July 30th, 2023

Recap: Week 1

Sigh. I messed up and deleted a few posts. But I think it's a good thing. I think this post is much better than all of the posts I wrote earlier. So the tl;dr is that I started officially training for the Mission Bay Triathlon this week following a specific training plan and the results of my tests are below.

This week begins the "Base Phase" and will last about 4 weeks. It kicked off Monday with an FTP (Function Threshold Power) test followed by a CSS (Critical Swim Speed) test on Tuesday.

Monday: FTP

The FTP test is a 20 minute ride measuring the average power for that period. Once you have that average you discount it by 5% and it ultimately represents what your threshold power would be for an hour ride. It's a great way of tracking progress in cycling. As your average power goes up so does your strength as a cyclist.

Additionally, from your FTP score, your "Power Zones" can be generated. With Peloton they have 7 zones. Zone 1 being easy (active recovery) and Zone 7 being maxed out. This is helpful for training in different zones for aerobic/anaerobic style workouts.

This week's test wasn't my best. But the test is more about your current status and so a lower score is not a bad thing (still trying to convince myself that this is true 😉). At my peak last year, I was cycling every day and crushing workouts, so it makes sense why it was so high.

So far over the last month or so, I've only got about 10-15 rides under my belt and I'm not cycling every day. So my test result is simply indicating that I'm not as strong as when I was riding over an hour a day last year. So that makes sense. I still hope to see this average go up even though I'm swimming and running a lot. Here's my score:

FTP Score: 269

Tuesday: CSS

Critical Swim Speed is a metric I had never heard of before. It's similar to the FTP test in that it gives a rough idea of general swim fitness. Since my background is in swimming, I can usually tell where I'm at by feel or a simple set of 10 x 100 freestyle at some interval. For example that set of 100s on 1:30 means I'm in ok shape. The same set on 1:05 and I'm in pretty good shape.

The CSS test is simply 1 x 400 for time followed by 5 minutes rest and then 1 x 200 for time. The calculation for this is simple. It's (400 swim time – 200 swim time)/2.

CSS Score: 1:34

So like the FTP score, my CSS seems fairly accurate. I'd like to get this score down to 1:15 before the race.

A 1:15 pace would translate to a 6:15 in a 500 yard swim.

Again since I have a background in swimming, I'm thinking about beefing up the swim workouts. I just need to be careful I don't overdo it. It's easy for me to get injured pushing myself. I just can't help it.

Wednesday: Rest Day

Ah! Rest day. I suck at these. I have a hard time letting my body recover. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of guy and it usually bites me in the ass. So today, I'm working hard at not working hard. I've felt a bit of soreness this week so the rest is coming at a perfect time.

Thursday: Run Test

5 min warmup
30 min threshold pace

After a rest day this was a nice little run for me. I only walked a couple of times and over felt good. My legs were a bit heavy at the end but I wasn't cramping at all. At 8am the temp and humidity were up but I kinda like that. I like working up a good sweat followed by a cold shower.

My threshold right now is 9:33/mile which is under 10 mins so I'm good with that at this point. I'd like to be closer to an 8:30 mile by race time which would put me at around a 24 min 5k.

Friday: Aerobic Swim

I doubled the yardage here from 1k to 2k. Feeling stronger for longer in the water. I'll likely start pushing the intervals a bit now that I'm a few weeks into swimming.

The workout plan calls for :15 rest and :20 rest and I hate that method. I prefer to set intervals instead. It's easier to measure against hard intervals and it's easier to slack on XX seconds rest. You're getting the rest but the intervals start to slide and then I wonder if I'm actually going to ever improve.

Anyway, here's the workout in full.

Warm up
3 x 100

Main Set (doubled the amounts here)
4 x 100 Pull @ 1:50
4 x 100 FS @ 1:50
4 x 100 Pull @ 1:45
4 x 100 FS @ 1:45

Cool Down
1 x 100

Saturday: Aerobic Endurance Run

This is an example of a workout that goes against my personality. A run on the weekend in my mind should be long in duration and hard in effort. So this was difficult to stay within myself.

It was an easy run and got in just over 2 miles at a 10 min pace. I'm feeling like holding back will be a good thing in the long run for me. I'm excited to see if I can stay injury free.

20 min run - Z2 Effort (10:30/mi pace)

Sunday: Endurance Ride / Run off the Bike

For my last workout I decided to get on a real bike instead of the Peloton. I've not ridden much in recent years so I was excited about it. So many memories came flooding in as I took off from the starting point.

I went a little harder than I should have but that's ok. I don't have a power meter (yet) so I need still need to get the feel for my cadence:power ratio. Regardless of that it felt really good to be on the bike again. After a couple of years on the Peloton, I felt quite strong on the bike than I remember. My overall speed was a few ticks up than I remember and I just didn't feel like I was struggling. Training Peaks said my TSS score was 3x what it was supposed to so 🤷🏽‍♂️.

The 5 min run off the bike felt good. I could definitely feel my hamstrings tightening up. I'll need to work on flexibility some but that's normal.

40 min Z2 ride
5 min run off the bike

Week 1 Conclusion

In general I would've worked harder than the plan called for (and I did in some instances). I felt good and my body seems to be responding well to the extra rest. I'm adding in strength just to top everything off. In general I need more strength anyway. We'll see how I'm able to incorporate it into my days. It shouldn't be too hard.

11 weeks until the event so there's plenty of time to get the work in. I'm feeling confident and overall in a positive place with this. Being realistic, assuming I have good transitions, I think sub 1:10 for the race is doable and sub 1 hr would be amazing.