Saturday, October 23, 2010

Big Day Number 2 is in the books

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I know most of you have read about the "Big Day" and its dual purpose of just a killer peak workout while at the same time being the closest thing to an IRONMAN race simulation available. The idea of the Big Day came from Joe Friel, the author of the Triathlon Training Bible and whose methods are where much of my training is started. You can read a great description here .

Anyway, my first Big Day went very well and to be honest, I thought I was being pretty conservative. The first go around was a month ago and the weather was horrible, chilly and rainy for the bike. I was able to push 160 Watts on the bike and that is comfortably in my "endurance" range. I then went on my run and pushed the run harder than what Coach Jennifer at TriSmart wanted me to but I was able to hold the run pace for the entire two hours. Following several emails and some conversations with Jennifer, we thought that the first Big Day was solid and set a base line tempo that we both felt comfortable with and that I could use on race day. After some conversation, we decided that this time I was going to push the bike harder and see if my results on my run remained solid. If I push the bike and can't hold my run pace that is very telling. If I push the bike and have an equal run, I can change my race plan and push the bike watts per my second big day.

This workout has to get in this weekend or I miss it entirely. The intensity is such that it has to fall immediately before a recovery week (next week) and my builds, recovery, and taper weeks are all scheduled so that I peak the week of IMAZ so get Big Day 2 in this weekend or don't do it at all. Now, for those of you that know me I have OCD about certain thing and the culmination of 2 years of training and a lifetime goal falls into one of those categories. The day of the race will come and many many many things I will not be able to control, however, I want to take as much guess work out of the day as possible so that I can focus on suprises that are bound to arise. Pacing is one of the biggies so looking at the forecast for this weekend being windy and rainy (it is clear as a bell BTW right now) I decided to take a PTO day off work and do my Big Day on Friday and that is what I did.

So, Thursday night I had a short 45 minute run. I ran for about 2 minutes on the treadmill and had to stop because my back hurt so bad. I could have pushed through but I thought it was more important to rest and HOPEFULLY improve enought that I could get my Friday workout in. Same went for my shoulder, take it easy, it was getting better so do nothing on Thursday and give everything one more day of rest.

I was up early, went to the pool with many many old people and got my one hour swim in relatively pain free. My shoulder wasn't 100% but it cooperated enough that it didn't get any worse. I swam slighly off my goal pace but that was expected. It was a much better swim that what it could have been. Jennifer and I decided going in that if my back or shoulder didn't workout I would "bag" the swim and move on. Fortunately, I didn't have to do that.

The Bike:
I was on the bike right on time at 9:00am and once I got out of town I pushed up my watts and rode. It was pretty windy but not horrible. At some moments I was 24MPH and others I was at 15, that is just how it goes but the good news was that I was between 170 and 175 watts the entire time. My legs were feeling fatigued but they should at 90 miles. My avg speed was a little over 18MPH which is good, I would be super pleased if I could get that to 18.5 on race day but that is up to the conditions of the day. I got home, called Rene and told her I was off the bike (she worries on the long rides). Rested per the "Big Day" rules then headed out on the run.

The Run:
I started my run conservatively but to my amazement I really had to focus on pulling back on my pace at the beginning. My legs felt surprisingly good and for the first 1/4 mile I was running sub 8 min miles ~ WAY TO FAST ~ so I pulled back and settled in at my goal pace of 9:00 m/m. This time I took my fuel belt with one flast of EFS nutrition mixed with water and 3 flasks of water (last time I ran out). Again, part of the big day is to learn what works and learn from what doesn't and this day was no exception. I then focused on keeping my pace in the 9:00 m/m range. Here are my run splits:

As you can see, my splits are dead on with no degradation over time which was the fear. Jennifer and I still need to review everything but it looks like Big Day two was a success.

Just a general note about the Big Day workouts, THEY ARE TOUGH and to date they are as hard as my 1/2 Ironmen that I have done. As hard as these are, it is difficult for me to fathom how hard the race will be. I will be biking for another 1-2 hours and then running for another 2-3 hours more than yesterday. It will be punishing but all worth it in the end.

Today I am resting - sort of - and I feel amazingly well. I had a muscle cramp in my lower shoulder all day until I went to bed, woke up this morning and it was gone. Yeah.... My back is sore but doing much better and so is my shoulder. Maybe all that I needed was a tough day on the road.

I will probably take it easy tomorrow as well but next week is a lighter training week maintaining fitness and lowering stress... Time to walk the fine line.

All for now, have a great weekend! I think I will even have a beer or two at supper tonight!

Take care


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