I am not having a good morning. Let’s start with the weather. Getting up at 4:30 am and leaving the house to go to the gym in a downpour was exactly the best way to welcome the day.
I get to the gym, and as I am grabbing my gym clothes out of the trunk, I noticed that all of my shirts are wet. Last night when I got home, I must have not closed the trunk all the way and one of my shirts was sticking out. That shirt kept the trunk open just enough to let water in, and all of my crap was soaked. I managed to find one shirt that wasnt as bad as the rest.
Once inside, my nose starts to bleed. At the same time, I noticed my Garmin was dead. So while I am in the bathroom trying to stop my nose bleed – which took about 30 minutes – I let the Garmin charge. The fact that I had the charger with me was the only piece of luck I had this morning.
I finally get the nosebleed stopped, and I hop on the treadmill. Today’s workout called for a 3 mile tempo run at 8:30, with a mile warmup and a mile cooldown.I start the warm-up at a slow jog and I am noticing that my left calf is tight. I stop and stretch that out a bit, and proceed with the first mile of the tempo. Within a half mile, I am feeling like shit. My calf is still tight, and I think all of the blood in my stomach (gross, I know), wasnt sitting well either. I finished the first tempo mile and called it a day. So, I might try this again afterwork – we’ll have to see
The first day of training – Monday – went well. I got up and layered up, and did 4.4 miles on my old out-and-back loop from my house to Bortondale and back. The “out” is uphill and the “back” is a downhill. I keep separate splits for both legs. I think I was pacing at a 9 minute mile on the way out, and a 8 minute mile on the back. My blended average was 8:45. I noticed that my left calf was tight. I havent had this in a while. It might stem from the fact that the road that I run on for a good 2 miles of the course is a bit off camber. I have a detour that I can use, and I think I am going to have to use that in the future.
So with the calf feeling tight this morning, I stretched the shit out of it, and because I cut the run short, I did some calf work, which I think I am going to have to do a few times a week, also taking into consideration that one of my previous injuries was a calf/ ankle issue.
Yesterday, the plan called for some crosstraining. I am opting to take my normal spin classes twice a week, but scaled back a bit in the intensity. I tried to keep it easy yesterday, and for the majority of the class, I was doing my own thing and not necessarily following the instructor. I think I went a bit harder than I should have, but that’s more of a behavior based on the fact that I go full throttle at every spin class. I also look at this way – I dont need to be in good riding shape at this point because a) as the training progresses the mountain biking will unfortunately tail off and b) I dont do much winter riding anyway so there’s no point in keeping my bike fitness high. I am not in great shape to begin with relative to Mike and Dom. And even I was riding, I would probably be following a periodization plan that I used alot for triathlon and alot of cyclists also use it.
Periodization works like this: training is broken down into Periods and the Periods all culminate into peak fitness, which typically coincides with the one’s race season. So, the first “period” over the winter is called the “base” phase – easy spinning, low heart rate, letting things repair from the previous season, and working on spin technique. When I was training for tri’s, this phase would start in December and go for about 6 weeks. There might also be some weight training mixed in as well.
The next “period” would be “Strength” where the workouts progress into muscle building – lots of interval and time trial based riding. The strength period would be followed by a Speed period, which is where the fast twitch muscles are really built up. In this phase there’s a lot of above-threshold riding. You’re hitting this Period in the Spring, which is typically when the Road Racing and Triathlon season begins. At this point in time, most athletes still arent at their peak fitness level. The early season races are really the last piece of the puzzle to build up to peak fitness.
Peak fitness typically lasts for two weeks. That doesnt mean that if you peak in June, you’re done for the summer. You can multiple Peak Fitness Periods over the course of the summer, as long as you have proper rest and/or lower intensity workouts in between. To get into another phase of Peak Fitness, you would follow a very mini-version of the Periodization schedule, and you wouldnt have to do the Base phase, because you should aready have a strong riding Base already.
To think that you’re going to have your A game all season is ridiculous. You’ll burn out. That’s what happened to me two summers ago when I was full-swing into duathlon. By the time the end of the summer came, I was toast, but in the Spring, I was greasy fast. I tried to keep the fitness up which is like chasing a carrot on a stick. And to boot, every ride, every run, was a hammer-fest.
The marathon training plan is also a quasi Period schedule. The first couple of weeks are base – lots of slow running, some temp runs here and there. As the training progresses, the plan will mix in some speedwork, and the longer runs encompass the Strength period.
Sunday, Dom and I did the first “Snow Ride” of the year. It was a shit-show. My neighborhood got a light dusting, but the area up by Valley Forge got at least 2-3.” Unfortunately, the ground is still to warm, and none of the trails were covered in snow. Rather, they were a sloppy, muddy shit fest. After 45 minutes, I was covered head to toe in mud, and I was wet, and I was clod, and I couldnt feel my feet. Awful riding conditions.