Sunday, February 02, 2014

19, 18: Ramp Up and Beat Down

Monday, January 20.  25.6 mile bike ride.  Still feeling very stiff in a few places from the Steep Ravine marathon, I moved my long ride from Sunday to Monday, since I had the day off.  My calves were still tight, so I changed from a two-big-climbing-effort route to a single-big-climbing-effort route, and headed down Pinehurst.  I rode out past Moraga on an unseasonably warm day, and eventually kind of stumbled across a paved trail up to Lafayette.  Lots of parents out with their children.  I rode this out and back, and, upon returning to Canyon, turned south for the eventual long climb up Redwood and Skyline.  Somewhere before this, it occurred to me that when I started riding bigger hills about 4 months ago, I had to stop every tenth of a mile or so just to keep my quads from burning.  I don't stop at all now, and it's become mentally easy.  That had to be good training.  So I kicked up my effort a notch by riding the whole climb in a single gear, one higher than I ride most of the climb.  It wasn't as hard as I expected, but it was a better workout.  I might progressively increase my baseline climbing gear now.  I woke up the next morning with well beat-down legs and bailed on a planned easy run.  I had the energy to keep going, but that's not always the smartest thing or the most effective way to get stronger/faster or to increase endurance.  All side goals of this whole outdoor sports thing.

Tues Jan 21.  Rest.  I took Tuesday off, in part because of a packed schedule, and in part to get extra needed sleep in the morning, and in part because I was feeling weak and tired by the end of the day.  During a short massage, it was pointed out that my right IT band and muscles around it are tight.  My right thigh has been tighter for years, but stable, while my left thigh has had its ups and downs.  Intense rolling work in December really loosened it up though, so it’s time to repeat it on the right thigh.  

Weds Jan 22.  4.2 mile run and 2650 yard swim.  On the run, my calves were still tight, muscle tone was out of whack, and my right thigh was off kilter from some intense rolling the night before.  So I decided to run out on the French Trail and make the Redwood Peak climb, running about half the uphills, albeit slowly.  This was a day to just keep moving.  The evening swim was much better, with a lot of swimming, kicking, and pulling intervals.  It’s nice to be able to breath well enough to swim again. 

Thurs Jan 23.  5.4 mile run and 2400 yard swim.  I decided it would be good to include two big climbs on my morning run.  I started on the Huckleberry loop, and it was windy.  I ran down and up the valley to Sibley, ran around Round Top, and returned.  1400 foot climb.  Including these large climbs on my normal weekday runs (I seem to be getting around 1000 feet on many of them now) seems to be doing a lot more for my uphill running skill than the planned gym hill intervals.  I'm contemplating bailing on them for now, since I don't notice the fatigue on trails, and it's mentally easier to push through it and push myself harder outside.  I went to swim class at lunch.  We have a new coach; today seemed to be speed focused, which I'm liking right now.  It's good getting feedback from different coaches, I had some new notes about my form that I wasn't aware of.

Friday, Jan 24.  15.2 mile ride.  I rode the Pinehurst/Redwood/Skyline loop, adding some milage at the end to hit 15 miles.  I stuck to the higher-minimal-gear idea from Monday, and I added some higher effort intervals to the climbs, kicking things up a few gears for a bit every five minutes.  My variation of an idea from one of a handful of training plans I'm using to make my own training plan right now.  It did make the long climb much more fun.  I bailed on a planned swim to say farewell to a departing colleague, and since I had plenty of swim distance in the prior two days.

Saturday Jan 25.  9.5 miles running.  I ran (and hiked) a couple loops at Tilden, adding up to over 2500 feet of climbing in less than 10 miles.  Training is paying off well, I ran quite a bit of uphill trails.  At one hilltop, I chatted with an older runner who was out with his wife (she was still halfway up the trail) about running vs. walking on some of he steeper climbs.  Agreeing with him, walking is often faster, but running what I can makes me overall faster in the long run, even if it slows me down a lot at that moment.  I got the heart rate monitor working for this run--watching it, it's actually quite useful for deciding more logically when to run uphill and when to walk.  At 170 I start to get really inefficient.  But a combination of laziness and muscle protest try to have their way sooner.  I was using this as a sanity check to push through and keep going a number of times, which was far easier than I expected.  This is my first weekend of backing off on my long runs on a biweekly plan to alternate running and biking focused efforts.

