The last 3 weeks have seen some solid work put down since my last recovery week.
Now I'm not talking massive hours, but more quality work and hard work with consistency.
I've put in 7 weeks with my new coach and am really seeing the benefits.
Primarily regarding overall consistency, but also specifically in timing of workouts and hard vs intensive vs recovery being what feels at a perfect balance and timed well.
This week had a bit more run volume at just under 60k and it was nice to complete as planned.
When I think back to 12 months ago, or even 6 months ago the difference in overall fitness and specific training is substantial. Will this be enough to see me improve enough to reach my goals, we shall see. Current indications are positive so I'm hoping to continue this trend and more.
I rented a CompuTrainer for 3 months with a view to purchase.
I knew I wanted to move into training with power this year, and figured I'd probably wait for the Garmin Vector but try the CompuTrainer in the mean time to see how I got on and if it was worth the cost.
I won't go into too much detail but add that the unit is a bit of a fixed item or nothing. Not so much a problem I had it plugged into spare room, with cables feeding under mat up to handlebar controller and also up to laptop. Laptop hooked up to tv then for nice viewing when on long sessions or power sessions.
There is many options, such as just set power to xxx watts via controller and ride = unit auto adjusts so you have to push those watts or get off basically. Not a bad way to do it for time conscious sessions, saves messing setting up rides or hooking up to laptop etc.
Overall I enjoyed the CompuTrainer, but not enough to warrant the cost for me. The graphics are extremely dated which gets old fast, it's nice seeing watts on screen but same as looking at Garmin etc so no big deal there. Real Course Video's can be a benefit to many - I didn't try this myself as couldn't get it to work and just hopped on to do session instead of wasting more time!
So whilst I was slightly underwhelmed, I did enjoy using power and found it a new level for work effort and accuracy and knew I wanted to continue with this. But not with the Computrainer as for me it had limitations of:
- needing to be plugged in (can't be used for brick sessions at track for example)
- very dated graphics get old fast
- warm up time to get tyre warm before calibrating each ride (I found differences up to 10 mins in some cases so as a rule warmed up for 10 mins each time before starting power workout)
- Cables all over the place - not competing with alternative products
- Dated hand controller compared to competition takes from experience
So the above, combined with my other experiences of training with power led me to rule out the CompuTrainer for me. If anyone wants a thorough and proper review of the CompuTrainer I recommend you take a jump over to dcrainmaker who has very detailed reviews of many things triathlon related.
So, what other options are there?
Now the trainer road is a piece of software on your laptop/computer and you plug in your Garmin USB stick and work away from there. It displays estimated power then based on cadence, speed and resistance setting on turbo - only works with some turbo's that they have calibrated and tested.
I already own a Minoura Turbo Trainer which is nice and quiet - I live in an apartment so am conscious to keep noise levels to a minimal where possible. I like this trainer, it has 5 levels of resistance and the legs fold down for storage. I had trialled using Trainerroad which is an online power estimator which works by taking your cadence and speed from Garmin sensors where fitted and you telling it what setting of resistance your turbo is on. Seems Kurt Kinetic Trainers are most recommended but there was a Minoura one so I gave it a shot.
I did a few of the workouts and power seemed reasonably accurate, I did a CP20 test and came in around the 250 mark which was in line. I did one shortly after on the CompuTrainer and again similar figures so considering the cost difference I was very impressed.
This is only growing and for such a low cost it's highly recommended if you have a compatible turbo trainer.
Lemond Watt Trainer
I've started to use these through attending Base2Race's Power Classes whereby you bring your bike and get a coached power class for in the region of 90 minutes or so.
Aside from the coached power classes being brilliant and very beneficial, the trainer itself is a smart piece of gear. Completely wireless, neat digital display controller and a very realistic "feel" to the actual turbo is very realistic to riding on the road.
Other options would be Powertap wheel hub system, a crank based system or wait for the pending pedal based systems.
Runners - Saucony Kinvara 2's
I've used these for 7 weeks now and can report they are very very good.
A nice light runner, sufficient enough for training and racing in my opinion and I'm using it for long runs, hill runs, mountain runs and fast runs.
No notable wear after approx 175km each or so - and I like them so much I bought a second pair so I rotate using 1 with another to prolong cushion support and lifetime.
I hope to use these for an upcoming run or duathlon race so I'll see how they get on with elastic laces and race in them.
I highly recommend using these if you're a neutral runner and they suit your gait - get a proper gait analysis done when buying - again I go to Base 2 Race where Kevin or Colin have a proper set up for Amphibian King in there and do an excellent job.
There's a decent chance I may use these for racing triathlons this season. I have a pair of Zoot Ultra TT 4.0's tucked away waiting but I'm liking the Kinvara 2's so much I am undecided.
Will decide closer to race season after testing a few transitions and sockless runs to see how the Kinvara's match up.
Power meters - so I've become a bit consumed researching and looking into power options lately.
From getting a Powertap hub and building into existing 808, to getting a new rear wheel with it built in, to getting a crank system etc.
I've come to the same conclusion I had before which is wait for the Garmin Vector to see how it measures up. I'm not in any panic - I'm training with Power for 1 key Bike a week and that's working out well. I won't need a power meter to race with as will be going off rate of perceived exertion so whilst it'd be nice to have for analysis etc, I will wait for the vector to see if it delivers as promised.
Races - I've all but 1 of my races entered so main triathlons locked in.
I've done some research on the National Series and whilst I'm not being strategic with the best points races (they don't suit my plan), I am trying to keep a gap where possible and try ensure each race has a good performance.
There is maybe 2 races with the most NS points that I'm not in - Hook or by Crook Sprint and Dublin City Triathlon Olympic. These have yielded very good points historically but as I'm in for Valentia and Athy that kinda rules out Hook or by Crook if I want to have a good Athy, and similarly Galway 70.3 being a week after Dublin City is not ideal for me.
I'm no Matt Molloy who did very well last year winning DCT and following up with a very strong Galway 70.3. He's a bit more experience and training under his belt so that can wait!
Focus - so I'm growing in confidence with each week passing. I feel fitter and stronger, am being consistent in training and seeing progress and improvements.
Only time will tell by how much, but it's looking good and hopefully I can continue this upward trend in performance gains. No real tests recently to note and have tracked, but overall exertions or intensity sessions have been done at lower RPE or HR etc and increased fitness is definitely there.
7 weeks now until Race 1 - Joey Hannan Olympic Triathlon. I can't wait, not just to get back racing but also the anticipation to compare my progress and improvements and see how I do.
There's a couple guys I know entered so I'm keen to see how I get on against them compared to last year. Valentia will be just 2 weeks after that so it will be manic race season in no time!
I do hope to tick off a run or duathlon before then to blow off some cobwebs which may give an indication of performance gains also.
Finally, yes F1 season is back with a bang!
Australia is on this coming weekend and I'll be up at silly o clock to watch the live build up and coverage. Sky F1 HD should help this experience and I'm looking forward to it.
I'm a McLaren fan so testing has been pretty good compared to last year so I'm hopeful of a strong race. I'm tipping 2 McLaren's on the podium in Australia! :)
In related news, Jenson Button F1 driver and Triathlete ran a 10km in 35:30 today. Pretty solid performance. There's a time to aim for!
I did finish the week by ordering some online goodies so next week will have some pictures and show off some new race parts!
Final thought. Consistency, Consistency & some more Consistency. Oh, and patience...!