My First Ironman – IM Louisville

Ironman Louisville was not supposed to be my first Ironman, it was supposed to be Coeur d’Alene, but I broke my arm 4 weeks out from Coeur D’Alene which forced me to have a DNS ( also my first DNS). So once my cast came of after 6 weeks I had exactly 5 weeks for IM Louisville.

Preparation for IM Louisville:

My swim prep was on point. I did not swim for 6 weeks while I was in a cast and had about 5 weeks to get back in swim shape for Louisville. It took me about 3 or 4 sessions and I was holding intervals what I used to. I was aiming for a sub 1:16 on the swim . In practice I had done 20X200 @4:00 so I knew it was something which I can achieve.

On the bike, I spent about a year biking 4 times a week. My FTP did go up, but it took a lot more effort just to keep it there. Any inconsistency in training would cause my FTP to dip a bit and then it would take me another 6 weeks to get it back to where it was. After I broke my arm, my FTP had dipped from 216 to 207ish in about 12 days. While in a cast I could not swim or run, so I just biked but I couldn’t do vo2 max intervals or balls to the walls effort. Once my cast came of, I did a solid 3 week segment and my FTP went upto 214.

Here is how I trained when I had a cast on:

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On the run, I had not improved much but what had improved was my ability to run of the bike as I biked A LOT the past year. After a 6 week break in training, I had about 4 weeks to get back my running legs and then a 1 week taper prior to the race. The first week after the cast came of I had a long run of 10 miles, the next week I ran 13 miles and the third week I ran about 15. Then I had terrible shin splints and did not run for 5 days and then somehow squeezed in a gentle 6 miler with Jahnavi and then did nothing in the last week leading up to the race.

Pre Race:

I reached Louisville on Thusday night along with Jahnavi (my better half now, officially). 2 of my buddies had already reached. Friday morning I took my bike to the expo, picked up my packet and all the good stuff. Gave my bike to racedaywheels and had them set up carbon wheels for the race ( Zipp 404’s). This was going to be my first time trying them out( There goes don’t try something new on race day). After that we headed for lunch to a restaurant and tried some southern food. I don’t think its my cup of tea.

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Finally after attending the race meeting on Saturday , I had some Thai food for dinner ( #Carbs) but could not fall asleep. I think I finally slept at 11 30 or 12 and then the next thing I know its 3 30 AM and my alarm goes of. I had 2 bananas, oatmeal , apple but for some reason I did not feel too good and sipped on a bottle of Infinit Nutrition till I got to the swim start.

 

Swim:

The swim is a one loop course and the water temperature was about 72 degrees which was perfect but it was a lil chilly in the morning , mid 50’s I think. Since Louisville has a rolling start and people line up , I was probably a KM out from the start line I think. While waiting there we took pictures.

My support crew held my spot while I looked for a port a potty.Once I did get into the water, I was like why is everyone so slow ahead of me and there was just 1 buoy which marked the turn around point around the Island. That for sure was not 100m away from the start point. I passed a lot of people, took a piss while swimming and felt good overall. My gut told me it was going to be a sub 15 on the swim. Sighting was a nightmare, I’ve seen IM Coeur D alene and 70.3 Muncie, they had buoys every 100m. Over here I think all I saw was 6 buoys ?? , there were so far away that every time I tried to sight I just saw caps. I passed a lot of people on the swim. When I came out of the swim and looked at my Garmin it said 1 13 and change. I was beyond elated.

Here is a pic of me making a mess of trying to get the swim cap of ( obviously there is a better way to do it): After this I had my wetsuit stripped and ran through transition. Nothing fancy happened in transition.

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Bike :

I had a pretty quick transition but I felt hungry coming of the swim , so I quickly pulled out the cliff bar I had in the bike bag and stuffed half of it in my mouth and then went on my way towards mounting line.

