Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase III, Week Nine (Jan. 25)

This week began with a boatload of snow (by NYC standards) and cold temperatures (again, by NYC standards), but the city slowly returned to its normal state.

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Central Park on Tuesday morning

Most of the snow melted by Wednesday, and as I type this Sunday morning, we’re back up to 40 degrees. Sidebar: don’t even get me started on how people simply cannot walk in the snow and slush. That’s one of the benefits of growing up in the tundra, I guess—I have no issue navigating post-snowstorm sidewalks, ha!

General training notes: this week marked the third phase of base building during which we’ll be pushing my volume to its highest levels and maintaining aerobic endurance. To me, base building seems likes it’s been going on for-ev-er, but that makes sense; my first race isn’t until June, and my “A” race won’t take place until August. Even though I don’t feel sore after workouts, I am sleeping more. Even just an extra 20-30 minutes makes a huge difference.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Although I mentally prepared for a power test, I ended up doing another quality Goldilocks workout with high cadence, VO2 max, and sweet spot efforts. (I’ve been building my volume, but I haven’t logged enough FTP or VO2 max efforts to significantly change my current FTP. This means we’ll complete this phase and test again in four weeks.)

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Sustained speedwork in Central Park that included 2×20 minutes at marathon pace, plus total body strength training. During this power phase of the program, I will complete three sets of my 15 exercises with descending reps (10 to eight to six).

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Super fun “crisscross” interval workout: two, 20-minute blocks at sweet spot wattage with 30-second pops up to 120 percent every two minutes. The challenge centered on recovery or lack thereof: after each VO2 max effort, the goal was to settle back into our sweet spot range (i.e. not drop to 50-65 percent).

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy 45-minute run, plus strength training and corework

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woof: between tech work, IM drills (ugh), and longer pulling sets, we logged 3,500m. The rust is slowly coming off!

Saturday – a.m. run

An old friend who’s training for the Austin Marathon was in town, and he needed to do a 20-mile long run, so I linked up with him for eight and change. I definitely slowed him down, but since he lives in Florida, the cold weather (it was around 28 degrees) may have played a roll too.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two hours on the Death Valley course with a bunch of 12-minute blocks that contained efforts ranging from 75-125 percent.

How much sleep do you average per night? I’m definitely a high-maintenance sleeper and need eight to function.

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase II, Week Eight (Jan. 18)

It’s bizarre to think this week started in Sanibel, FL and ended in snowy NYC. Shout out to Winter Storm Jonas for making it happen!

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Spotted: cross-country skiier making fit happen.  My coworker took this picture outside one of our stores.

We ended up with 26.8 inches of snow, which, for NYC, is a lot.

General training notes: Week eight served as a recovery week, and the timing worked out perfectly with my trip to Florida. All my workouts were easy, and I was able to catch up on sleep this week too. I have another cycling power test on Monday (ekkk!) so fingers crossed the legs are refreshed and ready to rock!

Monday – a.m. run

All things considered, this sustained speedwork went pretty well. After a 10-minute warm-up, I completed 2×20 mins. at marathon pace with five minutes down. This was my second time completing this workout, and not only did I feel more in control of the efforts, but my paces were on the faster end of the prescribed range. In total, I covered 8.18 miles. Success!

Tuesday – a.m. run

“Demoralizingly easy” 40-minute recovery run

 Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Back in the saddle for some recovery intervals: my main set included a 20- and 15-minute zone two effort, and Earl gave me to green light to do three, 15-second builds to VO2 max. It was tough hovering around 75 percent while the rest of the athletes tackled threshold blocks, but I followed orders and executed.

