Sunday, November 2, 2014

Congratulations to NYC Marathon Finishers

Today was the New York City Marathon, arguably one of the three most significant marathons on continental North America soil along with Boston and Chicago - in my opinion. Congratulations to Kipsang (Male) who ran a 2:10:59 (1:06:56 front 1/2 - 1:03:03 back 1/2) negative split to win by 7 seconds and Keitany (Female) who ran 2:25:07 (1:13:41 front - 1:11:26 back 1/2) to win by 2 seconds. Conditions were cool and windy. Props to my boss who ran 5:05.

Image from

As readers of this blog will know I am posting each weeks training regime for our Ironman hopeful (not me). This weeks theme will be running and we will be using some recent data to focus the workouts. Our athlete is not running at peak form of late but has the ability. The current fitness levels can be summed up as follows:

  • Last week's indoor track 5km time trial was just a touch under 22 minutes and peaked at 171 bpm with an average of 164 bpm during the effort. 
  • The 14km long run last week was outside on pathway and averaged 128 bpm at 6:13 per kilometre. 
  • Using some estimations based on the data we are predicting our athlete has a max heart rate of about 180 bpm, and we know the resting heart rate is 46-47 bpm.
What does this mean? 

Best guess puts our athlete currently at about a 3:41 marathon ability, and capable of about 4:18 in an Ironman. Given that they have run under 4 hours at Ironman and under 3:30 in a regular marathon we have some opportunities to improve. So with that here is this weeks schedule.

Swim Workouts (1h 50m)

We will scale back in the pool this week using the swims mostly as a form of run recovery, not so much as swim fitness efforts.

A: 2500m steady state swim to get slow easy volume - this one is without paddles or pull buoy - target is about 18 min / km and around 120 BPM for heart rate. The core success metric of this workout is pace precision. Last time the heart rate was 128 for this type of pace.

B: 1500m technical workout. 300m warm up (10X100 of technical drills - fingertip, catchup, fist, head position, 6 beat, front 25%, exit, backstroke, skewer (axel), and low stroke count) 200m cool-down.

C: 1500m pacing interval workout. 300m warm up, 5X200m on a 4 minute cycle - roughly 3:15 per 200m then 50 sec rest, 200m cool-down. This workout is simply to develop pacing for Ironman. Repeat workout from last week.

Bike Workouts (4h 30m)

This week is a week off from the tedious, slow, long bikes that have occurred the last 3 weeks. Kind of a standard bike week with a meat and potatoes wattage workout in the mix.

A: Pacing Bike (90 minutes), 30 km/hr. Simple IM Pacing workout. 90 rpm

B: Up-tempo accelerations (90 minutes). 15 minutes warm up at 150 watts/ 80 rpm, then 4 sets of {10 minutes at 200 watts / 100 rpm + 5 minutes 150 watts / 80 rpm} 15 minute cool down

C: Power Wattage Workout: (90 minutes)

  • Do 30 minutes at effort level 3 record watts, 
  • 5 minutes at effort level 7, record watts, 
  • 5 minutes effort level 3 same watts, 
  • 4 minutes at effort level 8, record watts: 
  • 5 minutes effort level three, 
  • 3 minutes effort level 9, record watts; 
  • 5 minutes effort level 3, same easy watts; 
  • 2 minutes effort level 10, record watts
  • 1 minute effort level 7, use same watts as before
  • 30 minutes effort level 3

Run Workouts (3h 46m)

A: Steady state run 17 km, at 6:15 / km (106 min), Heart Rate Target is 124 bpm average, dropping down from 128 bpm previous week. Focus of this workout is endurance development.

B: Easy Tempo Intervals (9 km total - 78 min): 2 km warm-up at effort level of 3, 25 X 200 m on a two minute cycle targeting 45 seconds for each 200m. Note that this would be the pace of a 18:45 5km. 2km cool down at effort level of 3. Heart rate should be under 120 bpm before each new interval starts. 
Goal is to build good solid form with some pace precision. 

C: Easy run of 6.5 km (6:30 / km - 42 min). Should be a no stress, guilt producingly slow ("GPS") workout.

Normally I would not recommend this amount of running distance jump from the previous week (26km to 32.5 km) however there are four key factors 1) The athlete has had much higher volumes pre Ironman a few weeks ago and we were suppressing volume to enhance recovery, 2) we have kept the pace very slow overall (almost 2 minutes slower per km than 5km race pace), 3) the overall hours on the week will be constant with last week and 4) speed work is 2km of the 32.5km or 6% of the total weekly volume and well under the 15% maximum of speed work to total volume guideline.

Total time on week (10h 6m)

Overall the week is relatively flat to last week on total hours but due to the run volume increase this is to prevent overtraining as a whole.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Helping a friend get to Kona

So, I have this friend (really it's not me it's a friend), and yes you sarcastic people - I do have friends, well a couple, maybe. This friend has done over 30 Ironman Triathlons and dozens of shorter races, including 70.3 or 1/2 IM races and has even done the 70.3 World Championship.

