Archive for cycling

IM Melbourne

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by brianestover

Every once in a while as a coach something happens that really pisses you off. Slam your fist on the counter and want to punch the offender in the face mad. A few days before this race, this is was where I was at. Janine was having dinner with some of her friends. Her old coach, somewhat of an asshole if you were to ask me, pops into the restaurant and says hello to everyone at the table but Janine. That’s not really enough to set me off. But what he did next was inexcusable. He told Janine “you look to fat to race IM”, no hello, just that you look too fat, then he leaves. She found this very upsetting. This is a coach who over the past few years had her doing weekly weigh in’s, losing her hair, breaking out in acne and having other issues associated with over training. What he did is inexcusable, both as a person and a coach. There are better ways to coach than nearly wrecking your athlete(s).

After learning this, I found out she’s 1 kg heavier then when she raced under him. She’s not losing her hair, not run down and not having other issues associated with over training. Training for an Ironman really wouldn’t be considered a healthy pursuit, but one can do it in a healthy or unhealthy manner. Sometimes lighter isn’t better.

Ultimately, besides being pissed off, I really only wanted Janine to have nothing but a great race, a little FU to her previous coach.

We all know by now that IM Melbourne had horrible swim conditions, big winds on the bike and nearly a headwind for the entire run. Janine exited the water 6th in her age group. She then rode away from the rest of the age group women’s field, throwing down the fastest female age group bike ride. She stayed in front of the age group field until the last few km’s only being overtaken by one age group athlete. She won her age group, ended up 17th overall, crossed the line as the 2nd overall age group female while having enough energy to give someone the finger (I can only hope on that last part). Not only a superb race under difficult conditions but a little vindication to go along with the $200 prime she pocketed for having the fastest female age group bike ride.

Janine 1st place IM Melbourne F35-39

Janine 1st place IM Melbourne F35-39

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Chronic Training Load & Why It Matters

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by brianestover

If you have used WKO+ you’ve seen the Performance Manager Chart (PMC) that shows your Chronic Training Load (CTL). Most people I talk to look at the chart and think “Gee look at the pretty lines and colors.” But when used correctly, the CTL line on that chart gives you an idea of what you’ve done and what you can do. It needs to be looked at along with the other pretty lines in your PMC, but for now I’ll give the down and dirty on CTL.

When you train you stress the body. You adapt and hopefully over repeated weeks, months and years of training you get faster AND you can handle higher workloads. Today’s hard 5×5 minutes of threshold on the bike that makes you hit the couch for a two hour nap, becomes tomorrow’s 8×5 minutes of threshold that leaves you tired but able to grocery shop right after. Today’s training becomes tomorrow’s chronic training load. Different training has different stresses and impacts your CTL differently. Your CTL is measured in Training Stress Score / Day. Think of this as how much stress you give yourself based upon what you do. A hard interval session where you knock out 4k of intervals and run 9k total will give you more TSS then a 10k easy run. A 2.5 hour ride where you flog yourself for 75 minutes of threshold will yield more stress then a 2.5 hour coffee cruise. If easy coffee cruises added a ton of stress, instead of social rides to have a coffee we’d have climbing rides to socialize.

Since TSS makes up part of your CTL the more you do in any one day the higher CTL goes. It also rewards consistency. Remember CTL = Training Stress Score / Day. It’s the cumulative training you’ve averaged per day for how ever long you want to look at it in your PMC. (This is why it’s a good idea to run more than one PMC.) If your PMC is set for 52 weeks, it’s going to take more to increase or more time off to decrease your CTL compared to a PMC that is set at 28 days. The more consistent you are in training daily, the more you can influence up or down your CTL. Big training days typically add to your TSS/D, days off of training subtract from it.

To give you an example of how this works let’s choose 165.5 TSS/D, this means you’ve averaged 165.5 TSS per day every day you’ve trained for however long your PMC is set for. If you only train 50 TSS today it will drop a little. If you train 257.8 TSS it will rise a little. Generally you want this to rise over time and get as high as possible. It’s this long term rise in what you have done that allows you to do more. It;s this long term rise that is the result of training. A U23 rider isn’t going to have the same sort of CTL that a veteran cyclist who has ridden 10 Grand Tours over the last 4 years is going to have. But depending upon how long you set your PMC for and what each of these riders has been doing recently the U23 rider might have a higher ATL (Acute Training Load) then the veteran tour rider.