Sunday Jan 26.  30.3 mile ride and 1.1 mile road run.  It's time to start increasing long ride length, also on a biweekly schedule, with the goal of alternating weekends of long ride efforts with weekends of long run efforts.  I could keep going with both every weekend, and I want to, but I realized that time needs to give in to other parts of life.  It's freeing in some ways though, since I don't feel so much in a rush if I only make one effort that pushes my time/distance bounds every weekend.  I dropped off NF, who's visiting, for a coffee get together, and rode a Sibley/Grizzly Peak/Inspiration Point/Orinda/Moraga/Canyon/Redwood/Skyline loop of 30 miles.  I kept a very strong pace for all but the last 5 miles, setting many Strava PRs on climbs.  The higher-min-bike-gear and the intervals earlier in the week made a huge difference on my climbing strength.  It was also my first ride down Wildcat Canyon Rd, which is a far less insane nicer descent than El Toyonal.  I immediately followed this with a quick road run (my first road run since the Berkeley half), hoping to get many more bike/run bricks in before Hawaii.  The first mile or two of running is a weak point for me in a tri.  It's also my first run with the headlamp, since it had gotten dark by this point.  I might be making more use of it this week due to some morning schedule constraints.  Finishing up, I drove back to pick up NF before heading home to eat far too much.

Monday Jan 27.  2800 yards swimming.  A fast workout, swim speed 12-2.  Lots of high-paced short sets.  I gave my legs most of a break for the day.

Tuesday Jan 28.  6.15 mile run.  Because of a morning errand of toting the furball to the vet and listening to her many vocal protests, I squeezed my run in during lunch.  Arg, road running.  I ran out to the start of the new bay bridge path and back.  I didn’t realize how far it is to get there; it’s a 10k run to get there and back, most of it through the maze of approach ramps.  I’ll have to return when I have more time to actually run out over the bay.  It was sunny and hot and my legs were still really tired from Sunday.  I forced in a bunch of higher speed intervals though, which makes things more fun, even on days like this, when I can’t keep pace up very long.  I also rearranged my workouts for the rest of the week, playing things a bit more by ear, to be better recovered for a race on Saturday.

Wednesday Jan 29.  2600 yard swim.  I took a day away from running/biking (my original plan) to let my legs rest a bit.  I bought some new road shoes (Altra Torins), which I've been walking in for a couple days to break in.  Just walking in them is helping to stretch out some long term tightness in my right thigh.  I'm contemplating shifting all my shoes in this direction, since the zero heel to toe drop (including on my zero sandals) feels better in my feet and in my legs.  I swam the Swim Speed 13-1 workout to get some workout time in, since I might take Friday off or easy.  I'm noticing a significant swimming improvement since returning to it after a short break at the beginning of January, mostly in form and strength, which I hadn't really anticipated, as swimming seemed to have been plateaued for a couple months.  I'm consistently about 3 strokes lower for a pool length than I was in December.

Thursday Jan 30.  4.3 mile run.  Another road run at lunch.  These are good for pushing speed, but this was just to get time outside.  I kept a slow pace in lieu of Saturday, and having had tired legs all week.

Friday Jan 31.  13 mile ride.   An easy back-and-forth on Skyline.  Just looking to stay warmed up.  No real hills.

Saturday Feb 1.  24.2 mile run.  That was supposed to be 35k...  I ran the Fort Ord trail run.  Surprisingly strong uphills, slower than usual downhills.  Lots of muscle protests after 10 miles, and I mistakenly added a couple miles.  Really great trails, I'd like to go back for a stronger run again.

Sunday Feb 2.  Rest.

I planned a full week of workouts for the coming week, but even with taking the last two weeks easy, things were off a bit on Saturday.  Except the uphills, which were really strong.  As a gut feeling move, watching some muscle aches creep in, I'm taking six days off of running to swim and cross train.  Writing these blog entries, which I share minimally, helps a lot with reflecting on training choices and their outcomes.  Since I've started writing this, I've used things I notice when writing to adjust my training, sometimes with surprising results.

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