The bike course is full of fuckin rollers, after sometime it was just annoying. I could not settle down into a rhythm. I’m either going downhill and too scared and am on my brakes or I am trying to use the momentum of the downhill to get me up the next hill and then flicking through gears to maintain that effort. Also I accidentally hit “mode” on my Garmin which caused it to go to the next screen and show me my run data. After fiddling with my watch I had to restart the bike segment. It was annoying. In my head I knew I had to hold 160 watts or lower but geez only if I got a flat segment for more than a mile would I what was I holding. I was hydrating well and this was my first time renting/using carbon wheels. They sound effin awesome . I did not have any problems handling my bike because of them. Maybe next year I will rent the 808’s instead of the 404’s. I used up 4 bottles of Infinit nutrition before mile 60 ( special needs) and I pee’d a bunch of times going downhill and then washed my self with water. It just felt so wrong and it was my first time doing it “ON THE BIKE”. The pee went into my shoes and I could feel my socks wet. ugggh. But after doing it once, it did not bother me too much later on.  A lot of people passed me on the rollers. The last 15 or 20 miles are FLAT and the roads looked new which is what I was looking forward to. I put my head down , picked a gear which allowed me stay above 90 on my cadence and was pushing around 170 Watts and there was no looking back. I was easily over 20mph and I passed about 30-40 people I think. I was in the left lane the entire time just passing people. I enjoy flat courses because my shifting and bike handling skills are 0 since I train indoors on a trainer.  Towards the end when I did pee on my bike it , the process of peeing would hurt. I shrugged it away thinking it was because I was sitting so long on the bike? Overall I think I ended up peeing about 7 times on the bike. Had I stopped it would have cost me at least 7 minutes assuming each pee break was exactly a minute. Usually its more.

 

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Run:

The run is a 2 loop course and the second loop passes really close to the finish line so you can hear the music and people cheering as other competitors finish. It is also a reminder that you have another 13 miles to go and your second loop has just begun.

I was running from the dismount line and handed my bike towards a volunteer, ran though translation and my legs felt fine. I thought I was going to have a perfect race and I did not blow my self up on the bike. The moment I got out of transition and headed towards the run I wanted to pee but I could not see a port a potty. I asked a volunteer, she said it’s probably a mile away at the aid station. I was getting uncomfortable and needed to pee. I walked/jogged and finally could not take it anymore and took a piss somewhere on the road even before mile 1. But it hurt a lot, I was not sure what was wrong with me. It caused me to sit down for a few seconds and then when the pain disappeared I started to run again . I looked at my watch and was around 8 10 or 8 20 a mile and my heart rate in the upper 140s. I felt great. But those pee breaks continued at aid stations and each one was getting more painful and each pee break was costing me time as I would have to sit the pain out before I could start running but I was passing a lot of people while I was running. Finally I decided to swap water and gels for coke and chews but the damage was already done. I had gone up to 15 miles in training and that too after a 6 week break, so I knew I could probably hold my own till mile 13 but then its unknown territory. I looked at my watch and I was on track for a sub 2 hour half even with all those pee breaks but at mile 11 or 12 , I just couldn’t run. My run form and momentum had started to break down, I knew this was going to be a long day now. The last 10 miles were a walk, jog, chit chat with people next to me and wanting to get it over with. Finally when I was near the finish line , I was looking for my buddy as he was supposed to hand me a ring which I had planned to give Jahnavi at the finish line. I saw him, was soaking in the moment , jumped at the finish line and then went down on my knees and gave Jahnavi the ring.

The finish on 4th street live is pretty good. I heard they were out of pizza and people were a bit disappointed in the post race food. I did not stay back for food but went out for dinner with my fiends and family. I had the best support crew one could ask for. They made signs for me, drove me around, got up at 3 30 AM with me, flew and drove down from different places.

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The proposal:

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Post Race: I was not sore , I was just tired and wanted to sleep after we got Pizaa that is. The pee issue was not resolved, it still hurt when I took a piss but it was fine the next day. By the looks and my research on Web MD I over hydrated and my salt levels were too low or it maybe too much sugar, so it was hyponatremia or pseudo hyponatremia . By Wednesday the following week I was completely fine , but I was just lazy and lethargic. After the race I’ve just been looking back at my journey from running my first 5k and sleeping like a baby , to running my first marathon and taking swim classes.  For now, I’m thinking if I should race a full next year? If yes, I want a flat course unlike these technical bike courses where people with better bike skills get the better of me even though I might be more fit than them.

Here are a few post race pics:

I can’t belive I had requested for Jager at the finish line. Was in no state to take a Jager shot.

 

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Here are my race stats:

Pointers for Louisville :

1- The water isn’t the cleanest. If you’re picky on the water quality you might want to consider Lake Placid or Coeur d’ Alene?

2- The race is in Oct which means it’s sort of chilly in the morning but as the day progresses, it gets pleasant.

3- If you like Southern food and Bourbon, you might want to give this a shot? 😉

4- Bike course is rollers and I found it annoying after some time. I am fine with monster hills as long as its one big hill. You grind and get it over with. In Louisville its never fucking ending. I was actually annoyed because of them.

