainingPeaks to plan your training and analyze workouts.   

If you're a TrainingPeaks user, I hope I can be a resource for you.  Don't hesitate to ask questions.  If you're not a TrainingPeaks user and would like to give it a try, contact me and I'll help you out. mdwolfgram146 at gmail dot com.

I'm looking forward to being part of a team after flying solo in 2012.



Welcome Home

Mondays view.

So the trip to Cozumel was rough and the race was rough but now I was on vacation and surely that would be easy....right?

Monday was good.  There was plenty of sunshine and I spent a good part of the day sitting in a chair on the beach.

The beach at the resort (Iberostar)

Courtney and I on the beach.

I used a lot of sunblock, but still got burned on race day...

My sunburn.  My neck is torn up from my swimskin. 

My neck from my swimskin.

Tuesday and Wednesday were rainy days.  We wanted to go snorkeling and kayaking but ended up doing a lot of reading instead.  Very disappointing...

Rainy day.

Then came Thursday.  The sun returned and it was a nice day, or so I'm told.  I was in the hotel room with food poisoning.

Food poisoning has to be the worst form of illness.  I must have vomited 50 times.  It was unreal.  I spent about 6 straight hours in the bathroom.  You do learn a few things when you have food poisoning though...

1. Chocolate ice cream tastes the same going down as it does coming up.
2. There are times in life when death is very appealing.
3. You know your vacation has gone to hell when you find yourself with your face buried in a toilet begging for diarrhea. 

"I need a favor."
"I need you to kill me."
"I'm not going to kill you."
"Yes.  I'm ready."

Despite my requests, Courtney decided to spend the day on the beach instead of bludgeoning me to death.

After about 3 hours in the bathroom vomiting I found myself begging the gods of food poisoning for diarrhea.  Pleaaaaaase....let's change gears and empty the bottom half of my system.  That has to be better than this. 

But the gods of food poisoning misunderstood my request.  "Oh...you want diarrhea too?  Done."  

Not in addition.  Instead.  

Now I found myself in the bathroom taking inventory of my resources.  I have a toilet, an ice bucket, a waste basket and a shower.  I can make this work.

Six hours after it started, I vomited up a little bit of blood and thought that had to be the end.  There isn't anything left.

And that was it.  It was 3 pm and I crawled into bed and fell asleep.  If I stayed still, I was comfortable.  If I moved, I got goosebumps and started shivering.  Still better than my 6 hours in the bathroom.  I stayed in bed until Friday morning when I felt good enough to eat a very small breakfast.  Then we had to check out and head to the airport.

Our flight left early.  It's the first flight I've ever been on that left early.  

Message received, Mexico.  You don't want me.

We made it home at 11 pm to a pile of cat puke on the bed.  Welcome home.  

The culprit....Calvin.


Race Report: Ironman Cozumel

Ohhhhh......where to begin?

If you followed my progress online, you probably know this wasn't the race I was hoping for.  Honestly, I'm not that disappointed.  It is what it is.  I wanted a better race, but went in with the attitude that this just another part of the adventure that is triathlon racing.  Adventures don't always mean PRs, and not qualifying for Kona means lots of possibilities for next year...more on that in a future post.

The adventure began Friday morning.  We were flying in last minute planning to stay a few days after the race to vacation.  We were to arrive in Cozumel at 1:30pm and had to make it only a few miles to the convention center downtown to pick up my packet by 6pm.  No packet pick up on Saturday.

I figured Black Friday would be an easy day to fly and it appeared that way at first.  We went from the car through check in, security and to our gate in 15 minutes.  Easy peasy.  We boarded the plane and then....nothing..

We just sat there and then they shut down the plane.  Then they told us they were having mechanical problems and we had to de-plane.  

We went to the counter to find out our options and were told our connecting flight in Dallas was our only hope of making it to Cozumel today. The problem with flying on Black Friday is that there aren't many flights so if they need to rebook you, there are very few options.

Being a holiday, the maintenance man was on call so they had to call him in....and he's old, real old, and lost his sense of urgency about 100 years ago.  Talk about frustrating.  We eventually made it to Dallas on time, but it sure was stressful.  We made it to Cozumel and everything went pretty smooth from there.

