2015/2016 - MACROCYCLE 3 MARATHON CONDITIONING TRAINING (ENDURANCE)

8 FEBRUARY 2016 - 6 MARCH 2016

2015/2016 - MACROCYCLE 3 MARATHON CONDITIONING TRAINING (ENDURANCE)
SWIMMING - 750M PERFORMANCE TEST
As usual to clarify - what is the test? This test has no bigger scientific reasoning. It is simply a test to see where my swimming level is and to see in what time I can complete a 750m swim. I've chosen to do 750m instead of 1500m as most of my races in Denmark are sprint distances with a 750m swim. 
 
Just as with the MAF Test I almost couldn't remember what the test was about. That being said, it wasn't as bad as with the MAF Test. I've done this test twice in Australia. Both were in 50m outdoor pools wearing my Zerod triathlon suit for two reasons. First, so that I could wear a HR monitor and get data from it. Second, so I could better simulate a race. On 13 October 2015 I did the test with my result ever in 10:27 min., which is a pace of 1:24 min/100m. Then I broke my foot a couple of weeks later and lost quite a lot of fitness. Back in the pool five weeks later and then I did a test with my good friend and fellow triathlete, Jye Spriggs, on 3 December 2015 where I swam 11:07 min., which is a pace of 1:29 min/100m. 

With the last two results in mind, the fact that I didn't do any swimming for almost 6 weeks, and I've only had four weeks of good consistent swim training, I was hoping to go under 1:30 min/100m pace, which would result in a time of 11:15 min. But something else happened...

I looked at the swimming clock and it said 1:18 min. after 100m. Oops! That was stupid! Here I was going for getting just under 1:30 min/100m and then I throw a 1:18 min. first 100m. I must be hoping to die in the end or maybe already on the second 100m. But I didn't. I put down the next one on 1:22 min. And from there on it slowly increased with the slowest 100m being on 1:30 min. and the second slowest 100m being on 1:26 min. I must admit that I died a little towards the end, which the splits also show. Additionally, my HR shows the same picture of me slowly dying as it steadily increased until sligthly past the halfway mark where it stagnated at 183bpm. All that summed up gave me a time of 10:30 min., which is only 3 seconds from my PR.

It must be said that I did the test in Birkerød Svømmehal in a 25m pool and to my knowledge that should be a bit faster than 50m pools. So you can add some seconds to the time of 10:30 min. if you want to compare to my 10:27 min. time in a 50m pool on 13 October 2015. Although it doesn't matter much and might not be significant. So I'm pretty much over the moon jumping all around about this result. I thought that my swim would be so much worse but with only 3 weeks of good consistent swimming I'm almost back to where I left it in Australia. I might soon turn up to swim training with KTK86 as I might be able to follow the slowest swimmer there. That's a big motivation for me as I learned in Australia how much swimming with others mean. 

CYCLING - FUNCTIONAL THRESHOLD POWER (FTP) TEST 
And also here - what is the test? This test is quite scientific. It's a test that gives you your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is sort of similar to your Aerobic Threshold (AT) in running - that is the speed/pace you can hold for a bit less than one hour. The purpose is to give me some power training zones to plan my program and sessions after. But it's also to show how much progress I've made. The test is performed by giving it your all for 20 min. Then you take you Normalized Graded Power (NGP) and multiply it by 0.95, and then you have your FTP. A key is not to go out too fast as 20 min. is quite a long time and you can easily blow up. I also need to mention that you can really only compare your FTP from the same bike and the same powermeter. The equipment can be different, and therefore you and I can't compare our FTP results directly. However, they might now be far off the real results if we could compare but the comparison won't be precise.

This test isn't one I'm very well acquainted with as I've only done it once before. That was on 7 August 2015 on a Trek Speed Concept TT on a hometrainer in Brisbane, Australia. At that test I hit 297watts, which gave me an FTP of 282watts. That was an okay starting point. From that I build and the same powermeter - this time outdoors during a sprint triathlon on 6 September 2015 - gave me an FTP of 303watts. But as I said you can't compare indoor and outdoor. Read more about that issue here in a great article from TrainingPeaks.

Now it was time to go through hell in 20 min. in my basement in Birkerød on my Argon 18 road bike. My expectations were that I would probably be around an FTP of 282watts as last time I did the test indoor on a hometrainer. But I kind of hoped for more. That would show to be a stupid hope. With the hope I went out too hard thinking that I could do around 350watts for the 20 min. But already after 5 min. I could see that wouldn't be the case. My HR was up at 178-180bpm, which is what I can usually hold for 20-30 min. on the bike in triathlon. I dropped the watts consistently and paid for my mistake early on. When you're dead at 10 min. you have a "long" day at the office meaning that 10 min. of more agonizing pain isn't the most tempting thing in the world.

