(I hope you sang that to yourself to the tune of ‘Whistle While You Work”)
I am settling into a training plan while I begin the almost year long journey to Ironman Arizona in November. Now that I have a coach I really want to do my best to stick to the plan that is given to me (duh Becca!). This means I need to get creative about training opportunities = work out at lunch! I work a pretty regular 8-5 kind of job which is about 30 minutes from where I live. In order to work it all in I HAVE to make use of my lunches. So, this means I have to pack lunch for myself (or let my wonderful husband pack one for me), eat and my desk, and the find a place near by to workout.
Recently I asked one of the local Tri club where I could swim. They turned me onto a local aquatic center with good hours, fair prices, and tons of lanes! I have had to share a lane a few times but I have never had to wait to swim. It is great! Then I noticed that there seems to be a path around the center as well. Turns out it is 1. 36 miles long! Perfect! I also have found a local park near by to get in some trail running and I often end up at the beach for some great running miles as well.
If I can get a bike set up in my office I will be totally set!
Graph borrowed from Graeme Stewart
Now a day’s our lives are full of acronyms. I have acronyms for work, for my kid’s school, for my kid’s games, and of course my exercise. You will constantly hear or read about FTP and LTHR and HR etc when reading anything on training for endurance sports. Well I just found a new one, TSS, Training Stress Score. I have a feeling that this is nothing new to many of you. I had not seen it until I started using Training Peaks to log my training for my coach and TranierRoad for doing my turbo trainer workouts.
Here is the definition from TrainerRoad on TSS:
“TSS is the amount of training stress generated from a workout. The higher this number the more potential fitness you earned from a workout.
To gain the most fitness, you want to earn the most TSS possible. All of the workouts on TrainerRoad have a TSS score on them. This means that if you were to ride the workout exactly like it is prescribed you would earn that amount of TSS”
If you were to do an hour at your FTP (the average maximum power you can sustain for 1 hour) you would earn a TSS of 100. (read here for more)
I think the cool thing about TSS that you don’t get from any of the other measurements (besides time and distance) is that it is a cumulative measurement related to effort. You get more and more TSS the more you workout each week and the harder you workout, the bigger the TSS. What is cool is even doing easy workouts will still get you TSS. I think it will give me a more normalized number to compare training week-over-week other than time or distance.
Luckily Training Peaks gives me a TSS for all my activities including swimming. I may need to analyze TSS from Training Peaks by discipline because the running TSS look really high. I am excited to add this metric into my analysis of my training.
Link to blog from which I borrowed the graph is here. He has more data on this topic that involves much more math than I did!
I have recently started working with a coach and I am very excited about it; and now that I have adopted TrainerRoad I am eager to see how I can combine both things to get the most out of my training. This morning was my first ride from my coach. I used the 60 min free ride in TrainerRoad to capture it. See image below and the details here.
What I liked about using the free ride option in TrainerRoad was as I was doing the prescribed workout from my coach, I could see what % of my FTP I was working at. Once I was done with my workout I got a great graph that shows all aspects of the ride in a perfect summary. Easy to use and pretty effective!
The Tour is over…
For 9 days I joined about 1600 other riders from all over the world as we completed the Tour of Sufferlandria. It was a virtual tour that was done on our bike trainers in our own homes; but what was surprising was just how much we felt like we were doing it together. The premise behind The Sufferfests is that you will become a better cyclist through pain and suffering on the bike. While that may be true, in reality it is a really fun way to kick your own ass so you can beat others! Usually I dread my trainer time but since my recent adoption of TrainerRoad and this tour, I have found a new passion for my trainer time. Of course it also helped that except for 2 rides, Stuart and I did all the stages together. He has done a much better write up of each stage on his blog and the recaps on The Sufferfest website are awesome.
Total miles ridden were just under 200 miles in almost 13 hours (I had to do Rubber Glove twice)
I am constantly asked at work how do I have the time and energy to train as much as I do. Now granted I am only training 6-9 hours a week right now (nowhere near the most I have done, 12-8 hours/week for Ironman St. George) but it is still more than most of the people I work with do. They also are amazed at how much energy I have even though I may have gotten up early to work out or was on my trainer until 9:30 at night. I keep trying to explain that you will get back 150% of what you put into it. I truly believe that. And for those that say they don’t have the time I say BS. I do not have any extra hours in my day. I think what makes me different is I make it a priority. I have a full time job. I have two kids of my own plus two kids from my marriage (not all four all the time). All the kids are in school (which is so much harder than I ever could have imagined). But because I have decided that training for races is important to me I make time for working out. I bring my stuff with me to work so I can run/swim on my lunch break. I get up early (not as early as I should) to get in training before work. I get workout after the kids are in bed if I have to. because this is more important to me than a lot of other things. If you want to do this YOU can. And I promise you it is worth it.
*picture stolen from Solorunner
You may have seen some extra chatter from me lately about Trainer Road, a great product you can use with your existing trainer set up to get more focused training out of your time. Well all my enthusiasm has landed me an Ambassador spot! (more to follow on that) I was a late adopter of this software and have really thrown myself into it over the last 7 days because of the Tour of Sufferlandria. Now I can see the error of my ways! Just look at the picture below. That is the same ride on the same trainer done 9 days apart. I put a line on both graphs at 16 mph to show you the difference in intensity. If you want success on your trainer, you really need to use Trainer Road.
Well at least in my humble opinion it will. If you don’t know what Trainer Road is it is an application that works with your Garmin sensors to give you virtual power while you are riding your turbo trainer. Obviously if you have a power meter it will work with that but I don’t have one of those…yet. I have dragged my feat about using this because there was a little extra set involved when you need to ride your trainer. I am a fan of just getting it done with as little hassle as possible. But once you get it set up properly there is very little you need to do at each ride.
Very recently I did the same Sufferfest Video, The Wretched; first without Trainer Road, and then with Trainer Road. See the graphs below…
I can see an increase in intensity as well as focused riding by using Trainer Road versus not using it. I feel like I am getting WAY more out of my time when I used this focused approach to my trainer riding. Why even get on the trainer if you don’t want to get something out of it!?
And, as you can see below, the data you get after doing a ride in Trainer Road is pretty awesome.
Well worth the $10/ month…in my opinion.