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Specificity

Posted May 23 2010 7:23pm
Specificity is the principle of training that states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport/event for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect.

Eagleman may be the flattest half iron in the world. I had a choice of riding the hills of Long Island's north shore on Saturday with a group or riding the flats most likely solo. My sage coach responded to my query regarding this choice by reminding me of "specificity." I had 3 hours on the plan so went to Heckscher State Park. Hecksher has a 3.5 or so mile loop that is flat as a pancake with very little vehicle traffic. It can get windy but Hecksher is almost the perfect place to train for Eagleman due to, you guessed it, specificity. I heard somewhere, I forget where, that they best way to train for Eagleman is to go on the trainer, put a french fry lamp over your head to simulate the heat, and put a fan in your face to simulate the wind. I wanted to ride outside so Hecksher was the best option with race day fast approaching.

I put the race wheels on the tri bike to get a feel for them on the road as well. I filled the bottles with some new Infinit nutrition brew that I hadn't tried yet but hope to use in the race. My plan was to ride one lap at a recovery/warm up pace, 3 laps at race pace and do that a total of 3 times. Finish up the 3 hours at a recovery pace.

Last year I rode Eagleman's 56 miles in 3:05. This was at an average power of 192 watts and a speed of 18.1. Even though I haven't trained as much as I would have hoped (this might be the lament of almost any athlete though), I still want to do better this year. BikeMike recommended to attempt the race pace sections at a power of 205-215 watts. Speed is always variable based on wind conditions so I dumbed down the bike computer to only show power, cadence, and heart rate figuring I could download the data afterwards to see what the speed actually was.

I nailed this workout. It has been a long time since I felt this good about a training day. I was high on the power targets, often riding in the 230s. Each loop felt strong and I felt strong until the end. But then, and there always is a then, when I hit the lap button after the last interval, my new Edge500 hung. Dayum.

I pulled over. I hit every button and the computer came back alive so I thought I was good. I had about 30 minutes left so rambled around a bit and finished up with just over 50 miles done in 3:00. This translated into 16.7 mph but included a lot recovery pace time so I figured the race pace sections would be nice.

When I got home, though, the "then" struck again. The data wouldn't download so I couldn't analyze it. The summary data was in the computer but I couldn't get any detail. I tried for a few hours to get the data with no success. I may have hit a known bug with the Garmin software that others seem to have complained about but the data for that ride seems gone forever. Arggggghhhhh.

I followed up the real work day with a recovery ride of 35 miles on Sunday morning, in the hills but at an easy effort. 85 miles for the weekend and a big chunk of that directly relevant for my upcoming race. I hopped in the pool tonight and added some swimming to the mix. My body is now recognizing the tiredness from some real training.

Lots of specificity this weekend. I sure hope trying to fix the bike computer issues isn't part of this training specificity but the rest of the weekend's training absolutely was "relevant and appropriate."
Rock on!


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