Yesterday, I had a terrific 110-mile ride and kinda solid 2.8 mile run afterwards. Only problem is, I can't prove it. My Garmin 910XT crapped out on me again. And I didn't use Strava mobile as a backup, like an idiot.
I can share that I averaged almost 19.5 mph (first 30 minutes were sub-15 mph warmup) without hardly straying into my tempo heartrate zone three even with an hour-long head-crosswind from miles 75-95. I think. Or at least that's how I felt. Since I took a blood lactate threshold test a couple weeks ago, I changed my power training zones, dutifully staying within them on this long ride and felt great. I'm pretty sure I was reaching a bit with my previous estimated FTP and my new settings felt natural, doable and most important, comfortable for an Ironman pace.
Now, I'm left trying to find additional clues WHY my ride went so well, without actually having any proof that it did. It's like trying to solve a murder mystery without a body, but instead of a body we're looking for heaps of candy -- which is a whole lot nicer.
Below is what I think led to my ride being a "success" -- at least in my own mind. So often we try to figure out what went wrong. How often do we look back to replicate what went right?
First, what's the statute of limitations when it comes to a contributing factor to a successful workout? A day before? Week? Longer? I'm going to stick with 24 hours in this case.
- After a Tower 26 swim, instead of going straight to my long run I listened to my body and ate a massive breakfast consisting of granola pancakes, eggs and sausage. Proper fueling.
- During my long run, which commenced just before noon, I chose a course where I could replace a water bottle and grab a quick snack 2/3 of the way through the workout. Proper fueling. (I did experiment with chia seed-infused water, and that's something I may need to try again before deciding if it works. So far, the report is no-go for race day.)
- During my long run, I stayed mostly within my prescribed heart rate zones, though I did over-exert myself the last 15 minutes. Mostly proper pacing.
- After my long run, I immediately drank a recovery shake from Whole Foods, along with a sandwich. I'm not always the best at eating within 30 minutes of a workout. This day, I was. I also popped a Herbalife 24 "Restore" pill to reduce muscle inflammation. Proper recovery.
- Despite literally losing four pounds from the run, I was able to put the weight back on with two dinners, and slept a little more than seven hours. Proper recovery.
- My friend Christophe and I chose a bike route that simulated Ironman Arizona's course and allowed for a well-timed refueling stop.
- I packed plenty of nutrition, including five bottles of sports drink (six would have been better), several Bonk Breakers, a coconut water, banana and bagel with peanut butter for my simulated "special needs" stop. Proper fueling. I literally ate almost everything I packed over the 3,300-calorie ride, including four Bonk Breakers, two Honey Stinger waffles, bagel, all five bottles and the coconut water. Total estimated calories consumed: 1,800.
- Before the ride, I ate a bowl of oatmeal with almonds, raisins, peanut butter and cinnamon. My usual pre-ride breakfast. I've been adding Herbalife 24 "Prepare" powder to a glass of water before big workouts, and that definitely gives me a kick. Proper fueling, again.
- I wore my Kask Bambino aero helmet, minus the wind visor. Unlike Ironman 70.3 Silverman, I didn't feel like I was overheating. Proper preparation.
- I rode my own ride, staying within my watts goals for zone 2 and 3. No pressure to over-exert myself. Proper pacing.
- Related, I replaced my power meter battery and used EKG gel on my heart rate strap to correct for wildly inaccurate heart rate readings lately. More accurate data led to proper pacing.
Today, I woke up having slept nine hours. While I can feel yesterday's ride and run, I'm not sore. Gerardo told me to skip the previously scheduled bike ride today to focus more on recovery, though I have a strength session with Corey at lunch. I'm actually looking forward to it.
So, Sherlock Holmes... I'm not. But I don't need to be either. Proper fueling + proper pacing + proper recovery = strong performance. It doesn't have to be complicated. Simplify, man!
Performance reflects preparation.