The Day Before:

Testing out the new swimskin at the practice swim on Saturday.

I went to the practice swim the day before and the water was very, very rough.  They had most of the course closed and would only let us swim by the pier.  I went out for a short swim and had fun, but could feel myself getting seasick from the swells (I get seasick....can you see where this is headed?).  

Later in the day was bike dropoff.  The transition area is weird.  Bikes everywhere and I had a transition spot that was almost as far from the bike exit as you could get.

The transition area is very spread out.

My bike in T1.  Ready to roll.

Race Day:

The Swim:  1:20

It was windy and the water was really rough.  I got in the water pretty early so I could get a spot toward the front.  The current was pushing us back and we had to swim breast stroke the whole time to keep from getting pushed back to the pier.  The swim start was really weird.  It was confusing and there was a false start.  They kept trying to push us back and eventually someone on a jetski started flying back and forth in front to keep us back, which was a little crazy.  I thought someone was going to get killed. 

Athletes on the pier about to get in the water.

There was a lot of contact at first, like always, but things thinned out pretty quickly due to the rough conditions.  I felt like I was swimming well and toward the front of the field.  My swimskin was chafing the right side of my neck and the salt was beginning to burn.  We rounded the corner buoys and headed the other direction. The current was giving us a push, but it was also pushing us toward shore.  It was rough, but I felt like I was off to a good start. 

About halfway, I was beginning to feel sick.  It was the swells getting to me, and I had swallowed some salt water (apparently the water down there has a very high salt content).  Once we turned the corner again and were back against the current, I felt horrible.  My mouth was watering telling me I was probably not going to make it to shore before vomiting.  I felt weak and tired.  Progress was slow.  I wanted out. I was beginning to wonder if I could make it to shore.  I looked up a few times and couldn't see the pier or any volunteers.  Where were they?  I was beginning to feel a little panicky.  I was weak and sick and there were no kayaks or paddle boards anywhere close.  I told myself to calm down and that I was a strong enough swimmer to make it to shore despite how I was feeling.   This was no longer about PRs or Kona or even racing.  I was in survival mode (it's funny how feeling sick makes you feel like you're going to die). 

I eventually saw a paddle board and motioned for him to come over.  As soon as he got there I vomited.  Then again.  And again.

"Do you speak English?"  he asked.
"Si."  (I'm a moron)

I hung on the board for a while and wondered if there was an easy way back to shore.  "Don't worry.  You have plenty of time.  You can finish."  

Finish?  I don't care about finishing.  I want out of the water...NOW.  

"The end is right there."  He pointed to the pier.  It was a lot closer than I thought.  I figured I could finish off the swim, find Courtney and tell her I'm sick and can't continue and then we'll head back to the hotel and get cleaned up and watch the rest of the race.  

Instead I grabbed my T1 bag and put on my helmet and race belt.  I grabbed my bike and started heading out of T2.  I finally saw Courtney and told her I was sick and not sure I could finish.  She said I was as white as a ghost.  We decided I would do one loop of the bike to see the course and then I'd call it a day. 

Me spotting Courtney in T1.

The Bike:  5:58

I went out easier than I had trained for.  Even though the plan was to do one loop, I immediately started following my nutrition plan hoping I would be able to complete the bike.  My only hope, I figured, would be to follow my plan.  Not following the plan was a guarantee I wouldn't finish.  I vomited a couple more times on the bike, but otherwise was able to hold down my nutrition and water and was beginning to feel better.  I was riding 'easy' but making good time and passing a lot of people.  One lap turned into two.

Heading out for another loop of the bike.
 At the halfway point, my average speed was 22.6 mph.  I was feeling okay, not great, but good enough that I was starting to think about the marathon.  I was wishing I'd had a better swim and could ride to the power I had trained for, but this was looking like it still might be a decent day.  

Then I got a flat.  Perfect.  I fixed it and got another one right away so that one is probably my fault.  As soon as my tire went flat again I realized I didn't do a good job checking my tire for sharp objects and that there was probably something in my tire.  I only had one tube so I couldn't fix my tire.  I was on the edge of town so I didn't have too far to walk back to T2, but I stalled hoping a support car would come by with a tube for me.  Nope.  Nothing.

