week in review: Olympic Distance Training, Week 2

This second week of Oly training also turned out to be my biggest week ever, volume wise.  I guess that means most weeks will have that distinction, as I move towards race day.  I bumped up my swim workouts to 2500 yards, put in some good hard workouts on the trainer, and did my very first LT field test.  Let’s dig in, shall we?

My totals:

Swim - 2:58:48, 7000 yards

Bike - 3:28:26, 51.67 miles

Run - 1:55:53, 9.18 miles

My time at the REC this week was marked by some fun decorations in preparation for the All Night Graduation Party

My time at the REC this week was marked by some fun decorations in preparation for the All Night Graduation Party


  • Swim - 1:01:46, 2500 yards
    • 500 warm up
    • 5x100 (kick, swim, thumb drag drill, swim by 25) :15-:25
    • 3x100 pull @2:00 (negative split 50s)
    • 6x50 @60 pull strong
    • 4x100 swim @2:00 descend
    • 4x50 @1:05 (3/5 breathe by 25)
    • 4x25 @60 shooters (streamline and kick, then easy)
    • 200 cool down

This was my first swim of 2500 yards, AND my first swim of over an hour. Milestones: I'm checking them off! This workout was challenging, as it also marked the first time I had a series of sets where I left at a particular time, rather than specifically counting out my rest. By the time I was getting to the last sets of 100s, I was getting barely 5 seconds of rest.

I did get my negative splits on the 100 pulls, but didn't have success in descending my 100 swims. Guess I need to file this workout away to try again sometime!

  • Trainer Ride - 50:02, 20/40 Sprint Workout
    • 10 min warm up
    • 3x (5x 20 sec all out, 40 sec rec) + 5 min easy pedaling
    • 10 min cool down

These sprints started out deceptively easy, but the longer I went, the harder it got. Not as big of a sweatfest as last week’s LT or Aerobic Intervals, but still working hard all the same.


  • Run - 29:45, 2.13 miles

72 and quite humid. I thought it was going to slay cloudy, so I didn't bring my sunglasses, and then of course the sun started peeking out. This was a Zone 2 fail, as I accidentally had my watch set to buzz at the top of Zone 3.  Whoops!

  • Functional Strength - 48 minutes
    • 1/4 mile walk warm up
    • ankle/foot routine
    • pedestal 1
    • myrtls
    • 1/4 mile walk cool down

By the time I got to the end of the ankle/foot routine, I was really feeling it. My balance needs some work.


  • Swim - 1:03:46, 2500 yards
    • 400 warm up, kick every 4th 25
    • 8x50 :30 (drill/swim by 25)
    • 4x25 :20
    • 4x50 :30
    • 4x100 :45
    • 4x50 :30
    • 4x25 :20
    • 6x75 pull @1:30
    • 1x150 (100 ALL OUT, 50 EZ)
    • 100 cool down

New suit today, new goggles, and a very tired me. The suit is a new TYR polyester grab bag, and I lucked into some decent looking red flames. For goggles I splurged and got some ROKA R1s. The visibility is incredible, and once I’ve put them through their paces I do a full review.

For drills I did half catch up and half fist. Right around the 75 pull sets is when my shoulders started to complain, and I was losing my form trying to get enough rest on 1:30. I switched it to 1:35 to avoid practicing a sloppy stroke. As for 100 all out, right at the end of the workout....no. That did not happen. Is anyone surprised?

This started out feeling kind of easy, then by the last set I was really cooking. Tough, but I would enjoy doing this workout again. I’m not switching to velodrome or anything, but Katie Archibald knows her stuff!


  • Run - 38:06, 2.63 miles

Quite steady rain for this Z2 run.  I walked my HR back down to the bottom of the zone when it buzzed too high. My right hip started feeling a little bit cranky towards the end, but nothing bad. This was super slow and sopping wet, but still felt like a good run.

  • Functional Strength - 49 minutes
    • 1/4 mile walk warm up
    • ankle/foot routine
    • pedestal 1
    • myrtls
    • 1/4 mile walk cool down

My balance is awful, no wonder I fall down all the time. Not so much violent shaking in the side planks, so some progress there.

Friday (Active Recovery Day)

  • Swim - 53:16, 2000 yards
    • 300 warm up
    • 4x75 :30 (kick, drill, swim by 25)
    • 6x50 : descend 1-3, 4-6
    • 200 pull :20
    • 150 build :30
    • 100 fast :60
    • 50 sprint
    • 100 recovery
    • 400 (kick, swim by 50)
    • 100 cool down

I forgot my bottle of nuun on the counter when I left the house, so I did this swim, showered, and drove to the office before I could have anything to drink. Do not recommend!

I had a bit of leaking from my goggles.  I was fussing and adjusting my straps a bit, so hopefully once I get the fit dialed in, I'll be okay. It is mostly when I push off the wall. My swim cap also kept coming off for no particular reason. Such a comedy of errors. At least it was a recovery swim.

  • Foam Rolling

Full body, with lots of attention on my calves and thighs. I'm happy to say that it didn't hurt as bad as last week. I need to keep this habit up!


