How do you know if you are training in the right zones? It may look confusing but it is actually quite simple. If you have done some testing then you should know roughly where your threshold is for all 3 disciplines.
If I was coaching you, I would give you sessions based on the paces shown in the chart below. You may not always be able to hold the effort level, but it is a goal for you to aim for.
RPE chart, used as a rough guide to help you get to know how hard you need to be working.
When starting out it can be useful to have numbers to go on, and they give me, as a coach, some useful data to look at after you have done a session. As you improve, you will get to know roughly how hard you are working, and you can focus on executing the interval more on feel. This is particularly the case if you are using heart rate as a guide, as we know that many factors can cause it to fluctuate.
I often find athletes worrying about what their heart rate is doing in a session. If is was lower than last time, or higher than last time. As long as you are performing the session to the best of your ability then don’t stress about it. Check in with your breathing and don’t go chasing a higher heart rate if it feels right then it probably is!
The most important thing is to know how your effort “feels” for each particular intensity, so, as you do the session, make sure that you check in with what your breathing is like, and how you are feeling. You need to know that for racing, so you can focus and be present in the race. The other bonus of doing this is that if you don’t have power/heart rate on the day it doesn’t matter!
There comes a point in your training when there is nothing more you can do to increase your fitness and you need to accept that you have done all that you can. Whatever happens on the day will happen, I got back off a long ride feeling pretty negative as my power and speed were low, but thinking about it rationally I had done a 10km (running) Time Trial the night before, and had been building for a while, only having a short recovery after the 100 mile TT, so not surprising really! There is a great post about tapering here which I found helpful and inspiring.
I have been looking at last years taper for Wimbleball and comparing it to my training this year, I had some feedback that my taper may have been a bit drastic, this was because I was ill after a race and then started tapering after I had recovered. This years will not be so drastic and I’ll be nice and ready to race!
This years Performance management chart
Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman
Time trials and tribulations (garmin data is here, full results here)
I went along to the 10km Time trial organised by Pembrokeshire Triathlon club on Tuesday evening, hoping to better my time from 6 years ago!! I can’t believe how long ago that was. My time in 2008 was 43.23. When I arrived Ian, the timekeeper, decided that I would be fastest and put me last. I was not so sure, but went along with it anyway! Ellie (the only other woman) went off 1 minute ahead of me and I tried to keep her in sight. It soon became apparent that she was flying, as I counted the time from her passing a lamppost, she was already more than a minute ahead within the first few miles. , it was a lovely evening, and nice to have a chat. I got a time of 41.14, so 2 minutes faster than last time. I should be happy with that, but maybe have been feeling a bit negative this week.
The long ride
I decided to ride the whole Ironman course the day after, and was pretty dissapointed in my speed. I may have been tired, and also lacking motivation doing the route on my own. I’m not sure that I really wanted to do it, because I knew that if I was slow it would make me depressed, but Patrick suggested it and I thought the pro’s would outweigh the con’s. Anyway I borrowed his go pro which was quite fun, although I have now spent hours editing the ******* thing.
A bit of geekiness
After I had recovered from the ride, digested my stats, done some more research, and generally got slightly obsessive about numbers, I spotted that my Intensity factor for the ride was based on my old FTP, so with a few calculations I realised that I will be able to go faster on race day, (of course some other factors will come into play too) but if the maths is right then I’m happy !!
I began a baking frenzy last week, making cakes picture here and then ordering new cook books after going to a friends birthday and feeling inspired.
Adding to my collection.
I used a trip to Caldey island with the in-laws to try out a recipe from the feed zone book, and made some pancakes with spring onions in. They were very tasty and enjoyed by everyone. Have ordered some mochi flour, corn flour, and black glutinous rice, to make more snacks, I haven’t used the clandestine cake book yet, but made chocolate buns out of my bread book for the boys.
My attempts at food photography.
This then got me thinking about trying to photograph food, so I have another book on its way…..watch this space! Oddly I saw this article in Total womens cycling just after I wrote this post about DIY nutrition.
I did the Bangeston 10 on Wednesday and used it as an opportunity to try out my rice cakes, after bonking the other week on the way home. I had one before I left, and then had a waffle and some homemade sesame snaps before I rode home, (didn’t bonk)
I posted a PB by 1 second!!! Remembered to press my lap button for a change. I was number 13 and had a near miss on the roundabout on my warm down, as a white pick-up pulled out in front of me.