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy, six-ish-mile fartlek along the West Side Highway with equal work-to-rest intervals (one minute on, one minute off, two minutes on, two minutes off, etc.), plus full-body strength training. Per the plan, we’re still keeping the weight light, but we’re adding additional reps and/or sets to each exercise. I feel stronger each week, but man, those reverse lunges get me every time!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Back in the pool with my Bearcat buds for the first time in four-plus months. I had an early meeting at work, so I only stayed for an hour (these practices are 1.5 hours), but that was plenty: lots of longer sets (500 swims and pulls) for 2,300m total. Although I’m pretty bike and run fit right now, I can definitely tell I’m not in swimming shape. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m coming into this season with a stronger swimming base (and more experience) so hopefully that helps.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two hours of quality zone two time. Following a long warm-up, we rode a course for 45 minutes, and I was able to play leapfrog with an elite woman for a bit. We also completed two, 15-minute hill intervals where the grade increased from one to four percent. I felt strong throughout—and cannot wait to start logging more sweet spot and threshold efforts!

Sunday – a.m. run

Social media said Central Park was un-runable, so I hit the treadmill for 3×12 mins. at half-marathon pace. These were “cruise” intervals so it was about keeping my legs fresh for tomorrow.

Do you have snow? Did Winter Storm Jonas affect you?

My 2016 Triathlon Life: Updates and Race Schedule

All right, folks. The time has come to talk watts 2016 triathlon. The 2015 campaign seems like a distant memory, and thanks to Coach Pat, we made some solid run progress during the off-season with a focused block. And after an epic Sloth Week that coincided with Thanksgiving, I felt rested, recharged, and ready to enter my fourth official swim-bike-run season.

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Always, always, always about watts

In my most recent triathlon-focused post, I reviewed off-season progress and identified a few factors worth noting about 2016, specifically the addition of a triathlon coach to oversee and plan my schedule. If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know I’ve become a regular at Tailwind Endurance. Almost immediately, I knew Earl would be the person to lead me through my first 70.3. (False alarm: I am not making the jump just yet.) That is absolutely still true, but I couldn’t wait another three or four years to enlist a knowledgeable coach.

Although last year’s “piecemeal” plan worked, my biggest challenge centered on balancing the three disciplines. It turns out, all those times Earl jokingly asked, “Carrie, did you do speedwork yesterday?” before a threshold ride or a brick workout, he was actually making an excellent point: key workouts were being logged, but their scheduling was not ideal. Overall, I was not giving my body adequate recovery time. Since I’m a relatively young athlete, I was able to get away with it, but it isn’t a sustainable training model, especially because I plan to keep doing triathlons as long as I can.

Another factor to consider includes my training load. First, I didn’t undergo an official base building period. As a short-course triathlete, I didn’t see spending significant time in zone two worthwhile. After all, I race in the red—so I should train there, right? But in order to truly tap into top-end speed, you need to have a solid base, and that’s something I lacked across the disciplines. Today, even though I give Earl some grief about all the zone two time, I know it’s what I need to be doing—and I trust the process.

Second, my volume across the disciplines was fairly consistent and proportional last year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in order to make notable gains—and give my body some extra built-in recovery time—we will be implementing various swim-, bike-, and run-focused blocks during the season. This is really exciting because off-season run blocks have worked very well, so it makes sense to transfer this principle to my in-season programming.

Overall, Earl will be in charge of my triathlon life, and we’ll continue to outsource workouts (i.e. I will still swim with the Bearcat masters and run under the direction of Coach Pat). The major benefit is now I have someone responsible for planning my schedule (i.e. “Carrie, you need to ride Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and the weekday rides will be threshold-focused …”), keeping track of the data on Training Peaks (I’m a “real” triathlete now!), and ultimately guiding me through this journey for the foreseeable future.

Earl and I have talked short- and long-term goals, and although there is something alluring about the 70.3 distance, we will continue focusing on short-course races for the next few years. Thus far, the 2016 season includes two tune-up races and a LAKE PLACID training trip before I take on USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Omaha, which will be my “A” race.

Seneca7

Date: Sunday, April 24

Distance: 77.7 miles (split among a team of seven)

Priority: “C”

trajectory-2012-seneca7

Throwing it back to 2012: Some things never change.

Back before my corner of the blogosphere came into existence, I ran this race my senior year of college, and I also served on the race committee. This unique perspective—both planning and running the race—not only affected my career path, but it also led to one of the best days ever. Seriously, when “The Run-On Sentences” (hey, I ran with a bunch of folks from my Writing and Rhetoric department) took on those 77.7 miles, we had so much fun, and I’ve wanted to do this race again ever since. However, it usually coincides with the South Beach Triathlon, but I decided to opt out of the Miami trip this year and do the Seneca7 instead. I rounded up a bunch of my NYC runner friends, so watch out, Geneva!