5- Would I recommend this race ? With a rolling start I think it favors swimmers who get anxious with mass starts. There was virtually no contact with people except the time I wanted to pass them. It was my fault , I underestimated my swim ability and did not bother getting in line first. So yes , I would recommend this race . The swim start is one of the reasons besides the finish on 4th street live and the early fall weather.

6- Run is flat:D

Goals for 2017:

1- Break 1:35 on the half marathon

2- Break 5:30 on the 70.3

3- If I race a full Ironman, break 11:30.

 
I haven’t decided what race I am doing next year , but I really want to break 5:30 in the 70.3 distance and get my FTP to 250 watts and break past the 220 Watt barrier.

Also I realized that this sport is pretty expensive and is burning a hole in my pocket. This led me to look for ways to look for additional sources of income – I.e. Bitcoin Mining with a cloud mining company called genesis mining. You all can do your own research but it’s been working out fine for me. If you all could use my code on genesis mining , I can return the favor 🙂

 

 

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Measuring Progress – The Benchmark Test

When training for endurance events such as an Ironman , marathon etc and having a goal time in mind, you need to have the ability to quantify your progress, some sort of a benchmark test. The improvements in your benchmark tests keep you motivated and give you a reason to stay consistent and last but not the least let you know if something is not working. The benchmark tests are sort of a treat for your mind if you see an improvement , consider the benchmarks tests as mini goals and stepping stones towards your bigger goal, when I see an improvement in my benchmark test I am euphoric to see that my training , discipline, hard work is paying of. I get excited for the benchmark test a week before, just to see my hardwork payoff. It gives me  reason to continue doing what I am doing.   Usually people sign up for an Ironman a year in advance. Training aimlessly for a year isn’t fun and you will probably end up lacking motivation or the desire to even get to the start line. Measuring progress and seeing yourself progress is one of the best motivators to keep your head in the  game. So how does one measure progress and what sort of benchmark tests does one do? Well an Ironman consists of 3 legs – the swim, the bike and the run and a bench mark test for each discipline is a good way to make sure you don’t drift away from your end goal.  The benchmark tests also let you know if its time to scale your training zones so you are training efficiently.

You don’t need to complete the exact distance for each discipline (i.e. you do not need to swim 3800 yards or run a marathon every time as a benchmark test) and it’s just impractical and boring and monotonous to swim bike or run those distances just to test yourself . One of the benefits of training for such events is that there is a trickle down effect. So if you’ve been following a training plan which progressively increases in intensity and/or duration, your performances are GOING to improve over the shorter distances as well ( 500 yard swim, 8 min all out effort on the bike and a 10k on the run). These shorter distances are manageable by an everyday athlete, are not extremely toll taking on your body  and just practical from a training point of view .  These shorter benchmark tests are pretty good indicators of your actual race times

Benchmark test for the Swim – Swim a ~500 yard time trial every 8-12 weeks or do a 10 x 50/20 x 50 on the minute at the end of every 4 weeks and see what is the average pace you hold for the intervals. The 10 x 50 can be included as a part of your swim workout, you don’t need a separate  day to this unlike your bike and runs. The 10*50’s/20 x 50’s are short and keep you engaged the entire time since you look at the clock every time you complete 50 yards/meters. The return on investment in the swim is probably the least when compared to the bike and the run, unless of course you are just really bad at swimming and are learning how to swim.

Benchmark test for the Bike – Do a modified FTP ( 2 x 8 minutes) test every 4-6 weeks on your indoor trainer. I do it at the end of every 4 weeks. The reason I use the indoor trainer is straightforward – its a controlled environment every time I take the test and outside variables are eliminated. Imagine an interruption in an all out balls to the wall effort outdoors and you get interrupted by a flat tire half way through? I would be mad and would want to smash something , its just annoying and risky in my opinion. I personally prefer taking an FTP test at the end of the 4th week, because if you follow the traditional training block of 3:1 ( train 3 weeks and recover 1 week), you are essentially fresh for your FTP test.  I do not do a 1 hour FTP test. Instead I do 2 x 8 min all out efforts with recovery in between and then multiply the power average of the two tests  by .90 to get your FTP ( well I don’t do the math, the app – Traineroad does it for me). The 8 min test is very manageable and practical, I don’t think the everyday recreational triathlete or cyclist has what it takes to suffer for one hour and the ability to pace yourself well for an hour without blowing up or going too slow. So for me my FTP test is always in the first week of every month. Taking an FTP test on the first of every month is sort of a monthly thing for me,  the first week of every month I pay my credit card bills, pay my rent , pay my phone bills and take my FTP test. The FTP test ( 2 x 8 min in this scenario) is a workout in itself . The 2 x 8 min FTP test keeps you engaged because you get live feedback on power and you are always kept on the edge to make sure the power number doesn’t go below the number than previous test 4 weeks ago and 8 minutes of pain and agony is very manageable than 60 minutes.

