Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Progress Monitoring Round 1

As I start the 2016 year, and begin preparing for the 4 sprint triathlon races that will make up my season,  I have a few goals when it comes to racing:

  1. Drop my 800 yd swim time to less than 15:00 minutes
  2. Increase my average bike speed to 22-23 mph during a race
  3. Drop my 5k time to below 21:00 minutes

As I will be turning 45 this year, I see these as fairly ambitious goals, but still attainable.  I also know that these goals will help me to transform my training a bit.  Since I've been "going long" the last few years, most of my training has involved slow, steady state efforts.  This year, I'll be doing shorter, more intense workouts.

I've placed a few "tests" into my training calendar towards the beginning of each month to monitor my progress towards the above goals.  My plan is to use these in a formative manner to suggest where I might need more effort/ investment and where I'm approaching my goals.

  • The first of these tests is an 800 yd TT swim.  I'm currently doing some work on my technique which I believe will have a big payoff, but it's a bit like learning to swim all over again.
  • For the bike, I'm going to use a 20 minute FTP Test Using Trainer Road.
  • The run is a 5 kilometer TT on the course of my first triathlon which takes place out at the local college. 

A couple of days ago I finished the first round of these tests.  Here's how I did and my takeaways:

800 yd swim:  15:46.  Through the first half of this workout I did really well.  My time for through 400 was 7:23 which, had I sustained that,  would have put me at a sub 15 minute time right out of the gate.  Even so, this is only a 1:51 pace.  As I mentioned, I'm re-learning a few things right now in terms of my stroke, etc. so that should pay off over time.

Keep it in the front quadrant!
Bike: I've done two FTP tests in the last couple of months.  The first, back in November, was a complete bust and I wound up abandoning less than 10 minutes in.  The more recent I completed at the end of December.  This one went much better and set my current FTP at about 184 watts.  This feels a bit low to me considering that I'd gotten up to about 207 last Spring.  But the truth is I haven't been on the bike as much (apart from spin class) for the last few months.  I'm adding in some more rides on the weekend now, so I expect to see that increase as well.  I realize that  FTP tests don't translate directly into my speed goal, but more power should equal the ability to produce more speed for more time.  I like the consistency of the test on the trainer, especially when my opportunity to ride outdoors is limited right now.

Run: Last weekend, I completed my 5k TT out at the University.  My split times were 6:30 (mostly downhill), 7:24 (mostly uphill), and 7:31 (mostly uphill) and a total time of 22:22.  The course includes 3 climbs, one of which is extremely steep and that definitely had an impact.  To get faster, I'll be adding some hill work as well as some speed efforts (including track work) to help drop that time a bit.  To reach my goal, I'll need to get my splits down a bit further.  My average pace for this TT was 7:07.  A 6:45 pace will get me under the 21:00 minute mark.

At the end of the month, I'll repeat this process all over again and have some new data to share.  At that point it will be time to add some pretty charts and graphs to go with the data!

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