Day 19 – An Intense Saturday

155 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Functional Running

Saturdays are always good days for training. Even though it was raining this morning, it was a good day for a run threshold test. Fortunately, the rain let up just before I walked out the door with my new Wahoo TICKR X heart rate monitor snuggly wrapped around my body holding up the man-boobs.

That’s an image you didn’t need in your head. Sorry.

The key to the functional threshold tests is pacing. The goal of the test is to run as hard as possible for 20 minutes without dying (or slowing down) before the end. It approximates the pace and heart rate the body experiences when reaching physiological anaerobic threshold. That’s training talk for, “run, Forrest, run!”

After a 20 minute warm up and a couple of minutes for rest, I started the test at a moderate pace and increased it slightly every five minutes. By 19 minutes I was hurtin’ and that last minute seemed like an hour. I could have gone longer than 20 minutes but not much.

I’m still not sure how all the apps work together. The run was recorded on Wahoo Fitness and Samsung Health. It was automatically loaded up to TrainingPeaks where it was automatically analyzed by the proprietary algorithms and I was told that my new FTHR (functional threshold heart rate) is 166bpm. I have no bloody idea if they calculated it the way I want or if they included the warm up run in the calculation. Now I have to go to TrainingPeaks and figure all that out.

Limitless Swimming

As if running in the morning was not enough, Coach Trent had a swim clinic today to round out my diá de tortura (day of torture). But it was well worth it, because I got to swim in an endless pool and have my swim form analyzed by video.

Have you ever swum in an endless pool? It’s crazy. A jet forces a current of water across the pool which you swim against. The strength of the current is measured in minutes per 100 yards. So if you set the jets to 1:45, after one minute and 45 seconds you’ve simulated swimming 100 yards when in reality you’ve either gone nowhere or you’ve been blown to the back of the pool. At one point while I was swimming at a pace of 1:35/100y, Lori convinced Trent that it would be a good idea to increase the power to 1:15/100y. How salmon can swim upstream like that is totally beyond me. I didn’t get forced across the pool, but would have if it had gone on longer.

We took a quick look at the videos poolside. It’s very enlightening, because in my mind I have the swim form of Micheal Phelps. In reality I have the swim form of Lowell Gould who could use a bit of improvement. I’ll be interested to see what the analysis says about those differences.

Lori recorded the session on video, so hopefully I’ll get some time this weekend to edit and post a video of training in an endless pool.

Day 18 – Triathlon Objectives

156 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Training With Purpose

Many years ago our triathlon club brought in a coach from Jacksonville (NC not FL). Two or three times each week, we would submit ourselves to his torture sessions workouts. He was tough and good which are two of the reasons my race performance got a little better that year. However, there was one problem. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but there was something that has bothered me for years. The coach said,

I don’t believe in junk miles. When we start a workout it is going to have purpose.

coach

At the time, I ate it up. I loved his idea that all our workouts would have a purpose. I had been studying the first edition of Joe Friel’s book that talked about goals, objectives and periodization, so I was excited. We were going to train with a purpose.

With a purpose.

What purpose? The workouts were tough, “breakthrough” quality, but what was I really training for? What were the others training for? I don’t remember having any goals or objectives that year other than to race. Some of us were preparing for Pinehurst International Triathlon while others were preparing for IRONMAN Florida. Yet all of us did the same workouts.

As I now read the new edition of Joe Friel’s book, The Triathlete’s Training Bible, I am more aware than ever of my need to train with a purpose. I am also reminded that training with a purpose implies goals and objectives. It is not enough to simply have an idea of what you want to accomplish. It must be written down (or typed, if you’re too young to remember pencil and paper) in specific terms.

Goals And Objectives

The goal doesn’t necessarily have to be measurable, but the objectives do, because the objectives are the stepping stones to accomplishing your goal. If the goal is measurable thats even better. That way you will know with absolute certainty if you accomplished it or not. In my case, 2020 season goals are in terms of race outcomes and the objectives are in terms of performance.

Goals

  1. May 17, IRRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga under 5:45:00
  2. Fall long course triathlon under 5:40:00

The best I’ve ever done on a USAT long course is about 5:45, so beating that in the first A race of 2020 will be a good step toward Kona qualification. A possible second A race for 2020 is IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid.

Two goals is enough to get me through this first season of my road to Kona.

Objectives

I’m still working on the objectives for 2020. The elusive piece is trying to connect performance stats to a race outcome. I suppose if I set an objective for a certain pace, the run can be tied to a race outcome. Same with the swim.