Power for Bangeston 10
The dip in the middle is the roundabout, where someone overtook me, I tried to drop back a bit so as not to draught. Starting to feel a bit stronger, and slowly building my fitness back up, before the Welsh Championships in Abergavenny at the weekend
Beginning to pick up again
Womens sport in the media
I read this in the i (newspaper) last week and was flabbergasted. I have read something similar before. I think it was a man saying that Chrissie Wellington didn’t “win” Ironman Hawaii because men had beaten her, it sparked off a big online debate about physiology, and somebody replied with a very good analogy between boxing weight classification, and asked, would you put a heavyweight boxer against a welterweight? On the plus side there were some women promoting the European U19 women’s football championship, Wales v France next week! Have some free tickets so may take the boys:-)
I almost can’t believe this letter is serious.
Can you believe this letter!
Belated Mountain Biking
I promised my husband I would put a link to his mountain biking video in so here it is! Probably didn’t do it before as there is footage of me being a wuss!!
Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling
Last few weeks events:
LEJOG on turbos with the dynamos.
Thinking about the gender differences.
Time trialling again with Power!
Narberth Dynamos decided to cycle as a Club from Lands End to John O’Groats in 24 hours on turbo trainers. This was part of Narberth Civic week to raise money for Paul Sartori (a local charity). It was Devon’s birthday on Saturday so I managed to get a Friday afternoon slot, and avoid the graveyard shift. We completed hour slots, most people did at least 2 but I didn’t think my husband would appreciate me doing 2 hours! Anyway, people managed an average of 25mph so we made it!! Next year there is a rumour of going further 😮
The boys came up to see me but Devon refused to get his photo taken with me. Milo obliged though
Milo, future Dynamo.
It was Devons 7th birthday on Saturday, its been a long run up with countdowns from June onwards and early wake ups because of the excitement! Finally the day came and we planned to go to Blue Lagoon, a pool down the road from us with water slides and wave machine. As we were walking from the car to the pool, Devon ran past and tripped, falling on his arm, he was in quite a bit of pain, but soon chirped up when he saw his friends. We carried on with the day, and then the next day took him to hospital, where he had x-rays and a cast put on, a brilliant start to the summer holidays!
Can still do lego!
Thinking about the gender differences
I read an article on Total Women’s Cycling, here about the barriers to women cycling, and it got me thinking about the differences between the sexes. My typical male and female sides vary from day to day (probably depending on my hormones!) One thing that came through in the article, was that women don’t like being cat called when exercising. Its threatening and unacceptable, BUT I was cycling with the club the other week, past a pub, and a woman outside the pub shouted out “show em your tits…” to her friend. Nobody called back, I think the woman assumed we were all male. I wondered if the men felt the same way as a group of women would have done, if a male had been calling out to them. I was quite annoyed about it, and chatting to Patrick later on we came to the conclusion that sometimes it is better to behave like a man, and sometimes better to behave like a woman. If we could work out when those situations were and not be pigeonholed into gender stereotypes then we would probably all get along a lot better. Incidently the woman that shouted out was, in my opinion, just rude. Caitlin Moran, has a good theory, that we are all just “the guys” and if you think someone is being rude then you call them on it, then it isn’t labelled as sexism.
Also tweeted a production company about the women’s coverage of The Slateman and received this reply. I think its a bit lame, what do you think? Race is shown here
Time trialling again…
Another time trial with the Velos, improved my time, and got some power data, although I forgot to press start on my garmin and got 1 and a half miles in then realised, so didn’t have the whole distance! Data is here.
I cycled to the start for a change, which made for a long evening. I got about half an hour from home and started to get blurred vision and feel a bit clammy, luckily I had a gel on my bike (in case of emergency) and about 10 minutes later I was feeling OK again. Not pleasant. I have also entered the Welsh championship 10 mile TT in Abergavenny, will probably come in pretty slow compared to others but we might go camping up there for a few days before.
