Week 8 was another one in which I could feel the progress coming along nicely. I trained for 22 hours total swimming 12,500 yards, biking 181 miles, and running 50 miles. I had my longest single day in all three disciplines. On Thursday my swim workout totaled 5,400 yards which was my biggest swim workout yet this year. My longest run of the year was Saturday at 85 minutes or 12 miles, and my longest bike ride this year was in beautiful weather on Sunday when I felt very strong riding 60 miles. In fact, this week I had my first two outdoor rides of the year and didn't know how I would feel after spending a lot of time on the trainer without doing much intensity so far. Wednesday night was the group ride and I felt really comfortable back in the group even when we got going really fast. I often have people ask me what they should be doing to get faster with running. Most runners just run. They run about the same pace every time and often run the same distances as well. What works for me isn't necessarily what will work for everyone but I can quickly tell my fitness improves if I can get 3 key running sessions in each week. Unless something is out of the ordinary I run 6 or 7 days a week. Most weeks so far have been 6 days but as I increase the mileage I'll run 7 days a week. The 3 runs that are most key for me are intervals, tempo, and long run. Once a week I try to get intervals that change in distance by the week. This week my interval session was 12x 90 seconds hard with 60 seconds easy after each one. I did it on the roads. I enjoy getting to the track but have done so less often over the past year. Getting intervals on the roads is simple. It can be done anywhere and I don't have to worry about pace. I just run hard for X amount of time and recover for X amount of time and then repeat however many times I set out. Last week my interval session was 7x3 minutes hard with 2 minute recoveries. The week before it was 5x4 minutes hard with 2 minute recovery. The tempo run is about the only run I actually prefer to do on the treadmill because it is easily controlled. The treadmill takes out variables like hills, wind, weather...etc. I like to run my tempo runs progressively meaning each mile is faster. In my first tempo run of the year on week 2 I did 1x2 miles at tempo. I then did 2x1.5 miles tempo the next week, 1x3 miles tempo the week after, 2x2...etc. I gradually build the total tempo distance up and will get up to 8-10 miles for my tempo work. I aim to increase the speed slightly each mile and always run the last mile at about 10k effort. This week was 4 miles tempo and it felt great. I went 5:59, 5:54, 5:46, 5:34 for the miles. I know from how much easier this is feeling I am getting fitter each week. The 3rd key running workout is a long run. I started the year with a long run of 50 minutes. I typically increase 5 minutes every 2 weeks. This week was my first at 85 minutes. The 85 minutes now is easier than the first 50 minute long run. I'm searching for a race in late May at this point so I have at least 6 weeks until I race a triathlon. The first one I'm signed up for right now is June 8. I am also racing on June 9th.
This week I had my 2nd body composition analysis done at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care this year. A Body Composition Analysis is a good way to track your fitness gains and overall health. They are running a special right now of 3 Body Composition Analysis session for $50.00. You can pick how far apart you want to get the tests. Most people don't chance much in a short period of time so they recommend every few months. Because I am training a lot my body can change fast so I will keep getting the test every month or so. My first one was a month ago. I was slightly disappointed to have my body fat % only drop from 16.3% to 15.4%. I weighed 9 lbs. less...163 vs. 172 and was hoping the majority of that weight loss was fat. As it turned out most of the weight loss was due to fluid loss. I went from 47.3 liters of total body fluid down to 44.9 liters. My pounds of fat only went from 28 down to 25.1. I shouldn't be too disappointed because progress is progress. I had 2 great weeks after my last test but then fell off the wagon and started getting sugar cravings like crazy. I have learned most often these come when I'm not getting enough sleep. Sleep is the most difficult thing for me to keep a handle on while balancing a full-time job, 2 children, wife, training...etc. When I'm tired I have learned I'm less motivated to train and I make poor nutritional choices. When I'm well rested I am very disciplined with my nutrition and I have a desire to train all the time. Probably the biggest downer of the BCA was that my Basal Metabolic Rate (amount of calories burned each day without moving) went down considerably from 1,916 to 1,762. That is due I'm sure to cutting back calories in my effort to get to race weight. I learned awhile back that people who reduce food intake cause the body's metabolic rate to drop because the body is less sure about when the next meal will come and it learns to hang onto the calories longer. This explains why so many people go on crash diets where they drastically reduce calorie intake to lose weight but then over time the weight comes back on because their body begins conserving the calories and the metabolism slows way down. I'll continue tracking this next time. I'm sure there are factors to the test that throw things off a bit. For example, yesterday I had a big training day and I was not feeling very good today. I think recent training may have some impact on the test results so if I wanted the most accurate results I would have to keep all variables the same every time I was tested.
I was really excited this week to find out that Green Buick GMC joined on as a supporter of iHope by making a contribution. We are going to make an iHope award in the next couple weeks. It has been great getting support for this cause from local businesses. I'm still searching for more local businesses that want to help out. I have laid out contribution amounts to get a business logo on my jersey, sticker on race helmet, logo on blog...etc. I'm thrilled about all the support of iHope. My mom and dad also informed me they are going to match whatever race winnings I accumulate this year for iHope. That is TREMENDOUS!! I couldn't ask for a better sponsorship than that. Every paycheck I earn at races is now doubled for the iHope Foundation. If you would like to help this foundation and support our cause to provide low-income students who display outstanding character and work ethic traits you may make a tax deductible donation by clicking the link on my home page. Every dollar makes a difference. Thanks and DREAM BIG!!