Monday, February 28, 2011

2/27 -- Good swim, better run, best movie

Sunday AM I started out by swimming at Ward's Masters swim practice. Had a good lane of myself, Dirk, Jacky (who qualified for USMS nationals in the 50 and 100 backstroke and trying for the 200 back, 50/100 breast and 100 IM, geez!) and Eileen, our favorite Curl Burke coach who can put Dirk and me to shame easily with her speed (despite being 15-20 years our senior!). Main set was a good one, consisting of 2x(8x100 on 1:35, 4x50 descend). The recovery was a little much, but oh well. I came in consistently at 1:13-1:14, which is a jump for me, as a month or so ago, I'd do the same set but coming in at 1:17-1:18. And I still felt strong for the descending 50s, being able to descend by at least 2 seconds on each. Still got plenty of lecturing on my stroke though. I really need to extend my arms out, especially my left arm, as my breathing can cause it to pull too quickly. I'll be sure to integrate more catchup into my drills to improve on that.

Just after practice I arrived at the Capital Crescent trail for a 10 mile run. My plan was to go out 5 miles on the downhill portion, easy and controlled, at 6:45 pace, and come back on the uphill grade at a faster pace, maybe 6:00 pace. Despite being itchy from chlorine, I ran comfortably at exactly 6:45-:50 pace for the first 5 miles, picking up a little bit to 6:30 over the last half mile to the turnaround. I headed back up, and really picked up the effort. I hovered right at 6:00/mile. The first two miles back were not so easy, but with 5k left to go, my legs suddenly felt lighter and I really was able to cruise in, locked into pace. Finished the run with 6:20/mile overall average pace and a time of 1:03:19... perfect! My pacing was spot on, which was my goal. Not go out too fast, and finish stronger. This was a pretty major confidence booster in my fitness and ability to pace myself over longer miles. Legs felt strong afterward, but I was definitely tired from the 5500y swim followed by a hard run. Thanks to Jacky for keeping me company on the bike!

Later that evening, I watched Commando... a superbly awesome movie. It made me punch things repeatedly. LET OFF SOME STEAM, BENNETT!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Saturday AM I met Michelle for a shorter strength workout at the gym. Mainly focused on core and some arm stuff. I ignored leg weights since we would be riding for 2 hours the same day.

After throwing axes, swords and PLASMA TRAILS at zombies, green bipedal creatures with spears, and mean wolves (Gauntlet on N64) we went to Germantown to ride bikes. When we got there the weather wasn't as friendly as anticipated, still a little chilly with a southerly wind that definitely was not merely 10 mph as the weather report stated. We decided to stay local and do 6 loops around the Germantown rec park and nearby roads, which would bring us close to 40 miles in 2 hours. My main focus was continuing to practice staying in control. There were plenty of hills to practice on, both going up and down. All climbs though went straight into the headwind, so they ended up being a little harder. I focused on staying between 270 and 350 watts on all uphills, maintaining 200-220 on flats and 180-210 on downhills. This seemed much more balanced, and I didn't lose speed upon cresting a hill, when I would normally be quite tired. I gave the last mile an extra push and averaged 262w, so I was feeling pretty good.

The ride went well, with Michelle sticking behind me for the ride, as she can be in zone 2-3 by drafting or riding behind me while I'm hitting my own zone 2-3. Works well! 38 miles total.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2/25 -- Andy vs. 32 mph winds

Friday AM I swam with Michelle at GISC. 800 warmup, main set of 4x250 hard, 4x100 (50ez/50hard), 4x50 hard, 200 cooldown. Another maintenance swim with short recoveries. It was nice to get away from pulling this time and work on some speed with short recoveries (10sec). I probably was hitting 1:14-:16 pace on my 250s, which I can accept when swimming a workout alone (Michelle swims with me, but doing a different workout... she swam great, hitting some fast 100s on short breaks). It was also nice to keep pace with the Germantown Masters group on my 250s. The flipturns help, but I can really feel some speed and endurance... I never slowed down. I still need to work on my stroke count... a little too high. I need to extend and open my hips up more.

In the afternoon I ran an hour at an easy/aerobic pace... A recovery run from 4 straight days of tough workouts in all 3 sports. Wasn't SO easy though, as I faced off against 30+ mph winds with harder gusts. My little neighborhood half-trail half-road loop is sort of sheltered from it, but not completely. Ran around 6:50-7:00 pace, when I wasn't running into a gust. I felt none of the heaviness that I had Wednesday and Thursday, surprisingly because Thursday's bike workout left me barely able to climb the stairs! Maybe the swim helped me loosen up? Not sure, but I ran smooth and felt light! The body sure can work in strange ways.

