Monthly Archives: January 2016

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.


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!


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.


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.


Date: Sunday, April 24

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

Priority: “C”


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


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”


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”


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!


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!


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.


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.


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!


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?