Double duty – a week of workouts in the world of me

It occurred to me shortly after posting Tuesday’s list of races that I might have to train for them. Which means I might have to work…a.lot. Which in turn means a lot of running, swimming and cycling.

Of course, training has been in full swing since returning from vacation earlier this month. But what does that mean?

Well, here’s this past week’s lineup.

(Note, this ended up slightly longer than I planned. I added stuff each night this week after I completed it. But I promise there’s some good content in there about workout design. Ok, so it’s really a crap-load longer than I expected.)

(Note II: Please keep in mind that everyone’s training plans are different for different goals. Meaning – if you’re just starting out – don’t think “I’m not doing enough!” when you see this. This plan is designed for my abilities (or rather lack thereof) to hit specific goals across the whole of 2009.)


I swam about 70 minutes. Except, this wasn’t my typical swim. Since last Thursday the coach has put me back on drill rations. About 2,500 or so yards of drills to re-install my apparently lost ability to swim smoothly (let’s face it, I never had such a capability).


So I went back and forth, shuffling through tons of papers (which I cleverly reduced in size and put in plastic protectors, cause I was all out of the nifty laminating paper).


I also finished up the day with a short midnight mile run to recalibrate my recently returned Garmin 305, and then did a short trainer ride in an unsuccessful attempt to fix an issue with the CompuTrainer.



Normally the snow and freezing rain would have thrown my usual Tuesday run for a bit of a loop. But start last week the coach put me on a evil hill-interval treadmill workout for Tuesday’s.

So why is it evil? Well…here’s a sample of it:

Baseline is at an incline of 1 degree

:10 Z2
:05 Z3
:05 Z4a
:05 Z4b
:05 Z2

4 x Elevation pyramid

[:01 @ Z4b pace @ 1 deg
:01 @ Z4b pace @ 2 deg
:01 @ Z4b pace @ 3 deg
:01 @ Z4b pace -.3 @ 4 deg
:01 @ Z4b pace -.6 @ 5 deg
:03 Z2 @ 1 deg between pyramids]

:05 easy
4 x (35” at Z4b pace + .9 with :02 easy between intervals)
:05 Cool down

So what on earth does all that gibberish mean? Well, the Z#’s are heart rates. So essentially the first 25 minutes are a warm-up, then a gradual build to ‘establish’ the Z4B pace – based on my HR that day between 170 and 173bpm. So for Tuesday, that means that my Z4B pace (based on my Z4B HR) was 9.2mph – or converted a 6:31/mile pace. So remember Z4b pace = 9.2. From this point on we IGNORE my actual heart rate, we only used HR for the first portion.

Ok, with me so far? Now, we move into the meat of the workout, four sets of the elevation pyramid. We start off nice and easy at our baseline of 1* incline. Then we go to 2*, and then 3* incline. Note that each time we go up in incline it gets harder (duh), but how much? Well, this nifty chart tells you. So now that 6:31 pace in effect becomes a 6:09 pace. Awesome!

Still with me? Now we see where it says “Z4B pace –.3 @ 4 deg”, this means to take my Z4B pace (9.2mph) and subtract .3mph – so thus 8.9mph. And on top of that, add another degree of incline to get 4*. Rinse and repeat once more to 5* total incline. Then take a short rest (by rest, I mean you’re still running). And then do the whole mess three more times.

The graph came out really pretty. Thanks to the 305 and the foot pod – which shows pace even while inside.

(The paces here are skewed 10/secs a mile slow due to slightly off calibration)

Oh…but we’re not done yet. We got some sprints to do.

4 x (35” at Z4b pace + .9 with :02 easy between intervals)

See this? This means take my Z4B pace (9.2mph) and add .9 (thus 10.1mph), and then go for 35 full seconds. Then take 2 minutes of jogging. Pretty fun stuff.

So that’s my run.


But we’re not done yet. I’ve still gotta do a core workout and lifting. That took another 40 minutes.


Finally, more than two hours after I arrived at the gym…Tuesday was done.

Until I walked outside and found my car encased in a massive ice cube from freezing rain.



Wednesday brought Mr. Bike and Mr. Swim back into the picture.

Because this post is already getting long, I’ll save you the details on the exact bike workout. But it was a workout almost identical to the treadmill workout the previous night – except changing everything to the bike. The differences being that instead of elevation/speed being added, wattages were added.


It’s nice to start seeing some of the wattages come around after my bike wattages being lower over the past 4-6 weeks (due to not much cycling). Still about 50-60 watts off of mid-peak numbers for these sets (i.e. where I was in July-August). But my guess is by March these will be back and higher than ever.


Wednesday evening I headed back to the pool for another set of drills. I have to get these all perfectly nailed or I’ll hear about it in the morning when I’ve got another swim technique session with el Coach.



(Little video captured on my small W60 Optio Digital Camera, it can go underwater)

70 minutes later, twas time to leave the pool.


But my time away from the pool would be short lived. Less than 11 hours later at 6:20AM I’m jumping into the (shallow) end of the pool for a 2 hour technique session.


Back and forth we go…a million times. Well, probably not a million. But it felt like it. By the end I’m a frozen popsicle. Mostly because we’re doing a lot of stopping, fixing and slowly moving down the. So I’m certainly not breathing hard, and am instead focusing on getting it right.

Overall he was quite happy with my progress since Saturday. I’m like a new duck.