Rev3 Quassy

Date: Saturday, June 4

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

This is why I need a coach: because even though I’ve refused to register for this race, he told me I need to do it. And I’m a good athlete, so I’m following orders. Full disclosure: I have never completed a Rev3 event, but this course will be very similar to the disastrous Pat Griskus Triathlon during which I drank all the lake water. Rev3 puts on top-notch events, and this will be a tough and humbling outing thanks to hilly bike and run routes—and the competition will be fierce too. This will be my first official check-in, so we’ll use this race to make sure everything is on track.

Lake Placid Training Camp

Date: 4th of July weekend

lake-placid-mirror-lake-sunset

Always chasing that paradise

Placid paradise, here I come! Last year, the WorkLiveTri training camp served twofold: not only did I get some quality headspace while swimming, cycling, and running in the Adirondacks, but I also found my triathlon mojo after sustaining a bike crash. This year, this group will most likely link up with Tailwind Endurance so there will be at least 15 of us there.

HITS – Kingston

Date: Sunday, July 10

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

hits-kingston-run2

Strong visor game. The run split? Not so much.

This weekend proved to be a pleasant surprise of 2015, and again, this race will serve as my final tune-up before Nationals. The bike-run combo especially will be a great opportunity to execute my Nationals race plan and ensure we’re working with accurate wattages, paces, and data.

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Date: Saturday, Aug. 13

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A”

USAC3123-20x30

Sometimes I run.

Like the past three years, Nationals will be the “A” race in 2016. Although I never managed to crack the Milwaukee course, I’m excited to head somewhere new (has anyone been to Omaha?) and face a new venue. As always, this will be a humbling outing, and the goal will be to execute the most perfect race possible. Concrete goals TBD.

It’s highly possible I jump in a few running race during the next few months—and maybe a training weekend trip here or there—but these tris are part of the target plan.

Which 2016 event are you looking forward to the most?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase II, Week Seven (Jan. 11)

Greetings from sunny Sanibel, FL!

2016-sanibel-island-beach

I escaped NYC Thursday for some quality sun, sand, and SPF 85+ time with my family.  Spoiler alert: SPF 85+ does not work.

General training notes: This week marked the second phase of base building, which equated to an increased focus on strength: on the bike, this means more sweet spot/FTP intervals; on the run, this means hill workouts; in the weight room, this means adding an extra low weight/high rep set to my normal routine. Since I headed to Florida, we frontloaded my workouts so I could truly enjoy the downtime.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Like last Monday, I completed “Goldilocks,” a.k.a. my new favorite workout with high cadence, VO2 max, and sweet spot efforts. I’ll continue to do this set every Monday. It’s a great way to recover and spin the legs out after a high-volume biking and running weekend.

Tuesday – a.m. strength training and p.m. run

Keeping with the low-weight/high-rep strength training plan—and it’s working. I’ve been able to increase reps per set from 12 to 15, and as part of base building phase two, I’ve added an extra set. After work, I repeated last week’s Cat Hill workout. Although my splits were about the same, I felt smoother and much more in control.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Even though I had a quick turnaround from the previous night’s hill workout to this threshold session, I felt pretty good. The group tackled 3×8-min. threshold blocks with four minutes recovery between each. Per Earl’s instructions, I hovered around 91-95 percent and built to 105 percent when prompted: for the first set, I spent two minutes at 105 percent; for set two, I stayed there for four minutes; and for the final set, I held 105 percent for six minutes. Although these are relatively short FTP blocks, I felt smooth, strong, and in control—it was definitely a confidence booster and reaffirmed the plan is working.

Thursday – off

Travel to Sanibel, FL

Friday – a.m. run

Well, this was an interesting day. Thunderstorms and a tornado warning kicked off the morning, so I wasn’t able to run until 1:30 p.m. or so—and holy humidity! It was only about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but the added moisture made it easy to stay in zone two for 45 minutes. Looking back to South Beach, I don’t know how I was able to “race” in even hotter conditions!

