Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week 51: Review

With Christmas this week, it was inevitably going to be a difficult one to fit in everything that was planned. Fortunately, largely thanks to an 18K group run on Wednesday I was able to hit both my running and swimming targets. Cycling mileage was pitiful this week, but I'm happy that I was able to get in as much as I could as I didn't have a lot of time to spare this week.

Weather-wise it has actually been pretty good lately, so I've been able to squeeze those longer runs in without any issue. It's certainly been cold, but at this point I'm getting used to it so that's not a huge impediment. As such, I'm hoping to continue ratcheting up my weekly mileage again ahead of the next build phase for the spring races. I'm back up to 15 miles for my long run at this point, so next week I should be back to 16 which I'll hold until I start formally training again.

Week 51 Totals:
Running: 50.2km (31.2mi)
Walking: 0.7km (0.4mi)
Cycling: 15.0km (9.3mi)
Swimming: 8.6km (5.3mi)
Total: 65.5km (40.7mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 2215.8km (1376.8mi)
Walking: 96.8km (60.1mi)
Cycling: 4482.4km (2785.2mi)
Swimming: 340.4km (211.5mi)
Total: 7135.4km (4433.7mi)

The tricky part is figuring out exactly what I want to do this year. My focus has shifted more to triathlon than running lately, but with the threat of Boston modifying their qualifying times I was strongly considering taking a shot at that in the spring. After doing an early May marathon, I could then focus on building up for longer Triathlons over the summer and race in the fall. Splitting my focus isn't ideal, but I'd really like to run Boston at some point and I was worried that this might be my last chance.

Unfortunately, while I had hoped that the BAA would hold the line for at least one more year, it's looking like they'll be making adjustments for the 2012 event. Hitting 3:10 is a possibility with enough work, but I don't think that 3:05 is achievable no matter what I do. As such, there isn't much point in putting in the effort if they're going to horse with that qualifying standard for next year's event and make it unachievable. If that's the case, then I should focus all of my effort on building up to the Ironman 70.3 distance - ideally doing a non-WTC race (just to finish) in June and then race IM Muskoka in September.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weeks 49 & 50: Review

With Christmas coming the last few weeks have been extremely busy, so I've fallen behind a bit here. Combined with the weather, this has also resulted in a few missed sessions as well since it's difficult to move things around to make up for adverse conditions. Regardless, it's thankfully still the off season so a bit of missed mileage is probably good for my recovery ahead of the proper training coming up.

Fortunately, I did manage to get the bike into the shop to get the rear tire switched over. In previous years, I've just had them put on an old tire for the trainer, but I got a good deal on a trainer-specific tire at a bike show so elected to go that way. Unfortunately, I think I overtightened the resistance unit a bit as after a couple of short rides the tube ended up blowing so I had to bring it back down to get that addressed. The Continental Trainer tire is a good deal firmer than the Vittoria it replaces, so it's likely going to need a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how tight to go.

I'm still psychologically working my way back up to proper distances on the trainer, as it's a lot harder to keep going indoors. As such, I've kept most of my rides at or below 20K (a pitiful distance if done outside) and am going to slowly add more as I get used to it. Finding watchable stuff on TV this time of year is difficult, so that adds to the complexity of the equation. I'm still flirting with dragging a computer or XBox down there so that I can stream video to the bike, but have to figure out what the best solution is for that.

The upside, however, is that being back on the trainer means that I can again work with power readings on the bike. While I'd love to get a proper power meter, that's not really in the cards at this point. Fortunately, thanks to the resistance formula that Kurt provides for their fluid trainers I can roughly figure out my power output while riding indoors. It doesn't do a heck of a lot for the long static rides, but when doing interval sessions (which are much easier to do on a trainer than on the road) it can be quite informative of my progress through the year.

As for running, I'm starting to get used to the winter conditions again. Aside from the more restrictive clothing, it takes a bit of time for the stabilizer muscles in the legs to build up strength after being idle for most of the summer. Running down bumpy snow covered sidewalks is a lot different than when on nice flat concrete, so it always gets a bit sore for the first little while.

I had a great run through a few inches of snow last Wednesday, as one of the other runners wanted to go a bit longer than normal. Rather than the usual ~10K we usually do for the group runs, we ended up doing a little over 17K. While I wasn't planning on going that long, I had missed the run the night before as the visibility was pretty much nill thanks to a heavy snowstorm. As most of the sidewalks hadn't been cleared yet, many parts of the route took a lot more work to run/trot through as the thick snow added a good deal of resistance ;) With that said, other than the snow the conditions were perfect as was the scenery, so despite all of that it was a great session.

