Spring is finally here! I managed a very fun 85km ride yesterday and a much shorter but still very fun 23km ride today. I am actually a bit sunburnt! Cycling tan lines are the best. Pink arms but white shoulders. Nice. It is so awesome to be out on my Blade Carbon Wheels again!!!
I’ve managed to get running again, though I am still not pain free. Whatever this IT band issue I’m dealing with is, it is stubborn. I am noting improvement while running day to day, but the improvement is still really minimal. I do feel still that I can’t push as hard as I’d like. But that’s actually probably ok, because I’m re-adjusting to running outside at the same time.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I’m never running on the treadmill again. Every time I do it for a considerable period of time, I end up in this situation. Dealing with some kind of injury or imbalance or something. I was feeling very comfortable in my long runs on the treadmill this winter – got up to 20km averaging just over 5 min per km. But as soon as I take that fitness outside I feel like absolute garbage. You’d think I’d have learned after last year.
A few weeks ago I was feeling rather discouraged about my run progress in particular. I pulled out this blog to see what I was doing last year at this time, because looking through my Training Peaks calendar I was able to see a significant gap in running spanning several weeks. Looking back, around mid-April 2017, I tweaked my back and ended up with a bulging disc. That pulled me out of running entirely for several weeks. At this time last year I was running ~30km a week outside on a low 5+ min/km pace, but comfortably. The injury definitely set me back, but I was able to break 50 minutes in a 10km run at Guelph Lake (first time ever breaking 50 mins ever) and then come in at just under 5 min/km over the half-marathon at IM Muskoka in early July.
Point being, last season I was running well, sidelined, but got back to it and had a great running year. This fills me with a bit of optimism, as I’m definitely not in the position I was in last year. I’m still running. I’m only doing in the low 20kms per week right now, but just a few weeks ago I had that up to 50 (treadmill) kms a week. That fitness can’t be gone. Just hidden, for now.
My runs have started to feel a lot better outside of the injury too. My heart rate is slowly dropping. Pace is slowly creeping upward. My legs feel a lot less like tree-trunks than they did just a few weeks ago. Really interested to see what will happen on May 13 at the Sporting Life 10km in Toronto.
This is a fast course, or so I’m told, and I’m going to shoot for a personal best pace at that event. I may end up paying for it with my injury though. I am nervous. My best outdoor 10km stands at 48:51, a 4:53 pace. That was in the Guelph Lake Olympic Distance tri. Indoor (treadmill) I’ve hit 47:49, a 4:47 pace. At SL10k I’m going to shoot for 46:00, which is 4:36. See what happens!
Sitting comfortably at a 240 watt FTP. At my target race weight (that I’m slowly approaching) that’s roughly 3.6 w/kg. On April 25 2017 I bumped my FTP to 200 watts (3.0 w/kg). Feels awesome being 20% stronger, pushing that much harder. Could also be why my legs feel like tree-trunks, but seeing the benefits of training on the bike through the winter is just awesome.
As I’ve mentioned here, I’m being coached this year. This has dramatically changed my approach to training. One of those changes has been a significant reduction in the volume of cycling. 8-9 hours a week in 2017 was pretty normal through this time of year. Last week was a bit more cycling than typical lately, and I clocked in 262 km over 8:37 in the saddle between indoor and outdoor riding. A more typical week is between 7 and 8 hours right now. But MORE POWER.
A huge difference is in intensity. With Coach, the intensity is significantly increased, and focused a lot more on my limiters (short bursts of power… ugh). But it is working. A 20% improvement in FTP that actually feels not just sustainable, but like it is only going to shoot higher. Early season goal is to push the w/kg to 4.0, which would be another 30 watts or so. Not only do-able, but I’m going to do it.
Swim usually comes first, but its taking the backseat this season. My swim is already fairly good for my age group. Most recent 1 km time trial paced at 1:32/100m in a 25m pool. I can spend a ton of time in the pool and really enjoy it, but the training time (and recovery time) is better spent working on my run.
I’m only in the pool once a week right now. That makes the sets kind of challenging because I don’t have a great feel for the water consistently, but seems to be enough to keep my form at about that same pace. I do believe that as my weight drops, my pace will increase as well. I’m also fairly sure that if I were to add even a short swim – just to get in the water and move – I’d feel more comfortable on the work days which would lead to a bit more enjoyment in the tough swims.
But the big news in the swim department is my new wetsuit! I’ve finally retired my QR wetsuit that I bought from a race vendor over a decade ago (free to a good home, if you want it!). My new 2XU P:2 Propel fits properly and is a huge improvement. I am expecting to set PRs in the water this year, even with my swim being limited. That up-stream swim at IM Muskoka… I’m going to PB that for sure!