This chart below shows that I improved every time I took my FTP test, hence I have a reason to keep training and get those numbers higher. Keeping a log of your benchmark tests and doing them consistently is a great way to measure progress and see what is working for you and what is not!

FTP progress

 

 

Benchmark test for the Run – I personally do not benchmark my runs myself in the sense I do not take the tests alone, instead I prefer to sign up for a race about 8-12 weeks out and I keep a realistic goal time and then include a shorter race as a benchmark test. So when I was training for Muncie 70.3, I signed up for the Pitts half marathon and kept a goal time of 1:45, but I signed up for a 10 miler about 6 weeks before the Pitts half ( goal within a goal within a goal which helps you achieve THE GOAL – sub 6 hour Muncie 70.3). If you are training for a marathon , a half marathon 4-6 weeks in is a good  benchmark test, if training for a half marathon, a 10k and/or a 10 miler placed withing your training plan is a good way to benchmark your performance.  You could do a time trial by yourself , but what I’ve found is that you can push your self further when you are racing because of the crowd support, volunteers and the availability of nutrition on the course.

So to sum it up – For swimming, a 500 yard time trial in the pool.  For the bike 2 x 8 min efforts on the trainer and for the run , sign up for a shorter distance race. These are the benchmark test which I believe are practical and feasible for the everyday athlete to keep themselves consistent.

Happy training and happy bench marking!

 

Trainerroad base plan review-FTP improvement

First of this isn’t a review of the Traineroad app. There are plenty of reviews for the app and if you are curious to know how does it work just watch their video ( Traineroad in 90 seconds) on YouTube. Also I do not get paid for writing this review, instead I pay ~10/month to Trainerroad. This is a review of their low volume traditional base 1,2 and 3 plan to be precise and it’s correlation in increasing my FTP. When you follow any cycling plan , the standard way of measuring improvement is measuring change in FTP, if your FTP rises you are getting fitter/stronger. So the question, does following a trainerroad plan increase your FTP ? For me, YES!

Did I expect an improvement in my FTP? Yes , since my cycling background is limited. Did I expect a significant increase in my FTP ? No, because this is a low volume plan and its the base phase, not a build/specialty. The goal of the base phase isn’t to raise your FTP, but one of the benefits for a beginner cyclist or for a person who has never followed a structured plan is that no matter what you do , you probably will see some FTP gains.

Their plans are pretty much a one size fits all/cookie cutters but the plans are event specific and you can can pick the volume. They have a base, build and a specialty version for cyclists, cyclocross , triathletes.  Within those they have low , mid and high volume version, so you can see what might be a good fit.  They tell you the stress and number of hours / week in each , so you should be able to decide what works best for you. I don’t think it can better than this where you have 3 version based on volume/number of hours for ~$10/month.

When I first took my FTP test on Trainerroad, I did not own a power meter , all I had was a speed cadence sensor so it was pretty much virtual power. My FTP as per Trainerroad’s virtual power was 109. I know this does not sound much, but from what I observed, the virtual power for my trainer was about 20 Watts lower, but that’s not the point here. To review the plan -the traditional base 1 had me on the bike thrice a week at around 65-75% of my FTP. The duration of the rides went up by 15 each the second week and an additional 15 minutes the third week with the fourth week reserved for recovery i.e. shorter rides. This a very classical/traditional approach where you follow 4 week blocks ( 3 for training and 1 for recovery, and the intensity/duration goes up in the first 3 weeks). After 4 weeks of traditional base Phase 1, it was time to retest my FTP and start with traditional base 2. My new FTP  as per Traineroads virtual power was 122. These 4 weeks in base 1 were nothing but boring and irritating, it had me bike 3 times a week at 65-75% FTP, no intervals nothing. I knew this when I selected traditional base phase 1 but I still whine about it for some reason. But the real time feedback is somewhat like a video game and I was somehow able to complete all the workouts, had I not had an interactive interface like Trainerroad, I probably would not have been able to complete such slow,steady and boring workouts longer than 45 minutes. The 15 min increments every week do a good job in preparing you for the longer rides in base 2 and base 3. You may struggle a bit in the first 3 weeks of base 1 but by the time you in base 2 and base 3,  workouts between 60-90 minutes are no biggie for you then.

