Training Lessons FTP Intervals

I’m writing this blog post because of two things that happened to me in my training today which I wish to share.

1)      On my recovery ride to work, my Di2 electronic shifting died so I was stuck in the 39 chain ring up front. This was an issue because I had an afternoon ride home including 4×10 @ FTP.

2)      On the Brick Run, I completely hit the wall.

I’m currently in Build 2, Week 1 with 8 ½ weeks to go till the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. I have planned this season to include 3 builds of 2 on/1 off since next week I am running the Alice Springs Marathon.

Attached is this current week of training. I’m on plan to hit 26.5 hours across 20 separate workouts.

training 20160811

Monday – lunch time easy run at work, easy lift including 4 sets of 12 only back and upper body, and a recovery swim.

Tuesday – 5:30am wake up for a 6AM swim start. The 1hr18min quality swim from our swim coach covered 3,600meters. I then road to work in Zone 2 since I decided to push it with the tail wind. After work I went 2:17:20 for 90km including 2hr15min at Zone 3. 15min power pieces were: 302, 297, 296, 292, 307, 298, 294, 295, 293. 5-10minutes later I did a brick with our dog Sydney for 30minutes easy. Total training day = 5 hours, 7 minutes.

Wednesday – Lunch time run on the treadmill for 36min and super easy since I wanted to break up the long run into doubles. After work I then ran 1hr8min, on a new course at sunset, and through town.

Thursday – 5:30am wake up for a 6AM swim start. Ate a banana and a medium size Regular RedBull. The 70min swim covered 3,500meters but the full set wasn’t finished. The body was feeling quite tired and fatigued from Tuesdays training. After porridge with banana, some brown sugar, and honey, I rode Zone 1 Recovery to work Watts were only 158 and avg HR was only 100bpm. Just as I was coming up to work I was thinking how great Di2 is… you don’t have to adjust cables. And then I couldn’t shift back up to the 53 chain ring. I tried more times but knew that the battery was nearly dead.

I hadn’t charged the battery since before Ironman Cairns and I’ve cycled 95 hours over 1,962 miles (3,150km) over these past 9 weeks. I also can’t see the charger without unscrewing the cover since the Argon 18 E119 Tri+ has a fully enclosed holder for the Di2 Junction Box.

I thought about how I would approach this since I’m usually in some of my highest gears at FTP and if there was a tail wind, I would be done and the workout wouldn’t be a go. I thought about the South Stuart Highway since there is a rise to a hill but then I’d lose time on the decent. I also thought about heading towards Santa Theresa since if the wind was heading from the East, then I’d have more resistance. I could also sit up to add additional effort.

After the recovery ride and during the day I had 2 mandarins, an apple, peanut butter from the jar, 2 teas, leftover Green Curry with Tofu on Brown Rice, and 3 carrots with hummus. With 20min to go, I popped a 200mg caffeine pill, 5min later I ate a whole package of Clif Shot Bloks with another 50mg of caffeine. I filled up my 3 bottles, 1 with Cytomax, 1 with Endura, and put 2 more packages of Clif Shot Bloks on the bike.

On the bike, I warmed up for 5min and then got straight into it. My FTP test from a week ago today was recorded at 348 watts for the 30min test on LTHR of 149. My plan was to hit the 350’s and stay there.

With a slight headwind, my plan was to sit up for most of the FTP sets so that I could push the power up and not spin at 95-100 for the FTP efforts. The weather was fine but I was wearing my thermal top for comfort.

Effort 1: 353 Watts on HR avg 141 and 36.6kph. HR Max of 147. I felt good and was happy to be over 350 watts. I recovered with 5 minutes of spinning.

Effort 2: 355 Watts on HR avg 141 and 36.8kph. HR Max of 145. I still felt good. The power was supported by having to climb the RR overpass and lower Max HR since the HR recovered while descending the overpass hill and spinning out in the 39×11.

Effort 3: 356 Watts on HR avg 142 and 37kph. HR Max of 147. Heading past the Airport towards Santa Teresa I was able to have a steadier effort. I thought of Kona and used that to focus on the 3rd quarter which is always the toughest set. I dug for this and was quite happy to see further improvement.

Effort 4: 361 Watts on HR avg 142 and 37.7kph. HR Max of 148. With a slight decent I gained speed but was able to pick up the power while continuing to sit up. I saw 1 guy on a bike and thought it was Dad who was here visiting. Avg bike cadence for all efforts was 88.

Analysis and thoughts: This set basically confirms my suspicion that my FTP is greater than 348. I did that test without enough rest and expected it to be in the 350’s. With decent temperatures and wearing a thermal, I’m also quite interested in my max HR. I didn’t hit the 149 LTHR from last weeks test which indicates further fatigue and that the fatigue from Tuesdays training day is still high. Further, over the last few years my LTHR has been between 152-154. While it’s losing approximately 1BPM  Per Year in terms, alongside my running LTHR and Race Pace running HR, this still shows me that I am not working hard enough to get the power high enough; I’m leaving power on the table. I attribute this to the big quality sessions.

After another 5min recovery I went 40minutes at 75% of FTP or 261 Watts. My avg HR was only 124. Now this was really interesting since I had HR of 133 on power of 258 at Ironman Cairns. This is further evidence to my improvements over the last 9 weeks. I tried to then do 20minutes at 85% but couldn’t get the power up now with a tail wind. So 15min at 271 watts and then the rest of the time in Zone 2.

During the ride I had the 200 calories of shot bloks and 1 bottle of water and 140 calories of Cytomax but I was so focused on the riding that I didn’t touch the bottle of Endura.

At home I had some sips of Coke and then grabbed Sydney for a brick run. After 17minutes I was walking. I had to walk 5 more times and realized I was standing in front of “The Wall”. I simply did not stick to my nutrition on the bike ride and I was paying dearly for it. While I attribute this to not fueling correctly on the bike, with what I know works. Of course, burning 7,000 calories and fueling it with 1,000 doesn’t really work either. Whatever.

Back home I refueled with a Shake consisting of hemp protein, vega recovery blend, veggie protein, and ground flax seed and ground chia seeds in soy milk. I finished the coke at dinner that consisted of white pasta with fake-meat Bolognese and fresh parsley, side veggies, and some white bread.

Another 5hr 13min training day is now complete and I get to celebrate knowing that I just had the best FTP Intervals session ever, increased my Strava Fitness to an a new high of 92, and continue to get stronger. I also learned some great things today as well.

The last piece of advice I will offer is to get Blood-Tested!!! My test before Cairns showed my Iron was very low and Vitamin D was low as well. Of course this is because I work inside all day and am mostly-vegan. Well, I’ve been using Iron, Vitamin D, and B Vitamin supplements over the last 8 weeks and I feel way better. (Thank you Tami). I don’t take any other vitamins or medications. I have protein shakes only a few times per week after key quality sessions.

Happy Training!

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