Monday, July 27, 2009

The Week That Was

Tuesday: 1.0hr. treadmill run (lower half zone 2)
Wednesday: 1.25hr. run (top zone 2)
Friday: 1.5hr. treadmill run (0.5hr. zone 1, 1.0hr. lower half zone 2)
Saturday: 2.0hr. treadmill run (low zone 1 - at least 10bpm below zone 2)
Sunday: 2.0hr. treadmill run (0.5hr. zone 1; 0.5hr. lower half zone 2; 1.0hr. upper half zone 2)

I'm at a high level of running volume relative to my history, so having standard feelings of vulnerability to overuse injuries. Over the course of the weekend I took a few aspirin to keep the areas of minor inflammation from becoming chronic. All feels good today without intervention, so I might see about making Tuesday's run longer and bumping the recovery week to next week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday Night Run Club

The Wednesday Night Run Club received some favourable press for our high visibility running singlets.

(The photo can't do justice to how nigh-on-florescent the things are. BTW, I'm in the front row of the pic on the far left - the only one in evidence wearing a water belt.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Week That Was

Monday: 0.33hr. spin (low zone 1 - at least 10bpm below zone 2)
Tuesday: 0.75hr. treadmill run (build to lower half zone 2)
Wednesday: 1.0hr. run (top zone 2)
Friday: 2.0hr. treadmill run (0.5hr. zone 1, 1.5hr. lower half zone 2)
Saturday: 1.0hr. treadmill run (low zone 1 - at least 10bpm below zone 2)
Sunday: 2.0hr. treadmill run (0.5hr. zone 1, 1.5hr. lower half 2)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Hadd Context

Here's the best write-up I've seen this morning providing context for my current training thinking:
Interpreting Lactate Curves for Ironman Athletes by Alan Couzens

I bring to that write-up the thought that I have a low proportion of type I and high proportion of type IIa muscle fibers when compared to the mythical ideal endurance sports physique, or even to the front third of the actual pack.

I could do a lot of zone 1 (under Aerobic Threshold) training to work on maximally training type I fibers. First, when one considers the examples of elites who've clearly come close to maximizing the potential of their type I fibers, one gets context for "a lot" such as Mr. Couzens' line, "That inch and a bit difference of the graph, represents a difference of ~7000 hours of steady state aerobic training in the real world!" Second, even if my type I muscle fibers were maximally trained and I carried little extra body fat they'd still be required to drive a relatively high mass (skeletal frame and other types of muscle fibers).

Couzens writes: "A secondary objective for the sub-elite Ironman, and perhaps a primary objective for the elite Ironman is to improve the oxidative capacity of the athlete’s type II fibers."

For me, definitely a sub-elite Ironman, I think that's my primary objective, and almost certainly my best return on resources required. That applies not just to Ironman but to all of my endurance sports activities.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Week That Was

Tuesday: 0.5hr. treadmill run (lower half zone 2)
Wednesday: 1.0hr. run (top zone 2)
Friday: 1.5hr. treadmill run (lower half zone 2)
Saturday: 1.5hr. treadmill run (high zone 1)
Sunday: 2.0hr. treadmill run (0.5hr. zone 1; 1.5hr. lower half 2)

Saturday and Sunday nights I felt that the days' workouts hadn't left me with a lot of spare resources (Saturday I collapsed into bed at 7:30pm only to wake up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night). It's now Monday morning and I'm not feeling deepening recovery debt (nor inflammation), so I may be tolerating the ramp-up.

Perhaps tonight I'll do a recovery workout on the gear purchased over the weekend - a used Forza spinning bike. It turned out to be the best readily available option to ensure that Jenny can comfortably build/maintain general bike fitness during extended stays.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Relating to the Hadd Write-Up

I first linked to the Hadd write-up over two years back. I haven't been serious about starting a new endurance training cycle since then (after that post I had IMAZ, Florida 70.3, and IMMoo ahead in my 2007 season).

The Hadd write-up uses percentage of VO2 Max (well, "VO2max") extensively. For now, I'm using this conversion to go from percentage of VO2 Max to percentage of Maximum Heart Rate:
% MHR = 0.64 * % VO2 Max + 37

I'm using 200 as my maximum heart rate, although it must be a bit higher.

