Smart trainers are all the rage right now. Cyclists and Triathletes are usually willing to shell out money for anything that may help raise the beloved FTP (Functional Threshold Power). I am typically a late adopter to new tech. I like to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). I just want to do my workout and not have to mess with a bunch of stuff!
Well, Black Friday came and my darling husband couldn’t help but get me a Wahoo Kickr of my own (he already has one). I am a HUGE fan of TrainerRoad to run my cycling workouts. I either use their training plans or when I am working with my coach she will prescribe or even write me workouts in TrainerRoad. I have been very happy using my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine for the last three years and was very resistant to change. Anyway, I finally set up the trainer and have spent the last two weeks on it WITH a new higher FTP…. aaaand I love it!!! I truly think this will help me become a better cyclist for three reasons.
- There is no hiding from the watts, ever. When you use the Kickr in erg mode, TrainerRoad controls the resistance, as in how many watts you are pushing. There is no escaping the effort.
- Higher cadences are encouraged. For some reason, pedaling faster makes the watts feel easier. I was usually comfy at a cadence between 85-90. On the Kickr I am happier around 95.
- Recovery intervals are finally done right. I had a bad habit of over-riding my recovery intervals. With the Kickr, there is no way to over-ride them!
OK. I survived! I used the TrainerRoad 6 week Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume I training plan to work on increasing my FTP and it was super successful!
I did an FTP test when starting the plan and tested at 175 watts. I was pretty sure I just had a bad test (I am new to the 2 X 8 minute test) so I trained at my previous FTP of 185. There was only one workout I had to dial back and I only traded one workout for an outdoor ride sue to travel. Essentially I rode my bike 5 days a week as prescribed!
I did my FTP test yesterday and NAILED IT! New FTP of 194! I am getting closer to 200!
I am moving on to the next phase for the next 6 weeks. After that it is back to working with my coach to fine tune things for my upcoming races. First big one will be Mountains to the Beach Marathon where I hope to punch my Boston ticket!
I am planning. Honestly, I never really stop planning. It is no secret that my goal is to qualify for Kona. Earning a spot to Kona is dependent on how I place at a race. It isn’t just based off a time, like the Boston Marathon for instance. But that hasn’t stopped me from setting some goal numbers that I think will put me in the best possible position to earn that slot. I am a big believer in stating my goals out loud; it keeps me more accountable. So here are some numbers I am working on.
- FTP (Functional Threshold Power, how strong I am on the bike): 200 watts. Currently at 185 so I am getting close!
- Normalized Power: “An estimate of the power that you could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if your power had been perfectly constant, such as on an ergometer, instead of variable power output.”- Training Peaks. I want to push 160-170 watts per Ironman ride.
- Weight: 125 pounds. I got down really close to this for Ironman Arizona. This is all about clean smart eating. Currently hovering close to 130.
- 100 yard swim pace: 1:30/100 yard for an easy/moderate effort. Currently swimming happily around 1:37ish/100 yards.
- Marathon Time: 3:40. I have run this before, and as long as this recovery keeps going well, I will run it again (hopefully in May!).
Ironman is such a big race that I have to break it down into manageable chunks or it is just overwhelming. I really hope to put this all together in the next couple years (before I turn 45 would be awesome!).
I have no real races on my calendar until May. Therefore I made the tough decision to take a break from being coached and manage my training myself and with the tools I have available. As soon as I start training for my marathon in May I will start back up with Jen. She has done so much for me and I believe in her training. I just needed to give myself a break when there was no upcoming race.
My plan for the next couple months is to use the training plans available in TrainerRoad to work on my cycling, run as much as I comfortably can, and swim around 10K a week.
The running is coming along pretty well. I had a tough week in early October where I was convinced that I may be developing another calf tear. So, I backed off for a couple weeks and then went back at it. Lesson learned, I need to take a recovery week while building up my running volume.
Swimming is swimming. Nothing exciting to report there. (but my Coeur Kona bikini is pretty awesome)
The most excited thing I am doing is using the Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume 1 training plan from TrainerRoad. The way the plan works is pretty slick and I am really enjoying it! I didn’t have a great FTP on the first day so I kept my original FTP and so far I am completing the workouts as prescribed! It will be great to see how I respond after the 6 weeks.
This year has had it’s ups and down but I completed my “A” race while in Kona!
I had been training for this since chugging beer is new to me (despite what you may assume about my college days). This race is a bit of a secret and luckily I overheard some talk of it at a party on Friday night Kona. Sunday at 5!
So Sunday, we packed up out gear and headed over to the race venue.
The race was a bit harder than I expected. I had only trained up to two beers and found that beers three and four were much harder to get down (mental note for the next time I race). You can see in my splits where the wheels started to fall off the bus. The odd numbered splits are beers, the evens are running.
I did an extra lap at the end because I puked while getting my 4th beer down. #respectthebeermile.
Overall I am happy with my race. Since this was my first beer mile I was just happy with a finish! Oh, and there were a couple of pretty seasoned athletes there as well.
One of them even tweeted about my performance!
And for my review of my performance after the race:
Thanks goes out to my amazing sponsor Coeur Sports. No matter how long or short your race is, they have me covered. And of course I couldn’t have done this with out the amazing support of my husband, Stuart. Thanks for offering to hold my hair! I would do the same for you but…
It has been a really tough month (or 9).
The injury has been harder to deal with than I ever expected. Pretty much every goal or race this year has been abandoned. I did get to do a Olympic Tri Relay with my husband and kid (we took second!) so that was awesome.
And my running volume is getting back up there (slowly).