  • Run - 48:02, 4.42 miles

This was the day of my very first LT field test.  I have a whole separate post on it, since it felt like such a big milestone for me.  TL;DR - I think I paced pretty well, I didn’t puke, my LT came in at 183, and I have my zones set.  Success!


Looking a bit gritty and urban here.  Such a big change in so few miles!

Looking a bit gritty and urban here.  Such a big change in so few miles!

  • Bike - 1:38:22, 18.65 miles, 822 ft gain
    • Highlights: A planned easy ride, I decided to investigate Custis trail, since I heard it had fewer at-grade crossings.  Turns out it has a lot more climbing, and I wound up working harder than I meant to.  I had to walk my bike a couple times, muscled up some unexpected inclines, experienced panic at my first steep S-curve descent, dropped my chain twice (user error?!) and struggled with sun glare until I hit the turnaround.  I also managed to get up more hills than I thought, didn’t crash, got my chain back on quickly, and still was having tons of fun.  I will conquer my fears!
    • Nutrition: What with the climbing and sun blind descents, I didn't really get to practice drinking the way I wanted. Maybe once or twice? I did get down most of a bottle of Skratch lemons & limes (yummy and not too sweet) and a strawberry cereal bar (generic brand Nutrigrain) when I paused at the turnaround. (48g carbs)
    • Health: A teeny bit of back pain and some slight undercarriage soreness, but no chafing or broken skin this week.  

I am quite pleased with how this week went.  There was a lot of new stuff going on: new suit, new goggles, LT test, Custis trail, but I was enjoying it.  I’m usually a person who gets anxious at the thought of new things, but I spent this entire week really looking forward to each new thing I had on my plate.  Beyond the fact that this was a good week with nice volume, I’m most happy with the growth I’m seeing within myself.


In the Zone – adventures in heart rate training

This week I’m embarking on a something new with my run training.  Spurred on by Stacey’s training recap, wherein she talks about MAF training, I started to do a bit of thinking.  After looking back at my Reston race report, I know my aerobic engine needs some work if I want to enjoy the run leg.  The final decision was made after accepting my deep desire to do everything within my power to avoid feeling exhausted as DC’s notorious humid summer sets in.  I’m taking the plunge into heart rate training.  Zone 2, here I come!

This is the data from my Tuesday run.  You can see from the cadence and pace where I walked to bring my HR down.

This is the data from my Tuesday run.  You can see from the cadence and pace where I walked to bring my HR down.

The idea behind heart rate training in general is that your heartbeat can be used as a data point to help you improve.  There are so many theories and programs floating around online, it’s enough to make your head spin.    With summer upon us, maybe you’re missing that “homework” feeling of your younger days?  Never fear!  Just try to research heart rate training online and figure out which method is right.  I’ll wait.  No, I won’t, because I’m not that patient.  After some reading, I’ve decided on Zone 2 training.  According to Joe Friel, elite endurance coach, Zone 2 is the easy aerobic zone.  Working predominantly in that zone will give my body the stimulus it needs to adapt and create a more efficient aerobic engine.  Sounds good to me!

There are some caveats.  First, to truly determine the zones, Friel recommends a Lactate Threshold, or LT test.  I’ve been told that these are somewhat painful.  Sometimes puke-inducing.  Come Saturday morning I will be heading over to the high school track and busting out 30 minutes of steady high intensity running.  I need to pace myself evenly over the 30 minutes, but finish knowing I don’t have any more left in me.  Sounds like a great way to start the weekend, no?  My average HR over the last 20 minutes of the test will be my threshold, the number use to determine my zones.  From there, it’s a matter of programming the numbers into my Garmin, and setting it up to buzz at me when my heart rate goes too high.

Second caveat, and the one that people seem to struggle with the most: Zone 2 is slow.  Like, molasses in winter slow.  I’ve read accounts of people who usually head out and run in the 9:00/mile range having to slow down to 11:30 or more to keep their HR in Z2.  Many people seem to give up on Z2 training because they can’t take the blow to their ego, or they find it demoralizing and boring.  As someone who usually trains in the 12:00/mile range, it sounds like I’m going to be slowing way down and doing some walking.  Perhaps an awful lot of walking.  Taking 14+ minutes to cover a mile doesn’t sound particularly riveting, but hey, I’ve never been a speedster.  I plan to keep a positive attitude, and come fall I hope to see some measurable improvement.

So that’s where I’m at.  I want to develop a better aerobic base and eventually run faster.  I’m going to try Z2 running for the next 20 weeks, and see what kind of results come of it once the end of the season rolls around.  I’m pretty sure this weekend’s test is going to be quite painful.  I’m positive that at some point I will want to give up on it.  I’m also more than a bit nervous about what slowing down means as far as getting race ready for an Oly.  My training plan is based on minutes, not miles.  If I’m so slow, will I actually be prepared to race the distance?  After careful consideration, I believe that this is the right course.  I’ve picked a plan, and now it’s time to execute.  That, and always believe in race day magic!