You have to look at CTL in both the short and long term. If you only look at the long term CTL you might miss the day in day out picture of what you have been doing very recently. Huge ramp ups over short periods of time can leave you tired and performing poorly if not managed proprely. On the other hand, if you only look at your PMC over the short duration, you won’t see what you’ve done long term and might miss clues to what you could be doing or should be doing.

Below I’ve inserted a PMC of one of my athletes from last season. I’ll talk about some of the things that influenced the CTL aka blue line.

Season Long PMC

Season Long PMC

To look at the season as a whole you’ll start from the left and look right. This will give you an idea of where they started and where they ended up. This was a new to me athlete and I had no historical data from them from previous years. The first four and a half months were spent training. You see the steady saw tooth progression of the CTL line. This represents the pattern that the first four and a half months fell into. A few bigger/harder days and few easy days. The intervals were short, hard and often. There wasn’t a lot of threshold riding, there was a lot of supra threshold riding. This continued right into the first weeks of racing where multiple races where raced. You’ll notice the big dip in the blue line. This is where significantly less training per day was being done. Once we got through this period we started a push towards the first major race of the season. You’ll notice the blue line starts trending up. If you were to look at a short time frame PMC you’d see a significant spike in the acute training load of this athlete. The duration’s and intervals changed to reflect the specificity of the events that were being focused on for the season. This athlete had to do more to maintain and increase their fitness as they acquired more fitness. The next major dip in the blue line represents a mid season break from training. This was a 7-10 day break from training to help manage fatigue loads. The build up that followed was much like the previous ramp up. The ATL was very steep, representing lots of work in a short period of time, but not short workouts. The next major dip was work related that required a couple of weeks of almost around the clock work. This curtailed training and you can see that as the blue line drops. This was followed by two more ramp ups with some drops due to work related stuff. Each of these build ups had an ATL that was much steeper then the long term CTL you are seeing here. This TSS was achieve with some very long rides and runs acquiring large amounts of TSS in a very few workouts and little TSS in the rest of their workouts. Frequency also dropped a little compared to early in the season in some sports. The final ramp up saw this athlete achieve some of their highest ATL numbers of the year and near season high CTL numbers. This huge increase in ATL led into tapering which allowed both short and long term CTL to drop.

Hopefully you can now understand that ATL and CTL influence each other and how both have to be managed for a successful season. By looking at the CTL, short and long term, and the athletes race schedule, you can learn to manipulate training loads to be at optimal fitness for the races that matter. This allows you to do the training that matters so you can get results that matter at the races that matter.

Another BIG Weekend!!!

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by brianestover

The Hawaii Ironman has come and gone. What a great race at the front end of both the women and men’s fields! But that wasn’t the only racing going on. Nick was racing, fresh off his recent M18-24 age group win at the 70.3 World Championships. We were looking towards having him climb atop of his second WC podium. He did a ton of work heading into this race, was fitter than he’s ever been and was able to overcome some harsh conditions to go faster than last year, which not many people did.

Last year Nick was 118th overall, a fabulous result for any age grouper at IM Hawaii. This year he crushed it. Nick crossed the line 40th overall, finishing 2nd in the M18-24 age group and as the 11th amateur on the day. He turned in a marathon that was 9 minutes faster than he’s run before. An awesome performance from an athlete with lots of room for improvement.

Nick Baldwin, Accelerate 3 coaching

Nick on the run

Several time zones away Chad was racing at the Rev 3 Anderson Half. he grabbed 5th in his age group on a very hilly, hard half Ironman. This was his first long course attempt this season and it was a good hit out. I suspect he’ll have a few more cracks at this distance next season.

Chad rolling along

In Tucson, Billy finished 2nd in his age group and wrapped up second overall in the Tucson Triathlon series. He was three minutes down after the first race, cut that in half after the second race, but couldn’t quite cut the gap in the third race. This is his best overall series finish in nearly a decade of racing this series. Once again Billy proves getting older doesn’t have to slow you down.

