Tag Archives: base building

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase III, Week Ten (Feb. 1)

So I turned the big 2-6 on Friday. Actually, I shouldn’t say “big” because it’s not an important birthday; I didn’t age up, and I didn’t turn 30.


Although it’s scary to think I am closer to 30 than 20 now! Does this mean I’m an adult?


An adulting how-t0 guide

An early birthday present from my parents. Are they trying to tell me something?

General training notes: overall, this base building period has been really effective—I can tell I’m becoming fitter, stronger, and more efficient—and everything seems to be clicking, especially this week. Biking and running comprise the majority of my training time, and I feel rested and recovered for each workout, which is an aspect my training last year lacked. Swimming is still coming along. I’ve said this after avoiding the pool during the past two off-seasons, but I really shouldn’t spend for four months away from the water.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Just another Monday morning Goldilocks workout (while some Iron-distance training buddies power tested, sigh.) One of the benefits to doing this workout every week is being able to see and feel progress. For the first few weeks, I struggled to get my cadence above 120 RPMs simply because that isn’t kosher by triathlon standards. (Bike racing, yes. But triathletes rarely need to “let it fly.”) But I’ve become more comfortable with giving up control and letting my legs spin furiously.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

I don’t want to jinx it, but running is feeling great lately. After a 15-minute warm-up to Central Park, I completed 2×20-min. efforts at marathon pace with three minutes active recovery between. There were moments during this workout when it felt smooth and effortless. Granted, it could’ve been because I was running in shorts, and it was 41 degrees, but still. These moments are hard to come by in terms of the run (the bike is a different story), and finding that feeling validated the plan is working.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Nailed this crisscross interval workout: we tackled two, 18-minute sweet spot blocks with 30-second surges to VO2 max every two minutes.

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy hour-long run in the rain, plus full body strength training and corework

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters


Please enjoy this birthday cod.” My tri buddies get me.

Birthday swim, birthday swim! As the actual swimmers know, a birthday calls for a monster 100×100 set, but there was absolutely no way that could happen. Instead, we did some IM drill work, lots of pulling, and a few 200m sets for 3,800m.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Nothing glamorous: 3×30 minutes with 15 minutes at zone two, 10 minutes at Ironman-distance effort, and five minutes at sweet spot/FTP. Luckily, the coach gave me the green light to hang out at 80 percent during the Iron-distance blocks because I “don’t have an Ironman pace,” ha! This workout challenged me mentally more than physically; simply having the focus to remain engaged and execute a 1.5-hour set was tough.

Sunday – a.m. run

Hello, Harlem Hill repeats: I tackled two sets of three that followed the same progression as the Cat Hill repeats from a few weeks ago. (Cruise up the hill on the first, build to a solid effort on the second, and attack from the get-go on the third.) With warm-up and cool-down miles, I logged 10.21 for the day.

… and now it’s time for some Super Bowl fun!

What are your Super Bowl plans?

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 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?

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

For the first time since the 1920s, CNY saw a 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 …


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 …


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.


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.


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.


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?

Training Log – Week of Sept. 1 (Week 34)

Thank GAWD for four-day weeks.


Andy Dwyer anyone?

That is all.

General training notes: Woohoo for week two of base building with Coach Pat! The combo of doing shorter runs more frequently seems to be working because my body has handled the increased mileage pretty well. I’m also being responsible about stretching and foam rolling because I did not take proactive recovery steps during the season.

Monday – off

Travel day back to NYC

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Aside from the oppressive humidity, these four easy miles went pretty well. (Seriously, isn’t fall supposed to be here?) I also attempted pushups and corework.

Wednesday – a.m. bike

Here’s a cycling first: One of my contacts fell out mid-ride. Maybe because I was going so fast? Ha! The group logged four loops, but I shut it down after three; figured I should play it safe since I had only one functioning eye.

Thursday – a.m. run

Full disclosure: I went to a work party, didn’t get home until 2 a.m., and attempted my long run on 4.5 hours of sleep. And it went OK. Sure, I felt like I was going to die the first few miles, but once my body woke and loosened up, I settled into a groove. Take that, eight miles!

