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Monday, June 30, 2014

Structured Running

After mediocre runs at the Summer Open and the Boulder Sprint Triathlon, I had my coach, Billy start giving me structured running workouts along with the cycling he was already doing.  Apparently all the lovely base mile running I'd been doing was great for base, not so great for endurance at speed.

Unfortunately, at this point in the season, it was basically too late to expect my body to be able to respond to the training during a race.  (Well, I could expect it, it just wasn't going to happen).  As my coach said, he's not a miracle worker.  There were 3.5 weeks between the Boulder Sprint and Loveland and I did the best I could.

He basically added the equivalent of a long, sub-LT run early in the week, a tempo run (or tempo intervals) in the middle of the week, and a track/interval workout at the end of the week.  I say the equivalent of a long run because with the two knee surgeries, I wanted to be careful of my weekly mileage.

The first week was fantastic in all areas of my training.  My runs and rides were awesome and I was putting up good numbers on the run.  Then week two happened.  My runs were still great, but my riding fell off a cliff.  I had trouble getting any type of power and couldn't hit my numbers.  And I wasn't even close.  Turns out, as Billy put it, I took a full bite of the workouts and we didn't adjust anything to compensate.  As a result my Acute Training Load (ATL) shot way up and instead of being in the mid 80s, they were in the high 90s and low 100s.  As with the other metrics in the performance management chart, the ATL is based on the Training Stress Score (TSS), a number assigned to each workout.  The more intense a workout, the higher the TSS.  A high TSS can also be achieved by doing a less intense workout for a lot longer.  For baseline purposes, a TSS of 100 is performing at 100% effort for an hour.

What was happening was that the more intense workouts were generating a higher daily TSS and thus, a higher ATL.  My inability to hit my wattage numbers on the bike was simply my body saying that it wasn't able to produce the efforts dictated by my workouts - and thus, we should have adjust the workouts to compensate.  But we didn't.

Thankfully, and hopefully this trend continues, within the last week, it appears my body is beginning to adapt.  That said, it's far too late in my season to expect anything more than average results.  Next season, however, my expectations will be quite a bit higher as I will start the structured training program much earlier on.


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