Endurance training

2015 Tour of Sufferlandria Race Report

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What a way to get back on my bike! I had only ridden a bike twice since Ironman Arizona in November but I wouldn’t dare think of missing the Tour of Sufferlandria. How could you possibly miss a virtual staged bike tour though a mythical country that takes pride in making you suffer? I know huh? Sounds amazing!

Honestly, this is a pretty amazing experience. Through the use of the Sufferfest videos and the amazing application TrainerRoad we rode with over 2700 others all over the world and raised over $100K for the Davis Phinney Foundation without ever leaving our homes!

The tour lasted over 9 days and you essentially had 50 hours to complete each stage. If you didn’t complete the stage during the window it was open you were dropped. Everyday we would log on to see how many people didn’t make it on. For us, the best part was there was no question we would finish the Tour which actually made it easier to get on the bike day after day; quitting wasn’t an option! The crazy part for Stuart and I was we had to fit a 50k trail run in the middle of the  Tour! Luckily, due to the 50 hour window to complete each stage, we started the tour as soon as we could which allowed us to fit in the race. You can get an idea of the effort from the picture below.Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 9.33.18 AMAs you can see the last two days were a doozy!

If you haven’t looked into The Sufferfest or TrainerRoad and you use an indoor bike trainer YOU ARE TOTALLY MISSING OUT! This is truly the best way to make good use of your time on a trainer for very little money.

Pick a Plan and Stick To It!

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 9.55.58 AMSo a minor pet-peeve of mine is when people say they are training for a race but they have no plan or they don’t follow the one they have. I truly believe consistency is key to preparing for an endurance event. Above is my calendar from last month. Thanks to my amazing coach, we have worked out a schedule that works for me and one that I am able to keep to. In my opinion, this is how you train for an endurance event. It isn’t about volume but it is about consistency and making each workout count. There is no fluff in my training. I am actually doing less volume than I expected and my results so far have been amazing! The proof will be in the pudding on November 16th at Ironman Arizona.

Alphabet Soup

FTP vz TSS

Graph borrowed from Graeme Stewart

Now a day’s our lives are full of acronyms. I have acronyms for work, for my kid’s school, for my kid’s games, and of course my exercise.  You will constantly hear or read about FTP and LTHR and HR etc when reading anything on training for endurance sports.  Well I just found a new one, TSS, Training Stress Score.  I have a feeling that this is nothing new to many of you. I had not seen it until I started using Training Peaks to log my training for my coach and TranierRoad for doing my turbo trainer workouts.

Here is the definition from TrainerRoad on TSS:

“TSS is the amount of training stress generated from a workout. The higher this number the more potential fitness you earned from a workout.

To gain the most fitness, you want to earn the most TSS possible.  All of the workouts on TrainerRoad have a TSS score on them.  This means that if you were to ride the workout exactly like it is prescribed you would earn that amount of TSS”

If you were to do an hour at your FTP (the average maximum power you can sustain for 1 hour) you would earn a TSS of 100.  (read here for more)

I think the cool thing about TSS that you don’t get from any of the other measurements (besides time and distance) is that it is a cumulative measurement related to effort.  You get more and more TSS the more you workout each week and the harder you workout, the bigger the TSS. What is cool is even doing easy workouts will still get you TSS.  I think it will give me a more normalized number to compare training week-over-week other than time or distance.

Luckily Training Peaks gives me a TSS for all my activities including swimming.  I may need to analyze TSS from Training Peaks by discipline because the running TSS look really high.  I am excited to add this metric into my analysis of my training.

Link to blog from which I borrowed the graph is here.  He has more data on this topic that involves much more math than I did!