Saturday – a.m. swim

Yep, that’s right. I broke my four-month hiatus and hit the water!

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Breaking the no-swimming streak at the Sanibel Recreation Center

Earl programmed an easy 2,100-yd. set to shake off the rust. Being away from the water for so long (for me, I know this may not be long for actual swimmers) has negatively affected my body position, but on the bright side, I never felt like I was fighting the water—I was just a little awkward and much slower.

Sunday – a.m. swim

Can’t stop, won’t stop: another day and a second swim in the outdoor pool. Immediately after yesterday’s workout, I emailed Earl and requested another swim. I know; I don’t know who I am anymore. But look at the pool—how can you not swim? Another easy 2,250-yd. workout with tech work and 6×100 pulls.

How does being on vacation affect your workouts?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Six (Jan. 4)

So 2016 is looking and feeling pretty good so far.

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Central Park bliss

I really hope I didn’t jinx myself.

General training notes: Even though I’m still in the base building phase, this week saw some quality efforts across the disciplines. We’re slowly introducing more sweet spot/FTP work on the bike, and we’re continuing to build strength on the run by focusing on hills. We’re also upping the volume of the strength training work too.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

While my Ironman-distance training buddies did another power test, I tackled the “Goldilocks” workout. After a 15-minute warm-up and about 10 minutes of single-leg drills, I faced three blocks: “too fast,” which equated to high RPMs (120); “too hard,” which equaled VO2 max (120 percent); and “just right,” which meant sweet spot (88-92 percent of FTP). The work-to-recovery ratio started off equally and slowly shifted toward more work and less recovery: one minute on, and one minute off; 1:10 on, 50 seconds off; 1:20 on, 40 seconds off; 1:30 on, 30 seconds off. I loved, loved, loved this workout! It had all of my favorite things: higher cadence (my natural is 93-95 RPMs), VO2 max intervals, and sweet spot fun. It was also a huge confidence booster because for the first time since August, I felt like my legs had some pop during the VO2 max blocks, and the sweet spot efforts felt incredibly sustainable.

Tuesday – a.m. strength training and p.m. run

Although I planned to run outside during the morning, the 12-degree Fahrenheit reading prompted me to postpone until later in the day when it would be warmer. I completed my normal full-body strength training session anyway and ran after work.

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I’ve been digging these after-work runs lately; it’s such a nice way to end a day.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Another workout I enjoyed: five-minute blocks of endurance, tempo, sweet spot, and FTP work, and one three-minute block at VO2 max. Like Monday, I felt incredibly smooth and strong.

Thursday – p.m. run

This marked my first official hill/speed workout of the triathlon season. (After all, hills are speed work in disguise.) After a 10-minute warm-up, I tackled three Cat Hill repeats: cruise on the first; cruise halfway up the hill and then attack; and attack from the get-go. Then repeat for a total of six. This ended up being more of a strength/leg-busting workout as opposed to a cardio/lung-busting one, but that’s nothing new. When I do speedwork, I tend to feel it in my legs first. Also, for what it’s worth, I felt the smoothest and most in control when I was chasing another girl on the hill. Having that rabbit made a ton of difference, so perhaps it’s time to start running with other people.

Friday – a.m. strength training

Full-body routine that left my arms and legs feeling like jello. I’m still doing low weight and high reps, and the extra set this week provided a challenge.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two hours in the saddle consisting of high-cadence work, quality zone two time, plus a hill workout. Two (older) elite women completed this ride too, and it was both motivating and humbling to see their numbers.

Sunday – a.m. run

My days of zoning out during long runs may be over: ninety minutes of sustained speedwork. My main set was 2×20 minutes at my marathon pace, and it coincided nicely with a race that was going on in Central Park. One of my coworkers was there working, and since I was doing a looped course, I got to see him a few times. That’s the best motivation!  Other solid motivation: keeping up with the super cute guy who’s running next to you. Except I forgot to, you know, talk to him. *Sigh*

Do you prefer working out in the morning or evening?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Five (Dec. 28)

Happy 2016!