Yesterday I felt a twinge in my other calf. Being a parent is a million times harder than I ever expected. Work could be so much more satisfying. The world is a scary icky place right now. Yesterday, I was ready to quit all of it. Curl up on a ball and hide from the world. In my social media world I really try to show all the good in my life. And trust me, there is a ton of good. But right now I want to own up to the fact that quitting sounded amazing yesterday.
Thank goodness for a good night of sleep. Today I don’t want to quit. Today I want to make it all work. Today I am re-prioritizing my world. I will achieve my goals. The only change is the priorities of those goals. It was all about Kona and Boston. I am realizing that I need to work out my career situation first, and then those other goals will have to come a bit later. I am at peace with this decision. I can work with this. I can make this happen.
Next week I am off to Kona to soak the whole experience in! I promise to share all the amazing things that happen out there. Thanks for following along!
My running recovery (#beccasreturntorunning) is finally going well! I have been very patiently, and slowly, increasing my running volume and frequency over the last 5 weeks. This week I am hoping to actually run (slowly) 2 miles straight outside!
I have a couple of races on my radar but I have a a few other “things” I am working towards.
- #beccasreturnrunning has begun and will be complete when I punch my ticket for Boston again. I have CIM in December but I think my best chance will be at the Mountains to the Beach Marathon in May 2018.
- #operation200 is underway. I am working to get my FTP up to 200 by summer of 2018 in anticipation of training for Ironman Arizona in 2018. I think this is critical if I have any aspirations of qualifying for Kona
- #beccasbeermile is a new one. I have the incredible good fortune to go to Kona this year to see the Ironman World Championships!!! (pinch me!!!) While I am there I am hoping to participate in the super secret beer mile (don’t tell anyone, mkay?). To properly prepare for this “event” I have devised a training program that is two fold. One, I need to train to run with a belly full of liquid. I plan on doing quater-mile repeats while pounding seltzer. There is no way I can consume all that beer on a regular basis! Two, I need to practice my beer chugging skills. I am thinking once a week (when I drink my one beer a week) I will chug it. PBR for the win!
- #UPR, the underpants run. The other cool part about going to Kona will be the Underpants Run! A few pounds have crept on to my body while I have been injured so I am working hard for the next 8 weeks to shed that extra weight in preparation for the #UPR!
Training for traditional events will return soon, but for now I need a few “goals” to keep me focused!
I guess it could have been worse. But I lost 10 %… of my FTP! I did an FTP test this week to set a baseline for training and when the results came back my FTP dropped 18 watts from 187 to 169.
Honestly, I have done very little structured bike training since March, so I guess 10% loss over 5-6 months is not too bad. I don’t think I could have ridden it harder. My HR Maxed over 190 so that means I rode pretty hard!
I have a goal of getting my FTP up to 200 and hopefully I can do that by next summer. I think that FTP would get me well on my way to the 5:30 Ironman bike split I need if I ever have a chance at qualifying for Kona.
My return to run is going well! I am slowing making my way through an 8 step return program. I am not rushing it at all! Right now I am on step 4, .1 walk/.4 run for 2 miles. Next week I plan to step up to 2 full miles and outside. So exciting!
FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I would be lying if I said I had never signed up for a race because of this. I am trying to figure out my schedule for 2018 (yep, already working on that) and I am being very cautious to pick races that work for ME and MY situation; not because it is a “cool” race or I know a lot of people racing it. It looks like I will return to a familiar race in 2018 most likely, IM Arizona for a 3rd time. I know the race, I like the race, it is a very affordable option for us, and it gives me extra time to get back to where I was before this calf injury.
I haven’t had much to say recently since I am still trying to get back to running. I did start back up with my coach, Jen, this month so that is great. We took a break while I was doing all the PT and couldn’t really stick to a plan. I am so happy to be turning my boxes green in Training Peaks again! Also, I ran yesterday! While it was only 1 mile of running over alternating 0.1 mile run/walk intervals I am over the moon! The real test is if I am progressing through the back to running plan over the next three weeks. I am not counting any chickens just yet!
Otherwise I did take a fun trip to Utah to support Stuart at the Crusher in the Tushar bike race. I managed to get a fun bike ride in up Snow Canyon and a nice swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir. (St. George in 2018…maybe) Only bummer was the AWFUL case of Swimmer’s Itch. Below are some pictures from our trip.
Snow Canyon was more beautiful than I had imagnined
The ride brought me more joy than I expected!
Swimming in Sand Hollow
Water was nice but little did I know I would have such a bad reaction to the Swimmer’s Itch
No caption needed
Stuart, serious as always
Long day for Stuart but he finished!
New suit is the Island Vibe Bikini from Coeur Sports. LOVE IT!!
The only place I can do any reasonable working out is the pool right now. Hopefully I will start running again in about 2 more weeks. The bike is a bit boring for me because outside is a bit too hard on my calf and I am not doing anything structured on the trainer. July I start back with my coach to at least make some boxes green in Training Peaks! so for now, I have been adding some intensity back into my swim workouts and I wanted to share the easy swim sets I use!
First one is Negative Split. This is where you swim the second half of an interval faster that the first. Great way to add in some speed! The set below was a negative split pyramid, 100 200 300 400 300 200 100. See the Garmin Data here.
The next technique I got from my friend MUN, EBEH. That stands for Easy Build Easy Hard. That pretty much explains how you swim the interval. Cool thing with this is you can apply it to a variety of distances. The workout below was a pyramid (I love pyramids) of 100 200 300 00 300 200 100. You can see the Garmin data here.
Then today I did my other trick to work in some intensity, descending. Swimming each interval faster that the one before. Today I wanted more yards so I actually didn’t use my ever faithful pyramid. I used a ladder instead. The workout was 3 X 400, 3 X 300, 3 X 200, 3 X 100, descending by three. You can see the Garmin data here.
These are great tricks to use in the pool to challenge yourself a bit! Just keep swimming!