Archive for Ironman Triathlon

Performance Management Chart – Explained

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by brianestover

I explained a bit about chronic training load here. This post is going to try to give you a quick look at the Performance Management Chart (PMC) and some ways to use it. Below is a PMC. You’ll notice three things right off the bat. There is a blue line which represents Chronic Training Load (CTL), a pink line represents Acute Training Load (ATL) and the yellow bars or line represent Training Stress Balance (TSB).

Performance Management Chart

Performance Management Chart

The pink line or ATL represents your current workload, think of this as the what did I do day in day out and how much acute stress did it place on me. If you do some really long and/or hard workouts where you rack up a lot of training stress this line will go up in a steep manner. The yellow is indicative of your fatigue level and it moves more or less in opposition to the pink line. If you don’t workout for a few days the yellow goes up meaning you are fresher or more rested than you were while the pink line goes down representing your lack of daily stress. The blue line will move up and down slower and reflects your cumulative fitness or loss of if it’s moving down. Consider CTL as money in the bank, while the pink line is money you are depositing.

One of the things you can do is use the ATL and TSB then correlate that to how you are feeling. If the ATL line spikes and you are doing a multi-day hard block of training, naturally you will feel more tired as it progresses. If you are at -52 TSB you might not be feeling very chipper, at -89 TSB you might find yourself unpleasant to be around. At -10 TSB you may feel fine and at 12 TSB you might feel like you could take on the world. Taking what you are doing, how you are feeling, thinking about what’s happened in the past and looking at the trend lines can often tell you what might happen if you continue down the path you are on.

You can use the CTL to make sure your training is on track. Do you have some races coming up in 2-4 months? You can track the work you are doing on the blue line. The higher it goes the more you can do and the more likely you are to have a good level of fitness going into your race. If your blue line is dropping to the right and you are not tapering you should re-evaluate your training strategy or lack of. Of course for those Key Races, a drop in your CTL coupled with an increase in your TSB and a decrease in your ATL is a good thing. The key words are key races, not every race you do.

You might think of your ATL and TSB as short term snapshots and your CTL as the big picture. Or you can consider ATL/TSB as the path that you’ve ridden on your journey(CTL). You can do different things in your training and see how they impact those lines.

There are four training inputs you can manipulate: time, duration, intensity and volume. Each of these will impact the ATL, CTL and TSB differently. You can ride 3 hours and achieve a certain amount of training stress. Or you can ride 3 hours at a harder effort and achieve even more or you could go on a casual ride and accumulate a smaller amount of stress. Which is better? It depends. The higher your power output relative to your threshold the more stress you rack up per minute. Riding at 65% of your FTP is much easier and can be done for much longer than riding at 104% of FTP.

Within the PMC there are several variables you can track. If you are cyclist gearing up for TT’s you can track your peak power outputs over the specific duration you are going to be racing. If you are a sprinter you can track you maximal power outputs, or if you are a lead out type of rider you can track your power over 2-10 minutes or the duration you need to deliver your sprinter to the line. You can use this information to see if you are trending in the right or wrong direction. Are you producing a lot of peak 4 min power outputs months and months away from your targeted event(s)? The PMC provides a quick reference guide to tracking things like this so you can see if you are overcooking or undercooking or making a feast.

1 hour mean maximal power and long ride duration tracked

1 hour mean maximal power and long ride duration tracked

If you are a long course triathlete tracking your power outputs over longer duration’s will serve as a guide to help you plan your power strategy. If you have a lot of ironman duration rides between 190 and 205 watts, deciding that 230 watts is your goal power output for your IM is a recipe for disaster. Using the PMC helps take the guesswork out of what to do race day. You can set it up so you know exactly what power outputs you’ve done over the duration’s you are going to be racing. This allows you to be smart and give yourself the best chance for success for your races.

You can use the PMC to help you plan out what to do. If you did race X, Y and Z at certain CTL’s and your performance left you underwhelmed, you can use the PMC to determine what sort of workload might be appropriate to leave you overjoyed at the finish. If your CTL was 65 what happens if you do more training and get it to 101? What happens if you do more intervals or more easy rides to increase your workload? Using the various metrics in your PMC you can track some of these variables.

I’d advise you to play around with your PMC adding different data points until you have the information on it that makes the most sense to you for your racing. Use it to help you plot out what you have done, what you can do, review it to figure out what gave you the most fitness bang your training buck.

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The End and Beginning

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

The 2012 racing season has finally wrapped up for Accelerate 3 athletes. The last two races of 2012 were last weekend. 2013 has kicked off for everyone in some shape or form.