Bike fitness, on the other hand, is built through power, not speed. If an honest objective is stated in terms of watts, it can probably be achieved, but how does that relate to a race outcome?

Thinking Out Loud

I’m sure the answer lies in time, not watts. We train with power, but we have an idea of how fast we need to go to reach the goal. For example, my swim, run and transitions might total 2:40, so the bike needs to be less than 3:05.

I think I just found my objectives. Thanks for letting me think out loud.

Day 17 – Another Podcast

157 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

No workout today. Recovery from running yesterday. The mind says, “Come on. Let’s get moving.” The body says, “F you. I’m recovering.” I still don’t have a plan for the season so I guess you could say I’m in the unstructured preparation phase.

My training today will be educational…

Science Based Training

There are several good podcasts available for learning about triathlon training. I’ve already mentioned Triathlon Taren and Tower 26 in past blog posts. Another good one is “That Triathlon Show.”

Mikael Eriksson, host of That Triathlon Show, brings us two podcasts each week. What distinguishes his podcasts from others is straight forward science. There is no banter. There is no fluff.

Don’t get me wrong. Fluff is a good thing. If you watch my videos that’s about all you’ll see (except for the transition advice).

That Triathlon Show gets right to the point with hard hitting questions about the topic of the day. His guests are often academic or very experienced in scientific based coaching. If you are not used to listening to scientific jargon or you are the type that wants concrete answers on your training, this show may not be for you. However, if you are looking to understand at a deep level what makes us better triathletes, then this show definitely is for you.

As I work on my 2020 training plan with IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga as the first A race of the season, I find myself pulling together much of the information I get from Mikael’s guests. But Mikael, himself, is no slouch, because he seems to understand the scientific literature and is able to offer nuggets of knowledge from his own experiences. There have been multiple moments while listening to his interviews when I find myself saying, “You should have asked your guest, “[insert intelligent question here]” And then, it happens. He asks the very question I was thinking.

If you are at all curious about the science behind endurance performance, I encourage you to have a listen. I get my subscription from the Google Play Store. It’s also on Apple. Enjoy!

Day 16 – Do I Have ADD?

158 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

The wind was cold this morning. Even in North Carolina winter approaches with a bite. The five mile run with Marty and John was probably executed with more intensity than necessary today. At least for me it probably was. The upside is that running with those guys is always, and I mean always, fun.

I just signed up for the paid version of TrainingPeaks, because I used to get my data analyzed through an ancient copy of the WKO+ program, which lives on a computer so old that Moses complained about how slow it was. With the paid version, you can set up and manage an annual training plan very easily. This is exciting… for me.

Annual training plan
Managing an annual training plan is easy on TrainingPeaks

Mental Skills

One of the sections in The Triathlete’s Training Bible discusses mental skills. It comes complete with a Mental Skills Profile questionnaire which, of course, I completed, digested and studied. At a glance, the questions (actually they are statements) look simple, but once you get started on the answers you soon realize that they are very difficult. The difficulty, for me, was in the ability to assess the statements honestly. For example, the first statement is

I believe my potential as an athlete is excellent

I could be full of myself and just answer, “Yes, Always”. Or I could just second guess that and try to be humble by answering, “Maybe”. If I let self doubt take over, the answer would be, “Not Really”. So the thing to do here is remove all emotion and second guessing from the process.

Mental Skills Profile
The mental skills profile from The Triathlete’s Training Bible

There are six possible responses :NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, FREQUENTLY, USUALLY, ALWAYS: The respondent, me, has to choose one response that best fits the statement. Each response is assigned a number: NEVER=1 to ALWAYS=6. The statements themselves are representative of five different mental skill sets, but you don’t know that until the end of the assessment.

Thirty statements later, I added up the numbers of my responses within each mental skill set. Then after some easy math and a bit of trust in the process, a score is produced for each of the five skill sets: 1 = sorely deficient, 5 = very proficient. Here are my results:

SkillScore
Motivation4
Confidence4
Thought habits4
Focus2
Visualization5

Not surprised at all. Visualization is my specialty. Unfortunately, focus is not and never has been.

I guess I know which mental skill set I need to work on.

Day 15 – It Finally Arrived

159 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Remember last week when I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have an accurate heart rate monitor and I didn’t know which one to get? I ended up deciding on the Wahoo TICKR X and … IT’S HERE!