But despite my newfound speed, I’m not off the hook yet for the day. We’ve got track club tonight! Well, it’s not an official club. It’s just a very small (3-5) group of guys I run in circles with. We head out into the darkness and begin many many loops.


Except…we run into a little problemo. Despite having an advance scout go out and inspect the track at noon, there appears to be about a 50m stretch with 1” thick ice. Apparently the scout did not fully cover the track during their check. Or it turned from water to ice. So…yeah.


That above is just a massive sheet of ice. That blob in the middle is Rob – who seemed to enjoy playing on the ice more than the workout (not that I blame him).

This resulted in a slightly skewed inward loop to navigate around the ice, over some track & field and football equipment, and then back onto the track. You can see the inward route compared to the rounded track itself.


And as is now customary, after the track I hit up the weight room to do a core workout and lift. Boo!



TGIF…well…sorta. Friday means doubles again. One swim and one bike to get done before the weekend officially begins.

During my lunch I knocked out my 62 minute trainer ride. And as a bonus I had an unwatched episode of Top Chef from earlier this week to watch, so it made the time go by fairly quickly.


Followed up by an evening swim. Except that I forgot that one of the local pools cut back it’s hours, and I neglected to also remember that all of the other local pools host Friday night swim meets. So I ended up at the YMCA to get my swim in (and thus had to pay a single use fee…booo!).


Oh, and finally – TGIF for realz! We made pizza’s from scratch. It’s so easy, and so much more fun. Those potatoe looking things in the lower right corner of the picture are balls of pizza dough (wheat and white).



Very little of me wanted to get up and head outside early Saturday morning for my nearly 2 hour long run. It was 22*F outside, and with windchill it was around 12*F. Suckage.


Although you can’t see it in this photo, every few hundred yards the path was covered in a nasty sheet of crusty ice and snow. So that made things a bit more challenging.

I averaged a 7:30 pace for the 15.2 miles. It was mostly [supposed to be] an easy run – but I got crap later on from the coach for running some sections (hills) too hard. Fail.


Then it was time to head to the weight room for a semi-quick 40 minute circuit there (yes, after running 15 miles..isn’t this scheme joyous?).


And then zip home to jump on my bike for an easy 30 minute spin. I decided against changing out of my running stuff – which wasn’t a wise idea. I was quite warm by the end of this.



Finally! No – not the end of the week or this post – but SUN! Warm, happy sun! It hit the mid-50’s today, and that was more than enough to be able to head out and enjoy my ‘long ride’ outdoors. It really wasn’t all that long, only about 90 minutes. But, better than a nasty indoor trainer workout for 90 minutes (admittedly the trainer would have been a ‘better’ workout – strength wise).

I did have to portage across some ice and snow at one point though…



But otherwise, it was quite a nice ride. I have to get back in the hang of perfecting shifting on hills to stay within specified HR zones. It won’t take but a few more outdoor sessions to lock that back in though.


When I got home, I had a Passion Fruit Pistachio cupcake I had picked up from the cupcake place earlier in the morning. I sat outside on the bench in front of my place and just enjoyed the sun…and cupcake. Soooo gooooooood!




  1. Very good post – I especially like the treadmill details & the cupcake!

  2. Wow. I will never have the dedication to this sport that you posses!

  3. great week man you are going for a great season good luck this week

  4. Wow – what an awesome week. You are much to busy to follow Mr. Phelps with bong hits.

  5. When I started reading… the first thing I thought is “this is going to make me feel lazy”. check.

    I’m curious about your weight routine/strength training. There’s so many different perspectives on what strength training is good for a triathlete…

    You’re dedication is putting you well on track to a Kona slot.

  6. Interesting post! Your dedication seems so balanced and healthy. Hardcore, yes – but more focused on strength and adding to your enjoyment of life over all. (And the cupcake sounds sublime. Such a good thing I live a four hour drive away from that shop!!)

  7. Please tell me that the grand sweep of your tri training season is featuring “reverse periodization”.

    If not, I will fear for you for what June and July will bring….

  8. Holy crap…you are a busy little bee

  9. Keep up the hard work, and never give up.

  10. Well that’s certainly one way to jump back into things!

  11. Excellent post. I too would be interested in hearing what you do in terms of weight/strength training.

  12. This is going to make me feel lazy…fat…and old! CHECK!

    i need more details on the swim drills. i’m all about the deets.

    I have to go buy a cupcake RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

  13. Nat

    I love the sunset (or is it sunrise?) pic! Awesome workouts!

  14. I have said it before and I will say it again–Enjoy the single life.

  15. You are training like a maniac! I remember having that kind of dedication to the sport last year… and so do not miss it!

  16. That cupcake looks so good! I am so jealous that you got to ride outside! It gets warm enough around here to contemplate every once in awhile, but I’m not sure I want to deal with all of the road gunk and gravel on the road just yet…

  17. Ack! I feel like such a slacker compared to you. Sob, I want that pizza and cupcake. The first time I looked at the picture of the track with the snow on it, it looked like a bloody crime scene. I slightly freaked out, LOL.

  18. Your motivation never fails to amaze me! Add me to the list of those interested in your weight/strength training routine.

    From one who can never pass us a cake item, I hope the cupcake was as good as it looks!

  19. Give me that cupcake.

  20. Ray

    Where can I buy this ducky? I like it.


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