Remember me … 🤔

Remember me?

I have been remiss. For the past few weeks I have had family visiting at the cottage, and little time to post. They left at the beginning of the week, so I’m back 😂

A lot has happened in the past 3 weeks. We caught a lot of fish. Northern Pike and Smallmouth bass mostly. We paddled and explored the water in the canoe and kayak. We enjoyed shoreline fires in the evening watching the sunset glisten off the water. I read several murder mysteries. The perfect cottage read. And, we swam continually. Summer finally arrived in these parts.

I cycled most days, 35-75 kilometres, visited the gym at least once a week to do squats, and lunges, in preparation for the Horseshoe Valley Century ride. I completed the century ride last weekend, and was pleased with my result, but was surprised with all of the climbing, 1,200 metres of it throughout the entire course. I finished in 4 hours, averaging just under 25 kph, and felt good afterward. My goal this summer was to complete the century in good time (I was happy with it), and get down to 160 pounds. I tipped 161 on the scales today, so not far off, with a week left. My optimum cycling weight is 155-160 pounds. All of this is in preparation for the Whistler GranFondo in September. It is a 122 km course with 1,900 metres of climbing. Longer, and more climbing.

And, I buzzed my beard off, the day after saying how much I liked it. I was by myself, got the buzzer out, and decided I needed a change. I liked it but have to admit it was a food magnet. I no longer have any grey 😂 and am told I look younger. That’s a good thing. Right? I thought I might lose all my strength, but completed this morning’s ride in record time with less effort. Maybe the beard was slowing me down.

I track a lot of numbers. I’m a slave to them. But they keep my training focused. Among other things, I record my resting heart rate (RHR) first thing every morning. I use it to determine if I am adequately recovered for another workout. 2 months ago when I first arrived at the cottage to train (Camp PedalWORKS), I was pleased if I recorded a RHR in the mid forties. 42 was unusual. After 2 months of “polarized” training and regular gym visits, my RHR is often in the 30’s. I have seen it as low as 34 bpm. This morning it was 37. The new normal. This tells me that regular cycling, cottage life, and being alone more frequently agrees with me.

It has been a good visit this year.

 

A 4-week training schedule … 🤔

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I am on a 4 week training schedule. I begin the month with a week with more rest, and less intensity. As the weeks progress, I gradually increase the duration, and intensity of the workouts, building on the previous month’s efforts.

I have just completed week 4. This week will see more rest, and less intensity. I will still cycle, but will reduce the mileage, ride 4 days instead of 5 or 6. And, I’ll still visit the gym, but do fewer reps. This is a recovery week.  A week enabling the body to fully recover from the stresses of the past four weeks.

This is also a time to reflect on the past 4 week cycle. I track a lot of numbers. Too many numbers some think. I track my weekly sleep patterns, RHRs, average speed, and time spent in each heart rate training zone. I do this to see if my fitness is improving, or not. This way I can adjust my workout schedule accordingly.

This is what I discovered.

  1. I lost 6 pounds. One of my objectives was to get to my optimum weight by the end of July which means I need to lose 4 more pounds.
  2. My average resting heart rate (RHR) went down by 6 beats, from 47 to 41. I use my RHR to monitor recovery. I know when it is lower, I am fully recovered. And, when it is higher, I need to schedule a rest day, or lower the intensity of workouts. Last week, my RHR was a low as 34 beats / minute, the lowest I have ever recorded.
  3. Despite the unusually wet weather, I averaged 200 km / week on the bike. When it rains, I normally do not ride. And, these 800 km are training km, not recreational rides.
  4. I spent 72% of ride time in Heart Rate Training Zone 1, and 15% in the higher, more intense zones. The goal with Polarized training is to spend 80% in Zone 1, and 20% in higher zones.
  5. I averaged over 5 hours of “deep” sleep every night. This is the sleep needed to fully recover.
  6. My average cycling speed was 24 kph. Given the high winds throughout the month, this is relatively fast. Every ride I battled a westerly headwind that would reduce my speed to 15-20 kph. Otherwise, I recorded 25-35 kph speeds, sometimes higher.
  7. My average cadence was 86 rpm. I spent most of the 800 km on the small chainring, trying to maintain a cadence of 90-100. Apart from the headwinds and a few climbs, I was able to do that.
  8. And, I learned that high repetition body weight exercises has strengthened my legs and core. I wasn’t sure. I am accustomed to lifting weights in the gym. High rep squats, lunges, hamstring curls using an exercise ball, windshield wipers, sit-ups, and leg lifts have strengthened my legs and core.

So, what is next? More of the same. More distance. Higher intensity. And, more reps.

I have a century ride schedule in 3 weeks. I plan a 75-80 km this weekend to get used to the distance. And, the week before the century, I’ll taper by reducing the volume, but keeping the intensity high.

And, I’ll maintain the same low fat, vegetarian diet of cereal with unsweetened almond milk, stir fry vegetables, vegetable and tofu wraps, vegetable frittatas, veggie burgers, homemade energy gels made with dates, raisins, lemon and lime juice, and peanut butter, and homemade post-ride smoothies made with berries, banana, peanut butter, and almond milk.