2016-january-resolution-run-riverside-park

It took me a few days, but I did in fact log a resolution run. Well, it was my first run of the New Year. And I thought about 2016 so …

General training notes: This span marks the fifth week of base building, and we’ll look to start introducing harder, more intense efforts on both the bike and run this month. And once February arrives, we’ll incorporate targeted FTP and speedwork. I’m pretty excited! I’ve definitely learned and felt the importance of zone two workouts this past month, and I give a ton of credit to long course folks who training nearly exclusively in this zone. That’s not to say I won’t spend quality time here as the season progresses—there will still be easy and recovery workouts—but this phase has confirmed I am definitely suited for short-course triathlons—for now.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

More quality time spent in zone two: thirty-minute build/warm-up, plus a 20-minute low cadence (70-80 RPM) block to work on pedal stroke mechanics.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training

Easy 45-minute run in the rain and full-body strength training

Wednesday – p.m. run

Six-mile hill workout in Central Park after work

Thursday – a.m. off

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two-hour endurance ride with a few VO2 max intervals at the end for fun

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Two-hour endurance ride

 Sunday – a.m. run

Easy nine miler along the West Side Highway to Riverside Park

What are your fitness/training/racing goals for 2016?

My 2015 Running and Triathloning Recap

So long, 2015! I have mixed feelings saying goodbye to this year. It felt like a roller coaster ride right out of the gate, and almost immediately, there were some big triathlon and work changes. The highs were high, and the lows were low—and I was always on my toes. I did a lot of learning, growing, contemplating, and of course, swimming, biking, and running. Let’s take an easy, zone two jog down memory lane.

2015-christmas-eve-sunset-lakeside

Christmas Eve lakeside bliss

Best race experience

Several factors comprise an awesome race experience. Of course, there’s the training—dedicating yourself to the process and doing everything in your power to prepare for a successful outing—but there’s also the traveling, hanging out with friends, and soaking in the overall race atmosphere. In 2015, I didn’t complete an event that rose above the others as the pinnacle of racing. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. But I enjoyed every race.

2015-trail-running-denver-wipe-out

Post-trail run in Denver. This is why people wear trail shoes.

When I went to South Beach in April, I had a blast hanging out with friends before and after the hotter-than-hot classic-distance event (a.k.a. eating all the food). At Kingston in July, I had fun getting to know my Tailwind Endurance buddies more and executing a decent race given the weather. At Nationals in August, I loved trying on “autopilot” and doing me. A few weeks later, I returned home and did the same course that served as my first triathlon ever, which was a neat way to look back and see my progress. And at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in November, I proved to myself I am a mentally strong runner who can execute 13.67 solid miles.

Best swim

Swimming and I have an interesting relationship. Simply going to the pool for a workout requires so much logistical coordination: getting my cap, goggles, swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops together; walking the 17 minutes to the facility; jumping in the freezing water and attempting to warm up. It’s a wonder I manage to swim at all! (Full disclosure: I still haven’t been in the water since September.) But I never struggle to swim when I’m in Lake Placid.

2015-ironman-lake-placid-mirror-lake-rock

Swimming in Mirror Lake is therapeutic. During these mile outings, my mind wanders. I reflect on the past year or so—the last time I was in Placid is usually the baseline—and what was going on in my life then. I love getting this headspace. Hitting paces and making intervals are the last things on my mind.

But as far as those lung-busting swims go, the best one I had during a race was at Nationals. Not only did I lay down a respectable split, but I also knew within a 15-second ballpark what my time was. (Related: I plan to start swimming again next week.)

Best bike

Thinking back to the time I spent in the saddle, a few things jump out: starting my training early at Tailwind Endurance; sustaining a crash (and concussion); recovering from said crash physically and mentally; logging blissful rides in Placid; and executing a decent 40-K at Nationals. The happiest miles I rode definitely occurred in Placid, but I can’t discount the comeback process.

2015-bike-crash-black-eye-trainer-selfie

Everyone loves a good #TrainerSelfie, especially when it showcases a black eye.