I put down 331watts the first 5 min. Then 301watts, 287watts, and lastly 290watts. In 7 August 2015 my pacing was better going from 295watts, 289watts, 292watts, and lastly 314watts. I know now that I have to be better at the pacing next time. Another variable is that last time I had a cadence of 101rpm and now I had one of 94rpm.

All in all, I can now set the proper power training zones on my hometrainer and use that to get the most out of my training on the hometrainer. And now I can also see if I progress further as the season goes along.

Time: 20:00 min
Power: 302 watts
FTP: 287 watts 

RUNNING - MAF TEST 
And here as well - what is the test? MAF stands for Maximum Aerobic Function and is a test that can measure progress and indicate the earliest indications of potential training problems. I use the test for the purpose of seeing my progress and also if I'm potentially getting into overtraining. This year I'm also using it more proactively in my planning so when my MAF Test stagnate I will most likely interpret it as a result that it's time to move on to the next phase as my aerobic capacity hardly can be developed further before having done some other kind of training. The test is developed by the renowed Phil Maffetone and you can read more about it here.

Well, hello again. Who are you Mr. MAF Test? I'm the test that can give you an estimate of your aerobic capacity. Oh I almost forgot who you were, it's been so long! Yes - it's been a very long time since I've done a MAF Test and it really shouldn't have been that long. I would wish that I could go back and change, and have all the data from a MAF Test each month but I don't. It would be nice to see my develop and especially if my endurance kept up while I was training with a focus on more intensity. However the reality is that I don't and I can't do anything about it. But I can learn from it and change it this year. So that I am and starting this macrocycle.

The first 2.5 laps on the track said 3:49 min/km. Last time on 6 April 2015 the first 2.5 laps said 3:39 min/km. Well, not bad but not good as well. Probably realistic. It continued like this throughout the 20 laps going with 1km times from 3:47-3:49 min/km. That gives me an indication that the indurance is back. However, with an average pace of 3:48 min/km it also shows me that my aerobic capacity isn't back to where it was one year ago. But there's a big BUT! But I've only had three weeks of structured training now. My winter training has looked a lot different than last year. In the winter of 2014/15 I almost had no competitions from October onwards and I was home having a base and good rhythms. This time in the winter of 2015/16 I've had almost no base and no rhythms. My competition phase continued all the way to October 30 where I broke my foot two days before I was supposed to do my last race of the season at the Noosa Triathlon Olympic Distance. Additionally I spent the time from November 21 to January 14 having a blast travelling around in Australia and New Zealand with my good friend and fellow runner, Kristian Krog. But I think we can both agree that travelling, driving and training with almost no recovery just makes it hard to get into any kind of rhythm with non ideal conditions as a consequence. So basically it's only been the last four weeks that has been with real structured training as I was pretty sick a few weeks right after I arrived in Denmark.

With the above things in mind my conclusion is that the result was realistic but I can still improve my aerobic capacity before moving further into high intensity training.

The weather was overcast and there was some wind at Rudegaard Stadion.

Time: 30:25 min
Pace: 3:48 min/km
Improvement time: +00:59 min
Improvement pace: +00:07 min/km

OVERALL PROGRESS  
The overall take-away from this macrocycle focusing on marathon conditioning training is that I'm almost back as status quo before I broke the foot. Swimming is almost back to the same times. Cycling is back to the same power numbers. And running is back with regards to endurance but the aerobic capacity can be improved. Consequently I'll make the next macrocycle - hill training phase - with a little more focus on aerobic capacity than it normally is. But I'll also move more into some strength and intensity stuff as the first race of the season isn't far away. 

 
WEEK 6
Swimming distance: 22 km
Cycling distance: 283 km
Running distance: 118 km
Total distance: 423 km
Total duration: 24:15:00 hours
 
WEEK 7
Swimming distance: 23 km
Cycling distance: 291 km
Running distance: 128 km
Total distance: 442 km
Total duration: 25:04:00 hours
 
WEEK 8
Swimming distance: 15 km
Cycling distance: 304 km
Running distance: 142 km
Total distance: 461 km
Total duration: 24:31:00 hours
 
WEEK 9
Swimming distance: 8 km
Cycling distance: 147 km
Running distance: 91 km
Total distance: 246 km
Total duration: 14:01:00 hours
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LESSON #2: TAKE AWAY THE POSITIVES AND LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES
LESSON #1: THE SWIM IS ALL ABOUT TECHNIQUE FOR ME NOW
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