Monday, February 16, 2009

Completion of Week 1: EN Out Season

Last Monday, I officially started my Endurance Nation (EN) Out-Season Plan. 16 weeks of Out-Season (OS) training, then it's 2 weeks of transition...8 weeks of basic training...12 weeks of race training and BAM...It's race day!!!

The out season is the plan before the plan. It's 16 weeks of HARD work. Now, I'm not saying that everyone else is not working hard within their plans....this is how EN defines their Out Season. EN focuses on interval training by pushing your threshold limits. Basically, if you train fast you will get faster. If you train slow, you will continue to be slow.

AND I am slow, especially on the run. It will be interesting if and how my time trials change over the next 16 weeks. Here are results for my first two tests (tests are done every 4 weeks).

Bike Test 2/10/09
40:00 minutes
13.72 miles
Avg Speed 20.6 mph
LTHR 166 (Lactate Threshold Heart Rate)
FTP 177 (Power)
W/kg 2.6 (watts per kg)

Run Test 2/11/09
5K or 3.1 miles
33:10 minutes
Pace 10:42
LTHR 174
Vdot 27

(No swimming until after the OS period)

One thing I struggle with is my heart rate on the run. My Anaerobic Threshold is 176 bpm. I averaged 174 bpm on this training run....very close to my AT. To explain, I can maintain a very low heart rate while walking 110-120 bpm. The minute I start running/jogging my heart rate climbs and continues to climb until usually just below my AT (low 170's). In other words, I can't seem to find zone 2 and 3. I've asked the EN group for some insight on why my heart rate is so high. There were a few other people who experienced the same predicament and also questioned why this happens. Although no one could answer "why", they all seemed to agree that the EN OS plan helped them break through to their middle zones. They told me to keep running but focus more on my pace and/or my perceived rate of exertion instead of my heart rate.

With this in mind, I did my Sunday 1 hour run which included 15 minutes of warm-up and 3 x 800m at z4 with 2 minutes rest in between. The remainder of the run was to be easy. Ughh! That meant I had to run at a snail's pace...just a bit faster than walking and just slower than a jog. Hard to believe, but that was hard to do! It probably looked like I couldn't decide whether to walk or run.

I'm looking forward to the next 15 more weeks....I can't wait to notice some improvements on both the run and on the bike.

An EN mantra: "Pain is weakness leaving the body."

BTW, here's a funny little story:

I purchased the regular training plan from EN recently and requested the Beginner's version. One of the Coach's answered my email with the Intermediate version plan attached to the email. I kindly wrote back and said that perhaps I wasn't ready for the "intermediate" version since I had done only one half-ironman and no full distance triathlons. He wrote me back asking my race result since the levels are geared to fitness ability rather than experience. I sent him my HIM results from Steelhead 2008:

DIV/PL 102/107
SEXPL 487/511
SWIM 20:23 (swim was cancelled and a 2.1 mile run was replaced)
TRANS1 3:25
BIKE 3:24:4
TRANS2 3:55
RUN 3:00:52

His response: "Beginner it is! See the file attached! "

I told you so!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Swimming with Waddler

For many weeks now, Waddler has been trying to get me to go to Sunday Master Swim with her. For one honest reason or another, I've backed out. But this past Sunday, I actually got my butt out of bed and met Waddler at 6:30 am in the lobby of the fitness center.

She greeted me with a big smile and laughed "You made it". Yes, I finally did. I wasn't disappointed either, it was a great swim with Coach Steve dictating the workout. At first I was a bit would I do swimming with these die-hard Sunday morning swimmers? Would I be able to keep up?

After the warm-up, Coach Steve looked at me and asked "Ronda, how long has it been since you've been in the pool?" Ahhhh, hmmmmm, ahhhh....then I gave him the deer in head lights look. He then answered the question for me..."It's been awhile, huh?". Yeah, (gulp) I guess it has. "All the more reason, you should be here" he responded.

We did a number of drills including the standard drills as well as some I've never did like the corkscrew and the breathing drill. But my absolute dreaded drill was the leg up in the air while swimming freestyle drill. Say what! Ok, to demonstrate this this: 1. Stand on one leg bent at the knee, foot flexed as if you are about to kick like a donkey 2. Bend at the waist. 3. Now raise the the bent leg even farther up so that it is even with your back 4. Move your arms as if swimming freestyle. 5. Now try it in the water while trying to propel yourself forward and remembering to breathe. This is the weirdest, frickin drill EVER! The down leg is creating so much drag that you can't move and the bent leg just won't stay above the water line. Ughhh! in the world do I do this with out drowning? The key, she tells me, is in your core-- keep it strong and tight while the straight leg does all the kicking. Ok, I give it another shot. It worked; I struggled to do another lap but did finish with her advice.

We, then, did a series of laps (I don't remember how many) at 85%, 90%, and at HARD. I did very well until the HARD. He had us start in two waves. My first sprint down to the end of the pool was respectable. I expected a 30 second rest; so I started to adjust my goggles and relax ...then WHAM! Coach Steve yells "OK, group 1 GO again!" Whaaaaaaat? Already seconds behind my group...I'm struggling to keep up with the fast pace. I touch the wall, suck in some air and Coach Steve yells for the first group to go again....Whaaaaaat? I succum to go out with the second group just to cherish another second or two. He yells for us to go again. I'm sucking some major wind now. I made it but barely, and just as I am touching the wall the first group starts again for their final length. Again and finally, he yells for the second group to go. I was TOAST-DONE-PUT A FORK IN ME-DONE!

It was a great work-out and I'm so glad I went. Waddler and I decided to head up for spin class for another hour of torture but well worth it. I wanted to expend some calories before going to my Sister's Superbowl Party. It was a good thing I did, because I just love gaucamole! I had one cookie but tons of gauc! Yummy!

Waddler, thanks for being such a motivating work out partner! I'm looking forward to great season ahead of us!