I vividly remember my first outdoor ride post-crash, and even though I was a bit twitchy, the outing restored my confidence.

Best run

I didn’t run to my potential off the bike this year; I never found that effortless, invincible feeling, and I failed to execute strong, mentally sound miles. But that’s OK. These “close, but no cigar” experiences helped me fully devote myself to Philadelphia Half-Marathon training.

west-side-highway-running-artsy-blurry

… and refocus my run training

The goal was to run strong and bring home a PR, and this running block catapulted my 2016 triathlon training. And during the race itself, I felt smooth, strong, and confident in my ability to execute.

Best piece of new gear

Santa delivered: hello, power meter!

quarq-riken-power-meter

Watts, watts, WATTS!

Obviously, I haven’t used it yet, but this tool will revolutionize my racing. I’ll be able to see how many watts I make!

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

This year will go down as the year of the bike crash, and as I mentioned previously, it really forced me to let go and trust the process.

5:28-tailwind-endurance-power-hour

Head down and getting to work

The crash affected me mentally too, and as I recuperated and approached my races, Earl gave me some sound advice: “Confidence is a choice. You need to choose to be confident.”

Most inspirational runner

Like last year, I continue to train and work with some stellar humans who also run—and they run fast, far, and a lot.

 If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging, humbling, and memorable

2015-best-nine

#2015bestnine

Thanks for following along this year–bring it on, 2016!

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Four (Dec. 21)

For the first time since the 1920s, CNY saw a green Christmas.

2015-december-green-christmas

Lakeside bliss

Being home for the holidays sans snow was strange. We tried (and failed) to cut down a Christmas tree. Granted, we had an artificial one set up already, but still. And can we talk about how warm it was? I wore shorts for each of my three runs, and sure, it rained a bit, but now snow. Totally unprecedented.

General training notes: I spent nine days at home, so Earl structured this week as a recovery period. Although I could’ve brought my bike home and rode outside (it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Eve!), my wheels stayed in NYC, and I focused on running and strength training—and baking cookies with Grandma. #priorities

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Easy 45-minute run in the rain

Wednesday – a.m. strength train

There’s a college in my hometown, so I went to its fitness center for my full-body strength training workout. (I usually swim when I’m home, but I’m still avoiding the pool for another month.) Anyway, this was my first time in a legitimate weight room (vs. gym or fitness facility) in a long time. And although I love getting stronger and getting after it, I did not miss the creepers. My earbuds may be in, but I can still see you trolling around, dude.

Thursday – a.m. run

Earl programmed a six-mile hill run, but I had time for only four. When Christmas cookie baking, frosting, and arranging calls …

2015-christmas-cookies

Just a “modest 1,000 cookies.” Direct quotation, folks.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. strength train

Abbreviated session at home because the fitness center was closed

Sunday – a.m. run

Sub-par planning and a late sunrise led to a shorter run—but a handful of miles are better than none.

All right. Back to the grind …

What did you do for the holidays?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Three (Dec. 13)

It’s the most RUN-derful time of the year …

2015-christmas-tree-holiday-spirit

Full disclosure: this tree was up well before Thanksgiving, which is a cardinal Christmas sin in my opinion. But the sacrifices you make for friends …

General training notes: Nothing too interesting to report as my third week of triathlon base building comes to a close. This span saw a few more harder efforts on the bike, but we’re still keeping things super easy on the run. Since the workouts themselves aren’t challenging, I’ve been focusing on the little things: making each pedal stroke as perfect as possible; running smooth and strong; thinking about how strength training exercises directly translate to power while cycling and running. To paraphrase John Wooden, doing these little things right will make big things happen.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Huzzah for zone three! This ride’s main set was a 35-minute effort in which I could go up to 88 percent.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy 60-minute run, plus full-body strength training

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Watts, watts, WATTS: I completed my first power test in nine months, and all things considered, it went OK.

