Testing completed…Ironman goals updated

Interesting week, with the first bike and run tests of the new season completed…and very happy with how I executed them both…particularly considering that I haven’t done a maximal speed test in quite some time…so time to re-evaluate my training goals.

On November 27, 2010 I wrote about my 12 hour goal for Ironman Florida in 2011

And on December 6, 2010, broke down the bike further into a 20MPH goal…and felt that I’d need a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) of 285 Watts to be in a position to race at 20MPH

And on December 7, 2010, broke the run down to a 4:35 goal…and felt that I’d need a minimum 41 vDOT in a 5K test to get there

So a month later, my testing this week confirms my current position as a 249W (although with a more perfect test, maybe 255-260W) FTP, and 37 vDOT…and I’m feeling confident, that if the old body stays intact, my target 285 FTP and 41 vDOT are both doable….although frankly, both goals are an ambitious increase from my current fitness level.

My training plan for the next 14 weeks is primarily focused on Short, Fast and Hard workouts…to move these two test numbers up.  I then shift focus to the 12 week race preparation for the Vancouver Half Iron race…turning the Fast into Long….and then a 4-6 week transition and then a 12-14 week race preparation for Ironman Florida. Once past the first 14 weeks of the year, I wouldn’t expect my FTP or vDOT numbers to improve much, if at all…the idea is to be able to apply whatever speed I have 14 weeks from now, to the longer distances.

Whether I get there or not, I think is largely a matter of how much recovery time I’ll need between intense workouts…and therefore how much I may need to cut back the intensity or time-at-intensity of planned workouts…and therefore how much total high intensity work that I can get in over the next 14 weeks…so there’s bound to be some goal adjustment depending on how it all goes.

In terms of the bike, I have confidence that I can get there…although a bit of a reality check…I’ve _never_ been at a 285W FTP before…so on that criteria, ambitious to say the least…although for some obscure reason, my current 249W FTP, is almost my lifetime high number (250W for CP30 in 2006)

…although I always ‘zero’ the PowerTap at the beginning of every ride, that reminds me that it’s also time to get the PowerTap wheels sent in for service to get the calibration checked 🙂

In terms of the run, _if_ the bum knee holds up, I’m confident that I can get to a 41 vDOT. Since I’ve done so little speed work over the past few years,  I feel that I have a lot of room for speed improvement once I wake up the legs.  Fundamental to getting there will also be to lose 10 pounds in the next 14 weeks.  If it’s fat and not muscle, that theoretically gives me an extra minute in the 5K, and therefore a ‘free’ 2 vDOT points, so my 37 becomes a 39 starting point…I _really_ like the odds then.

Oh…and there is that swimming thing.  As I look at where I want to be on the bike and the run, as I’ve written earlier, I can see where the swimming may need to take a back seat for the next few months.  My general plan is to do a lesson/drills on Monday and form-focused-speed on Friday each week…I plan to adjust these if I feel that they’re interfering at all with the recovery for the bike and run workouts.

So what if Ironman Florida was 12 weeks away…today

Let’s see what my perfectly executed race plan would be, with my current numbers…I’ll use a 1:30 swim and 2 x 10 minute transitions for the calculation.

On the bike a 249W FTP …means that my race should be run at 70% of that (okay there’s a range, but I’ll use a single number for these purposes), so 249 x 70% = 174.3W, so let’s call it 175W.   In Ironman Florida 2009, I averaged 173W for an average speed of 18.6MPH, and a time of 6:01:44…in 2008 Ironman Florida I averaged exactly the same 173W (how freaky is that) for 18.9MPH, and a total time of 5:56:04…so let’s call it a 6 hour bike ride to be a hair conservative.

On the run, a 37 vDOT…means that my run ‘potential’ is a 10:49 pace, or a 4:43:36. so let’s call it 4:45 for a round number.

This all adds up to a 12:35:00 Ironman, with great conditions, and perfect race day execution:

  • 00:20:00: transitions at 2x 10 minutes
  • 01:30:00: swim
  • 06:00:00: bike
  • 04:45:00: run

So to get to a 12 hour potential, I’m going to need 35 minutes somewhere in the next 10 months.  Although there may be a few minutes in those transitions, I’m going to leave that for now, since the transition times could also easily be higher on race day, based on ‘bodily needs’.

  • 10 minutes: Swim: should be there
  • 20 minutes: Bike: If I can race plan at 200W, that would give me 24 minutes here (20MPH = 5:36:00)…so an FTP of 285W x 70% = 199.5W
  • 10 minutes: Run: although I’ve not run to my ‘potential’ in Ironman races so far…but it could be that I was actually pressing harder on the bike than I really should have, given my actual fitness level…a 41 vDOT would give me a 9:59/mile potential in the run, for a 4:21 potential, so 4:35 ‘should’ be doable

Sooo, it still feels ambitious…like a ‘stretch’ ambitious…but still doable…I guess if I can keep it that way all the way to race day, then in reality I will have achieved my current triathlon goal for the year…which is to show up on race day with a 12 hour potential for Ironman Florida.

To actually be able to convert that 12 hour potential into a 12 hour Ironman race, would be triple bonus points…but I see race day execution as a very separate and distinct goal from the training goals.

As funny as it may seem, for me it’s really more about the training ‘numbers’ than the racing ‘numbers’…and the associated life style…exercise and diet…that it encourages me to follow…and the great people that I meet and hang out with along the way as a result.

And of course, it wouldn’t be half as much fun for me to write this story after the fact, as it is going forward…it’ll be very interesting to see what ‘life happens’ stuff disturbes the perfect training plan…hopefully it’s not too jarring…and what adjustments that I’ll need to make to my ‘goal’ ideas…and ultimately what the gods of Ironman fate have in store on race day.

Having said all that…
I think it’s fair to say that you’ll never achieve a goal if you don’t have one 🙂

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