My HIM Training – An Update
I was ill last week after my first visit to sit at a table inside a restaurant since pre-Covid times (Pret a Manger, Putney). I’ve had both my Covid jabs with no adverse reactions but got a mild case of Pret-Pneumonia, aka a cold, very soon after an otherwise tasty sandwich lunch. Normally an illness and a few days away from training in the late build stage of training is a cause for angst and worry but I was surprisingly sanguine about it all as a) I was really, really, really tired in any case and b) a mild illness is not three weeks of training lost due to injury – it could have been MUCH worse.
Training Build Up
My accumulated (chronic) training load got to a record high for me, even higher than when I was doing IM training 3 years ago. This was as measured by CTL/TRIMP for all 3 triathlon disciplines combined and also my simple weekly training hours were popping out above 20 if I managed to bag an especially long Sunday rides…ouch.
Here is the ramping up of the load. It’s OK, but…
The chart shows a higher load than at the peak of my IMUK 2017 training where I suffered from a run injury in the preparation (March 2017) and compensated for with lots of bike training.
My current running load is actually fairly good for me and its current level ties in with the same level where I got an age-graded 5k PB from Jan 2019, which is promising as I am too tired right now to feel fast. I have even ramped the run miles up more gently and sensibly than in previous years, maybe that is my new secret to avoid injury?
You can see my swim training is woefully insufficient. Although if I were to swim 3 hours a week more, my HIM race-day swim might only fall by a minute so I’m not sure it’s worth it all the extra fatigue to try to improve my worst discipline (counter-intuitive but sensible if I think it through).
You can also see the recent tailing off of my bike load due to tiredness and lack of motivation. Couple my over-training with last week’s illness and the green readiness-to-perform (TSB) becomes uselessly positive at the wrong time. Grrrr.
How I felt.
Towards the point where I became ill last week, I felt & experienced this
- unmotivated to train (unlike me)
- always tired
- heavy legs
- typical training performances down…say 10% less power over an hour.
- significant night sweats (at least that’s what I hope it was!)
Those are always definite signs to slow down but I was deliberately focussing on my readiness-to-train HRV from HRV4Training, trying to eke out every last hour of beneficial training. To ensure the HRVT data was correct, I’d moved up to 2-minute readings which increase the likelihood of accuracy and also produce valid LF/HF HRV data.
The chart for rMSSD, below, is clear in showing what is happening but suggested that if I kept going I just might have a couple of more days training in me before I broke through the lower boundary and started to get ‘Do Not Train’ warning from the app. In hindsight, the resting HR broke through the ‘danger level’ a few days earlier than the rMSSD would have and that point in time was when I should have eased off.
I think the rMSSD chart (above) is interesting; it very, very clearly shows me progressively knackering myself. It’s one thing seeing training load ramping up but it’s another thing to see the effect on your body pummelling your physiology downwards.
The HRrest chart is less obvious in explaining what was going on but I reckon where the HRrest broke through the upper bound was actually a good marker of the point where I should have eased off.
In conjunction with HRV4Training data, I’ve also been looking at readiness-to-train using Training Today on my Apple Watch 6 – review – and whilst that set of data generally looked OK, it was, in fact, simply wrong at several key points (sorry Ian/Apple!). The Apple Watch produces two essentially randomly timed HRV readings in the night plus others during the day augmented by any you manually take. I’d also been using a well-known sleep ring and that was giving pretty good readiness data based on its overnight HRV averages.
Here are some different data, this time from my Lumen – review – fat/carb tool. When I first started using Lumen before Christmas I wasn’t training as hard as now. I was still doing over 10 hours a week from memory with some long rides but I just wasn’t able to get fat-burning readings of 1 or 2 (high fat-burning state) without also controlling my diet. However, at the time, I was able to show myself that I could get low readings if I did reduce my carbs, fast longer overnight and just not eat so late in the evening.
The more recent charts from May reflect a time when I’m absolutely making zero effort to eat a Keto-style diet, however, I’m just training shed-loads of hours and that in itself is enough to put my body in a relatively good fat-adapted(ish) state. Perhaps you might expect that? Maybe. But you’d never know without something like Lumen or from taking blood readings with keto strips. Lumen is easier!
Well. I thought it was interesting!
Here are my latest thoughts on my race-day gadgets for my A and B race.
Performance Stuff For Race Day
With my B Race (HIM) coming up soon, I’m already testing out my performance stuff and gadgets.
TT – Bike – Cervelo P5six, I’ve still not had a proper bike fit and it’s been an absolute nightmare getting the cockpit height and hydraulic brakes sorted out (the bike looks cool but I wouldn’t recommend it for regular use). Now the work is done and the bike feels usable, comfortable-enough and fast. The bars/seat are not quite right in a fore-aft sense but they are more than fine for an HIM. If the weather is awful I’ll switch to my Cervelo R5 which is obviously super-light and great for the hills but just not as aero, it must be literally a couple of Kg lighter in total but maybe 5% slower.