I was far enough from T2 that I didn't want to walk in my bike shoes, but the blacktop was really hot and I wasn't wearing socks.  I began to wonder what it would take to convince a spectator to give me their socks for my walk back to transition.  Just then someone asked if I wanted his tube and CO2.  He said he didn't make the swim cutoff.  Sure.

So that got me back on my way.  There was no salvaging my time anymore so I rode easy and enjoyed the scenery.  The beaches and water on the South side of the island, where the winds are, were amazing.  I figured that's where the really good diving must be.  

About halfway through loop 3 I saw two riders down, one laying in the middle of the road with his bike on top of him and the other laying on the side of the road.  I decided to stop and help.

I directed traffic away from them and pulled his bike off him.  "Are you okay?" I asked.  

"No, I separated my shoulder."
"Me too." The woman on the side of the road yelled.  It sounded like they were competing on injuries.  I expected him to one-up her by claiming his leg was broken too.  Would she yell "mine too" if he did? 

Not long after I stopped, help arrived. I tried to explain that I didn't see what happened and that I only stopped to help.  The guy who showed up didn't speak English and after a little time explaining I didn't see anything I began to wonder if I was convincing him I didn't have eyes.  Something was definitely getting lost in translation.  He looked very confused and was pointing at his eyes.  "No?"  "No.  I'm going to go now."

I figured the rest of the loop was sure to be uneventful, but I got another flat with 5 miles left.  Seriously?  (I saw a lot of flat tires out there).  I immediately began walking to T2.  I didn't make it far when someone stopped and offered me a tube and CO2.  He told me he was way too under-trained to finish the race but would feel bad if he quit so he was planning on missing the bike cutoff.  I got my tire fixed and soft pedaled my way to T2.  

Again I found Courtney and explained why loop 3 took so long.  My stomach felt better than this morning, but was still bothering me a little.  I was afraid running was a sure way to GI problems. Like the bike, we decided one loop of the run course to see the course made sense.  

T2.  What can I say?  It's not my day.
 The Run:  3:26.

I started the run easy, just taking in the sights and sounds.  The crowd support on the bike is pretty minimal, but not on the run course.  The crowd was big and loud.  By mile 2 my stomach didn't feel any better, but not any worse either.  Then I asked myself, "Do I really want to be the guy who quits just because things aren't going my way, because things got difficult?"


I checked my watch. I was running an 8:35 pace.  I took a salt pill and grabbed some Pepsi and stepped up the pace.

As I came back into town at the end of loop one the crowd was huge.  There was a marching band and the crowd had taken over the street giving us a narrow path to run through.  The band was loud and the crowd was giving high fives and yelling "vamos!"  (Go).  At the end of the loop I saw Courtney on the side of the road.  

"I can't quit." I yelled and turned for loop 2.  There's no quitting in Ironman.

They hand out bags of water, which were great.  I wish they'd do that in the US.  They're 8 ounces and you bite off the end and squeeze the water in your mouth.  It's a lot easier than cups. Sometimes the bags get dropped and someone steps on them and they break open and spray someone directly in the face.  I giggled like a schoolgirl every time that happened.  It wasn't them getting sprayed so much as the startled/confused look on their face when it happened.  Priceless.

The bags of water they hand out on the run.  250 ML.
I enjoyed the run.  The crowd support was great and my stomach was holding up despite all the Pepsi I drank.

I set a PR on the run and felt like I could have run faster if I'd had to.  Not much, but a few minutes, so that was encouraging.  I crossed the finish line in 11:02...in the dark.  It was well off the pace I had trained for and no where near a Kona slot, but that's okay.  Despite the challenges, I didn't quit and I'm proud of that.  

It's all part of the adventure that is triathlon racing.

The run course as the sun was setting.

The finish line. 



A Quick Update Before Cozumel

I thought I'd give a quick update on my training before I leave for Cozumel tomorrow (yeah, last minute).  

