Ah! It feels good to be back to my pace … to not have to sprint too hard, or go too fast but just hold steady for a long, long time. Sure, there are tempo parts of my workouts but this week was about holding steady, and this week’s highlight was my indoor Computrainer ride at Ultrabikex Studio.
My workout was a seventy mile ride on the IronMan Florida course at about 80% effort. I decided to do it indoors for two reasons: I would not be in the sun again after a long and hot thirteen mile run on Friday, and I need to learn to keep a constant pace instead of surging whenever it feels fun to do so. Also, by riding at the studio you meet people from different teams that you may not necessarily meet on the road, and this week was no exception.
Seventy miles on a Computrainer is difficult. I find it harder than riding outdoors because there is no break. You can’t coast as you reach down for water, or take a turn. The Computrainer does a great job at simulating the inclines, but when it’s time to go downhill you still need to pedal. You don’t reach a rest area, a turnaround place, a 7-11 to stop for a couple of minutes. To boot, Andreas kept refilling my water bottles so I didn’t even get off my saddle for one second in the four hours I was there. Needless to say the workout was tiring, but it was also scientific.
Again my goal was to keep a steady zone two pace. Andreas would come by and ask me why it seemed like I was pedaling on an incline if I was on a flat. He would correct me to increase my RPMs without reducing my watts (power) and spiking my heart rate. I had to constantly play with the gears. In an IronMan the idea is to maintain a constant power output, you want to stay as close to your target as possible so as to not kill your legs for the run.
In my head, I know these things … but comes riding time it all goes to hell. I feel good, I pedal harder. I feel tired, I slow down. I don’t have a power meter (but very happy to get one if someone decides they want to give me one), so I need to learn what all this FEELS like so that I can execute well on race day in spite of what will surely be a swell of emotions including the temptation to go hard on the bike.
At the end of my seventy miles the writing was on the wall, well actually on the screen. Andreas could see everything I did, from my rotation to my force to when I push and when I pull. He identified a couple more things I need to work on and we decided I would ride once a week at the Studio to work on those. Now I’ve had two long rides in the studio with a couple more scheduled for the coming weeks, as well as some short inclined rides as I was training for Portugal, as well as my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test from last week. They can’t all be wrong, and together they show a picture of what kind of cyclist I am. It’s all good information, but none of it really makes sense until Andreas actually looks at it and explains to me what it all means.
He also gives me tidbits of information… little golden nuggets to focus on. Things that are obvious once he tells me but things I don’t think about. And he also gives me some tough love. It was almost noon when I finished, it was hot and I was about to forgo my scheduled thirty minute run … or at least make it shorter. When I told him he replied “so let’s see, race day is hot are you going to spend ten minutes in transition to cool off or are you just going to keep on going? Get out there and come back in half an hour.” And for some reason I obey, because I want to finish an IronMan and because I know Andreas wants to help me get there.
And here is what the rest of the week looked like. I unfortunately missed two workouts but life is life, and this stuff happens.
Monday: SWIM. 1.5 miles OWS to recover from a brutal weekend.
Tuesday: RUN. 3 mile tempo, 5 miles total.
Wednesday: Rest … life got in the way and missed my bike workout.
Thursday: SWIM. 3,200 yards with lots of speedwork
Friday: RUN. 13 miles in the hot, hot, Miami sun.
Saturday: BIKE. 70 miles in the Computrainer
Sunday: It was thundering at the time I had to go swimming and felt my legs were too stiff to go for the treadmill. Oh well, might as well rest again.
How was your training week?
By the way, it’s no secret that Ultrabikex is my sponsor as you can see on the right hand margin. And I am lucky that I get to use the Studio as often as I do. You can always reach Andreas at firstname.lastname@example.org and see how he can help you with your cycling goals.