Wahoo TICKER X
The Wahoo TICKER X

Also, do you remember the days when you could buy a gadget or new tool or new something and it came with instructions? Me too. I sort of miss those days. The TICKR X came with one very small instruction sheet that has a couple of sentences in english and about eight pictograms that look vaguely like those you might see in an international airport.

Anyway, it arrived yesterday and I deciphered those hieroglyphs the best I could without the help of an anthropologist. After several attempts, I put it on last night just to see if it would work and check my heart rate: yes, it works. The real test was going to be my workout this morning: a swim trial to get my T-time. That’s a 1000 yard swim for time.

Slippage

After a short warm up, I removed the heart rate monitor. If you’re not familiar with this kind of thing, the device is held to the chest with a strap and each time I pushed off the wall of the pool, the strap slid farther down toward my pupik (I dare you to look up that one). But that’s OK. Im still not sure how to use it properly which means I have to go to a website and read the instructions, all because the monitor didn’t come with proper instructions. Oh how I miss those days of 50 page instruction booklets that came with a TV.

Public Pools

One thing about swimming in a public pool is that you have to be courteous to the others around you. I guess you don’t have to be courteous, but you’ll quickly get what you deserve if you’re not considerate of others.

Let me say up front that I don’t mind sharing a swimming lane with another swimmer or even multiple other swimmers. In fact, when I have a lane to myself , I usually swim to one side incase the pool gets crowded and someone needs a half lane to swim. Usually if I see someone standing on the deck at the head of my lane, I stop and invite them in. And I certainly don’t mind if someone were to simply get in and use the other side of the lane without saying anything to me. So there you go: be considerate. When I started the 1000y trial, I had the lane to myself, but I swam to one side.

One thing I don’t want to do during the trial is stop swimming. The clock is ticking and I don’t want to pause my watch, but in hind sight, I guess I could have paused my watch now that I think about it.

Swimming With Others

I was more than half way through the trial when I noticed a group standing on the deck at the head of my lane. As I hit the wall for a turn, I glanced up at them, but they did not make eye contact with me so I thought they were just socializing. The next time I came back to that end of the pool, one of the women in the group looked at me and made a twirling motion with her finger which to me suggested that she wanted to circle swim.

Circle swimming is when you swim down one side of the lane and you swim back on the other side. That way you can accommodate more than two people in a lane: it’s like a train of swimmers following each other.

I assumed that she and others wanted to swim in the lane with me so I started circle swimming: going away on the right side and returning on the left side. She didn’t enter the water right away and the next time I returned to the head of the lane, she appeared to have a confused look on her face.

Eventually, she did get in somewhere around my 800 yard mark and I realized that she was the only one getting in the water. She probably expected to split the lane with me rather than circle swim. Too late. I was in a zone. Then I realized who she was: a masters swimmer that I’ve swum with who can out swim a shark. And she was behind me. Thankfully, I only had a couple more laps to go, otherwise she would have crawled all over me and then I would have really felt stupid.

The Moral Of The Story

There is no moral to this story. It’s just one of those things that happens in life. My 1000y time was 18:16 = 1:50/100y. Not too bad and plenty of room for improvement.

By the way: I’m getting closer to a season plan for 2020. I want to finish The Triathlete’s Training Bible first and then dig into the planning. Maybe tomorrow I talk about some of the really cool stuff in that book.

Day 14 – Triathlete Personality

160 days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Type C Personality

Last night I started coming down with a cold. The runny nose, the sneezing fits, and the stuffy head were enough to send me to bed early. I was planning a day off from any workouts today, so I’m not missing anything. Besides I feel fine today. The only problem is that my mind keeps telling me to do something productive.

According to the introductory paragraph on Wikipedia,

… personalities that are more competitive, highly organized, ambitious, impatient, highly aware of time management and/or aggressive are labeled Type A.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_A_and_Type_B_personality_theory

That doesn’t sound like me. I must not be a Type A personality. Maybe I’m Type B.

… more relaxed, less ‘neurotic’, ‘frantic’, ‘explainable’, personalities are labeled Type B

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_A_and_Type_B_personality_theory

That sounds a little more like me, but perhaps I’m really a Type C personality:

… thinks he’s a Type B but is really a Type A.

LG, TriRiot: 2019

You’ll know a Type C when you meet one, because you can’t stand being around me them.

Turn It Off

Many IRONMAN finishers celebrate their accomplishment with a creative Mdot tattoo.