My training was quite a bit different from my Ironman build the past couple of years.  I typically hit 20+ hours on my peak weeks, and for Wisconsin this year I topped out at over 30 hours on my solo MN training camp.  For Cozumel, I maxed out at 17 hours.  Intensity was higher, but overall hours were lower and so was my weekly TSS.  It makes me a little concerned about my endurance, but I wanted to try something different.  

Despite lower volume, I still did some big workouts.  Three 5-hour rides, a 20-mile run, long swims, a 70-mile/16-mile bike/run brick, etc.

Some bike highlights:

I set a PR on one of my all-time favorite threshold workouts- Spinervals Timetrialapalooza. 

I got in some high intensity, a workout I haven't done in years - Spinervals Suffer-o-rama. 

I cracked in the last 45' interval on this ride, but still got in 5 solid hours.  

For the first time in 2 years I was able to put in a solid block of running.  My knee appears to finally be 100%.  I never ran faster than 5K pace (other than some 20-second striders once a week), but the past two years my training has included almost no running faster than a 7:00 pace because my knee couldn't handle it.  I changed things up and started following Daniels Running Formula and as a result, I took 25 seconds off my 5K PR.  Some highlights:

A very solid M-pace run.

A good T-pace run.

Another good M-pace run.

Lake Geneva Turkey Trot - 3rd OA, 1st AG - Course was long, but I FINALLY ran a sub-6 pace (been chasing that for 4+ years).

 As for swim training, I did several 4x1000 workouts at a 1:25 per 100 yard pace.  My best ever is 4x1000 @ 1:24 pace and I've only done that once so I'm not far off that.  

Overall, I feel like my training was pretty solid.  The big surprise was my running which improved weekly.  Typically, I'm all about the bike when approaching an Ironman but this time around I can't wait to get off the bike and run.  

One of the biggest changes in my training this time around was mental.  I was very relaxed about it all.  I didn't put any pressure on myself to hit any pace or power goals.  I took rest when I wanted/needed it.  I never thought about a Kona slot.  I just had fun with it.  I still used training stress and the performance management chart in TrainingPeaks, but I didn't obsess over the numbers as much.  I think I found a good mix of training by feel and training by the numbers.

As a result, I'm going into Cozumel with a very different attitude than Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, I put pressure on myself to qualify.  I had to or the race was a failure.  That's a bad attitude.  This is supposed to be fun, an adventure.

So this time around it's all about fun.  I just want to have fun, race hard and push my limits.  If that gets me a ticket to the big island, great.  If not, there are a lot of other races out there I'd like to do (I've been itching to focus on short course for a few years so maybe I'll go that route). 

I'm well into race week and feeling much better than I did in race week before WI.  My taper has been a lot different.  It's a shorter taper, but has included a lot more rest. Menally, I wasn't ready to race Wisconsin.  My legs were really sluggish race week and I was wishing I had more time to recover.  This time around I can't wait for the gun to go off Sunday.  I feel good and am itching to test myself.  I hope that means I have a good race headed my way. 

For anyone interested in tracking me, my number is 2404.  You can go to www.ironman.com and then click on coverage and select Ironman Cozumel.  They're in the central time zone.  Race starts at 7 am.

We're staying at the Iberostar.  I can't wait to get there.





A Cozumel Training Update

So far I’m two weeks into my Cozumel training.  I had three weeks of easy training/recovery and now I’m well into my first build cycle.  I thought I’d write an update and talk about how it’s going and some of the changes I’ve made.

Intensity – I cut my hours and cranked up the intensity and so far I'm loving it and responding very well.  I guess I needed a change.  Typically I’ve spent a lot of time riding tempo on the bike and now I’m doing a lot more threshold and above threshold work.  Last Tuesday I did one of my staple threshold workouts, the Spinervals Timetrialapalooza DVD, and hit numbers I’ve never really come close to before.  This DVD has always been a good indicator of threshold for me (the average power of all 4 intervals combined is usually very close to my FTP) and this workout indicates my threshold is up about 10 watts to 310.  I've also done some very high intensity work.  I’m being careful with the running intensity.  My hard workouts aren’t super intense, but they’re a lot more intense than anything I’ve done in the past two years.  I’ve basically been racing on all easy base miles since 2010.  Now I’m doing striders once a week and one workout that’s either long M-pace or a 20’ T-pace interval.  No track workouts yet.  My swimming isn’t as strong as it was early in the year so I have some work to do there, but I’ve cranked up the intensity there as well. 

