CoachCox

Kona Training Week Four (5/7/2010 – 11/7/2010)

Very much a week of two halves. The first a storming finish to my big week in Lanzarote and the second crashing down to some much needed recovery. I often say how easy it is to plan to keep pushing, but sometimes the body tells you otherwise. Getting back home on Friday was definitely a case of this and I crashed out for most of the weekend.

Obviously I’ve already written plenty about the period in Lanzarote, too much in fact! Looking through the last four weeks of training reports I’d say I’ve been through a good three and a half week block finishing in Lanza. The recovery was necessary and now I can embark on the next chunk of hard work.

I don’t schedule specific recovery days, but prefer to back things off when I’m getting signs that I need it. Usually it takes the form of easier or slightly shorter sessions, but sometimes in more chronic conditions I can fall off the wagon so to speak. Ideally I need to watch those easier days to avoid this extreme case, but something like a training camp can push you over the edge.

The numbers

  Time (hours) Distance (km) Distance (miles)
Swim 4.4 13.8 8.5
Bike 12.8 330 205
Run 6.4 78.6 49
Gym 1    
Totals 24.5 422.4 262.5

The good

The good comes from the quality of work done in the sessions this week. Particularly given that all occurred in the first three to four days. Whilst logging up volume I wasn’t slacking off the work required. It’s been a big boost to confidence too showing me how strong I can be even under difficult circumstances. It’s important to be able to take away positives from sessions.

I suppose I can also say it’s good to train to the point where I absolutely needed proper recovery. It shows how much I’d worked and how well I’d progressed. Usually I’d try to tick along, but it just wasn’t an option. Fatigue, motivation, they all dropped to low levels. Rather than push through it I accepted it as necessary and should see the benefits in the long run.

I also shouldn’t forget the experience of trying out some of Roger’s new schedule from Torbjorn Sindballe. There are some interesting bike sessions in there I will be lifting into my schedule from now on. Very focussed towards biking strongly over the Ironman distance.

The bad

Well I missed my numerical goals didn’t I? The target for this week was 130km of running and I ended up running less than the last two weeks. Of course this is all just a consequence of using calendar weeks as a guide and it hides how much I ran in a straight period in Lanza. I don’t feel too disappointed because I made the choice not to try for the week’s target with the aim being to be recovered for this week’s 100 miles.

If I am disappointed with low numbers it’s in both swim and bike where I hoped to at least log a bit more distance during the easy days. Part of the problem with swimming is facilities when you’re back in the UK. You have to choose and manage your time better than I managed as I wanted more sleep! With the cycling it was purely a case of motivation. The weather was lovely out there, yet the idea of more hours on the bike didn’t appeal.

Thoughts

From a purely numerical stand point it would be easy to get very down about the last week. I didn’t hit any numbers I’d typically set myself. A more informative way to look at things is to consider the Training Stress Score (TSS) I’ve been racking up the past few weeks. Whilst week four has been the lowest thanks to the recovery days it still totalled around 1150 TSS so well within the parameters of a decent week.

As you can see on my daily TSS chart the general trend has been an increase in the overall TSS for bike and run. Lanzarote gave an opportunity for a particularly big boost which is most notable for running. The main thing is I’ve been routinely handling days of high TSS for a period of 3 weeks leading into this last one.

If I take my training hours for bike and run I can also be pleased that both week three and week four saw an average combined TSS of 60 per hour. Weeks one and two averaged 50 per hour or below. Not all hours of training are equal clearly the past two weeks has seen better quality even when quantity was lacking.

Overall I’m happy with the first four week block and eager to get on with the next one. It contains a few new challenges not least running 100 miles this week. Also they’ll be a week built around the ITU Long Distance Worlds where I’ll take a short taper. That’ll be followed by a structured recovery week where I anticipate less running and lower hours in general.

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