Friday, June 20, 2014

Pulling a Recovery Audible...

Today my plan was to do a 6 hour long ride and brick run.

For the past week or so I've been super sore and walking down stairs or up stairs has been uncomfortable. It reminded me of the feeling I had in 2010 when I did 4 Ironmans. I was always sore and I always pushed through and trained.

It was a mistake as I look back. I was over trained and had I recovered more my performance would have been better. Mind you I did have the race of my life at Lake Placid and did qualify for Kona so I did do something right.

Perhaps I could have done better. At that time I was a machine and felt that missing a training session would hurt my performance. I was wrong. It took me a couple years to figure this out.

I got out the door at 10 am this morning with all the best of intentions to do the ride. I knew my body was tired not just from the soreness, I was retaining water as my muscles were recovering from yesterdays running speed work and crazy weight training session. More importantly my resting heart rate was at 65 bpm. Morning resting heart rate is very important to watch. Your heart rate speaks volumes especially when it should be around 45 bpm or less.

It didn't matter I still decided to get out the door to do the ride. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I couldn't get my heart rate over 100 bpm. Even climbing steep hills that would normally take me to 155 bpm I barely got 125 bpm.

The issue is I have no leg strength. My legs are trashed and if I can't push harder it's hard to get your heart rate up. For me there is no value to training if you can't get your heart rate up to 117 bpm. Otherwise those are just garbage miles and by garbage miles I mean the session has absolutely no value and only does damage.

I had a similar problem about 2 years ago. Instead of pushing through I took 2 or 3 days off of training and when I got back on the bike and on the run I was a new man. I was pushing 27 kph or less average before the rest and then low and behold after the break I was back pushing 30 kph and my heart rate was in the 117 - 138 bpm zone. It was the best thing I did and that was the moment I most realized that recovery is just as important as training. Heck it is part of training. Mark Allen and Luis Vargas used to say if you're not feeling it or feel run down don't train.

Aside from the physical sluggishness mentally I was getting fatigued too. To do a long bike ride you mentally have to be prepared to do it. If you have a positive outlook the ride is very enjoyable. This was also the first time I tried a Friday long ride. I didn't like it. There was an energy in the air that doesn't feel as good as a Saturday bike ride. Perhaps its the guilt of taking a day off work? Or just the relaxation of knowing its a Saturday.

About 1 hour into the ride as I was waffling back and forth whether to keep going or bail I decided I'd bail and the heart rate didn't get higher and there was no doubt it was garbage miles.

Then I thought about the training and for me having to do a long ride every weekend is a high end Ironman training program. It's not really necessary for me to do it as I want to finish and do it with a respectable time. If I did one every 10 days and do 4 before the race I should be fine. Mentally I'll enjoy the training more too.

I feel so fatigued that I dread having to walk up or down stairs or from the sofa 10 feet to the kitchen if I forgot something. That is a sign of needing recovery. It's definitely from going from 0 to 100 mph immediately and doing 42 hrs of training in 20 days and already 2 rounds of biking and running speed work.

After deciding to bail that last 45 minutes it took to get home was tough. To put it in perspective my ride today I averaged only 24 kph. That's insanely slow. 70 year old plus women that do the Ironman ride faster than that. I've done full Ironmans and averaged 33 kph over 112 miles and half Ironman's averaging near 40 kph over 90 miles.

This week I put myself on a 7 day challenge of eating healthy, no snacking and no beer. I lasted 6.5 days. When I got home from my ride I decided beer was on the schedule and I was going to sit and watch the World Cup and make myself some movie style popcorn in my old time popcorn making machine. Salt galore.

I've found that since I've started drinking real beer, not light beer like my old favourite Coors Light that I don't drink nearly as much beer. I tend to sip it and in fact have thrown half or less of my beer away because it gets to warm. So I through it out and then pour myself and nice cold draft beer.

I get a comfortable buzz on but nothing out of control. I never thought I was one of those people that could do that. I'm an all or nothing personality. I'm finding I can. There must be something in the fully leaded beer that satisfies me that I don't get in the light beer. I assume my body is trying to get it and that's why I'd drink so much of the light beer. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. For now.

I'm totally getting into the World Cup. I only watch soccer but once every four years. Only during the world cup. I've pretty much watched near every game since it started. Loving the upsets.

Switching gears there is one thing I'm amazed by and that is the amount of miles Alice walks in a day. She got a fit bit this week and she's averaging like 14,000 steps or about 6 miles a day. She doesn't do long walks outside. Her mileage is all around the house or going to the store and running errands. No wonder she stays in good shape. If I didn't train she'd be smoking me on the walking mileage.

Tonight was post world cup another back yard fire. I think it's our third already this year. It's part of my "this is going to be my best summer ever" theme. There is nothing like smelling the smoke of fire.  It's not legal to do it but we have great neighbours that don't mind it. It's also illegal for me to shoot my pellet gun in the backyard but good neighbours make all possible. Today I even set up some targets I bought. They are medal and I love it when I hear the sound "ting".

Mod Bike - 1:49:29 / 45.12 km

P.S.Looking for all the support I could get as I fundraise for Doctors without Borders. Big our small donations welcome. Support a great cause.


  1. nice ride. I'm more impressed you get up at 7:30 am to do it. wow.