Core – I’m hitting the core work hard.  Hopefully this will help with my swimming, but it should also help with my running because I think weak core/hamstring/glute muscles caused my injury and have been the cause of all my hip flexor issues.  Mainly the core work is injury prevention and to help me maintain better form in the pool. 

Efficiency – Since I don’t have a lot of time to build fitness, and a lot of what I’m doing is trying to get back to peak fitness, I’m putting a lot of emphasis on efficiency.  I figure if I can be just a little more efficient and put more energy into forward motion, that could make a big difference over 140 miles.   I’m working on running form/cadence.  Prior to working on cadence, my natural running cadence was about 82.  Now I’m averaging 88 on my runs and my legs feel better and I’m running faster on less effort.  I’m putting a lot of emphasis on swimming form as well to improve my efficiency there, and I’m also working in more efficiency training on the bike such as one-leg drills and high cadence spinning on my recovery rides.  It’s too early to say if I’m gaining anything or if I will gain anything.  I figure it can’t hurt so I might as well give it a go.

Diet – I'm going to write up another post on that because I've made a few changes and don't want to make this post too long.  So far I'm 7 or 8 pounds lighter than I was at my IMWI weigh in.

Recovery – I’ve already talked about this so I won’t beat it into the ground.  I’m giving myself more recovery and my easy days are ridiculously easy.  I don't think most people would enjoy riding with me on an easy day right now.  The pace is way too slow.  Sometimes I just tip over on the bike path I’m going so slow.  I averaged 110 watts in my recovery ride the otherday.  That’s about 37% of threshold. I did some single-leg drills and high cadence spinning on that ride. 

So that's my update.  Lower hours, higher intensity, more recovery, less food....and PRs.  I'm feeling good and really enjoying the training.  

Next up is another IMWI power file analysis.   


Danger Danger!

I've got a couple of power files to dig through and post, but in the meantime I thought I'd share this picture a friend of mine posted on FB to show everyone how dangerous the area I'm living in is.  I'm risking my life every day I train.

Read Aug 14.  

I would love to know the thoughts that go through a person's head prior to calling the police on a squirrel.  

If you're concerned about the mailbox on Aug 6, don't worry.  It was found in the neighbor's yard.  Perhaps the suspicious squirrel had something to do with that.




Power File Analysis: IMWI '11 - Scott Roehrborn - KQ

A few posts ago, I asked for some power files to analyze and post.  I received one from Scott Roehrborn, an ex-teammate of mine from the Gear Grinder team.  It's from Ironman Wisconsin 2011, where he qualified for Kona.  

To give you a little background on Scott, He's 40, 5'9" and 138 pounds.  He has 20+ years of multisport experience with a running background going back to high school cross country and track.  He's a self-coached athlete and this was his fifth Ironman, all of them being IMWI.  His threshold is 235w.

There weren't a  lot of surprises in his file.  He did a great job pacing himself, as expected.  Typically, when people qualify for Kona, their power files are great examples of pacing.  

Scott's splits from the race:

Swim:  1:05:48
T1: 5:30
Bike: 5:28:03
T2: 2:42
Run: 3:25:18

Total:  10:07:21  (5th in AG)

Metrics from IMWI '11

Taking a quick look at his metrics from the ride, there are a few key things I want to point out.  First off is that Scott rode at an Average Power that is 68% of his threshold and his intensity factor was .71.  This is on the lower end of recommended zones for Ironman so Scott may have ridden more conservatively than he needed to and left a little time on the table, but that's hard to say for sure.  I'd have to see the data on his big training rides because ultimately you need to decide how to ride on race day based on your long rides, plus he qualified for Kona by taking 5th in his age group so it's hard to say he didn't pace himself well.  He clearly did.  But I see potential for faster bike splits by riding at 72-75% of FTP and an IF of .75-.78.  This depends on Scott's bike fitness and how confident he feels he can ride that hard for 112 miles and run well. 

