Back in early March, I wrote about a change in training philosophy that I wanted to implement. Basically, I was adding significantly more intensity and not worrying about volume, and I wanted to continue lifting weights. I wanted to hit one high-intensity workout, one moderate intensity at half the race distance, and then a long/slow/easy workout at about 80-100% of race distance and also do two or three weight lifting sessions each week. This has been one of the best things I have done! My training is going great, and I am the strongest and fastest I have ever been.
If you have ever wondered why you need to maintain a sense of intensity in your training, I will show you the difference in the past two months.
Normally, I would be trying to maximize the volume at a moderate intensity level as I go into summer. That generally leads to not hitting my training goals because I can’t schedule all the time necessary, which then leads to some unnecessary frustration. Part of this change in training was minimize my frustrations in this manner.
Let’s go over the original goals and results specific to those goals, and then I will show you some other successes created by the addition of intensity. Hopefully, you will see the reasons why everyone over 40 years old should be keeping intensity in their training schedule.
- Higher overall power output on the same Sufferfest videos, showing an increase in lactate threshhold.
This is absolutely happening! Specifically, my output on “Nine Hammers” has gone from 230 watts naturalized power and 741kj to 254 naturalized power and 831kj. That is exactly a 10% gain in naturalized power!
Here is the screen shot from the TrainerRoad history for Nine Hammers.
- Faster times on the hills interval run segments that I have already established on Strava, improving strength and reminding me what pain really feels like so I can remember that during a race I really do have an extra level to attain.
I improved my time on the big hill I was focusing on from 3:00 down to 2:50. Not much gain, but I also ended up extending the overall workout run for what I dubbed “Nine Hills” as a tribute to the bike workout “Nine Hammers.” I was so impressed with my increases by doing Nine Hammers once a week that I was going to do Nine Hills every week. Unfortunately, the spring rains and snow came back and the trail has been too muddy for me to run it again outside of the first three weeks. Below are the results of those first three weeks.
- Slightly faster times on the standard lunch 10k route that I have run many many times and usually get faster as spring turns into summer.
Definitely improved this 10k lunch route. I am hitting this the fastest ever in life! The below chart from Strava proves it. I think this is what I am most excited about.
I started this year in the winter running my lunch route in 53:23 and have it down to 48:22 as of last week. Very excited about this progress! If I can lose another five pounds of fat, I think I can break 48:00 on this run.
- Weight drops to 180 on March 21, from 185 on March 2. That’s a lot for three weeks, but I think it will happen.
The weight hasn’t come off like I want it to, but this is actually a secondary goal. I am inconsistent with my minimizing binges on various cravings, but when I have 3-4 good days in a row the weight does indeed come off. If I can figure out what to do about the craving binges, I will be successful in this goal. As of my last weigh-in, I was at 183.
- Body fast drops from 19.8ish to 18.2 on the Aria scale. Who knows how accurate this scale is, but it is consistent and I can use that to measure objectives. I don’t know if this is really doable or how it relates to the weight loss, but it is something to think about and will drive me to complete the training plan as I chase this goal.
I am not completely successful in this endeavor either, but it is going pretty well. I thought this goal was exceptionally aggressive when I made it. Like the overall weight goal, this sees days of success ruined by binges on cravings. But there is success in the 0.8% overall loss.
Finallly, let’s look at my SportTracks data, starting with the training load.
You’ll see that the training load has been going down steadily since the end of the Tour of Sufferlandria. The past two weeks has been the beginning of a chunk of travelling, so I am not getting in all the workouts. Anyway, if my bike power and run times stay on the current improvement track, this chart doesn’t really mean much to me. For reference, the spike in late January was the Tour of Sufferlandria. And just to note, I don’t agree with the training efforts that are assigned to my swims; for example, the 3,000 yard straight swim woops me like a 13 mile run but gets half the credit in effort.
I am more concerned about the fitness levels. You can see a steady decrease in performance status while I have been doing this training plan. But, I am seeing big gains on runs and bikes, so I don’t know how correct this chart is. At this point, it doesn’t mean much to me because it just doesn’t match with gains I am seeing in the real world.
So, I am currently at a performance point of 233 and had a peak of approximately 288 in mid-March This is versus the status I had when I initially posted my plan in early March;
And below you can see how my performance stat goes from 283 on March 1 to 307 on March 25. That is objective improvement that I can feel good about.
Another thing I am measuring to see if this philosophy is working is my times and SWOLF on a 1600 ladder workout in the pool. I can’t match very well because I haven’t done the workout exactly the same each time because I lose track of where I’m at and end up missing a 100 or 150 yard set. This is frustrating. In any case, my SWOLF is very steady and not improving. As another measure, I do a “3k straight” workout every now and then to measure endurance on the swim. This isn’t a good consistent measure because the water temp changes from 82 – 86 degrees. But I am not worried about improving my swim time so much as I want to be able to swim the same time and come out of the water as fresh as possible.
I am continuing to lift weights throughout all of this, and I really like the results. I might not be much fitter and it doesn’t really help my endurance, but I think it is essential in the gains on my bike power and run times. It also keeps things interesting.
As I re-read “Racing Weight,” I remembered his theory that 80% of the volume should be less than lactate threshhold, and 20% above lactate threshhold. I think this workout philosophy hits those numbers but I have to do some detailed checks. It might be closer to 70/30 split.
Finally, I have to say that I really like using SportTracks’ scheduling feature. I have finally found a training calendar that is useful and doesn’t take too much time.