Regardless of how we label ourselves, it seems that many of us triathletes have a “more-is-better” mentality when it comes to training and working out. We can’t seem to be content with easy rides, easy swims, easy anythings without reminding ourselves that it’s OK to go easy. In fact, I need a constant reminder to go easy on my easy days. While all my contemporaries will have Mdot tattoos on their calves, I’ll have one big tattoo on my left forearm that says, “TAKE IT EASY”. Everyone will think it’s a reference to the old Eagles tune, but I’ll know different.

There must be a way to train the mind to calm down short of shaving my head, wearing saffron robes and moving to Dharamsala India. I’d love that, but Lori might not so much.

It’s all part of the mental toughness I wrote about in a previous post. Being mentally tough is more than just pushing through a hard workout or staying positive while you walkrun up that hill at IRONMAN Lake Placid. Mental toughness is also about holding back.

One Word

One of my favorite people on the planet (I won’t say which planet) is friend, coach and race buddy, Sami Winter. Ironically, she just sent me an email on this subject earlier today. But the real reason I mention her is that she started me on something new: New Year’s Evolution.

The concept is simple. Instead of committing to a new year’s resolution that you are going to break anyway, you commit to making yourself better in such a way that it can be summed up in one word. Then you carry that word around for the whole year or the next few years, as is my case. My word for 2018 and 2019 was discipline. My word for 2020 will be discipline. I obviously need more discipline. ( I feel like Christopher Walken, “I need more cow bell”).

2020 will probably be my last year for that word. I’ll let you know my word for 2021 in about a year.

Day 13 – Endurance Togetherness

161 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Another Podcast

As I write this I’m listening to a Tower 26 podcast that was originally recorded last summer. The main focus of Tower 26 podcasts is triathlon swimming, but much of the philosophy is transferrable to all of triathlon.

Tower 26 web page

What I like about Tower 26 is that some of the podcasts are very informative. For example, episode #67 talks about race strategies. I may not be able to use all their suggestions, but I am definitely forced to think deep and reevaluate my own race strategies.

Rough Start

Today I forgot my goggles and swim cap. Lori didn’t bring a spare so I started the swim 2/3 naked [jammers:(swim cap+goggles)].

Initially I was going to tough it out so I swam a short warm up looking at the blurry black line through squinty eyes. When my eyes hit the air at the end of the warm up, I could feel the blood rushing into them making me look like the high school stoner I once was. Even though my head was above water at that point, I was still squinting from the sting of the chemicals. I was prepared to tough it out for the remaining hour and ten minutes of the workout.

Trent, our coach, noticed that something was missing from my swim kit and asked around for an extra pair of goggles. My friend, Matt, also noticed but didn’t have a spare. Margret, in my lane, offered a pair but couldn’t find it in her bag. Vic, from the next lane over, found a spare pair in his bag and I was back to normal in no time. (“normal” is a relative term here). Thanks, Vic, Trent, Margret and Matt.

The Workout

The workout started with four repeats of 50 kick/50 Swim and 20 seconds rest between each 100. I have been kicking in the pool for years and no matter how easy I start, the first 25 is always easy and the next 25 is always so slow. It’s as though there were a current in the pool. And when I say slow, I mean the nasty band-aid near the bottom of the pool that fell off someone’s elbow earlier in the day is moving faster than I. That’s OK. It’s a good workout. It’s all good (except for that band-aid).

What we did next was something I’ve never done before: vertical kicks. After a moderate 75 yards, we jumped out of the lane and jumped into the adjacent diving well where we had to keep our heads above water without using our hands and remain vertical for twenty seconds. After a twenty second rest, we were back to the vertical drowning… I mean kicking. I looked over at Matt and his whole head was above the water while I struggled to keep my eyes above water. I don’t know about you, but my mouth is below my eyes which made for very difficult breathing. This exercise in controlled drowning was followed by an easy 25 yards back to our starting point where we did the whole thing over again three more times.

At each rest, I looked for Lori. She was two lanes over from me and the two or three times I saw her it looked like she was enjoying the workouts. My guess is that she handled the vertical kicking better than I did.

I have no doubt that these exercises will prepare me for the 2020 training season, but the best part about our Sunday swim sessions is that we are in this together. Triathlon is an individual sport except that many of us enjoy training together, even when we’re not training for the same reasons or at the same proficiency levels. Feeling like crap after a hard interval is more fun when you can do it with your friends. Misery may love company but there’s nothing miserable about training for triathlon (except for some gels. There are some gels that just taste like shit)

Day 12 – Coaches That Inspire

162 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Brett Sutton, triathlon coach

Brett Sutton has coached many successful professional triathletes in his career.