I then decided to “invest” in a power meter , now the power meter I opted was the 4iii left crank based power meter. The entire process of finding a dealer remove my bikes left crank arm , order bearings etc for the new crank I had which was 4iii compatible cost me 3 weeks with no biking :(. After 3 weeks of waiting and excited like a lil kid, I took an FTP test again , but with a legit power meter this time, the 4iii power meter gave me an FTP of 145 which is about 20 Watts higher than what my improved FTP was based of virtual power after 4 weeks of traditional base  1, 3 weeks ago. So the 145 is by no means an improvement by sitting on my butt . Its a device actually measuring power and not calculated by Trainerroad based of a speed/cadence sensor and trainer type information.

After measuring my true power I decided to proceed with traditional base low volume II ( after a 3 week break from base 1). This has you on the bike 3 times a week, with the longer rides( ~2 hours) on the weekend and yes they are boring , they were at 65 – 75% FTP, but they weren’t all that bad  because I gotten use to spending time on the trainer thanks to base 1 and the other 2 rides in the middle of the week were tempo and sweetspot based and shorter in duration. The tempo rides went up by 15 min in week 2 and week 3, the longer endurance rides start at 2 hours in the first week and then increase by 15 min in week 2 and week 3. So you end up biking 4,4.5 and 5 hours in weeks 1,2 and 3 with the 4th week reserved for recovery( Again the classical 4 week training block, 3 hard 1 easy). I was religious with the regiment and stuck to it. After 4 weeks it was time to test my FTP again, my new FTP was 160! This was a 15 Watt improvement and I was on the bike only 3 times a week , about 4.1 hours on average/week over a 4 week duration.

Now it was time to proceed with the traditional  base low volume 3. Over here you are on the bike 4 times a week , the long rides are on a weekend at 2.5 hours, there are some tempo rides and some short 5 min interval sessions close to/at your FTP. The base 3 format is slightly different but still traditional, the overall duration of the rides in the 3 weeks is exactly the same at 5:30/week, what changes are length of the intervals and the intensity of intervals around your FTP(I.e. 90, 95,100,105 % FTP for 5 minutes), and you guessed it the fourth week is reserved for recovery. The plan has you do some threshold intervals,sweet spot intervals,tempos and a 2.5 hours endurance ride. The endurance rides remain unchanged through weeks 1-3, the threshold intervals go up in intensity but are for the same duration @ 5 minutes. The sweet spot intervals ( 85% FTP) are of different durations ( 12 min, 15 min etc) but the length of the workout does not change. I did an extra 1 hour ride during one of the weeks because I just felt good and was not a part of the Trainerroad plan , but the same week I did not pay attention to my on  nutrition and blew up in one of my long rides on the weekend. I had to cut it short by an hour or so. Fast forward to the FTP test after 4 weeks, my new FTP was at 171 as per Trainerroad . I did go out too hard on the first interval and saw a steady decline towards the end of it , and the second interval was fairly even paced. Since Traineroad averages the 2 , and I was toast from the first one and looking at my FTP test history, one of the 8 min intervals is always lower than the other by about 6-8 Watts, so I think 171 is still pretty accurate. For some reason the first minute I was  ~230 Watts on my first 8 min interval and I felt I could hold and was elated because the last time I did this test I had hit 180 in the 8 min interval, so in my head I was thinking I’ve made a 50 watt jump in 4 weeks, but soon shit got real I started fading :(. Pacing yourself for all out 8 min intervals is tough and you learn from it. I don’t know why , but when I hit 230 I felt it was sustainable at the time.

Here is a pic of my 8 min test at the end of base 3 using a legit power meter(4iii) and you can see me fade in the first 8 min interval.

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Here is a pic of the first time I took the 8 min test at beginning of phase 2 using a legit power meter ( 4iii)

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As you can see, I was around the 159/166 mark in the 8 min interval compared to one above where I was around 184 even after blowing up on the first all out 8 min interval. To put things in perspective, 145 was my FTP ( calculated at 90 percent of the average power held in the two 8 min intervals) at the beginning of Base 2, a power I could probably sustain for an hour. Now my FTP is 171 ( calculated at 90 percent of the average power held in the two 8 min intervals) and 145 is about 85% of my present FTP ( 171), in about 8 weeks 145 went from being my FTP to now my sweet spot interval! Efforts which I should be able to sustain well over an hour without fatiguing too much and still being able to bounce back the next day.

