I just finished the third and last week of run focused training in my program. My version of a run focus is different from some other people’s view because I just don’t think you can take weeks away from cycling and still have a solid winter base to race from during the year. My philosophy is a base layer of cycling, swimming and running. From that base layer, which is determined based on the number of years you have been training, you have some quality workouts that round out the program. I figure there is a finite amount of quality that anyone can absorb in training so you have to start making choices in this area. I have chosen to do three super quality runs per week and two bike (one of which is not that high of quality, more steady state quality). This is my version of a run focus. I am now going to turn the tables and do two run quality workouts (one only at “steady state” quality) and three hard bike workouts per week. One of which will be racing if available. In this way I think I can get my riding up to where it needs to be by May 2. Right now I am ahead of last year but I started the season not so fast in Fontana so that is not saying much.
This is one of the hardest periods of the year because now the intensity starts to increase while the volume remains fairly high. This makes training very, very tiring and although some days I am amazed at how great it is going, other days are very tough to swallow. The highlight of this entire winter is my running. I am not crazy fast by any means but I am strong. My steady pace for a long run is close to what I ran tempo in only three years ago. Not kidding! So as soon as I dig out of this mountain of fatigue I am interested if I picked up any speedy legs in the process because I haven’t seen truly speedy Mel since about three weeks ago.
I am starting to get excited about the five weeks of hard cycling training planned with some mountain bike races to use as hard workouts. I am excited to have a chance to race with the Sho-Air mountain bike team as the “token” girl on my new Specialized!!! Should be fun having a team at the US Cup events and I really appreciate Sho-Air and Specialized putting this together for me. I am somewhat disorganized right now but the plan is to be in Los Angeles on the weekend. We’ll see how that goes! I hear there have been crazy mudslides on the I-5 and I am planning to rock this drive ALONE. Yikes.
In addition to the training I have had a lot of “non-training but racing-related” work going on and I feel a bit buried. I am trying to not get stressed out about all of it but seriously, I took on a little too much this season. Wish me no nervous breakdowns please! I would also like to say that to everyone who applied to race for MelRad Racing this year thank you so, so much! I have so enjoyed reading all of the applications and I have to say we have shortlisted a phenomenal group of athletes already. There ended up being some extra mandatory stipulations to make the cut. Those included racing at least ONE season of XTERRA already and racing your XTERRA region this season (so unfortunately no road-only athletes for 2009). We will have some athletes mixing it up on both the road and the dirt but that was not mandatory for this year. Also, athletes that are coached by Melanie and/or Conrad were AUTOMATICALLY included on the list and had the option to decline their spots so if you missed out this year, you know how to make sure you don’t miss out next year. There is 100% nepotism in MY team . Stay tuned as we are very near to our final list…
So I thought I would start this post with some boring training related details to the nerds that like that stuff…. So read on for more…
This week went like this:
Monday: 45 minute ride on the rollers with a bunch of cadence intervals; finished with 30 minutes of core and strength work – could feel I was tired still from the weekend and my foot was aching from a bad blister from yesterday’s long run (2x5km tempo)
Tuesday: am 5500 m swim doing strength work/band only stuff; 3h30 ride on the road doing hills
Wednesday: am 5000 m with a pull set; hellish brick workout of 2 sets 4x4mins MAP with 2 rest on the trainer with the first minute 20W higher than the next three followed by a 1h run off the bike doing the workout with the NTC of 2x10mins at 5km pace with 4 minutes between. We ran at 16.5km/h according to Suunto. Not bad for off the bike.
Thursday: am 4km swim with legs dragging; 35 minute run; 2h30 minute mountain bike ride; 30 minutes of strength and core
Friday: am swim 6km with everything hard and holy crap throw in the life preserver; 40 minute easy run; afternoon tempo run (16.5 km/h according to Suunto) with hill repeats that were so hard even though they seemed they might not be: 1h10 minutes (stick a fork in me)
Saturday: tried to find a group ride (where the heck is everyone?) but didn’t so I did 4h with 4x8mins of 15/15 accelerations to maximum power with 4 minutes rest – legs okay really
Sunday: am rode cross bike out to Hatley Castle 8km run, did 20 minute warmup, ran the race and did well to come in second to Cheryl Murphy and hurt SOOOO bad on the big, bad, nasty hills. I did a personal worst 8km time because it was so darn hilly but still was closer to Cheryl than the flat 8km two months ago so definitely improvement for a day where I was blown. Shout out to my training partner Alison Hooper, Canada’s next Kirsten Sweetland, who is HALF, yes HALF my age and was only 10 seconds behind me after she did her longest ride ever on Saturday.. you kick butt!. After the race I did a 15 minute warmdown then 30 minutes at home on the treadmill with some short strides to make the run 1h40 and about 24km and the ride was 1h45, finished with a 3.2km swim (kicked out of the pool too early by water polo) with 6×400 pull actually feeling strong.
I add it up to 25 hours with a bunch of core/strength and fluff that doesn’t count towards hours. Not bad for a week with intensity every day.
Monday: 1600m terrible swim, pilates, massage, coma.
Tuesday: 4300m terrible swim (sprint 50s and 100s, what can I say? Sprinting a 1:19 for 100m long course?) so now I sit in my chair with a coffee and slice of banana bread. Thinking about mountain biking. Later.
So yeah, I am pretty tired but already my legs are not bad after one day off. Swimming takes the brunt of my fatigue… as soon as I am a little tired I fall to pieces in the pool. Three weeks is the max before I need a little break so here I am, taking a break while I email, blow up the phone and make/change plans constantly. I am in denial about driving 2000 km down to Los Angeles.
It ain’t glamorous but it is fun!
Want a sneak peak at the outfit of 20 lucky age groupers?