Sunday, April 08, 2012

TRI training proceeding well

First part of February, I announced the TRI pursuit. Now, to be fair, I tentatively started down the path in November,  and when that proceeded well enough that I thought I could actually do the running portion, I committed to the pursuit in late February, signing on with Zoom Performance and beginning to work with JJ Bailey. I also took a swimming and stroke refinement class through the YMCA with local tri expert, Gary Bredehoft, which was enormously helpful, especially the video taping. Several others, including Kevin Burke, Tom Woods and Jay Thomas have generously shared their knowledge and I'm feeling pretty good about it all here at 9 weeks out from the "A" race.

For those of you who don't track your training, this is what's happening when you follow a solid plan. (click to see enlarged version)

The pink line represents the training stress imposed. You can see how mountainous it looks. In response to increased training stress (load), my body gets fatigued and torn up. That experience is represented by the dropping yellow line (TSB-training stress balance). The lower it goes the more fatigued I am and I know from tracking data for the last 5 years that -40 is about as low as I dare in terms of TSB. More than that and I usually feel pretty fragile. The blue line represents fitness. You can see it's on a steady rise. The training load followed by rest increases fitness. When the lines intersect, that's a good time to race. There's a slight drop in fitness, but that's willingly sacrificed for the gain in freshness.

I use TrainingPeaks to track my data and the system is testing algorithms incorporating a heartrate based "training stress score" (TSS) for running and a pace-based TSS for the swims. Of course, you have to set some baselines for each of these for "Performance Manager Chart" (PMC) to be a good guide.

I know for many, this sort of thing might seem to take the "fun" out of riding, but I love having a visual like this to see my progress and thx to the HR algorithms, it's pretty easy to work fun with friends into the training plan as schedule allows.


Molly said...

This is pretty cool, Syd. The extent of my training statistics consists of logging the miles run or biked and the yards swum. I feel like I'm pretty much at max heart rate a lot of the time, so don't really see the need to track it. But, now that I'm nursing an injury, I'm thinking I should probably learn more about this stuff - not so much for elite performance, but so I can maintain the effort. I've met some fantastic people through swimming, cycling and jogging and want to be able to keep this up well into my old, old age :-) Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and encouragement!

Sydney Brown said...

Molly, there are several ways to calculate load. One is simply to use RPE (rate of perceived exertion).

Training load (TL) = RPE*(minutes in zone)

warm-up: 20 min at RPE 3 = TL of 60
workout: 60 min at RPE 7 = TL of 420
Total TL for day = 480. Now, you could keep the numbers smaller by dividing by 10 and then you'd have 48 for the day.

By tracking your load along with how you feel, you'll start to get a sense of what you need to perform your best and what patterns of loads approach too much. That's what you really need. Distances don't tell enough of the story because sometimes a short distance can bring quite a load (hill repeats, anyone?).

In general, no more than a 10% increase in load per week tends to be recommended.

Here's a link to a nice, short, readable, but scholarly overview with regards to under-recovery and over-training - both of which plague performance oriented athletes.