It is going to be inaccurate to say I jumped from 109 to 171 in 12 weeks , as the 109 was measured by virtual power and the 171 was measured by an actual power meter. To summarize – yes my FTP went up even in the traditional base low volume base phase and it went up every 4 weeks. To give you an idea to my riding ability, I rode a 3:01 at Muncie 70.3 which is a flat course before I ever used Traineroad. So consider me an average or slightly below average rider. That was my first time biking 56 miles, I had just trained randomly using Spinervals and/or watching netflix and all based of perceived effort.  So if your riding ability is close to mine or not as good as mine, you can be rest assured than even a low volume base plan will lead to pretty decent improvements.

Here is a breakdown of my improvements:

Traditional base low volume 1

Initial FTP – 109 ( Virtual Power)

FTP after 4 weeks – 122 ( Virtual Power)

Improvement – 11.92% or 13 Watts

( 3 week break to install a power meter)

Traditional base low volume 2

Initial FTP – 145 ( 4iii precision)

FTP after 4 weeks – 160 Watts

Improvement – 10.35% or 15 Watts

Traditional base low volume 3

Initial FTP – 160 ( end of base 2)

FTP after 4 weeks – 171 Watts

Improvement – 6. 87 % or 11 Watts

Improvement in last 8 weeks – 145 Watts to 171 ( i.e. 17.93 % or 26 Watts )

Improvement in Watts/Kg in last 8 weeks at FTP – 2.28 to 2.68.

Whats next? Its a week before New Years and I need to travel for a week to see my better half which means no more of pain cave for the next week or so.  Once I am back , I plan to follow the last 4 weeks of Trainerroads triathlon base plan for about 12 weeks ( they just added this). I asked them if I should just repeat traditional base phase 3 multiple times till march or should I switch to their triathlon base plan which is about 12 weeks. Trainerroad recommended I continue training using the last 4-6 weeks from the triathlon base phase instead of starting from week 1 and repeat it till I decide to move on to the build phase( march).

So in terms of improvement and the plan review, I believe your FTP is expected to rise the maximum in the build phase and that is what Traineroad says as well and I do believe it will rise for me and the majority of you if you stick to their plan. For a mediocre cyclist like me, even a low volume traditional base plan lead to some FTP gains. They have a variety of base plans to chose from ( sweet spot, traditional, sprint, olympic, half and full iron distances).  I expect that you would probably see better gains if you select a higher volume plan but you need to stick to it. So would I recommend Trainerroad plans? YES!! . Will their plans work for the majority of the cycling/multi sport community. I am inclined to say a Yes, for someone who is already very good and usually podiums I am sure they know what they are doing and probably need to work on specific weaknesses and probably need to select a higher volume plan. For the majority of the mortals with a job and are who are just entering into the realm of endurance sports, Traineroad is a no brainer at a fraction of the cost of a coach and yes it is better than you aimlessly spinning or going of perceived effort.

Will Traineroad plan get you to Kona? That is a lil tricky to answer for me for various reasons ,1-  I am not a certified coach and 2- I’ve not been to Kona. But I believe if you follow their high volume plan and cycling is your weakest leg, it’s a very good starting point without a coach and if you just Facebook them or shoot them an email, they can tell you if something needs to be added/tweaked to the traineroad plan you are following. Folks at Trainerroad are very responsive to messages, however they are not your personal coach but if you need a general guideline in terms of increasing the number/duration/intensity of workouts,  folks at Traineroad will be more than happy to help you with that. I’ve personally asked them questions before and I usually get a response the same day or the next day and they actually go out of the way and ask you if your issue/concern was solved!! Also they have a shitload of workouts to pick from each with a specific purpose , so if you are knowledgeable and know what aspect of your cycling fitness you want to work on, you can just pick a workout from their never ending list and do it.

So for those of you reading this, wondering if you should spend ~$10/ month on Traineeroad and wondering if the software or the plans are worth it. I would say , its probably the single best investment you can make. If you are paying ~$30/ month for a gym membership and you attend spin classes over there, I would suggest cancel that and spend ~$10/month on traineroad.

I will probably do a build plan review as well, but that means 8 weeks from the time I decide to do it. I hope my gains are more in build phase and I cross the 3.0 mark in Watts/Kg at FTP. If I can do that I will probably have a shot at a sub 6 IM bike split.

