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.


Finally back in the DC area, it was time to get in a little more training and a little more settled in to the new place.  Oh, I also had to find new running and biking routes and a place to swim.  So, yeah, it’s been another challenging week, but my legs are starting to come around after two big weeks of running.

Regaining My Fish Gills

After five weeks of upheaval and limited pool time, I really needed to get back in the water.  Of the three disciplines, it is my worst by far.  Fortunately, I finally had access to a pool with regular hours.  Monday morning, I set out on a short run, but I just had nothing.  My feet hurt from my shoes being completely worn out and two weeks of higher-than-normal mileage.  I chalked it up to fatigue and the crappy shoes an headed out to the pool later in the afternoon after stopping in at work for a few minutes.  I’m not sure if people are aware of this, but it is way hotter in the Washington, DC, area than in Quebec, Canada, in late June.  I had to cut my swim a bit short because I started getting a bit sunburned.  I actually felt pretty good during the swim, but my shoulders and back let me know that it was time to stop.

On Tuesday, our first shipment from the Dominican Republic arrived, so I had to wait until later in the day to get in my first ride in two weeks. I had gotten some advice about going up and down one of the roads near my house, having been told that “it wasn’t too busy.”  Yeah, that was not true.  Well, it was partially true.  There was not a ton of traffic, but there were a bunch of traffic lights.  I ended up getting onto one of the many trails in the area after the second lap of the road.  I wasn’t able to hold the efforts for the prescribed time due to traffic on the trail, but I did knock the rust off and had some pretty hard but short efforts.  Wednesday was another busy day, as I had to take a French proficiency test to prove that I actually learned something in Quebec.  Apparently, treating immersion training like your personal vacation is frowned upon by work, so the pressure was on for some good results.  I led off the morning with a quick pool workout, doing the 2700-yard Pace to Fatigue workout.  Basically, that workout entails turning 200s on a five to ten seconds per 100 faster pace than what I plan to hold during the race on 25 seconds rest.  Surprisingly, I did not fatigue, and I made it through the workout, hitting all of the times right on.  After a quick shower and breakfast in the car, I rolled over to the testing center to take the test.  I sat down with the goal of finishing it in about five hours and at least hitting the same score as I had two years ago.  Boom! I passed the audio comprehension portion and scored a maximum on level on reading comprehension. 

Thursday morning was another swim followed by a good bit of administrative stuff at work.  Unfortunately, I arrived at the pool about five minutes later than the previous morning, and all of the lanes were full.  I had to wait around for a little bit, so my swim got cut short after finally getting in the water.  I knocked out a quick 2000 yards and went through the same routine as the day before, scarfing down eggs in the car and grabbing a so-so coffee from the shop by the pool.  My paperwork only took a few hours, so I rushed home for a rendezvous with my bike and a trip towards Mt. Vernon on the trail for the workout.  I nearly killed a few tourists on the Mt. Vernon trail, as they didn’t really get the concept of staying to the right when going around corners.  Fortunately, there were no accidents, and I didn’t need to beat someone to death for crashing my bike, as it is the only one I have in my possession right now.  It wasn’t a great workout, as the trail is not the best for doing VO2 intervals, but I got a little more distance in than on the previous ride.  Friday morning, the wife and I headed back over to the pool, where I got back to business.  I love the 3 x 1K workout.  It is mentally tough and can be physically draining if you don’t pace it correctly.  Sure, this one was in SCY and not SCM like I had been doing in Santo Domingo, but it worked.  The previous days in the pool paid off.  I did the first 1000 in 15:26 and the second in 14:59.  At that point, I decided to up the ante and do a set of 10 x 100 to round out the 3 x 1000.  I managed to hit all of the 100s in under 1:25 on 15 seconds rest.  I wasn’t hammering to hit those times, so I was pretty stoked.  By that afternoon, the new shoes had arrived, so I set out for a quick 8-mile run…in the heat.  I really need to remember that DC is way hotter than Quebec.  I was completely cooked when I got home.  Sooooo hot.  It was time to get hydrated and ready for the next day’s long ride.

On Saturday, I planned to ride 120K.  I didn’t plan on going hard.  I just wanted some time in the saddle, and I wanted to work on my nutrition a little bit.  I didn’t get out the door until a little after 8 AM, and I started sweating immediately.  Holy cow!  By the time I hit the 37.5-mile point to turn around, I already had gone through three bottles of water.  At mile 41, I stopped at a cool BBQ joint called Carolina’s BBQ right on the W&OD trail outside of Reston, VA, and filled up my water, trying to cool down a little bit.  The remaining 35 miles was an exercise in heat management.  It was not all that bad when I was moving at speed.  However, the closer I got to Alexandria, the more stoplights I encountered, all of them being red.  The constant stopping and starting, along with being roasted by the sun, took its toll.  I ended up stopping for water one more time with about 13 miles to go, dumping a couple of bottles over my head for some minimal relief.  Right about that time, I noticed that I was getting a bit hungry and scarfed down my last gel.  That satiated me for all of about 15 minutes.  With 2 miles to go, I was totally bonked.  Looking back on it (aka examining my pee color afterward), I think I was more dehydrated than hungry.  I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, though, so it was probably a combination of the two converging factors.  Anyway, I made it home safely, and headed straight to the shower to cool off.  I spent the rest of the day on the couch, relaxing in my Air Relax boots and watching movies with the wife.  We caught a great one, actually.  Now, I’m not one to watch artsy films, but the one we watched on Saturday night was a great exception.  I highly recommend CHiPs if you haven’t seen it.  We laughed quite a lot.  Wait, that’s not an art film?

Overall, it was a good week.  It started out a bit rough, but the body has really started to come around.  Next week begins the taper period, so training is done.  Now it is about maintaining my sanity.

Planned TSS – 712; Completed TSS – 667

On the Road Again, Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again

Next week is taper week and the start of our travels to Denmark.  Like this week, it will be a heavy bike and swim focus before packing up and heading to Tampa for a couple of days.  Over that weekend, I plan on getting in a couple runs before getting on the plane to head across the pond.

Planned TSS – 584

It’s been a long journey together, and we’re just about to wrap it up.  I plan to get up some posts from Denmark up more frequently than only at the end of the week.  It looks like I will receive the shipment with my Zwift setup after I return, so I’ll be back rolling around Watopia with you in August.  Until then, I’ll keep sharing the experience from the road.  That’s all for now.  Ride On!