Daniel raced on the spur of the moment at the San Dimas Turkey Triathlon. He was able to grab 12th overall and win his age group.

Closing in on the finish line

Closing in on the finish line

Down in Mexico Jenny was finishing off her age group career with Ironman Cozumel. Although going into the race she wasn’t 100% sure she was going to take her pro card. The big question was what does she do if she qualifies for Kona?

What started out as a great day for her with the 4th best female swim of the field soon turned into a nightmare. She got a flat early in the ride. Even though she had a spare kit, she and the race mechanics struggled to get the tire off the rim costing her 15-20 minutes. At the end of the day those minutes cost her a top 3 spot in her age group and a Kona slot. She still turned in a finish that most would be happy to claim, crossing the line 5th in her age group.

With Daniel and Jenny turning in two good performances, it’s a great way to send off the 2012 racing season.

Miami Vice or Victory

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2012 by brianestover

Fall has arrived, the colors on the trees are changing, a cool breeze is blowing into town. The season is winding down, at least for my North American and EU based athletes. But just because the racing is tapering off, doesn’t mean the results stop.

For the third time this season one of the athletes I coach has finished as the top age group athlete in a 70.3 event. This time it was down in Miami at the Miami 70.3. Upon reaching dry land, Sarah steadily rode and ran her way through her wave and the rest of the age group women. When the dust had settled, she was about a mile ahead of the nearest age group woman.

Who’s #1?

Post race party!

Smashing Silverman

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , on November 10, 2010 by brianestover

Billy smashed Silverman, coming in third in the M45-49 AG and finishing 18th overall! He crossed the line in 11:48:53. Then instead of texting me right away how he finished like I asked him to, he went to the medical tent for an IV. Unbelievable.

What more can you say about an awesome performance like that? How about things like three or four years ago when I took over his training, he wouldn’t have gone this fast on an flat, easy ironman course. How’s that for improvement? He threw down a negative split on the run. He turned in the eighth fastest bike split of the day. He had the fastest T1 out of the top 30 finishers. At age 46 he is faster then when he was 36, across all distances. This is the second Ironman in a row he has turned in an excellent race.

No matter what you say, it’s an awesome way to end the season!

Wham Bam

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by brianestover

As the dust settled today at the Casa Grande Traithlon, not one, but two Accelerate 3 athletes stood atop the Overall Podiums. Sarah crushed the womens field by over seven minutes. Not only did she chick all but three guys on the bike, she chicked all but four men, grabbing fifth overall today. Hahaha you guys got chicked! (NP-213, AP-203).

Several people commented, most after being passed by her I might add, on her awesome riding of late. She now has won two of her last three races and finished third overall in the other.

I erased my :23 deficit after the swim riding 1:20 faster than anyone else to move clear of everyone. Today was one of those days where you just know you are on. It’s my second win in a row, not a shabby way to end the season. (NP-251, AP-246)

If my math skills are correct, that is between seven and nine overall wins spread across five athletes and about 20-25 podium placings spread across nine athletes. Not shabby at all.

The only thing left this year is to put the race wheels away and await the results of tomorrow’s Silverman Ironman Triathlon where there are a few Accelerate 3 Athletes racing.

IM Florida

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by brianestover

It’s barely over and already people are whining about drafting.  Look folks, drafting happens, it’s an accepted practice at all the big IM events. Some people will get dinged sure, but lets face it, those races are semi ITU races for many of the age groupers.

So what should you do if you see a big group?  Catch it or let it catch you.  Thats right, get with the group. Then sit the legal 3 bike lengths distance behind it. I have several power files showing drops of 10-40 watts with .5-2.0 mph increases in speed.  You want to race smart, thats smart racing.  Let some other schmuck do all the work.  Sit back, have a coke, eat a gel and laugh your ass off at everyone else.

You want to go to Kona? Then don’t be a hero trying to break away from the pack.  Ride 3 lengths behind, save your watts for the run and ride way faster then you would have by yourself.  Then, get off the bike and run people down. Accept your Kona slot and be the happiest, smartest racer on the podium.

But I can hear the screaming now.  This violates the spirit of triathlon blah blah and on and on.  Spirit?  Really? When you have 100 people per minute getting out of the water? Thats more then 1 per second.  How the heck are you going to fit that onto a bike course legally?  The spirit of the rule was violated when the race got that big. The RDs and WTC are the biggest hypocrites about it.  NO drafting. 2400 entries. NO drafting. 2400 entries.

Race smart within the rules.