But this friend has a problem - he can't quite qualify for Kona and has a couple close misses (less than 20 minutes) under his belt. So I have offered my friend the opportunity to have some free coaching since he has tried self coaching and the paid online variety. The difference is that I know my friends strengths and weaknesses so am customizing a program specific to him to help him get to the top so he can figuratively see the view like this.

We are week four into this program and his next IM is Houston in May 2015 and he just did Maryland back in September. This week we are building back some volume now that his recovery is complete. The last few weeks have been lighter with some increases. So what am I giving him to do and why?

Swim Workouts (2h 45m)

So some easy volume build in the pool for him this week

A: 4500m steady state swim to get slow easy volume - this one is without paddles or pull buoy - target is about 18 min / km and around 120 BPM for heart rate. The core success metric of this workout is pace precision.

B: 2500m technical workout with a time trial for a base to measure against. 300m warm up (10X100 of technical drills - fingertip, catchup, fist, head position, 6 beat, front 25%, exit, backstroke, skewer (axel), and low stroke count) 3 minute rest then 1000m time trial, 200m cool-down.

C: 1500m pacing interval workout. 300m warm up, 5X200m on a 4 minute cycle - roughly 3:15 per 200m then 50 sec rest, 200m cool-down. This workout is simply to develop pacing for Ironman.

Background: He is a strong swimmer so we have a LOT of base to work with. Swims usually only a shade over an hour at IM. His PB for 100m is about 1:15, 200m is about 2:38 and around 7:06 for 500m, fastest pool swim 1500 I have known him to do is 23:00.

Bike Workouts (5h 20m)

A: Easy steady state bike - 180 minutes, cadence of 90-95, perceived effort of a 5 out of 10,  ideally around 110 beats per minute HR - This workout should be scheduled same day as race but after the race. Just a base volume workout with low intensity. Also to avoid pedal mashing with requiring a high rpm and low HR.

B: Pacing Bike  - 80 minutes, 32 km/hr. Simple IM Pacing workout.

C: Single Leg Drill - 15 min w/u, 15 min c/d with 6 sets of (2 min @180 watts both legs - 1 minute left leg @200 watts, then right leg at same, then 1 min @120 rpm but low watts). Developing balanced power and improving his pedal stroke.

Background: His 40k time trial PB is about 64 minutes under average conditions, and usually rides 5:20 to 6:20 in IM depending on hilliness of the course.

Run Workouts (2h 25m)

A: Steady state run 14 km, at 6:15 / km (88 min), This is a low zone 1 workout for base only

B: 5 km race is scheduled - plan is 1 mile easy warm up, 6 X 50m accelerations, race, 2km very easy cool-down. He wanted to see what his 5K race ability is currently at.

Background: His straight 10k PB is about 40 minutes and best IM run around 3:51.

Monday, October 13, 2014

MOMAR 2014 from the Middle of the Pack

What happens when you take a type A personality who does triathlons for about 30 years and retire him and then do an adventure race for fun in 2013 with lots of mistakes? Odds are he gets a bit more serious and returns for more and that is the story of MOMAR 2014 (#momarcumby).

So if you read this blog you know all about the 2013 race (race report in a previous post). There was much opportunity for improvement. However, to make things fun I came back for the solo Enduro event. That means an extra 10K mountain biking (25 from 15), extra 5km running (15 from 10) and an extra 5 km kayaking (10 from 5). No problemo…

I spent the better part of the last year learning how to mountain bike downhills, some quasi run training to improve my fitness while not abusing my knee and a bit of time improving my kayak technique. Come race week my moral support crew - no real support is allowed on the course - faded and I had to call in the rare father's day coupon to "coerce" a daughter to come up with me. You can see the used father's day coupon below.

So with my conscripted moral support crew we go up the day before, do the pre-race check-in and camp at the lake.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: Registration &emdash; LJ_20140919-_9190952

I look happy here, mostly because the anticipated discomfort has not started. Race morning prep goes all good, BLAH BLAH BLAH - nobody really wants to know what I did for that or the play by play on bike check in. However, you do want to see the retro 70s headband I was rockin' at the lake before race start.

Honestly, I did not sleep in that shirt overnight… Really! Sadly, this is the best I looked all day and with that headband, that is a sad, sad, statement. So this adventure thing starts with a kayak. Lots of boats and a few resourceful athletes (you know who you are - you solo racers that paired up in a double kayak) were on course that day.

 Raise your hands and identify yourselves - see photo! ), 

some paddle boarders (props to you four!), and yours truly. I had thought with my training I would be up closer to the front of the race after the kayak and found myself firmly in the high 70s position wise out of 112 entries in the Enduro course. Reality sets in. However, the time was about right for my training and I scrambled out of the kayak at about the 75 minute mark. At this point I put on the knee braces (to accompany that quality headband look), punched the checkpoint 1 marker and smiled for the camera - I look really dorky here too I think.

