Marraskuu. Marraskuu… Se olisi ihan tarpeeksi hyvä syy kirjoittaa suomeksi tai vaikkapa savoksi, mutta eipäs nyt retkahdeta. Ruodussa kun on melkein aina hyvä pysyä.
November. The darkest month of the year didn’t surprise this year either. It has been stupidly dark, wet and tiring, except a few sunny, winter-like days. On one of the few sunny cold days I managed even to go skiing and caught a feeling of March, until I had to come back to reality and November. And after that November has felt looooong.
Instead of falling into desperation and counting days to spring days when we can cycle outdoors on clean roads – which has been quite near though – I started training towards next year’s challenges (read: Kona, Kona, YES freaking Kona). I’ve trained now 3 weeks according Mette’s coaching plan and noticed that I have a lot to learn about triathlon training! I feel like a newbie who with some luck managed to put a decent race season this year and got a ticket to the hot, humid and windy island in Hawaii. Little did I know about watt-based cycling training earlier! Or how wrong my body position is while swimming.
I train now with 3-1 schedule: 3 hard weeks, 1 easy week without tough quality trainings. Although I followed similar structure (3-1 or 2-1) when competing in running, last year was quite unorganized. In terms of training hours, I clocked a hard week almost every week from February until the end of September. However, the intensity was often quite low, especially in winter and early spring. I usually did only 1, max 2, quality training per sport per week. Of course there were some easier weeks too, but more like in unplanned manner (= I was sick, friends visited me, I visited Helsinki) or on important race weeks. Rest days of the entire year can be counted with three hands’ fingers, if sick days are not counted. When I now heard that there will be one rest day per week (or only a swimming day), I almost freaked out. WHAT CAN I DO THEN? I have no other life… After three first training weeks, I got the point of resting. Legs were tired and rest was welcome. Giving coach access to my Garmin account is a good way to ensure that I don’t do my secret runs and rides, since who can anymore train without having a GPS & HR clock?
The first training week was quite horrible. It was a shock both to mind and soul, although my offseason was far from only laying on sofa and eating chips. I would call my offseason more like “kostrening” (kos – the most horrible Norwegian word) – training what comes to my mind and which I enjoy the most, staying mostly in the comfort zone: at times a little too hard to be easy, but too easy to be quality training. On the first training week, I struggled with my mind to cycle a FTP test, run hard in VO2 max test, and even swim hard in CSS test. When I finally pushed my self through the FTP test, I was extremely happy I could even finish it. And apparently I finished it so well (in relation to my November condition) that it was tough to keep the target watts in other cycling trainings in November. I’ve cycled now 2 interval sessions per week almost drowning to my own sweat, until I bought a fan… Lucky looser. VO2 max in running wasn’t yet above 70, which was quite big disappointment to me. A wiser person could ask what can I suspect if the amount of tempo and interval runs during the last 5 weeks is zero and fitness is bad. I was still more optimistic about my November state. However, it was nice to hear that my threshold pace is faster than in my earlier similar measurements and actually not very bad. Lack of intervals during the last month was just very visible in the test.
After the VO2 max test I’ve already done a bunch of interval sessions on treadmill (yes, I’ve skipped intervals on dark and rainy streets) and have luckily witnessed again one nice fact: training helps. Fitness and pace have been better each time. The interval sessions have included both short and semi-long reps, from 1 min to 1 km. Easy runs in autumn weather are still the best though.
CSS swim test showed that my swimming speed is better than last winter and maybe also this summer, but the relation between 400m and 200m is bad. Thus, I of course hated the test after doing it, while it gave a shitty result. I wondered how my CSS pace can be worse than earlier if I swim 400m 5s/100m faster and 200m much faster. Because of the calculation pattern… I managed to forget the test result in a day (true story, I don’t remember the times anymore) and enjoy again swim trainings. I’ve struggled a little with sore shoulders and have been forced to spend money on expensive massages, but they have seemed to help.