2015-december-tailwind-endurance-power-test

During the 20-minute time trial effort, I executed my build precisely (a.k.a making more watts every five minutes), but I started off too conservatively; this resulted in a lower FTP than I hoped, but it’s December. There is plenty of time to get that value up. For those who love watts like me, my FTP is 20 watts lower than it was when I peaked in August.

Thursday – a.m. strength train; p.m. run

Full-body strength training in the morning and then a six-mile hilly run in Central Park after work

Friday – off … but p.m. run with friends

Our 6th Annual Joe Paulik Fun and Sexy Run was a smashing success.

2015-fun-and-sexy-run

In case you were blinded by my whiteness, I am the pale-looking one on the far right.

We almost got arrested! Every year, we wear as little clothing as possible, run to a bunch of tourist sites like the Central Park ice skating rink and Rockefeller Christmas Tree, sing Christmas carols, and spread holiday cheer. It was a balmy 40*F this year, so the whole half-naked element wasn’t as much of a big deal, but let’s just say when the girls took off shirts, we became a lot more popular.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Still back to basics: two-hour endurance ride in the saddle. There were a few FTP builds sprinkled in, though, and we finished the workout with a few sustained threshold efforts.

Sunday – a.m. run

Blissful long run at home around the lake—in shorts.

2015-december-lakeside-long-run

It looks like we’ll have a green Christmas, but I can’t be mad about this lakeside view.

What are your plans for the holidays?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Weeks One (Nov. 30) and Two (Dec. 7)

I could make a joke about this phase of training being all about (building the) base. But I identify with Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess more:

zone-2-workout

‘What is a zone two workout?’ The discovery process has proven slow, but beneficial.

General training notes: Structured 2016 triathlon training began last week (aw YEAH!), and for the next eight weeks—well, six now—it’s all about going back to basics. In this case, “basics” means easy, low intensity sessions. Enter: zone two workouts. As a short-course triathlete, I haven’t spent a lot of time training in this less-than-75-percent zone so it’s been a challenge to dial it back. During the past two weeks, I’ve become more disciplined on the bike and run; even though it still gets under my skin a little when I get passed while running, I remind myself it’s a process. It’s December. I don’t want to go fast now; I need to go fast in August.

As I mentioned previously, Earl has been appointed to the head of “Carrie’s triathlon arsenal,” and he has me running and biking three days a week, plus I’ve been strength training twice a week. And the best news? I don’t have to swim until February. Huzzah! Anyway, here’s what my week looks like:

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Easy, 45-minute tempo/zone two ride (including warm-up, drills, and cool down, this equates to 1.5 hours or so in the saddle)

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy, hour-long run plus a new strength training routine. It feels great to be lifting on a regular basis again, but it’s an endurance lift (low weight and high reps) so it’s a new concept. Most exercises are similar to the ones I used to do during basketball, but today, we aren’t going for explosiveness.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Quality 45-minute ride with some sweet spot efforts (again, with warm-up, drills, and cool down, it’s 1.5 hours) or another tempo/zone two ride.

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Six-mile hill run, plus strength training. Since I work uptown, I’ve been doing this workout in Central Park after work. (I do the strength training in the morning because I want to socialize with coworkers when I get back and not do pushups and squats.)

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Easy, two-hour ride. We’ve been doing relatively hilly courses to keep it interesting, and the inclines make it even more challenging to stay in zone two. Case in point: we usually make these rides “competitions” to see who can execute the most precisely and spend the most time in zone two, and the long-course folks always win. Last Saturday, we were on a course for 45 minutes, and I was proud of myself for staying in zone two for 37 minutes—meanwhile, the long-course folks logged 43 minutes. But it’s all about progress: part of this week’s workout included a 40-minute zone two competition, and I stayed in there for 38 minutes. (Unfortunately, I still didn’t win.)

Sunday – a.m. run

Running continues to feel fluid, although it’s important to note I’ve been instructed to run much slower: one minute per mile, actually. During these longer runs, I’ve also been getting hungry. My energy levels are fine—again, since I’m running slower, I feel like I can run forever—my I tend to get hungry around the 80-minute mark.

In summary, I’m pumped to be training again, and even though the base building stuff can be boring, it’s an integral part of laying the groundwork for a solid season.