Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Controlled Chaos (Experiment Day 26)

I am afraid that my frequent, random, and frequently random posts may have given everyone the impression that I am all over the place in terms of my training...that I'm doing a little of this and a little of that and that I've got no clear plan. In fact, one of my recent posts elicited the following comment...
"Focus on ONE training aspect at a time (building your base,controlling your breathing, finding your racing weight, getting your nutrition right, mastering transition,improving your run or bike or swim, etc.) otherwise you can't be sure which change is having what effect." ~ Train 4 Life
Maybe I am a bit "unfocused", but it's just how I prefer to approach my training. I've got to ease into structure...it has to be something I WANT to do.

You see, I hate having someone tell me what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc. I have barely learned to tolerate Coach James  when he's telling me how to swim LOL! When I read (or tried to read) The Triathletes Training Bible I quickly disengaged from the whole process...I could not fathom trying to spell out exactly what kind of training and racing I was going to do for a FULL freakin' year!!!

Last year was my first year in triathlon.  Any kind of activity that I did that improved my fitness would in turn make me faster. There is no way I would have followed any kind of regimen that first year. Now that I am starting my second year, I am prepared to get a little more focused. Last month I began filling out the annual training plan form from The Triathletes Training Bible, but stopped when it came to actually specifying the type of workout that was going to be done...force? speed? endurance? blah blah blah... Forget about breaking down the annual plan into weekly plans...maybe in year 3.

Ok, back to my lack of focus or as I prefer to think of it...controlled chaos :-)  Here are some of the things I was doing or planned on doing...and where I am in the process...


On Dec. 18, 2013 I posted the following...
"My intention is to do the full 90 days of P90X3 while maintaining my regular triathlon training. I hope to see a marked improvement in my body."
Unfortunately, my resolve only lasted for 3 weeks before the freezing cold weather took a turn for gorgeous and I just had to get outside. The pool at Tokay was also re-opened at the end of the December and that meant I could resume my swimming too.

This is no reflection on P90X3. I really liked the workouts, and I LOVE Tony Horton... I just missed going on group rides and long runs and being outside. I know I need to get some sort of strength training into my routine, but right now, I'm just not feeling it.

My Experiment

This so called experiment was basically to test out the no sugar or grains diet proposed by Vinnie Tortorich in his book, Fitness Confidential. I was interested in finding out if I could eat this way and continue my training... losing weight would be a huge bonus for a couple of reasons 1) Less weight would make training/racing easier 2) I'd look better. 

Recap of the experiment...
  • Weigh myself on Jan 10 to get my starting weight. 
  • Eliminate grains and sugars from my diet whenever possible.
  • Exercise at least 3 times a weeks for a minimum of one hour.
  • DO NOT weigh myself again until Valentines Day.
  • DO NOT count calories.

I am still doing the experiment and other than forcibly being weighed for my VO2 max testing, I have stayed off of the scale. I have adhered to everything else in the experiment. Actually, most of the items on the list above are things I do anyway, so it wasn't a huge lifestyle change. I'll know if it worked in about a week and a half.

Base Training

This is my first step into "big girl" training...of actually having a plan...

The Triathletes Training Bible say there needs to be a period of base training. Since I wasn't entirely sure what needed to be done, I did a little research on the Internet (Don't ask me why I don't just read the book). I was overwhelmed with the amount of data I found stressing the importance of base traininggo slow to go fast! Ok, I'm sold on base training and have a pretty good idea what needs to be done.

For the last two weeks I have been keeping my heart rate in a zone that will increase my aerobic capacity. It took me a while to find the right HR zone, but I think I have found it. If you asked me to tell you if I thought base training was working, I would tell you that I'm running as slow as a snail and losing all my fitness. Luckily, I have a Garmin that tells me the truth. Below is a table showing my HR vs. my average pace. While maintaining my desired HR, I have increased my speed! I can't wait to see my results in a couple more weeks.

The cherry on top of these results is a post from my tri coach today…it was one of the longest posts I have every seen him write. Anyway, he mentions my results (table above) in his post…
"So, where am I going with this? Here is a chart Tracy Pengilly made that shows what she has been doing for the past month. She was discouraged at first but now is showing major improvement!! She will do intervals in 8 weeks for Vineman but will return to her Base after the Race. And when she is Training for an Ironman I will add more interval training time. I could not expaain this any better. Another thing Tracy is running on Cruise control and so she has time to think about efficiency. And she gets faster without ever turning a pedal or running a stride in distress."
Well said coach! I could not put it any better than that…I am not in "distress" when I am running or biking. In fact, when I am training in this HR zone, I have the feeling that I could go on forever. I could have rode for 100 miles last Saturday…although I'm sure that Schlitz and Mojo would have dropped me by then…testosterone doesn't like to go slow!  (Just kidding guys!)

My Point

Yes I may have a unique way of going about my training, but for now, this is how I am going to do it. If it doesn't work out, there is always year 3. If it does work out, I'm writing a book!  LOL