If you wanted to see the workouts I did and do some of your own analysis, here is the link to my career:

My base 1 started on Sept 1, 2015 and I was done with base 3 on Dec 19, 2015 and took my FTP test on Dec 20, 2015.

Happy Training!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report

This was my first 70.3 distance race. This race is proof that anything is possible. I ran my first 5k in 2012 and was dying, 2013 I ran a half marathon, 2014 I ran my first full and in 2015 I had completed a sprint and an Olympic distance tri in the last 2 months leading up to Muncie in July. Never in my wildest dreams in 2012 did I ever think that running a marathon was possible, forget completing a run after swimming and biking.It was my buddy Shariq ( my guru) who made me sign up for my first 5k and I think its  awesome to complete the 70.3 with him(its his first 70.3 as well). In Jan 2015 I could barely swim 2 laps in the pool unbroken, the thought of swimming a mile seemed insane but I did find a coach and after spending 4 days a week in the pool, things worked out well.  I did not follow a structured triathlon plan, just Swam Bike and Ran when I felt like and made sure I hit each discipline at least twice a week.I was pretty confident heading into race since whatever could have possibly gone wrong had gone wrong  in my Olympic tri in Detroit. The only thing I was concerned about was the rain, I was hoping it did not rain during the swim portion of the race.

I did a lot of research prior to deciding on taking Muncie as my first. I could drive down, I was fine with it being hot but did not want to pick a race if there was even a slight possibility of it being chilly. I guess when you’re born and brought up in the Indian subcontinent , you’re not really a big fan of the winter. Reading about Muncie in other blogs, it was crystal clear that the bike course was going to be flat and the run was hilly.

Pre Race

I had booked this place called Muncie Inn and reached Wednesday night. The place seemed pretty shady and the rooms weren’t spectacular, no microwave no fridge, but I was no in mood to figure stuff out at 11 PM and a find a better motel keeping in mind that I had to pick my buddy up the following  morning at 5 AM from Indianapolis . We just chilled on Thursday, got our bikes serviced from a bike shop, picked up my girlfriend from the greyhound station at 10 PM and hit the bed.

Friday I was all pumped for the expo/packet pickup, it wasn’t raining that much just drizzling occasionally. We got to see some kick ass bikes with shiny ass carbon wheels and all I could think was damn it makes your bike look fast , and for those of you unfamiliar with carbon wheels, its getting the latest alloy wheels but they make you go slightly faster and are expensive as fuck (~1800/wheel)!

Race packet pick up was pretty organized, we were given out swag bags, swag t shirts signed waivers,tracking anklets, bibs .

After that it was just us checking out the expo and my buddy and I were trying to figure out the swim course since they hadn’t laid out all the buoys. People were already talking about the race not being wetsuit legal since the water temperature was around 73 and it was raining the entire week. Personally I was hoping for a non wetsuit legal swim just because I felt more comfortable without the wetsuit the last time I practiced an open water swim.

In the evening, my buddy and I decided to bike for 15 min and run for about 10-15 min just to get ourselves ready for race day.

Race Day

We got up early, but not early enough. We had picked up oatmeal, bananas , bars from Walmart the night before , went down to the front desk and used the common microwave they had in some backroom. Got our breakfast in , racked our bikes, tossed everything into the car and drove down Praire Creek. It was a welcome site to see a traffic jam at 5 15 AM with bikes raced on the cars. We did find parking, unracked our bikes from the car , pumped the tires and started walking towards the transition areas to set up our bikes. My girlfriend wasn’t racing but she was equally a part of it, she carried our wetsuits , held our swim caps etc while we waited in line for the Port O Johns and took a ton of pictures of/for us.

The 25-29 was the last age group wave for the swim, so we had time to lube our necks up and take our own sweet time to get into the fucking annoying wetsuit, the swim course was marked by 19 buoys, yes 19, every 100m there was a buoy.

Swim

We got about 2 min in the water before we started, me and my buddy wished each other good luck and we just waited for the countdown so we could get started. I was aiming for a swim around 40 minutes and I knew if I felt really good I could push it to about 38. Shariq and I started somewhere in the middle of the pack towards the right hand side, I dint get punched or kicked in the face so I was happy about that. The swim was pretty smooth, it was a wave start and before the turn buoy I realized I had caught up with people from the previous age group, so it was a confidence booster. I had to maneuver around them but nothing crazy since people were spread out after the first few 100 meters. One of other goals was to try and beat Shariq in the swim and the bike coz I knew he was gonna destroy me in the run by a margin of about 25-30 minutes. The swim is an elongated rectangle but I felt reluctant to push the pace thinking what if I tire out! But i just pushed it a bit in the last 300 meters or so and I went down straight to the wetsuit strippers, it took a few tries but it was faster the time I would have taken to get out of it. I saw my watch , it said 42 minutes and change, I was satisfied with the time.