Do I Really Need a Coach?

If you’ve been following this blog for the last two weeks, then you know that I’m on the hunt for a coach who can

  1. Help me design a training plan for my 2020 race season
  2. Keep me focused on my training plan
  3. Interpret workout results and adjust the plan accordingly
  4. Inspire me to be a better athlete

The first A race of the season for me is IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, so that’s my focus for this blog series and my coaching needs for right now. However, it takes time to build the machine that will, one day, qualify for Kona which means I also need a long term coaching solution.

Yes. I Need Multiple Coaches

In several of these posts I’ve emphasized the need for a training plan. I believe that the chances of succeeding with no plan are the same as the chances of winning the lottery. That’s mostly because I’ve set the bar very high: qualify for IRONMAN Wold Championship. But even with a plan, I likely won’t qualify for much of anything beyond customer of the year at the local supermarket. That’s where the coach(es) come(s) in.

Let’s suppose you have a training plan and $2000 to spend on something that will make you a faster triathlete. What do you spend it on? Bike frame? Aero helmet? Trophy case? Wahoo KICKR?

The answer for me is coaching. The answer for most experienced triathletes is coaching. A good coaching team will push you to your limits and hold you back from overtraining. A good team will keep you hydrated and properly fueled. A good team will refocus you when you feel lost.

These are the areas in which I could use good coaching:

  1. Endurance
  2. Swim
  3. Bike
  4. Run
  5. Strength
  6. Nutrition
  7. Medical
  8. Psychological
  9. Chiropractic and mobility
  10. Spiritual

Some of these disciplines can be combined into one person. For example medical and nutritional are likely areas that a single person might know. But each person that I hire must be able to inspire me to be better. That does not mean my coaches have to eat healthier or run faster than I, but I do expect them to have lived the life they preach and truly love what they do. I may not agree with them all the time. I may not like all their training methods. But I do expect them to know what they are doing and to give me advice that they believe will help me achieve my goals.

Selfish?

Yes. This is selfish of me to want so much for myself. But it’s no more selfish than going to a doctor for medical advice or seeking the advice of a rabbi/priest/guru. We all want to be better. We all want to learn how to deal with the suffering of life.

Yeah. That last sentence is a bit out there. See “My Triathlon Story” from the November 27th blog post to get a handle on that.

My Advice To You

It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or an artist. We are all human and, as such, need the advice of and interaction with others to make us better. If you don’t have access to personal coaching, use anything within your means: clubs, associations, podcasts, videos, magazines, friends. Not all are going to give the best advice, but if you love what you do (triathlon, in my case) you’ll figure out who is giving good advice.

Dave Scott, triathlon coach

Dave Scott is a six time IRONMAN World Championship winner turned coach.

Day 11 – Mentally Tuff

163 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

A Little Downtime

This morning the 40 minute indoor trainer ride was really quite fulfilling. After a light warmup featuring spin-ups, I hit some 30″ intense intervals. You can argue that it was a junk session, because my season goals have not yet been established. And you’d be right, but it’s better than sitting on the couch, eating Cheetos and watching reruns of Golden Girls.

Many of us age groupers do a lot. The day job certainly gets in the way of training, so we have to be as efficient as possible with our time. That may lead you to ask,

LG,

If time is so precious, why do you waste some of it writing a blog and creating videos?

The answer is simple. Writing the blog is part of my training. My fingers are stronger than ever from banging the keys on this computer. This morning I have about 20 minutes of downtime so I am posting these thoughts which will help me get mentally tough.

Some Hard Questions

Questions to determine mental toughness

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the new version of Joe Friel’s book, The Triathlete’s Training Bible. Today I’m going to try to answer a few of the questions he poses to evaluate mental toughness. This is a bit different from the previous version of his book where he had a form to fill out with scores and numbers. This version is less quantitative, but if done honestly will make readers truly dig deep.

Why do you do triathlon?
There are multiple reasons, but the one that drives me more than any other is to be closer to my father. Im sure you could break that down through a Freudian analysis and find some really twisted stuff, but i just like to think I’m chasing Hal’s ghost down the Pacific Coast Highway. What will i do when I catch him?
Why not do something else instead?
I suppose I could do other things to be closer to my dad. Swimming, biking and running are not the only things I associate with him, but the excitement in his voice when we talked about my training and racing was magic.
What would you most like to achieve in the sport this season?
When the 2020 season is over, I want to be one step closer to qualifying for Kona. For something more measurable, I want to finish IM703Chatty under 5:45 and know that I raced my best.