Power Meter – I’ll be using an old P2Max spider. It seems consistent enough, it’s not even dual-sided and doesn’t seem to be adversely affected by my Rotor QRings. I even have some carbon QRings (yep!) but I’m not sure I can be bothered to swap those on and the metal teeth are a bit worn in any case. The chain does come off occasionally because of the QRings but only when I shift the front and rear exactly at the same time and then the chain gets caught between the inner ring and the frame and is relatively hard to dislodge; if I’m careful and use semi-sync gear changing all seems good.
Gearing – My gearing is wrong. I need a larger big cog for the rear wheel but I can’t simply buy a new cassette as it won’t fit without getting a longer cage Di2 rear derailleur…nightmare. Actually, it’ll be alright for my B race, but maybe not for the hills on my A race. I’ve also gone for shorter cranks which is MUCH comfier to ride but which I think makes the gearing LESS spinny…ie not what I want. It is what it is. ie I am worried about this.
Wheels – I’m all sorted with Mavic CXR wheels. I might end up borrowing a mate’s Zip disc if it’s not windy and might end up using my Mavic SLRs if it is windy. Either way, I’m covered. I find the P5 combined with the CXR deep rim wheels not so great in the wind. On my previous TT bike, I quite happily would go out in winds stronger than 15mph but I don’t think I’d do that on the P5 as it presents quite a big side profile that makes it more sail-like and I’ve already had a few hairy moments being blown a metre or so across the road by a side wind.
Tyres – I don’t like the Mavic rear tyre but it’s a tub, so I can’t really change that one. I might use a matching clincher tyre on the front as they are supposedly more aero when used with the wheels. Most likely I’ll stick a Conti GP5000 on the front or something ‘special’ from Pirelli and I’d probably stick one of my Tubolito/Schwalbe Aerothan/Pirelli P-Zero SmarTube inners in the front…just because I can…although then I’ll have to use a valve extender which is a PITA. the problem with the GP5000 on this front wheel is that it whistles!! Which gets annoying after a while.
Shimano Di2 – I have Di2 shifters on my bar ends and Di2 sprint shifters by the brakes, the latter being handy when braking/manoeuvring. I love Di2.
Hydration/fuel – I’ve got 2 extra bottles on a cage behind the seat and a bento box on the top tube. That should be enough. I’ll be hydrating poorly to avoid a loo stop and mixing gels and solids. It’s a strategy…just not a very good one. Don’t copy this at home folks!
I’ll be using my Nike ZoomX VaporFly Next% 2 shoes for the run in my B race. Maybe the A too, we’ll see. My 2.5 hour run today on my Rincons was slower than I had planned, let’s hope the Nikes give me some free speed as on today’s performance I need it.
Other Race-day Gear
- Garmin Forerunner 935 – review – (yep) – it works. I binned my third 945 (buttongate) a while back and the Enduro didn’t work either, so that went back. Otherwise, the plan was the Garmin Enduro or Wahoo Rival – Review (Stryd pace is needed for me)
- Wahoo Bolt 2 – review – ditto providing the sensor bugs from launch are sorted out which they seem to be.
- Garmin HRM-PRO – review -, interestingly had a recent beta firmware update which didn’t do anything aka it DOES do something that Garmin is hiding from us 😉
- I’ve got an old aero TT helmet (Giro Advantage, I think)
- Stryd – review – obviously. It’s kinda useful to know how fast you are running I find. If anyone has ANY other suggestions on how to get accurate GPS-instant pace please let me know below and I promise I will be nice to you (I won’t 😉 )
- I’ll use my Shimano TR 901 – review – shoes because they are awesome and my knees don’t hurt when I use them (which is all the time).
- I might wear some ankle socks as I’m not as hard as some triathletes seem to be and Compressport calf guards can’t hurt.
- I think ALE is sending me some tri-suits to review so I might use one of those, otherwise, I’ll revert back to a club tri suit. I’ve decided an Age Group GB tri suit is just asking for trouble! Plus mine has no pockets on the back.
An honourable tech mention: Apart from sensible run training I have used my PowerDot – review – a lot. Effectively this is giving me a regular massage and I would say I’m reasonably sure this has been instrumental in helping me avoid injury. #Recommended but expensive.
I’m generally better at shorter distance duathlon when I train for it and less so triathlon as my swimming is very average. Duathlons/triathlons that involve a 5K used to be good for me, funnily enough (hence the5krunner.com!). Over the last 5 years, I just get injured too much when running fast so I’ve been targeting HIM distances more. My background is definitely NOT HM/Marathon distances so I am somewhat physiologically disadvantaged there from a lack of distance training over the years. I’m trying to get a National age-group medal and should be able to be top-5/top-10 but I can’t really compete with the properly good guys who usually get the medals. So my imagined glories are usually defined by other people not turning up rather than me eking out a few extra seconds by the judicious use of some kind of novel tech toy. If I can’t get a medal this year I’m going to change nationality to Luxembourgish and start doing Aquathlons or AquaBike…basically, something where no one else will be there to beat me.