Monday, October 19, 2009

Week 43: Review

Had everything gone as planned, yesterday I would have run my fall marathon and I'd be looking at recovery at this point. The weather turned out to be as close to ideal as possible, and it would have been the perfect conditions to push out a more aggressive time. Unfortunately, the nature of this sport is that injury is part of the equation and while I didn't get my chance yesterday, I have learned a lot in this cycle and will hopefully be able to apply it come spring!

With that said, many people did run yesterday and there were likely a lot of PBs set in the process. Included in that bunch was a friend from college, yumke, who managed to finish in a little over 3:12, good enough to get the elusive Boston qualifier. He ran with me for most of the Mississauga Marathon, and was a huge help in getting that first 42.2 in the books so I'm glad to see him reach his hard fought for goal!

As for my week, things went quite well this week thanks to the beautiful temperatures we've been getting. While the normal population is hauling out the winter jackets and cursing the cold, this ~5-10C weather is just about perfect for running. Cool enough to stay comfortable in even the hardest sessions, but not so cold as we have to start taking out extra clothes. Naturally, normal people think that I'm nuts to be in a t-shirt and shorts in this weather, but you can't really argue with what's comfortable.

As such, I managed to squeeze in most of the running mileage that was planned. I did end up moving the speedwork to Thursday, as I had done last week's 14 mile long run the day before and didn't want to risk anything. My Wednesday session was also about half the distance that was planned as my running group was back from their BQs in the Chicago marathon and needed to take it easy while they recovered. The weekend was a little busy as well, so I ended up shifting Saturday's 4 miler to Sunday and Sunday's 16 miler to today. It was a bit messy, but I got most of the planned mileage in so I'm calling it a success :oP

Unfortunately, the cooler temperatures do make cycling a bit more challenging. When rolling down the road at 30-40km/h, the wind blowing over the skin makes it feel a lot colder than it actually is. It's easy to keep the body and legs warm, but both the hands and face catch the brunt of that cold air and it's difficult to cover them up. The strong need for situational awareness on a bike (high speeds + riding with motorized traffic) makes normal face coverings impractical, and full fingered gloves make it hard to properly operate the shift/brake levers. Fortunately, it's been pretty sunny this week so it's been easy enough to warm up at stop signs, but that's not necessarilly going to be the case in the future.

Compounding this complexity is the fact that my saddle appears to have developed a small hole on the right side of the nose. This is rubbing against my cycling shorts and wearing out the material, so I cut back on my mileage a bit this week until I can get that addressed. On the rides that I did do, I took an older pair of shorts along so that I don't burn through the new pair too quickly. Not sure when I'm going to have the chance to bring it in, but I'm likely looking at buying a new saddle and have to figure out whether to stick with the current design or play around with some other options (this was the stock saddle that came with the bike, so I havn't really tried much else). The new version of this saddle (Selle San Marco Ponza) seems to have a redesigned nose section, so I'm guessing that I'm not the only one that's had this issue. See below for a picture of the problem:

As for swimming, due to Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday our clinic group didn't meet this week. As such, I added some technique drills to the end of my Tuesday and Thursday swimming sessions to try and keep up the practice. On Tuesday I did a number of form drills, worked on my kicking (which still needs some work) and did a few short breathing exercises. On Thursday, I focused mainly on the breathing end of things and did a number of freestyle lengths with progressively longer between breaths (including lengths with no breathing (12) and some 3-5-7-11-25m drills (3)).

In the sessions themselves, I've been focusing a lot on changing my technique and it's starting to pay off. I still have to think about it so my turnover is slower than it was before, but I'm covering a lot more distance per stroke at this point so that's offsetting those losses. Hopefully when I get more practice and the form feels more natural, my turnover will increase again and I'll see some significant gains in speed (right now I'm about on par with what I was before). I've mostly got the body roll down at this point, however I still have to work on my kicking and getting my breathing rythum aligned with the longer strokes.

Either way, things are getting back into the normal routine at this point. The weather is going to get progressively colder over the new month or so, and the winter gear is going to have to start coming out at that point. As such, I have to do my best to enjoy it while it lasts ;) As for the cycling, I'm going to need to move the bike inside to the trainer pretty soon, but I'd really like to squeeze in at least one more good long (ie 100km+) ride before that point. Naturally, mother nature will be the arbiter of that, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get a day suitable for that! I'd like to do that as a group ride, but most of the others appear to be already thinking about moving inside so I'm not sure that I'll be able to talk anyone into going with me on that one ;)

Week 43 Totals:
Running: 56.3km (35.0mi)
Walking: 2.1km (1.3mi)
Cycling: 92.3km (57.4mi)
Swimming: 7.9km (4.9mi)
Total: 158.6km (98.5mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 2,102.5km (1,306.4mi)
Walking: 209.3km (130.0mi)
Cycling: 3,402.2km (2,114.0mi)
Swimming: 82.7km (51.4mi)
Total: 5,796.7km (3,601.9mi)

As for the upcoming week, pretty much more of the same. We're back to the swim clinic tonight, and I'm looking forward to refining things a bit more. I'll be slightly increasing the mileage on my mid-week runs, but likely keep my long run at the same distance as this week. I'm effectively into base training at this point, and going beyond 16 miles isn't really all that necessary. With respect to the bike, that's going to depend on the weather and when I can get the saddle repaired/replaced so the following is a pretty rough estimate.

Mon 16mi (25.7K) LSD*, Tri Swim Clinic
Tue 2.5mi Swim, 8mi Recovery w/10x100m
Wed 40K Ride, 10K Recovery
Thurs 2.5mi Swim, 8mi GA
Fri 50K Ride
Sat 4mi Recovery, 100k Ride
Sun 16mi (25.7K) LSD
* Counted towards this week's mileage, as it was simply postponed from yesterday.

As noted in previous weeks, the Toronto Marathon weekend was pretty much the last set of races for the season so I'm effectively entering the base training period at this point. I'm still not sure what my primary goal will be next season (ie working towards Boston or working up to a half Ironman). Don't have to worry too much about that in the near term, but as I get to the end of this period I will have to figure out which sports to focus on.

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