Official Time : 41:41

Here is the map of the swim course:

muncie70 3 swim tbt 2015

Bike

The bike was a 2 loop out and back course. The first stretch before you get onto the rural highway which is closed to traffic was extremely bumpy. I saw water bottles fling out and before I realized my repair kit under the seat fell of. By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late to go back and get it. From there onward I just prayed that I don’t get a flat and if I do hopefully my buddy is behind me and he sees me and throws me an extra tube, CO2 canister and a tire level.

This would have been my first 50 mile bike, the longest I had ridden outdoors was 24 miles or so in the Olympic distance race and the longest on the indoor trainer was about 26 miles.But I was confident because I knew if i could grind out 26 on the trainer which has a lot more resistance I could probably do 50 on the bike without worrying too much. I do not have a power meter, I was relying on Garmin speed/cadence sensor. My goal was to keep my cadence around 90. Strategy was simple just bike at an effort which comes naturally, if the cadence is higher than 90, go to a harder gear , if the cadence is below 90 , go to an easier gear.  I was overtaking a lot of people so that felt good , but the strong bikers from the previous age groups with bikes worth $6000 and carbon wheels were flying past me . On your way back there is a slight downhillso I decided to push a bit harder to make the most of it. My goal was to finish the bike leg in under 3 hours. In the last 1 hour I was doing the math and looking at my watch and realized I would be cutting it close to 3 hours and I ended up with a time of 3:01 with no flats and no sign of my buddy yet. I was hoping he was still behind me. In my head I was like last one mile go on an easier gear and spin so your legs are ready for the run. I was confident thinking about the run, and was thinking I feel good, I will probably have a sub 2 hour half marathon at 9:10 a mile and i am having an amazing race so far.

Here is a pic of me looking pro on my bike and overtaking some of the age groupers since ours was the last age group(25-29) !

1096_012311

Official Time : 3:01:46

Run

Here is where i was like BHENCHOD/FUCK , I cant feel my legs, this is not what I expected it to be. I’ve never had my legs feel like jelly before, this is the time I thought now I see why they ask you to do BRICK workouts! I was like its alright, it takes about 2 miles before you get into your rhythm. But wait, Muncie’s run is a rolling hill course, before I realized it I was walking up a hill ( there goes my goal for completing the the race unbroken!) ,I  looked at my watch ,was over 9:20 min a mile. I was like no biggie another mile or so, il be in my zone and I’ll be fine. But geez, the run course is like  a Sin Wave, up down up down..aagh. At 2.6 miles I heard someone say bhaag(run)! I knew it was my buddy, before I turned around he was next to me and smiled and he was flying !!. I yelled back at him, and a lady behind me was like you guys have a lot of energy. I was like not me, look at him go. To put things in perspective he ran the half in 1:34 at about 7:14 a mile. I could run that pace maybe for a 5k , but that’s about it. I knew there was no way I was gonna catch him, my new goal to try and reduce the deficit between our times and finish sub 6.

The volunteers were exceptional on the run course, they had aid stations at every mile of the course. I used everything Gatorade, flat coke., stuffed ice in my tri suit , used water sponges, gels. Anything which I thought could be useful i used it. I did have to stop for a pee break once. Finally i tried to keep up with someone ahead of me but in the end its just you confronting your inner demons. I kept  looking at my overall time and wanted to ensure I finish under 6 hours. In the end I did run the last 2 miles unbroken, tried to sprint the last quarter of a mile or so, raised my hands before the finish line, saw the photographer and decided to jump and punch the air for a good photo finish.

finish lne

Official Time : 2:07:35

Overall race result : 5:56:41

muncie

Useful Information on Muncie;

1- They did not have the pros race this year, it was just age groupers.

2- You might want to a motel in Anderson , about 20 minutes away from the the creek The motels in the area near by seemed really shady and sucked.

3- Muncie is rural, I thought I had seen rural but driving down and around Muncie I felt rural was an understatement.

4- Looking at the record so far, Muncie is expected to be non wetsuit legal and is used as a prep race for Ironman Louiville which has traditionally also been non wetsuit legal.

5- I think its a decent race for first timers, since the water is pretty calm and the bike course is flat!

#70-3, #halfironman, #muncie70-3