So, from Hadd's references, I have:
o type I muscle fibers being trained from as low as 50% VO2 max pace, or heart rate 138
o type I muscle fibers being optimally trained at 70% VO2 max pace, or HR 164
o type IIa muscle fibers being maximally trained at 85% VO2 max pace, or HR 182

Based on HR max of 200 (OK, properly based on a lactate threshold of 181, but that's the line of the chart that has HR topping out at 201), Friel (in The Triathlete's Training Bible (Second Edition)) has as heart rate zones:
o zone 1: 121 to 154
o zone 2: 155 to 164
o zone 3: 165 to 173
o zone 4: 174 to 180
o zone 5a: 181 to 184
o zone 5b: 185 to 192
o zone 5c: 193 to 201
A few other of my markers mesh well with those zones, so I think they're pretty close. It appears that Friel and Hadd were reading some of the same research (top zone 2 corresponds with 70% VO2 Max, zone 5a corresponds with 85% VO2 Max).

For my 2007 season, I did 12 weeks of base in zone 1 and was slammed when I moved on to zone 2. I had two words for the end of low heart rate training, and they weren't "happy birthday".

Maffetone would have my heart rate go no higher than 140 during base (and that's generously giving the maximum adjustment of +5 to the simple 180 - age). That corresponds to 50.6% of VO2 Max. Data from other studies suggest, and personal experience confirms, that's not going to do much for me. I am stuck believing that the great Mark Allen just happened to have a heart rate that fit well with the adjusted average of Dr. Maffetone's research subjects. Amongst many other qualities I mean.

I suspect that I have a relatively high proportion of type IIa muscle fibers (goes with the middle distance build) and so I would willingly train to be sure that I get a lot out of them, even at the cost of some compromising of training of type I muscle fibers. (I entertain minor thoughts of a Wingate Test to estimate proportions of muscle fibers).

All of this is not to say that Hadd has it close enough to right for most people, or that my estimates of heart rate zones and % VO2 max correspondences are particularly accurate. It seems to me that one very nice thing about the Hadd style of base is that it emphasizes benchmarking and progression. If one starts with heart rates that are too low, one will eventually progress to more appropriate heart rates.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Week That Was

Tuesday: 0.5hr. run (zone 2)
Wednesday: 1.0hr. run (zone 2)
Saturday: 0.67hr. treadmill run (zone 1/2)
Sunday: 1.1hr. treadmill run (Hadd benchmark test)

Recovery week, and first attempt at the benchmark test from the Hadd write-up

On Saturday I tried executing the basic elements of the test protocol on a treadmill at the gym. Treadmill use is definitely required for me - Cayman's temperature and humidity varies too much through the day and across the seasons for me to do good benchmarking outdoors conveniently.

On Sunday I arrived at gym opening at 8am (hydrated, a bit caffeinated, and unfed). The power was out, so the treadmills weren't functional. So I carried on with my morning feeding and caffeinating, returning to the gym in the early afternoon (as it turned out, power had been fully restored just after 9am).

The next bother was that the best treadmills were all taken (the gym has three different models of treadmill). I think the treadmill that I started the test on has less air circulation around it, and I'm not certain about its calibration. Worse, when I paused the treadmill the timer started counting down the pause time instead of keeping my split time. When one of the best treadmills came available I hopped over to it (and consequently had too long a rest break). Then through lack of focus I ran too short a third repeat. Must do better next time!

For someone with as high a maximum heartrate as mine (200+ beats per minute) here's the test protocol:
o run 1.5 miles at heart rate 140 (me: 1.5 miles in 15:42)
o run 1.5 miles at heart rate 150 (me: 1.503 miles in 14:46)
o run 1.5 miles at heart rate 160 (me: 1.001 miles in 9:21 - oops)
o run 1.5 miles at heart rate 170 (me: 1.500 miles in 12:53)
o run 1.5 miles at heart rate 180 (me: 1.501 miles in 11:51)
Rest 90 seconds between repeats. Allow first 0.5 mile of the repeat to get heart rate up to target (to avoid overshooting and having to slow down).

As previously noted, I'm fat and slow. On the plus side, body composition changes should improve those times all on their own!

Eyeballing those numbers, I don't see the inflection point that one would look for in a Conconi test to identify one's lactate threshold. Not too surprising. My previous week's Wednesday run showed that my lactate threshold was over 172, and when I've been in better condition my lactate threshold has been well into the 180s. Further, the Conconi test may lack validity.

Next 3 weeks should feature nothing higher than zone 2, then another recovery and test week. I had 4 weeks of training prior to this test week, so in another 4 weeks there might be some aerobic improvement.