New Season – Winter !
Its the time of year a lot of athletes dread, getting out of bed early in the morning, cold, wet, snow, ice and darkness. Getting your head around the fact that you are going to wake up to this for the next 2 months will make it easier to train, I find it so much easier to get everything ready the night before, no excuses when you are tired if your bag is packed and ready for the pool.
Just keep telling yourself, the athletes that you are trying to compete against are probably already up and you just lost an hour, see how that plays with your mind 🙂
It doesn’t help that the last few years have had some awful weather this time of year so even though you might want to get out, take care.
My season has started, a fresh start no less, I have moved to a new coach. I was starting to hanker for a change and once that settled in, I got it in my head I needed to move on. I wanted to be pushed differently, try something new. My time with Lawrence proved very beneficial and we broke many of the targets I set for myself, including a number of sub 10’s at IM and Kona qualification, we worked well together and became good friends. He still coaches a number of friends of mine and will continue to help them improve. A good 7 years that I have a wealth of experience from, I hope to use that going forward in next years racing.
I am now under the watchful eye of Simon Ward, it was a natural move, working with Simon and Computrainer and then moving to full coaching has worked out well, I can continue to work on my improvements with the CPT (more on that in a minute) and I have a coach I can work with to target the new year. Simon is also only as hour away for 1-2-1 sessions on technique and strength. The winter will look to target strength and core work with plenty of focus on improvements in my non tri-specific sport side of things too, sleep, nutrition, stretching and recovery. That, and he’s trying to kill me in the pool as he knows I don’t like it !!
I am looking forward to a great year.
As you will know I did my first 20 week PIG plan leading up to my race season with the final test in June this year. After 5 months I had improved 8.5% overall. Taking into account my IM focused approach to the sessions, this wasn’t deemed a failure of the system, although I would have got my money back !
The raw figures were
Day 1 292w
4 weeks 304w
8 weeks 311w
12 weeks 316w
16 weeks FAIL
20 weeks 317w
Onto the new set of PIG sessions. Over the next 5 months I will be lucky enough to be using the new PIG2 plan.Its an updated version with more info and the ability to take all session power targets straight off your CP20 test. I want to follow this as much to the letter as possible.
Having Simon as my coach makes that easier to fit into an IM plan but I am finding this works anyway especially this time of year when I can focus on specific areas.
After IM Wales in September I pretty much did nothing for 6 weeks until my first CP20 at the start of November. I did a handful of outdoor rides and a few spins on the CPT but they were at a slow pace with plenty of coffee, I therefore wasn’t looking for any miracles but I wasn’t expecting the result I got.
I used the saved file from my 20 week result in June, with a target of 317w as my pacer. I was gutted to see him fly off into the sunset as I struggled to maintain anything near the same pace for the 20 min test. I dug in and by the time the 20 mins finished I was spent, and the result ?
279w, I wasn’t a happy camper.
Gutted, I tried everything to squeeze out more but couldn’t on the day, maybe a bad day, but I felt fine, it was just poor. I couldn’t believe the nearly 2 months off had lost me that much power. I was determined to start back and hard.
I dialled in the sessions on the PIG2 plan and started that week.
It became apparent in the first week that during my first 20 weeks earlier in the year I hadn’t trained hard enough in the intervals or gone light enough in the recovery sets.
This was a whole new type of hurt on a turbo, and wierdly, it spurred me on more, for example, in the first week I had a set of 6 x 2min reps at 135% of my initial CP result, around 335w, I ended up standing on the last one to keep the pedals turning, 3 weeks later I was doing 8 reps and seated the whole time, it was coming back.
Yesterday I completed the 4 week CP20 test again, result 299w !!!!!!!!! 20 watts increase, I am back !!!!
Now, I already feel gutted about my initial test and power I lost but I don’t know what the going rate is for power loss over 6-8 weeks of downtime drinking beer, catching up with family and relaxing 🙂
My problem is, I need to show progression, I want something to show for the 12 months, so I will keep the figures as they are but I am going to baseline this 2nd set of PIG improvement on last years initial result, i.e. 292w instead of 279w. If I don’t and I improve by 10%, what have I gained ?
By using 292w as a starting point, getting 10% improvement will show a gain of another 1.5% but I still want more. I want to be at 330w in 20 weeks. This will show a marked improvement on summmer this year and give some level of credence to the 2 tests I have just done. This will equate to 13.5% on 292w and therefore match my expectation of what is possible.
Yes, I would love to be starting at 317w and aiming at a 10% improvement from there but the season isn’t a 12 month deal for me, family makes it so. If I do manage to get to the magical 350w then I will be over the moon but small steps, well 20 of them to be precise.
That aside, showing what can be done in the last 4 weeks of solid training lends more weight to the Computrainer as a tool to motivate. Due to the level of feedback it didn’t take much for me to get back on all fired up, because everything is calibrated and saved, you can see at any time the improvement in black and white or the areas to work on.
I will be applying the same principles to my run and swim, I know the improvements will come, repeatability and recording will enable motivation.
Whats next ?
A solid programme of sessions over the winter to stay strong, I have targeted a 1/2 marathon in March to break 1.25 for the half, with 2 build up races that should be achievable, I have set a more realistic swim improvement target of 6.15 for 400m, that should keep me going in the morning.
As for the bike, I will be adding the required sessions to the plan for each week and am determined to use this tool to make me a much stronger cyclist come Mallorca 70.3 and IMUK.
As usual, hope the training is injury free and Xmas brings you a lovely shiny Computrainer 🙂