So trudging along with the "Wenzel Walk"™ I trek my way for over an hour and a half and lose a few places and my knee holds up "relatively well" with the ups and downs, side hills etc and I eventually make it back towards town. Not only was my attire admired by those competing and watching but the ability I had to read a map and run past a couple of teams while map-reading made for interesting mid day entertainment. Kids, notice the quality form with the high tech knee braces.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: CP 8 &emdash; LJ_20140920-_9200348-2

Next is the uphill mountain bike stage, finally my training would pay off as I rode hard, aggressively riding and then hike-a-bike up some steep climbs and began passing people who started too fast. I moved up about a dozen places and my pre-race trip to Cumberland in the summer paid off as I knew exactly where I was going.

After finishing that began Trek #2, which really took its toll on my knee. By this time fatigue was a small factor but the ups and downs and length of time on course showed my why I had quit road racing as the knee just was not up to it. However, despite all conditions Trek #2 was done in about 90 minutes and I moved up another 8 places or so - go figure.

So all that was left was the downhill bike section. This is where we would find out if a new bike and seven months of training at Hartland Mtn Bike park would payoff. After a couple km of mostly flat riding the first section downhill was Thirsty Beaver, the same trail that caused me to crash last year. All I can say is I rode the Beaver without any qualms, or problems. Then to Blue Collar, I also rode that in the summer, again no problems. A couple of faster downhillers did pass me but at least this year I was not walking. Some flat stuff through Crafty Butcher, then a tough climbing section which took me FOREVER, and a couple of downhill trails that were pretty tough for me so I did some walking before finally finishing on the 50:1 trail.

For proof I could ride the downhill the photographer did capture evidence. Its a smile, not a grimace of fear here - at least that will be my story.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: 50:1 &emdash; LJ_20140920-_9200275-3

Just after this photo a short stint to the finish to move up 4 more spots and finish 53 overall and a prompt personal commitment of retirement from adventure racing. In fact, it took over two weeks for my knee to recover. However, this was a much better way to finish than last years getting lost, crash, walking, infection, allergic reaction story. At least now I can move on to my next adventure without wondering if I could do better - because not only did I, but I had a lot of fun.

Friday, August 22, 2014

MOMAR 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post we were going to do our first adventure race. And we did. Last year in September Melanie and I did our first team adventure race. The MOMAR - Mind over Mountain Adventure Race in Cumberland BC. What a crazy experience. We had entered the "short course" a 30 km event that included about 5K Kayaking, followed by a 7 km trek, a 10 km climbing Mountain Bike section and another 3 km running with a 6K downhill mountain bike finish.

While neither Mel or I were in top shape fitness was not our issue. It was an "entertaining" experience. We started with the Kayak section, all other teams were in double kayaks and generally much better kayaks so we were not shocked to be on the slower end of the pack. Understatement. We were the last place kayak team and only due to the transition to the first check point did we actually end up passing any teams. There were about 90 teams so we had the fun of being back of packers to start the next stage of the race.

The run trek tested my map skills and aside from getting a bit lost for 20 minutes (and ending up back at the pack again) but eventually I was able to better dial in my navigator role. Once that happened we moved up to somewhere in the 60's place wise before starting the uphill Mountain Bike stage. Since this was more fitness oriented we did quite well moving up many places (we actually finished in the top third for that leg).

After hitting the next major check point we dropped the bikes and did the short run leg, which we thought we could push hard because it was "only a downhill bike to the finish". We placed 9th in the run leg and ended up in the top third of the race to start the downhill.

Well, that was the end of the come from behind rush (not that we were "racing" but more participating). It took less than 30 seconds for us to realize we were in over our heads on the downhill stage. My bike had frozen front forks (did not know that until after) and it was way to technical for us. We ended up walking most of it, however during one of the sections we rode I took a VERY hard crash (I still have the scars to prove it, which got infected, which then I had a reaction to the penicillin - another long story). Needless to say we were the LAST place team that actually did the downhill section since all the other teams behind us failed to meet the checkpoints.

In the end we walked across the finish, tired, battered and pleased to have survived. We finished in the 60's place wise but met EVERY check point.

MOMAR 2013 Recap Video

Postscript: The injured leg got infected, then I got an allergic reaction to penicillin. I got months of money's worth of adventure from the race. However, this last year I have been practicing my Mountain Bike skills and am registered for MOMAR 2014 in the long course (Enduro) as a solo entry.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Retirement, Weight Gain, and a Move

Retirement from running and triathlon racing has been full of mixed feelings but it sure caused a weight gain. Post Ironman I added 35 pounds of weight and 4 inches on the waist. Neither fact thrilling me at all but once I took the new job I made the commitment to bike daily to work. Moving a few months ago in the middle of winter to Victoria has definitely helped me regain some fitness in that way. The result is losing an inch along the waist plus about 12 pounds over the last four months. It's not a long commute to work (30 minutes or so each way) but it is a very scenic one that I should post some pictures of. However, for now this is a picture from the park about 50 meters from our new house just before we took possession in late February.

The culture here in Victoria had me thinking about what I can do next. As a result, Melanie and I have registered for MOMAR. Promo video: