Tag Archives: HRV

Off-Season Update and Some Swag Nov 9 2015

Just a little update here on how things are going during the “off”-season. The rebuilding process is being established and I have been laying the groundwork for a solid foundation for the upcoming season.

Miracle Mornings…

After recently reading the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I have miraculously turned into a “morning person.” I have tried many times before, but it just never stuck. But by using the techniques in this book it is becoming a reality for me. I have now been waking up early every day for over a month now, including weekends. I believe that by focusing on the things that are really important to me as the reasons to get up early has made a difference. If you are interested in getting up earlier and being more productive with your days, I would highly recommend this book.

Pump!…You Up!!

So what am I doing with all the time I have during these early mornings? Strength training! If you have followed my training updates in the past, you know how strength work typically gets bumped first. Which is common in endurance athletes. Well, I have been working with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance Studio to develop a solid functional strength program. So I have been fully committed to making this a regular part of my training and it is the top priority of my “Miracle Mornings.”

This new habit is becoming even more ??? since I am really starting to feel the impact it is making in my training. My run times are dropping and I am feeling more solid from the core when I run. I really believe this will be making a difference in my performance for the upcoming season.

The Pain Cave

Over the last 6-months I have been working on getting my “Pain Cave” in my basement up to snuff so I have a good place to train during the Winter months. I happy to report that things have come along quite a bit lately. I have recently had some Radon Remediation done in the basement so that I am not sucking down radon all Winter long. I just got the post-remediation test results back and they were < 0.3 pCi/L for a week long test (anything under 0.5 is considered fresh air), so that is good news. I also picked up a 43″ 1080p flat panel TV for my Zwift bike trainer rides which really puts you in the drivers seat. I moved my smaller flat panel over the treadmill, so now I have dedicated TV’s for each or I can watch a TV show on one while doing the Zwift ride on the other. Pretty sweet!

Pain Cave November 2015

Pain Cave November 2015

Ommmm

One other aspect that I have been working on is developing my mental fitness. A strong mind is essential in endurance activities. I have also been establishing a daily meditation habit with the help of the Headspace iOS app. Meditation seems to be quite the buzzword these days, but I hear more and more endurance athletes attributing a lot of their success to it. Through my early mornings, I now have been able to establish it as a new daily habit. I have to say it is pretty relaxing, but shutting my busy mind off is no easy feat some days.

I have also been reading Matt Fitzgeralds’ new book “How Bad Do You Want It?” which delves into the mental coping mechanisms that endurance athletes utilize to command amazing performances. It has been a pretty interesting read so far and I hope to post a review on it shortly as I wind down the last couple chapters here.

iThlete HRV Guest Post

I recently did another guest post on the iThlete HRV blog about my off-season and how my Heart Rate Variability has correlated with what I have been doing lately. Be sure to check that out. iThlete is also having a 15% off all sale on all HR sensors this month, so you may want to check that out too. I highly recommend the Finger Sensor for easily checking your HRV in the morning. They are also planning on releasing some new features to the iThlete Pro App this month which I am looking forward to as well.

Weight Loss in Endurance Sports

Runner’s world recently posted this article on How Weight Loss Affects your Running Speed?  In it they claim that you can drop 20 secs/mile for every 10 lbs you lose. Multiply that by 26.2 and you got a nice PR on your hands. Add that reduction to your watts/kg rating for a 112 mile bike and you just smashed your leg PR and probably an Ironman PR as well. Really provides a good motivation to drop those excess pounds during the off-season.

Unfortunately, this is one area that my “Miracle Mornings” have not provided too much help too. I have been trying to keep my net calories around 2100, but I am still hovering around the same weight. Unfortunately, I may have to cut that net figure down a few more hundred to see anything significant without increasing training load too much. What will make this more difficult is the holiday eating season is coming up too. Should be challenging.

So, since we are on the topic of weight loss affects to endurance activity, I dug up a few more articles on the topic that I thought were helpful….

What’s my Optimal Racing Weight? | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 1 | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 2 | TrainingPeaks

Trainer Season…

As we are now heading into Trainer Season, DC Rainmaker just published his 2015-16 Trainer Recommendations. I would highly recommend reading this if you are in the market for a trainer this year. I will probably be saving myself over $200 this season just from reading this and getting a new controlled trainer sooner than I planned to. Worth a look.

Some Macca Drama

Looks like there is a bit of drama going on with Chris McCormack over some accusations being made from surf legend, Sunny Garcia. I first heard about this over a week ago on the TRS Radio Podcast during the beginning of episode 62 with Gordon Ramsay & Lew Hollander. But I haven’t heard anything new since then until I saw this post on Slowtwitch today. Sounds like some pretty serious allegations so we will see how that plays out.

Well, that is all I got for now. Hope everyone is enjoying the off-season and renewing their motivations for the upcoming season. Take care and happy training!

 

 

Prep for Steelman 2015 Olympic

Well I kind of fell off the blogging wagon a bit here lately(again). In my defense, IMLP vs IMCdA post took a bit of time to put together and I also needed to put together my next monthly post  for the iThlete HRV blog too. I have been training fairly steadily the past 3-4 weeks for Steelman Olympic which despite being a shorter distance event still takes up some time.

Ironman Recovery

I gave myself about a week and half of full recovery before starting back into training for Steelman. I was feeling pretty good after the week of vacation we had after the race in Coeur d’Alene, ID. I really took it easy that week and with the ongoing high temperatures out there it was fairly easy to do so. We took a ride over to Glacier National Park for a couple days, which was a bit cooler, and took in the beautiful views of the park.

Once we were back home, I used the first half of the next week to catch up on some home chores like cutting the grass. This provided a bit more active recovery too. By midway through the week I was eager to get back to it again. My bike arrived back to Keswick Cycle from TriBike Transport by the weekend, so I ran down there to pick that up on a Friday morning.

Yuki

One personal item that has been a bit of a stressor was the recent decline in health of my dog, Yuki. Yuki has been battling Lymphoma for the past 5-6 months. He had been doing quite well up until about two weeks ago. When we returned from our Idaho trip we noticed that his Lymph nodes had gotten larger again. He was still in good spirits for a few weeks after but then we started to notice him get a bit more lethargic. He would pep up though when we went for walks or when his nemisis, “Black Kitty” would stroll leisurely by the front of the house. Actually just saying the words “Black Kitty” would send him into a rage of barking.

Yuki with Tails a waggin'

Yuki with Tails a waggin’

A couple weeks ago Yuki started to turn his nose up at his food. We were cooking him organic, grass fed ground beef or turkey, with some rice and vegetables and he was scarfing it up every meal until the other week. Now he didn’t want anything to do with it. He would take a treat here and there, but that was about it. We talked to the vet they recommended some smelly fish, or canned dog or cat food. We got some of that Little Cesar stuff and the first one he gobbled down and my wife and I were high-fiving each other. That was short-lived because he just barfed it up about 15 minutes later. Ugh!

It wound up being almost a week of him not eating. He was still drinking water though and still walking. Last weekend he really started getting slow and was throwing up foamy stuff a lot. Then he was barely drinking any water. Last Sunday we took him for a walk but he kept slowing down. You could tell he was stuggling to keep up. Monday morning was not good. He had puked a couple more times and was just laying around in strange places. I had to carry him outside to pee. My wife ended up coming home early and we made the dreaded decision that I had not been looking forward too.

Yuki went peacefully in our arms on Monday morning(August 3rd, 2915) at around 11AM. Although it was a very well done process by our vet and as comforting as something like that can be. It still hit me & my wife pretty hard. Yuki was my best buddy and I will miss him. He made me laugh everyday with his antics. He was a very independent dog and his personality was surely unique, but despite that he was still my sidekick in his own way. The house is so quiet now and coming home is so anti-climactic without him around. It will surely take me some time to get over the loss of him.

Training

Despite the issues with Yuki, I still managed to continue training. I did miss a few workouts due to dealing with those issues or just not feeling up to it, but I still maintained some training consistency. The main theme though in the training for Steelman was Intensity! The workouts were much shorter than my typical Ironman routines, but I spent a lot more time with Mr. Zone 3 and Mr. Zone 4. Even had a few wranglins with Mr. Zone 5 too. What a jerk!

Training Peaks PMC Chart for Steelman 2015 Olympic

Training Peaks PMC Chart for Steelman 2015 Olympic

It was probably a good thing though to spend some time in these zones for me to get my speeds up a bit. My biggest weakness these days are my run speed off the bike. I need to work on this more this coming off-season as well. I think this time preparing for Steelman will be a big help here too.

Track Time! Workout speed

Track Time!

Surprisingly though, the increased intensity had a very positive effect on my Heart Rate Variablility(HRV) which I had not expected. Morning HRV readings went up into the high 80’s and 90’s and stayed up there for most of the time during my training.

HRV vs <a href=

TSS-June 29 to July 30 2015(QV)” width=”625″ height=”249″ /> HRV vs TSS-June 29 to July 30 2015(QV)

Lots of Green Dots in the Sweet spot - iThlete Training Guide-2015 Jul 30

Lots of Green Dots in the Sweet spot – iThlete Training Guide-2015 Jul 30

Pre-Race Speculation

My goal for the Steelman Olympic race is to get a top-10 in my age group. Looking at the past couple years results I think I should be able to do that. I would also would like to improve upon my last result there back in 2012. Despite being 3 years older, I think I have gotten a bit faster since then. I would love to get a podium, but there are a few really fast guys in my age group that seem to show up for that race year-after-year. I am not going to get my hopes up for that.

Other Stuff

My wife and I also ordered a couple inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards a couple weeks ago. I thought this would be a good cross training activity and something we both could enjoy together. Xterra was offering a buy one get one free offer(Use Code: BOGO10) so I decided to give it a try. I have used their wetsuits for years now and they are great and well priced too. Reviews on the SUP’s were mixed, mainly due to a lack of customer service issues, but we gave it a try anyway. So far they have been great! I love the portability of the inflatables and they work just us well as the regular ones. That is according to my wife since I have never been on one until now. We took them out for their virgin tour at Smithfield beach on the Delaware River. It was pretty fun.

SUP on the Delaware

SUP on the Delaware

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for how Steelman goes. Can’t be worse than Ironman Coeur d’Alene right?

 

IMCdA 2015 Training Log-Week#22&23(May 26-June 7)-The Last Push

I am going to double up here on the last two weeks of build before my 3 week taper into Ironman Coeur d’Alene. It has been a pretty brutal 2 weeks since I really never had a full recovery week since about 5 weeks ago. I did a couple little 3 day recovery before and after the Todd Wiley Lake Placid camp, but still managed a decent training load for the weekend in between. Despite all this I have been feeling pretty good. A few of my longer workouts were in some pretty hot and humid temperatures and were obviously affected. My performances during the workouts when the weather was cooler surely made up for it.

Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCdA Week 22-23

Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCdA Week 22-23

Swims…I am still using the Finis Tempo Trainer and feeling pretty settled at around 68-70 spm. This is up from around 58-60 when I started using this tool early on in the season. My paces have picked up along with it and I am hoping this carries over to a few minutes gained in my 2.4 mile swim.  I did both of my LSD swims at around 1:13 for just under 4000 yards. Given that this is without a wetsuit and no flip turns I think I could manage this time in Ironman which would be a 4 minute improvement over the last two years.

Biking…I have been averaging around 145 miles/9 hours a week on the bike for both weeks.  My long rides on the weekends were just over 90 miles long running about 5:30-5:50 depending on the terrain. Most of my weeknight rides were steady state rides in zone 2-3, but I did manage to get one good hill repeat ride in on some of my favorites hills: Dogwood & Centennial!

My long ride on May 20th started out a little rough when a large flying insect fly directly into my mouth while cruising along at around 20mph. Ouch! It partially lodged itself into my mouth since it was partially open. I had to actually spit the thing out and it tasted like crap too! My lip

Fat Lip after colliding with a large flying insect

Fat Lip after colliding with a large flying insect

immediately swelled up to what felt like having a gumball in my lip. Judging for the picture I guess it didn’t look quite as bad as it felt though. I didn’t know what kind of bug it was and wasn’t sure if it stung me or that was just the impact of it on my lip that hurt. Eventually, the swelling subsided and my lip resumed to its normal size again. Why do I always get pelted with creatures when I am riding?

I followed the Dream Come True(DCT) route for the start of my long bike ride June 6. This is a nice somewhat challenging route with a little over 4000′ of climbing over 64 miles. This ride was also not without some wildlife incident as well. While cruising a downhill section of backroad that contained some overgrown shoulder a large doe popped out immediately in front of me broadside. I made some kind of grunt or yell as I came within about 10 feet of the animal and it quickly dashed out of my way. Another close call. Not too long after that I came across a lone fawn standing in the road. He scampered in down the road, heading in the same direction, for a bit before he darted up the steep bank. He was pretty young and no mother to be seen.

Fawn on the Run

Fawn on the Run

Runs…My Sunday long runs consisted of a 21 and 20 miler respectively. The 21 miler was a hot & humid one that I did 4 loops of the Ironton Rail Trail(IRT). The IRT is pretty shaded which helped defer some of the defer some of the sunlight but it was still a hot one. I ended up averaging around a 10:00/mi for the run. The next week I ran at the Lehigh Parkway and it was about 10 degrees(F) cooler and much less humidity. The Parkway is also pretty shaded but has about twice the elevation gain as the IRT. Due to the more temperate climate I was able to average a 9:30 pace over the 20 miles while maintaining a Zone 2 heart rate. More on track with what I would like to do at Ironman this year and a good note to finish on before my taper.

 

Training Peaks PMC Chart-IMCdA Week 23

Training Peaks PMC Chart-IMCdA Week 23

Training Peaks <a href=

TSS and Volume-IMCdA Week 23″ width=”625″ height=”311″ /> Training Peaks TSS and Volume-IMCdA Week 23

Heart Rate Variability(HRV)

My HRV has remained fairly steadily in the 70’s during this last two weeks. I have been flirting with the low recovery and low activation ranges most of the time, but still in the “ok to keep going area”. This is pretty much expected from where I am at this point. I should be overreaching a bit at this point, with a good 3 week taper coming up.

<a href=

iThlete HRV Timeline-IMCdA 2015 Week 23″ width=”625″ height=”292″ /> iThlete HRV Timeline-IMCdA 2015 Week 23

iThlete HRV Training Guide-IMCdA 2015 Week 23

iThlete HRV Training Guide-IMCdA 2015 Week 23

Compared to Last Year…

Comparing this years training on the Training Peaks Performance Management Chart to last year looks fairly similar. You can see that the last month or so of this year(top chart) I have incurred a bit more fatigue(pink link) with consecutive build weeks and no full recovery week in between. My Fitness(CTL in Blue) has steadily risen to a value of around 112 during my last build week, whereas last year I was up to 120 or so.

Training Peaks PMC Chart 2015 vs 2014  IMCdA Week 23

Training Peaks PMC Chart 2015 vs 2014 IMCdA Week 23

iThlete HRV Guest Blog Post

<a href=

ithlete hrv blog post” width=”578″ height=”301″ /> ithlete hrv blog post

Please check out my guest post over at the iThlete HRV Blog. Earlier in the season I had done a comparison of a few of the iOS HRV apps and the iThlete one stood well above the others I had been using. They have also made some excellent enhancements to their Pro site which has made my HRV analysis much easier. I have developed a bit of a relationship with them and they asked me to provide some blog posts on how I use HRV in my training. They are also very responsive to their athlete customers and always looking to improve.

I will be providing posts every month on their site relating to how I utilize Heart Rate Variability in my training and life, so check them out.

 

 

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#19(May 11-17)

Another 16+ hour build week concludes. Only 5 more weeks until Ironman Coeur d’Alene!

Sunset on the Railroad Crossing

Sunset on the Railroad Crossing

How am I feeling? A bit fatigued actually . Not terrible but I can feel the stress of heavy load. The weather has also been unseasonably warm for Spring which is kind of taking its toll on me. I do not do well in warmer temperatures. Usually I am even worse in the beginning until I acclimatize a bit.

Despite feeling a bit fatigued, I am still having some good workouts. I even skipped a few workouts last week and still ended up with more volume than I had planned. On Monday, I took the day off of training and just mowed my lawn instead. I wore my HR monitor and Garmin so I counted it as a workout. We’ll just call that active recovery. 🙂 I needed that day after not having a long run the Sunday before.

Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCDA Week 20

Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCDA Week 20

There was a couple cooler days during the week that I ended up going longer just because it felt good. I am trying to listen to my body and go with the flow a bit. My HRV continued to decline a bit earlier in the week, but gradually improved as the weekend approached. I then saw a slight drop again after my long run on Saturday, but held steady after a long bike on Sunday.

<a href=

iThlete Timeline Chart-IMCDA Week 20 2015b” width=”625″ height=”295″ /> iThlete Timeline Chart-IMCDA Week 20 2015b

There is still a bunch of data points lying on the left of the iThlete Training Guide below. Big indicator of lower energy levels.

iThlete Training Guide-IMCDA Week 20 2015

iThlete Training Guide-IMCDA Week 20 2015

I had planned on riding a local 64 mile charity ride, called the Dream Come True(DCT) ride on Sunday so I moved my long run to Saturday this week. I was a bit nervous about my run on Saturday since I self-destructed on the run the week before. During the week I ordered a new Camelbak Octane LR Hydration Pack to help alleviate running out of water on my long runs again. My FuelBelt was not cutting it. I was glad I did, because it was really hot again and I drank every bit of it. I actually emptied the bladder as I was on my cooldown walking up my street.

Ready for a 3 Hour Run Camelbak & Amrita Bars, #selfie

Ready for a 3 Hour Run-Camelbak & Amrita Bars

I also played it a bit conservatively too and kept my pace around 10:00/mi just to make sure i got the volume in that I wanted. I also had several extra pounds of water strapped to my back which must have slowed me down a bit. I was happy to have a good long and successful run and I was able to put the previous week behind me.

On Sunday I woke up early, for me on weekend anyway, to do the DCT ride. The ride was only 64 miles and I wanted to get about 5 hours in. Usually 5 hours for an LSD ride would be about 80 miles for me, so I tacked on a few extra miles getting to and from the ride start at the Trexlertown Velodrome.

The ride was pretty flat for the first half and was along many of the roads I typically ride. I rode along with a girl from work and a couple of her friends for the first half. I eventually latched on to a couple guys with orange helmets around the Kempton area that were going my typical pace. A few other guys joined them and a pace line was formed. I stayed behind them about 10m or so and avoided most of their draft. I don’t want to get used to that. Also the stretch of road from Kempton to Werley’s Corners is awesome for getting down into the aerobars and just cruising.

Ready to Rain on the Farm

Ready to Rain on the Farm

I ended up bagging the final rest stop and just heading for the finish. It was getting kind of hot and humid out too, so I was eager get home. My legs were a bit stiff early in the day too since I had run long the day before. I don’t typically do that, so it was a bit different riding on tired legs. I did seem to get a second wind though on the last half of the DCT ride which worked out well since that half had all the climbs in it.

I ended up with around 80 miles in just under 5 hours. Not a too bad for a pretty mellow ride. It was a good end to another build week.

My fatigue level(pink) in the Training Peaks PMC chart below is peaking out a bit at the end of the week. My plan is to do a few easier days early in the week before I head up to Lake Placid for a training camp over the holiday weekend. I want to go into that fresh in order to take advantage a that big training block.

Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 20

Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 20

Training Peaks <a href=

TSS and Volume Charts IMCDA Week 20″ width=”625″ height=”307″ /> Training Peaks TSS and Volume Charts IMCDA Week 20