Editor’s note: Ian Murray is using Zwift to train for the International Triathlon Union Long Course World Championships held in Odense/Fyn, Denmark July 2018. His weekly Zwift Insider series discusses the previous week’s training and the plan for the upcoming week.
With eight weeks left before the race and two weeks before I move back to the US, I just don’t have a lot of time left to pack in the hard work. Lately it seems like I have even less than I could have imagined. I will admit that I wasn’t really sure about racing ITU Worlds this year due to the move, but I had a number of friends who qualified with me, so it was an opportunity that I could not pass up. However, the difficulties of the timing are adding up, and there is still work to be done.
30K Practice On “The Course”
With about 8 weeks to go, I wanted to get some practice on the simulated course on my treadmill. The goal was to run 30K in about 2 hours 20 minutes. It’s not a particularly fast pace for me, but I planned to do it on more or less no food to start, feeding as I go to simulate how I might feel during the actual race. We’ll get to that though.
Like the previous week, work did not let up. Well, it’s not just work. It’s actually work, beginning the packing, and looking for a place all at the same time, while trying to maintain some hard training. Against my own better judgement, sleep is the one thing that has suffered. Unfortunately, as sleep falls away, so does quality training. Actually, it is the recovery that falls away, which leads to lower quality training.
This week has been another one of those mixed bag weeks. After a crappy ride on Monday, I had an awesome swim on Tuesday. Wednesday followed up with a physical fitness test, and I crushed that. I completed 82 push-ups and 82 sit-ups well within the 2 minute time limit for each event, getting maximum points for each. We then headed over to the 2-mile run course, where I wanted to test the legs and test out my pacing using my Stryd power meter instead of perceived effort or min/mile. I had a simple plan, go out the first 100 meters or so at 320 Watts and then settle into 280-285W by the 400m mark. The plan held pretty good for most of the first mile. Then I came across the chatters and the contratransitos. You know who the contratransito people are. They are the ones who walk on the wrong side the path/road. They also strategically place themselves so they take up as much space as possible but not giving you enough to squeeze through and get by. Anyway, I had to do some weaving in and out of the contratransitos, causing me to drop power a little bit. But, other than costing me a second or two, it wasn’t too bad. At the 1-mile mark, I made the turn and headed back to the start/finish point. Although there are no significant hills, the course does have a slight roll to it. That led to small variations in my power, as I transitioned from uphill to downhill, but I held fairly close to my goal power. With about 400 meters left, I picked up the pace to the mid-290W range to finish off the test, crossing in 10 minutes and 45 seconds.
Of course, the next two days were crap after that. A trash fire at the dump by the swimming pool made the air nearly unbreathable, so I cut the swim short. I had a below average swim on Friday morning and ended the day by sitting in the mechanic’s office, waiting for them to finish fixing my car. By the time Saturday came around I was under-rested, and I am sure the bottle of wine that my wife and I killed on Friday night didn’t really help any.
Saturday morning came early, and I got to work on the treadmill after my obligatory coffee. I fired up Zwift, connected my Stryd pod, and pulled up the pre-programmed course in the treadmill. Now, the actual course is only 7.5K per lap, so I would have to repeat it four times. How’s that for making a monotonous treadmill even more so? With legs that felt a bit heavy, I decided to take advantage of some warm-up time. After about 15 minutes, I picked the pace up from my nice and easy 195-200W (roughly 7:30/mile) to 225W (roughly 6:40-7:00/mile). That was still pretty comfortable; however, my treadmill has a safety setting on it that I hate. Anytime the gradient goes into a decline, it slows down. Below 0 drops it automatically to 9.0 MPH. Below 1 percent, it goes to 8.5 MPH. Below 2 percent, it goes to 8.0 MPH. It actually caps the speed at that, so I can’t even override it. It does not do the same thing with inclines. No, that just punishes me. Since this course has a lot of ups and downs as it goes through town, I was constantly being slowed and then having to pick the pace up. I did not feel like I could get in a rhythm. At the 17.5-mile mark, I started my cool down, finishing up right at 18.6 miles. I’ll be honest. It was not my best day. I have done better many times before. But, given all of the things going on right now, I’ll take it. Besides, I basically just did the race distance with a feeling in my legs similar to how they will feel on race day… on a treadmill.
Planned TSS – 862; Completed TSS – 724
The Last Week of Work
After a mediocre week that was below targeted TSS, I want to bring it up a notch and not ease off for the recovery week so much. If I can’t hit everything, that’s ok. I just need to make sure I get some good quality work in during the week. Oh, we also have to pack up the house, and I have to close out everything at work. I don’t see this being stressful at all. Easy week.
Planned TSS – 733
Well, we’re getting to crunch time. I feel like I am behind on pretty much everything. I’m not stressing it too much, though. In two weeks, I’ll be moving, and things will settle down. Ok, who am I kidding? They absolutely will not settle down until I return from ITU Worlds. That’s what makes this train-up interesting. Speaking of, I need to start separating stuff for the move.
Unless you want to come help me pack, have fun training. Until then, Ride On!