Revision

Doing a bunch of short, fast sessions over a few weeks got me a little closer to my goals. I have reintroduced my body to training across a three discipline sport. It's now time to set up the structure to get the most out races. The intent is the following plan should form the basics of my training. It should be repeatable, doable and lead to progression.

Structure

Still rostered on an 8 day cycle. I now believe following this cycle works best, otherwise I would be fighting against the rest of my life.

Usually my work runs the following:
  1. 10hr day shift
  2. 10hr day shift
  3. 12hr day-evening shift
  4. 14hr night shift
  5. half day off, since the night finishes at 7am.
  6. off
  7. off
  8. off

Key Sessions

The basics work, so I'll focus on those.

For each discipline (swim, bike, run) I will dedicate a longer, endurance style workout, plus a higher intensity effort usually with intervals. Next in line are two general strength sessions. That gives 8 workouts in 8 days to get in. I hope to complete a few double days, so the other sessions will usually be an easy-moderate aerobic style play.

If everything is falling into place during a cycle I would also like to add on occasion a short, but very fast effort on the bike or run. A little bit of anaerobic tolerance/speed work. It will be important that I am judicious with this and the other training is going as it should.

There will be necessary variation in the weekly plan, but the following is what I present to be my achievable, realistic ideal training cycle:

  1. easy
  2. Run intervals, Bike intervals
  3. Strength
  4. Run long, Swim intervals
  5. easy
  6. Bike long Swim long
  7. easy
  8. Speed, Strength

Variation

Life throws in plenty of other events which means the above plan is often not possible. This has be reinforced plenty of times over the last year or so. To deal with that, I need to have some strategies to get in the required training. This strategy is as follows:

I break up the cycle into two sections. Section A (days 1-4), Section B (days 5-8).

SECTION A: Main goal is to ensure I get in the Swim, Bike and Run intervals. This may mean I perform one of those on day 1 or move the run to day 4. Whatever works to meet this goal. Next I like to have the strength training completed. If can't do so in order to get the interval training completed, then the strength work is moved back to day 5, after I recover from night shift.

Finally is my long run. This is such an important session that I do not want to compromise on it. I recognise this can often be the case (ie. cutting short) just to fit in around life. Main reason is working overtime or the requirement for sleep between shifts. As a result I am happy to then move the long run back into Section B. If this has to happen, then I won't include the extra speed work.

SECTION B: By far the most important goal here is to ensure the long training gets completed. So that means the long bike (2-3hours at this stage), a relatively longish swim and the long run if it wasn't completed in Section A. To get the session in I won't worry much about the order. I prefer to keep some time between the bike and run, but if doing so means one may be dropped, then stuff the timing. Disappearing for a few hours for a ride impacts on family. So I will find ways around this. Depending on what day it is and a few other facts the ride may have start after 0900, or may need to be an early start of 0530.

If on the final couple of days, all the long stuff is down and I am feeling pretty good, then I can get out and have some fun doing some short, quick training. Kind of a reward for getting the rest right.

Transitions

The astute will notice no brick or transition session is listed. This is a compromise to make the plan work. I'd prefer to have a bike-run specific session each cycle, but it is something I have a lot of trouble fitting in at the moment. My work around is stick a short run at the end of the long bike, plus on occassion at a run to some of the other rides when opportunity presents. If I am really struggling to fit in both the bike and run interval workouts, then I will probably combine the two into some repeated run-bike-run efforts. The overall result should have me keeping in touch enough, but allow greater overall training.

Content

Heart rate, pace, %VO2max, lactate threshold, maximal lactate steady state, supramaximal... blah, blah, blah. My body is different for a number of reason. The main include some increase in age, a break of lots of swimming and cycling, plus lower volume training. As a result many of the cues and guides I used to rely on for training intensity are no longer accurate. Maybe they just need recalibrating. However, race fitness is more than just the number of beats per minute flashing away on the heart monitor. Being a little more holistic and hopefully smarter in training the content of the each key session will be based on the following at this stage:

  • Long Bike - some hills, but mainly flat to undulating to get in a semi-comfortable, almost even effort. I am looking to develop the stamina for keep up a sustained output over the full distance. Therefore I wish to minimise interruptions to the pressure applied to the pedals. The effort should require concentration, but shouldn't have me blowing up or seriously gasping for air.
  • Long Run - here I want to gradually push the envelope of low-end speed. The pace will be below a race output, but should always be a challenge. Something like my current predicted marathon pace for a run of 90-120min.
  • Intervals Bike - time trial sustained strength. Typically intervals on the turbo-trainer as 6-8 reps of 5min with 1min recovery. The effort would be at or slightly above anaerobic threshold.
  • Intervals Run - here I will usually keep them a bit shorter 2.5-4min with something like 1-3min recovery. The intensity will be closer to VO2max, but mainly directed by my ability to sustain the speed and technique. It should be hard, but I have to be able to sustain top form during most of the set.
  • Swims - One session is about pushing the envelop with distance and a moderate pace. The other is about working a bit faster than that sustainable, moderate pace. The mix of interval lengths and cycles can be greatly influenced by my ability to hold technique plus the make up of the lane in the public pool.

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