I’m starting to get loads of emails about events for next year now, which to enter?……
This arrived through the post on Monday. After driving back from Wimbleball on Sunday I had a cursory glance and left it on the table for a week
Just what I always wanted
I had an easy week and did nothing until Thursday. I entered this Time Trial when I was tapering, and full of energy. At the time I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, but I thought I’d give it a try. Time Trials are great for improving fitness! My start time was 2.46pm (not used to such a late start and only having to remember my bike… a revelation!) So I left home, got to Penblewin roundabout and realised I had left my Garmin at home charging :-0. I always seem to remember something I forgot on that roundabout! Anyway I arrived in plenty of time to drive the course, which was very well signed and marshalled in any case.
I signed on at the village hall and helped pin numbers on someone and vice versa. Everyone was very friendly and asked my name and introduced themselves. I had a chat with someone I knew and then went to the car park to get ready, where I chatted with another woman about saddles and chafing, as you do! I was trying something different and set my garmin to beep when I went under a certain wattage, (normally I set it to beep when its above) In retrospect I should have set it 10Watts lower! I went off feeling good, and was overtaken within the first 5 miles. There were people dotted along the course clapping, which was nice. The dual carriageway seemed to go on for a long time (this is the first 50 mile TT I have done) It was a relief to turn off onto the old road, and I knew it was not far to the turn around point. At the turn around point it all changed, the wind was against us and I started to struggle to hold my power, then the dual carriageway just seemed to go on for ever. I was overtaken by several people (stopped counting). I got to the lap point and almost dropped out, but thought I’ll just try and finish, forget about the power. I turned my beeping pest of a Garmin off, and got my head down. I got to the point of no return and was now starting to get uncomfortable in my aero position, had to stretch out a couple of times and was really struggling, it was like the road to hell. I kept wondering why I was riding up a dual carriageway in pain, when I could be at home relaxing! (maybe not, its amazing what you’ll do to get away from the kids for a bit!) I dragged myself to the finish and then to add insult to injury I had to cycle back to the start, which also seemed to take a lot longer on the way back! Many people had parked in a closer lay-by. This was the most mentally challenging race I have done, and I am amazed at the women who do this regularly, well done everyone! Much harder than my race last weekend.
I had to get back home to my understanding husband, so didn’t stay for the prize giving, it looked like there was some good cake though! I did an average of 20.4mph so I was quite pleased that I got over 20, I was aiming for that. Drove home and had to stop the car in a lay-by near Resolven as I thought I was going to throw up (didn’t thankfully) Got home and dumped everything in the doorway, could not even be bothered to open the garage.
Left in the doorway
And the next day this awaited me!!!
Tidy up time!
So would I do it again? Who knows! Never say never 🙂 Some great photo’s here. and another report. At least I got a good photo though!!
After last weeks illness I had a “moment” and entered a 50 mile time trial which is in Abergavenny the week after Wimbleball. It is also the national championships, and was sold to me easily when presented as a “brilliant opportunity” 😮 Anyway I will put that to the back of my mind as I am concentrating all my efforts on tapering for the big day. Finally I have seen some progress, and am feeling a lot more positive, I did a hill rep session on Wednesday and had an increase in average power of about 10-15 watts per rep. The week being ill and resting obviously did some good!
Hill reps 5 min intervals April 2013
Hill Reps 5 min intervals May2013
I have now written my race plan, which I won’t share (don’t want to give all my secrets away!) And written an extensive tick list, I do love a list 😉 Had an amazing swim from Saundersfoot to Wisemans bridge, then I ran back to meet the boys in Saundersfoot.
Thats me, that is!
The weather has finally changed and I’m hoping its going to be good for 2 weeks time! Fingers crossed…
We had a fantastic day at the Pendine Fun run on Sunday to support Suliens trust Patrick and Devon ran, and I took the photo’s for a change! The weather was beautiful, dare I say it….summer here at last??
Back to a “normal” week this week, after the excitement of going away. I did my first Time Trial this week on a windy Wednesday, was slower than last year, but quite pleased with my pacing!
Had a long ride on Friday to avoid the rain on Thursday, and took a few pictures before going up Pendine Hill, always hard, the hill not taking pics 😉
It looked a bit sunnier than this when I was there!! Nice to see the bluebells out though. Looking forward to The slateman triathlon next weekend in Llanberis, I’m hoping the lake will have warmed up a little bit by then! Lyn Padarn brrr..
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