Bringing the Heat!

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2012 by brianestover

It may have been hot at the Muncie 70.3 which became Muncie 70.3 minus a lot of kilometers but Jenny proved too be to hot to handle for any of the other age group women. After spending much of the day in the top 5 overall she fell down the rankings late in the run. She finished 8th overall and won her age group and the age group portion of the race by a rather comfortable margin. I think I’ll let her niece sum up her race.

Jenny’s niece stating the facts

In NC, James traveled to High Point to race the men’s Cat 3 State TT championship. He grabbed the silver medal for his sub 56 minute effort.

Elsewhere Chad and Doug both placed top 10 in their age groups at the Chattanooga and NYC triathlons.

Another weekend of hot performances by Accelerate 3 athletes.

It’s good to be KING!

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by brianestover

Chad Williamson threw a chain, had to stop to put it back on and he still destroyed the rest of the Cat 5 men at the Men’s Cat 5 Alabama State TT Championships. Five minutes. That’s not even close over 40k. Too bad he isn’t a Cat 4 since he would have won that as well. Chad brings home a championship in a 3rd state and this is the 14th or 15th time an Accelerate 3 Athlete has won a state Championship.

Chad Williamson claiming his title

But that’s not the only Accelerate 3 athlete producing good results this past weekend. In Tucson Billy grabbed 9th overall and 2nd in his age group at the Holualoa Tinfoil Triathlon.

Billy Oliver working hard

Heading back east, Doug Tsao used the fastest run split of the day to vault himself from 42nd position leaving T2 into 7th overall and 2nd in his age group at the first ever Mighty Moss Half Iron Triathlon. Doug proved once again that you can never run too fast in a triathlon but you can run too slow.

Doug on the Podium!

Rocking at the Races

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by brianestover

It was another busy weekend of racing for Accelerate 3 athletes across the country. That also means it’s a busy weekend of me blogging about their successes at the races.

In California, Jeff destroyed his Wildflower course personal best by 45 minutes. Yeah, you read that correctly, 45 minutes. That’s almost 6 miles ahead of his old self. Talk about kicking your ass. He kicked his and was quite proud of it. He is all systems go for setting a new IM PB this summer.

Elsewhere in CA especially since I don’t know where Wildflower and Piru are in relation to one another, Dusty grabbed 2nd in his category and 4th overall at the Piru TT series race. When not training for triathlons he is turning into quite the bike racer…with a CTL to back it up.

In Knoxville TN, Rev 3 came to town. Chad grabbed 1st in his age group on the back of his 5th fastest overall age group bike split and ended up as the 14th overall age grouper. Not a bad way to kick off the triathlon season.

In NC, Jenny, James and a friend teamed up to smoke the White Lake half race. They went sub 4hr and every member of the team turned in the fastest team split. Notable was James 2:08:58 bike split. It looks like he is showing some of his bike fitness. James turned around and raced the White Lake sprint on Sunday. He earned some valuable IOSNCTS points by finishing 2nd overall. He also earned some good karma points by plucking a cat off the road so it didn’t get run over. He “may” have left some watts out on the road from Saturday’s bike but all in all it was another solid weekend of racing for him.

Triple Three

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by brianestover

Three athletes, three different races and three people grabbing hardware. Good things do come in three’s especially when you add the fastest bike split in the mix.

If it’s late March, it’s Powerman Alabama time. This year saw two Accelerate 3 athletes racing, Rich in the long course event and Chad raced the Double Oak Mountain Duathlon aka the short course event.

Rich grabbed third in his age group, by posting the third fastest run and bike followed by the fourth fastest second run. Even a 4 minute penalty for riding too far left couldn’t drop him out of the top three.

Rich nearing T1

Chad was second overall in the short course duathlon. He ran solidly posting the third fastest runs of the day then laid down the fastest bike split in the race. You can read his race report here.

Chad, 2nd row in the middle, with an A for Awesome on his kit!

Across the country Billy was placing 8th overall and 2nd in his age group in the Tucson TinFoilman Triathlon. His time of 1:01:06 is one of his better times on this course in the last five years. As he gets older he gets faster.