Another metric worth pointing out is his VI at 1.04.  That's low for the Wisconsin course and a sign of very good pacing.  This means he controlled his effort and didn't hit the hills too hard, but also kept his power up on the flats.  Basically, he spent a lot of time right around his goal power.  VI is NP/AP so you can see his Normalized Power and Average Power are very close.

Sidenote:  I read a really good summary of what Normalized Power and Average Power is that I want to share:  Normalized Power is how hard you worked, Average Power is how fast you went.   

Scott's TSS is 279, which is good.  A general rule of thumb is to try to keep it below 300.  He burned almost 3200 calories and had a cadence of 93. 

When looking at an Ironman power file, one place I like to start is the power zone distribution:

Power Zone Distribution

This is a great example of good pacing.  Scott has the majority of his time in his endurance zone (51%) followed by tempo, recovery and very little time at threshold and above.  You can get away with more time in the tempo zone, but that depends on your strengths and weaknesses.  Strong cyclists will be able to push closer to the top end of the endurance zone and will end up with more time in their tempo zones.  This power distribution looks really good.

Power Distribution By 20w Zones.
This is his power distribution broken down into 20 watt zones.  A few things to point out - the tallest bar is 160-180w.  Scott spent nearly two hours right in that zone, so nearly 36% of the right was right at Ironman power.  Another thing that stands out is the 0-20w bar - that's time spent coasting.  Scott spent 18 minutes coasting, only 5.5% of the ride.  One last thing to point out is how quickly the bars drop off to the right of the tallest bar.  This shows little time spent around and above threshold.  This is where his low VI came from - very few hard efforts, very little coasting, lots of time right at goal power.  

Time Spent Above Threshold

I always like to create this chart, which just shows all time spent above threshold.  For Scott, that came to less than 10 minutes.  That's very good for a course like Wisconsin with all the short, steep climbs.  This shows a lot of patience and discipline on Scott's part.

Power With Threshold and Trend Line
 In the chart above, blue is power, red is threshold, green is the power trendline.  Here you can easily see how little time Scott spent above threshold and how he doesn't have any sustained efforts at or above threshold.  His power trends downward slightly, which isn't bad.  That's pretty typical.  You can see he basically maintained even power throughout the entire ride.

Quadrant Analysis

If you're unfamiliar with Quadrant Analysis, the horizontal line is Scott's threshold.  The vertical line is threshold cadence.  The line you need to be most concerned with here is the horizontal line, the division between quadrants I&II and III&IV.   It might be hard to read, but the big thing to point out in the quadrant analysis is how little time Scott spent in quadrants I and II (the top two quadrants).  Those two quadrants really zap your strength and glycogen.  For an Ironman, you want your power in quadrants III and IV.  The way to accomplish this is to limit your time above threshold (recurring theme if you haven't picked up on that yet :)

Nutrition: I always like to take a look at nutrition because I think one of the big advantages of having a power meter is that you get accurate calorie information (KJ = Calories burned).  A lot of people get hung up on calories vs. body weight or how many calories they think they can take in per hour, etc.  I like to compare calories taking in vs. calories burned.  I've had good luck replacing around 40% of calories burned.  (Gordo Byrn recommends replacing 50% of calories burned).  Scott took in 1400 total calories on the bike (250 per hour), which was a mix of Carbo Pro and 4 Espresso gels with caffeine.  He burned 3,176 calories so he replaced about 44% of the calories he burned. 

Overall, this file is a great example of how to pace yourself well and set up a good run.  Obviously, it takes a certain level of fitness to KQ, but one of the biggest keys to qualifying is proper pacing on the bike.  A lot of people throw their races away in the first two hours on the bike because they lack the discipline and patience to hold back.  Scott held back and was rewarded with a ticket to the big island. 

One last sidenote:  Scott rode a 50/34 compact crank with a 12/27 cassette and said it was perfect (I ride a 50/34 compact with 11-25 cassette).      

Scott is racing Kona in a couple of weeks, and if he can pace himself this well again I think he'll have a good race.  Good luck in Kona, Scott.  Thanks for sharing your power file. 


The Return Of The Recovery Week

No one has recovery dialed like that cat.