Friday, February 25, 2011

2/24 -- Pedaling with Virenque

Thursday's workout was a ride on the trainer. 20min warmup to L2, followed by 2x (10min L3/tempo, 2min recovery, 4x1min L5+, 1min recoveries). I thought this would be easier than this past Tuesday's threshold workout... But hmm, I was certainly wrong! I had the heavy-ish feeling from Wednesday again during the warmup, but after about 10 minutes I was spinning up to the ideal rpms (around 95-100). The first tempo was fine, staying right within L3 (223w avg, 98 rpm), and the 4x1s at L5 were good also (312, 330, 334, 323w avgs, 100+ rpm). Second set was a little harder, but got around the same for the 10min tempo (229w avg, 100rpm), while I was better on the L5s (330, 334, 348, 339w avgs, 106 rpm). I got stronger and my cadence increased near the end, which is what I really wanted to accomplish, especially in the L5s. It was also nice to average 300+ comfortably in the 4x1s. I seem to be developing more control of my cycling legs and pedaling so I can hold higher wattages longer.

Just like on Tuesday, I had a training partner, sort of. I cycled to the 2003 Tour de France Stage 7, where Richard Virenque broke away from Rolf Aldag about 30km from the finish. He was really pounding the hills but staying relaxed. I'm trying to learn to do that... pace myself better on the hills to be stronger on flats and downhills. Too often I try to sprint up the hills because I know I am strong on hills. I need to be strong up, but also keep that same wattage going down and on flats. If I go up too hard, I'll coast on the downhills and be weaker on flats. That has to change if I want to succeed at Columbia and cycling races.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2/23 -- Heavy but fast?

Wednesday AM I swam at GISC solo. A pretty pull-heavy workout, as usual for Wednesday swims. The main set contained several 4x100 sets of pull with 10" recovery, with longer swim sets in between. The pulling is helping my form and I feel stronger from it. I suppose that's the idea. I've been getting some good tips from fellow Wards and CB swimmers. I need to lengthen my stroke though... I think I regressed a bit, so I'll keep my focus on form the next few swims.

In the afternoon I hit my hill on Wootton Parkway for another week of repeats. The hill is about .75-.8 miles long, with a half mile marker at the bottom and near the top, so I made the repeats half mile so I could get a time. During my 2-mile warmup, I felt noticeably heavy and
flat. I haven't felt that way since I started Todd's training, and I think it was from Tuesday's threshold bike workout and not running since Saturday (I missed Tuesday's run due to time constraints). The first hill felt just as heavy and slow. About 30 seconds from the half mile mark and without looking at the clock, I thought this would be an AWFUL workout... it could only get worse with the way my body was feeling. When I got to the top, I got quite a shock when the clock read 2:36! Surprised, I jogged back down to start the second repeat... same split. I kept that time for the first 4, slowing up a bit to 2:40 on the 5th and 6th repeat. My body didn't feel that much better, but it definitely didn't feel worse. I did start feeling lighter on the cooldown though.

Considering how flat I felt going in and how last week I was doing all reps in 2:40, when I felt fresher, this seemed strange to me! I'll take it though, obviously. I like to think it shows my legs are ready for speed. It's strong enough to push me to good times on a bad day without too much taxing, so I think all the hill workouts have done me well. This should be my last week of hills. Next week, back to the GRC track workout!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thanks, Tyler

That Falcon Punch was so powerful it caused the tomorrow of then to be today. That's the only way I can explain it.

So I haven't posted on this thing for a while and pretty infrequently, causing derision from my peers. Well, here's a post! And I'll admit, that weekly training update was too annoying to do, so I'm going to TRY (or tri, sorry Michelle) to do it EVERY DAY, but just give a shorter write up of that day's workout. Then do something at the end of the week like a total, so I can feel I'm not doing enough. So let's begin with yesterday's workout:

Tuesday's workout was a trainer workout... 4x8 minutes, broken up as 4min @ at least 230w, 4min @ at least 260w. The 230 is high L3/low L4, so not tough, but not easy... 260w is at or a little bit over 40k race pace, so into L5. 2-minute recoveries between each interval. I made it a goal to be at least 94 rpm the entire workout, excluding recoveries and cooldown, so that required me to stay in one gear ratio the entire ride. About 94 rpm average for the 4min @ 230, 100 rpm average for the second 4min.

This got tough. By the end of two intervals, I was sweating quite a bit. I had some good extra motivation, as I had 2003 Tour de France stage 16 playing, where Tyler Hamilton broke away from the pack and held on for the last 30km to Bayonne. I like Tyler Hamilton, so it was a good motivator to ride with him (on TV). It definitely helped me push through the last interval, which was actually my best in terms of average power and RPM, averaging around 279w for the 4 minutes, and I was rocking in the saddle a bit (back and forth, I mean).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Welcome back. Training update to come tomorrow.