Friday – a.m. bike

Like I said last week, the increased running seems to be helping the biking. Sure, I don’t feel as explosive on hills, but I’ve been able to hang with strong cyclists. During this 35-mile ride, I sort of dropped everyone except one guy. So there’s that.

Saturday – p.m. run

Whew, this was a busy day on the workout front. First, I led a JRab/Shake Shack group bike ride. When I started triathlon—and essentially needed to learn how to ride a bike—I went to a bunch of Syracuse Bicycle Women on Wheels rides, so the least I can do now is give back to the sport and pay it forward. I’m happy to report no one crashed, got lost, or sustained a flat. We covered about 20 leisurely miles.

Thinking ahead, I brought my running gear with me and hit Central Park for 40 minutes—after having a coffee shake. The heat and humidity were killer, but it was a good run. I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve run in the park, and it reminded me how much I miss it.

Finally, I spent a few hours rock climbing later that afternoon. I still have so much to learn, but I’m working on my belay certification so I can scale all the things. And it’s also been incredibly humbling. As far as triathlon goes, I’ve gotten to the point when I know what to do and can put it on autopilot; it’s becoming second-nature. With rock climbing, though, there is so much going through my head, and I obviously do not know what I’m doing in terms of technique yet. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s keeping me on my toes!

Sunday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy 3.5 miles. Upper-body strength training and corework. Brunch. #nailedit

What’s one activity you’ve always wanted to try—but haven’t yet? (Go do it!)

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 25 (Week 33)

Hello, hello!


I’m back in Upstate New York for a few days. Gotta appreciate the Cuse Nation section in Wegmans!

General training notes: Woohoo for the official start of run training! As I mentioned, Coach Pat has put together my plan, and I’m currently entering phrase one, aka base building. The primary goal centers on (slowly and safely) increasing my mileage. (During the season, I was not running enough.  Period.) It’s been tough to run easy, but I’m keeping the larger goal in mind.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Still not feeling swimming at all. The only reason I made it to the pool was because I planned to meet a teammate. Nice perk of training with other people, right? I essentially pulled 1,500 yards and then ran an easy 3.5 miles outside.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy four miles outside and some upper-body strength training and corework.

Wednesday – a.m. bike

Our team rides are becoming smaller and smaller, but I still got in a solid 40 mile with some teammates. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been running more or biking less, but my legs felt incredibly fresh, and climbing hills seemed easier too. However, I felt much less explosive. Trade-off of running all the miles, probably.

That night, some coworkers and I went to Brooklyn Boulders to scale things.


Bikes, bikes, bikes!

It was awesome, and I can’t wait to climb again!

Thursday – a.m. run

OMG, this was such a great run. Clear skies, no humidity, slightly overcast, upbeat playlist—those eight miles flew by in no time. I felt invincible. I love running!

Friday – a.m. run

I took the train home Thursday afternoon for Labor Day weekend, and since Coach Pat suggested seeking out surfaces other than pavement/concrete, I met up with MB for an easy 40 minutes on the trails at Green Lake State Park. Running on dirt and dodging rocks and roots provided a new challenge to say the least—I’m not quite ready for my XTERRA debut—but it was nice to change it up. MB and I always have a ton to talk about, so it was great to catch up and log some miles.

Saturday – a.m. run

Since all my weekday runs went well—I felt great and followed the distance/pace/time plan—I asked Coach Pat if I could run around the lake, which equates to nine-ish miles. And under two stipulations, he gave me the green light! As per his instructions, I took a gel and 15-minute break halfway through, and I kept the pace extremely easy; if I felt fatigued at any point, I would have to be a responsible athlete and shut it down. Like Thursday’s run, the 9.25 miles passed quickly. And even though the mid-run break was new protocol, it allowed me to break up the outing into two, 4.5-mile shorter runs. For what it’s worth, my second wind kicked at around mile six, and I had to be carefully not to speed up.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy, 30-minute shakeout on trails. My calves felt a little tight, but that’s probably because I didn’t foam roll the day before. Because I foam roll now because I’m a runner!

In related news, I logged 34 miles this week. That’s a solid start to base building, right?

So what’s going on with you? What did you do for Labor Day? How’s the working out going?