Coaching – Week 57

A week of travel, hotel gym closed, race cancelled and smashing out new records in a Zwift race…

Day 1

A small pyramid to RPE works well today. Not intervals – just an easy 10 minutes to warm up and cool down, with a build up in 3 minute stages with the middle 2 x 3 minutes at harder than threshold…then drop back

Due to the tiredness and load as per instruction I skipped this session for a rest day

Day 2

3 x (3 x 3/1/1) – 5 minutes easy + 3 sets of (3 x 3 min + 1 minute + 1 minute), 3 minutes at threshold,  1 minute hard, 1 minute easy.  I have given the HR stats as a guide but actually you might be terror doing this to perceived exertion as you’ll find the HR hard to hit on the elliptical

The elliptical in this hotel did not measure as much distance as others.  I was using the HR as a gauge and reduced the effort at times when the HR was going up, but I was not a slave to it.

This was tough but good.


Day 3

40 minutes relaxed throughout – Fully conversational and easy Chris. If you feel you need to stop and stretch calf muscles each 10 minutes.

I had originally set the alarm for 6am, woke up and was so tired from the travel the night before I turned the alarm off and stayed in bed for an extra hour, rather than doing the run. This was definitely the right thing to do.

I set out as soon as I got back to work. It was cold and still some snow on the ground. In places this was a total covering on the paths, compacted but totally covered. In other places it was slushy and wet and others clear, so quite a mixed run conditions.

It was also quite a random run in terms of direction, I was just going with where I fancied and running! This did lead to quite a few steps, down, but that was fine.

I was able to run at a conversational pace throughout, even if the heart rate was at the top end of many zone 2. This is with the exception of the hill towards the end. Although the heart rate was up I was actually feeling good going up and had to slow myself down.

The good news was that I did not need to stop, I kept on going and the only pauses were for traffic

Generally I am not feeling loose at the minute, this is not the muscles which are starting to react better to the running again, but more joints. Lower back, ankles not flexing as much as needed, etc. This will improve if I can do more yoga/more running. I genuinely believe that the weak spot on my body is the lower back/pelvic area and with any luck when I can get to see the next physio they will work that out and help with the root cause of the problems.

Although I was running fairly well, one thing I did think was that I am a long way off a 10k good time let alone a half. Going to need to improve a lot in the next few weeks


Day 4

PM: 30 mins w/ 1 min surges – If they have a reasonable static bike in Zurich that would be ideal before the Crit if not then elliptical – 30 minutes largely easy with 1 minute surges between minute 4 and 5 each 5 minutes

Due to time constraints I moved this to Thursday morning, which would have been a similar time gap as if I had done the 2 activities on the same day.  However, getting up at 6, getting kitted up and heading down to the gym was not needed, it was closed!  It was closed for a couple of days and was yesterday as well, so this activity was not going to happen, annoying

Day 5

10/10/10 progression run – For purely off effort here Chris, not pace, 10 minutes easy, 10 steady 10 just touching towards threshold effort…Have a slight paused each 10 minutes to stretch calf muscles.

Luckily I had been working from home so had plenty of time to fit his run in. Despite thinking I should get out at some point during the day I did not get chance, so it was dark by the time I did.

I was focused on the efforts, not the pace. I was hoping to do 130, 140 & 150 ave hearts rather for each of the ten minute blocks and pleasingly I pretty much managed to do that.

The final block actually felt pretty good to be able to stretch the legs out an averaging 4:59 on a lap that had a slight incline felt good.

No problems with the ankle. The legs felt a little stiff but that is more to do with all of the travel and hotels


Day 6

45 minutes w/ 1 minute pick ups – 45 minutes easy on bike – check bike include 5 x 1 minute pick ups with a higher cadence.

Oh my, this was pretty tricky! It was cold and I discovered that there had been no gritting. The main roads were OK, but the back ones were horrible!

Ice, black ice and sheet ice! At one point on a climb I was spinning the wheel with no grip and almost lost it on sheet ice. I am glad I was going up that and not down! It is all good for the bike handling skills!

I had selected a route that I know like the back of my hand, which was good as I knew where the problem points would be.

I kept this pretty easier throughout and upped the power and cadence for the 1 minute segments, most of which were on inclines so nice and easy to do.

Other than that a nice ride out first thing in the morning, despite it being -3! Thankfully I have invested in some new winter gear so was nice and warm


Day 7

Preston Park Race Series 1 – Cat 4 – Criterium Race – CANCELLED

In the absence of being able to do the Criterium race it was time to head back to Zwift for an indoor race.

This was not going to be like a Criterium as it was basically up and down the mountain, but also taking in the mast, which is a brutal end to the climb at 15-17% gradients.  My first race on Zwift since November

The race started off with a glitch, after a minute I noticed that something was wrong with the trainer, I was already in the biggest gear and spinning it up. I stopped briefly and it seemed to reconnect. The problem being I had lost the front end of the race and when you lose them in Zwift you do not get back to them!

So, it was a question of do as much as I can and race hard. I set about catching as many riders and groups as possible on the flat section before the mountain, which I managed to do. I was pushing a really good wattage.

Then it was time for the up. My approach to the mountain is to get in to a rhythm and keep going at a good tempo, ignoring what anyone else is doing. This means losing people at the bottom as they go off hard, then I try gradually catch back up with them as I am holding a consistent power. This worked nicely, definitely overtaking more than being overtaken.

The power was staying nice and high with the average power over 250 through to about the 40 minute mark.

It was then that I was starting to struggle a bit, but I had just done the mountain section in 2 minutes quicker than my previous best (just over 26 minutes). The good news was that it was now time to start to come down, for which I had a tactic.

I had read about the ‘Super Tuck’ position on Zwift and how to get it. If you are doing over 60kph an hour and no power it will get in to the position and it is pretty much as quick as pedalling down. I used this 4 times on the down hill, but then for any rise I hit those hard to get up and over and back in to the position. This meant I could get a bit of a breather, which was needed!

The down side was that the average power reading dropped, but even though I did that I still got an overall average of 230, pretty pleased with it.

I was alone at the end so did not have anyone to sprint against, but pleased to have got to the finish in just under an hour and also getting a new FTP of 240! Although this is only a couple more than before this was good as I was not really trying for it. I could potentially have got a bit higher if I was not in an hour race.

I also got my best ever power outputs at 5, 8, 10, 20 and 30 minute intervals. Some were very marginal improvements, but still improvements. Not my best w/kg though as I am heavier than I was (time to sort that out!)


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4 Week Rolling Durations




Author: The Mr Smith

Photographer, Gourmet, Cook, Oenophile, Traveller, International Athlete, Investor, bit of a Geek and observer of life

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