Saturday, January 16, 2010

So how's that training going anyway?

With all of these "other" and "reflection" posts some might be led to believe that I'm not "training." While it is true I don't have specific goals in mind for this year, it doesn't mean I'm not active. Hey, it's what I do. Keeps me sane and all that.

If you remember waaaayyy back in October I mentioned that I was going to try a different off-season routine. It was predicated on keeping the number of training sessions up, but duration way down. The focus was on things that I normally don't develop until the build phase. I thought "what if I keep functional strength higher and lactate tolerance up as well?" Well, the expected happened and that is that my durability, loosely defined as the amount of time I can maintain a certain effort at a certain level of exertion, declined. But that was expected and welcome because physiologically I seem to be able to rebuild durability much faster than strength. So here I am in mid-January and now that I've shaken the darn cold, I've been able to string together some workouts and get an idea of where things stand. Amazingly things are about where they should be. Sure durability is down, but with the return of consistent training it seems to be coming back well. Functional strength is up. How do I know? Well last year the data that indicated a tip towards greater functional strength as seen on the bike was as follows: higher max heart rates because there was more muscle available to work. In other words I'm not strength limited, or as strength limited as I was, so I can use a greater percentage of my available heart capacity. I'm seeing that effect running this year. I've hit max heart rates of 170bpm on numerous occasions this month. It was June last year before I even hit 169.

So signs point to a better ability to use what I have. The trick now is to rebuild the durability. Potential is one thing, execution another. Next weekend I plan to repeat the same set of one mile tests that I did last year on the same weekend. I'll be interested to see how they stack up.