I mentioned in my posts about my Cozumel plan that I want to focus more on recovery, then I said my new plan isn't going to have any recovery weeks.  My goal was to go with a more moderate build and include more rest within the weeks.

I picked up the new issue of Triathlete Magazine and there was a qualify for Kona 7-week training plan.  I looked it over, but couldn't quite get a handle on how hard it was.  It looked like there were a lot of big days, but big days aren't necessarily hard days if the intensity isn't high.  

I decided to open up the spreadsheet I said was getting shut down for the next 3 months.  (That didn't last long)

I plugged in an estimated training stress for each workout in that plan so I could see the training load per week.  Then I graphed it...

Triathlete Magazine Kona Plan TSS Per Week
Two big weeks, one recovery week, two big weeks and a taper.  Then I wondered how that compared to what I did in 2010.  I feel like I really nailed that taper/race...

Triathlete Magazine Plan compared to my IMWI 2010 build/taper.

Interesting.  I didn't expect them to line up so closely.  This got me thinking.  What does 2012 look like compare to these two....

Triathlete Magazine plan compared to 2010 and 2012 build/taper.

Again, a similar shape, but the big difference is that easy week one month out.  Volume that week drops off a bit in 2012, but not nearly as much.  There's also a dip in training stress in 2012 in week 5 but that wasn't planned.  That was fatigue forcing me to cut my long run really short that week.  Otherwise it would have a similar shape to the taper.

I couldn't resist and plugged in my TSS for my Cozumel plan to see how that compared...

Triathlete Magazine, 2010 & 2012 IMWI and Cozumel Plan
The chart starts to get busy, but you can see my Cozumel plan is very flat.  No really big weeks, but no recovery week.  

The wheels kept spinning....how important is that recovery week one month out?  Or recovery weeks in general?

I started digging through my old training logs looking for patterns.  I've done this before, looking for a repeatable, predictable pattern that led to great workouts and avoided bad workouts.  I always focused on how quickly my training load was ramping up each week, but this time I took a different approach and looked at the training load per week and for the first time I started to see some patterns.

I have historically had some of my best workouts in the first two weeks after a recovery week.  Week 3 is a little more hit or miss and anything beyond that gets sketchy.  A lower training load and I can sustain it longer, but there's still a point where workouts suffer.  I started to see what appeared to a be a grey zone in terms of training load per week. You always read about grey zones in regards to intensity, but not much on weekly training loads.  
It seems like there's a zone where I'm not really doing enough to build fitness, yet I'm doing too much to truly recover.  Some of my best workouts have come during big training blocks that were separated by a very easy week.  Training blocks that came after recovery weeks that fell into that grey zone weren't as good.  Even blocks that were all in the grey zone but had no big weeks eventually fell flat.  It just took a little longer.

It appears, at least for me, that the recovery week really does serve a purpose.  I think it becomes especially important close to an Ironman when you have some big days/weeks. Earlier in the year when volume is more manageable, I think you can go longer before stepping it back. 

So I decided to bring back the recovery week.  I tweaked my plan a bit and now have a 3-week build, a recovery week, two big weeks and a taper...

New Cozumel plan compared to Triathlete Magazine plan and IMWI 2010.
I'm also working on building more recovery into each week.  One big change is my running program.  I'm basing my training on Jack Daniel's book this time and I'm doing a lot more short 30 minute runs.  The past two years my short runs have been 45 minutes, but slower than my 30 minute runs are going to be.  I also ran 5 times per week and now I'm going to run 6.  I'll also be focusing on improving my run cadence.

Another change is my recovery rides.  They've been getting too long and I don't think they're serving their purpose.  They're too long to truly let me recover, but not hard enough to build fitness.  So now they're very short and very easy.  

I'm also focusing on losing some weight, improving my day-to-day nutrition and coming up with a better nutrition/hydration plan for race day.  Mine works now, but I want to simplify it a bit so it's easier to remember.  I do really well sticking to the plan in training but tend to wing it a bit on race day.

So now with all my Cozumel training plan posts, I'm sure I have everyone so confused they have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.  Fortunately for me, it's all in Training Peaks and a spreadsheet or I'd probably be just as confused. :)