Week 49 Totals:
Running: 41.1km (25.5mi)
Walking: 0.6km (0.4mi)
Cycling: 15.0km (9.3mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 65.5km (40.7mi)

Week 50 Totals:
Running: 46.4km (28.8mi)
Walking: 1.4km (0.9mi)
Cycling: 40.0km (24.9mi)
Swimming: 8.8km (5.4mi)
Total: 65.5km (40.7mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 2165.6km (1345.6mi)
Walking: 96.1km (59.7mi)
Cycling: 4467.4km (2775.9mi)
Swimming: 331.8km (206.2mi)
Total: 7060.9km (4387.4mi)

A couple more weeks to go this year and I've done reasonably well with the totals. My running mileage isn't going to make it up to the 2700K/1700mi that I did last year, but that's largely a symptom of switching my focus from running to cycling. As such, both my cycling and swimming mileage are considerably higher than last year (~409km/151km extra respectively). While I didn't get to do everything I wanted to this year, it's been a good learning experience and should help me to better manage the upcoming season.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 48: Review

Things are definitely starting to look like winter around these parts, and as I haven't had a chance to bring the bike it yet to get switched over for the trainer my cycling mileage is still pretty pathetic this week. I did manage to get out on Monday thanks to a brief interruption in the weather pattern, but pretty much every other day was shot down by the conditions outdoors. I had hoped to bring the bike in on Friday so I'd be able to use it on the trainer on the weekend, but unfortunately other commitments got in the way of that.

Fortunately, while the cold and snow have been somewhat unpleasant on the runs, it wasn't enough to get in the way so I managed to get everything in as planned. This morning's 13 miler was a reminder of what it's going to look like in the not-to-distant future, with heavy blowing snow for the duration and windchill approaching -10C (in a month or two that'll be a warm day, but I'm still not acclimated to it).

While the conditions themselves didn't pose too much of a problem, it's going to take a bit of getting used to breathing through a neck warmer again. Again, in a month it will be second nature, but at this point in the season having to pull that air volume through a layer of technical fabric added an extra degree of difficulty to the run. As much as I hate it, however, it's a necessity as in these sorts of conditions having any exposed skin for a long run is a bad idea.

Swimming-wise things went pretty much to plan as the indoor nature of this sport pretty much makes it immune to the weather. I did have to skip some of my drills on Thursday due to other commitments, but I was able to get the main sets done so the mileage didn't suffer too much.

Week 48 Totals:
Running: 47.4km (29.4mi)
Walking: 1.9km (1.2mi)
Cycling: 30.4km (18.9mi)
Swimming: 8.3km (5.1mi)
Total: 88.0km (54.7mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 2078.1km (1291.3mi)
Walking: 92.1km (57.2mi)
Cycling: 4412.4km (2741.7mi)
Swimming: 314.2km (195.2mi)
Total: 6896.8km (4285.5mi)

I'm hoping to bring the bike into the shop tomorrow to get everything ready for use on the trainer (change the rear tire/skewer, drivetrain cleaning, full tune-up, etc.). Once that is done, I'll be able to ride whenever scheduled so my mileage will hopefully climb back up to where it was. Naturally, the prospect of staring at a wall for hours isn't particularly appealing, but I've procrastinated enough on this front and need to get back into a normal routine.

On that front, I've been looking to figure out a better way to fight off the boredom on the trainer this year. Last year I just relied on an old TV and whatever re-runs happened to be on at the time, but that was hit and miss. I love the idea of Netflix for this sort of thing (being able to pull up whatever I want up on a whim), but their Canadian catalog looks pretty pathetic (I can live without just released stuff, but they don't even have much classic stuff either) so I'm not sure that's a viable choice just yet (and with atrociously punitive UBB fees coming down the pike for Canadian ISPs, it's viability will be hurt even more). I'm also flirting with the idea of either setting up an XBox or an old computer down there so that I could play stuff from my media center, but that would require a lot of planning and preparation before each session (ie intentionally not catching stuff live so that I can watch the recordings on the bike).

Either way, I'm playing around with all my options and trying to figure out what will work for this task. The kicker is that there appear to be plenty of great options for Americans, but unfortunately all of them are either crippled (eg Netflix) or simply not available up here (eg Hulu). I can cobble something together by recording stuff from broadcast television, but seeing all of the great options available down there makes me feel like we're stuck in the dark ages :oP