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A New Training Plan

Posted Sep 20 2012 6:00am
Sorry, but this post is a long one.  If you don't enjoy reading about training plans, you'll probably want to skip this one.  

In my last post, I said I'd share a new monthly training structure I'm working on.  I decided to work through this on my blog, so I apologize if this doesn't come off as very organized.  I'm just putting my thoughts out there and using my blog as a bit of a white board to work through things.
  
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The problem with my recent training is that I've gotten too focused on things like CTL, KJ per week, TSS per week, ramp rates, TSB, etc.  I wasn't chasing specific numbers, but I was getting too focused on those things.

With training, the more you do, the more you can do.  This is good.  The fitter you are, the more volume you can do and not get beat down.

But when you start getting obsessed with the numbers that statement gets flipped around a bit:  The more you do, the more you HAVE to do.  If your CTL is 100, you have to do more this week than last week to build that number.  Then more again, and again, and again. You get the picture.

It reminds of the song Mr. Brownstone by GnR:  I used to do a little but a little wouldn't do it so the little got more and more. I just keep trying to get a little better, said a little better than before.

The funny thing is, if I were coaching someone I never would have had them do what I did my final 4 weeks before tapering.  That's the tough thing about being self-coached.  You're emotionally attached to the training plan, and greed gets in the way of common sense sometimes.  You start thinking, "if I can do just a little more...."

My fancy schmancy CTL spreadsheet is getting shut down for the next 3 months.  I'll still watch the metrics in WKO+ because I do think there's a lot of value in them, but I won't be planning my IMCOZ training based on TSS per week.

My focus will be on hitting benchmarks and making sure I never let myself get too tired.  I was good about that a few years ago.  I didn't force things and I took rest when needed.  I didn't put pressure on myself.

This new plan is a mix of my old and recent training. 

Some things from my old training:
 - Short, intense rides (group rides, maybe cyclocross practices since it's fall)
 - More short rides/runs
 - Easy days are embarrassingly easy
 - The "easy weekend"
 - Biking to work
 - Hard days are really freaking hard, easy days are really freaking easy
 

Some things from my recent training:
 - No more recovery weeks
 - The ridiculously hard long ride
 - Hard bike earlier in week than hard run 
           (hard running hurts my cycling more than hard cycling hurts my running)
 - Long Sweet Spot rides
 - Benchmarks


I know some of the things I'm taking from my recent training probably sound like the things that created all my fatigue, but they're not.  It was the not letting up between those things that beat me down.  It was also the big days.  I did way too many big days -  metric Ironmans, broken Ironmans, training camps....  This new plan has fewer big days, and maybe a little more consistency to it.  The big days can hurt your consistency.

To start, I divided the weeks into blocks:

IM Cozumel Plan

Recovery from WI is a pretty big block, which will allow me to fully recover and build back into training mode.  Week one is more or less a week off.  Week 2 is really easy,  Week 3 is moderate and Week 4 will have a little bit of intensity but still be pretty easy.  Then it's a 3-week build block, 2 weeks with some key workouts and a taper.  5.5 weeks of heat training.  This will allow me to build into the heat training a little more than I have in the past.

Here's the basic monthly structure I came up with (just focusing on bike and run right now):


"Basic Month"

A few notes about the Basic Month:


- Intensity on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Volume on the weekends.

- No official rest week, although the cycle ends with an easy 4-day block that includes a complete rest day.  If you manage fatigue, you shouldn't need a full week of recovery.  The difference here between what I do now is that the easy block falls on a weekend rather than during the week.  It's the return of the...

- "Easy weekend."  I think I've been doing too much on the weekends lately and it can be physically and mentally exhausting. 

- Two full rest days.  Monday workouts are optional so there's potential for 4 full rest days.

- On weeks I do a medium length/medium intensity ride or run (orange) during the week, I go long and easy for that discipline on the weekend. Short/Intense (red) is coupled with med/med on the weekend.  This is done in hopes of managing fatigue.  We'll see if it works.  
- No more long/hard workouts for both running and cycling on the same weekend.  It beats me down too much. It's one or the other.

- Two long/hard rides on the weekend (orange) and one long/hard run (orange) per month.  You recover quicker from riding than running, so I think this makes sense.



When you add in a hard swim session on Wednesday, my "basic week" looks like this:

"Basic Week"
 

So there you have it.  A new basic structure.  Not a lot different from what I do now, but enough that I think it's an improvement.  

In my next post, I'm going to take this one step further. 
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