How confident are you that you can achieve your goal?
Very confident. I have quite a bit of experience in this sport and I know that my past successes have come in spite of weak planning. With proper planning and guidance, I’m going to kick ass
Do you prefer to train with others or alone?
I used to love the social aspects of training with a group. In hindsight I can see that many group rides were too hard and too long for me and didn’t fit my training plan. Not by choice, I began riding and running alone in the 2016 race season. I did several 90+ mile rides that summer and enjoyed them immensely because I was able to focus on my own training and enjoy the scenery.

Just Mental

Some days I don’t feel so mentally tough. I just feel mental. It’s on those days I have to come back to questions like the ones in Friel’s book to remind myself why I do this and what it means to me.

For many years I used to ask myself, “Why can’t I run faster?” I haven’t asked that question in a long time, because the question I ask myself now is,

How can I run faster?

This season, an answer will be forthcoming


Day 10 – The Connected Triathlete

164 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

Still Looking

No training plan yet for 2020, but getting closer, because an important box was delivered to the house yesterday: a box from Amazon.com.

By the way: Do you suppose young kids these days know that Amazon is also a river and region in South America? Or a culture of warrior women known by the ancient Greeks?. I’m sure they do, but wanted to ask anyway.
The Triathlete's Training Bible by Joe Friel
Morning read

So back to that box and more importantly its contents. Inside that box was the best training resource for the self coached athlete: Joe Friel’s “The Triathlete’s Training Bible”. I’ve had the old version since 2006, but this latest one is full of new and sometimes conflicting information compared to the old one… and that’s a good thing.

After a nice and easy 1500y in the pool this morning, it’s time to have a cup-a-java, read a little from the bible and write a little in the blog.

The Big Picture

The thing that’s been on my mind lately is an overall picture of how the little pieces of technology fit together to make training easier, fun, and efficient. I don’t have all the nifty gadgets, but I wouldn’t be against finding a little extra cash to slap down on filling the pain cave with stuff. In this post, there’s no lecturing or philosophizing or educating the reader. I’m just trying to paint a bigger picture of the connected triathlete so I know what cool gadgets I should consider.

The Pieces

If I understand correctly, all we need is to:

  1. Design a workout (from the training plan)
  2. Set up the measuring devices and training aids
  3. Measure key variables during the workout so we can a) stay within the correct zones and b) accumulate data for post workout analysis.
  4. Upload data from measuring devices to some other platform for analyzing data
  5. Summarize data to determine how we’re doing and if we need to rest

Seems simple enough, but what confuses me is all the crap in my inbox that tells me I’m going to be a better triathlete if I use such and such product. I think I’ve sorted it out, but please tell me if I’m on the wrong track here with these products. Thanks.

  1. Design a workout (from the training plan). Clubs, coaches, online training like Endurance Nation, TrainingPeaks, etc.
  2. Set up the measuring devices and training aids. Power meters, turbo trainers like Wahoo KICKR and TACX Neo, smartwatches, Strava, Wahoo TICKR, Zwift?, etc.
  3. Measure key variables during the workout so we can a) stay within the correct zones and b) accumulate data for post workout analysis.
  4. Upload data from measuring devices to some other platform for analyzing data. TrainingPeaks, Strava, Zwift?, etc.
  5. Summarize data to determine how we’re doing and if we need to rest. TrainingPeaks.

I think the only question in there is Zwift. How does that fit in to the equation? I know it interacts with a turbo trainer and makes indoor cycling less boring, but what does it have to do with data (if anything)? Does it accumulate your metrics? Does it analyze it for you? The most important thing I want to know is TSS. Does it do that? Probably not, but I thought I’d ask.

Maybe I’m just making this too complicated.

The Value of Data

I love data. I work with data professionally and I like to be able to drive my decisions with data. That’s why I’m such a lover of gadgets. But don’t get me wrong…

I also love a good bike ride for the sake of being outdoors with a warm breeze in my face. I love it when I get the “feel” of a new technique. There are times when I leave all the gadgets behind and just ride or run or swim. That’s a lot of fun and one of the reasons I love this sport.

For everything else, there’s data.