Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Training By The Numbers


I am a numbers person. I always love to review my data to see my run splits, averages, distances, FTP, CP, Kj, etc.

This is who I am.

With a coach, he would tell me what to aim for X number of watts for Y number of minutes, and I would follow it. So I relied on him to do the numbers work for me. I would say it worked as he got me pretty fast on the bike over the last two seasons.

Now it is my turn to use the numbers to my advantage.

I have the Garmin 800. It is great at spitting out loads of data, but stupid me, I had no idea there was a firmware upgrade that could then show off real time TSS, IF, % of FTP, NP. DATA!!!! After this firmware upgrade, suddenly there was a new thrill of riding the bike......looking at, ready?, DATA!!!!

I guess with 5 seasons under my belt and now having done ever major distance of triathlon at least twice, I am looking for new ways to reinvent my motivation in this sport.

I have owned WKO+ for at least 1.5 years now and I have barely used it. What is the point of using a power meter on the bike if you have been using it as a gigantic feedback computer? Well, that is not fair, I have been using it for FTP and then using a % of FTP to aim for in the 70.3 and 140.6 distances. (Listening to those numbers is another matter....)

But what I want to do next year is to pay closer attention to my training load and its resulting stress.

Hello WKO+

With a power meter for the bike, and a HR meter on the run, WKO+ is able to calculate your TSS, or Training Stress Score for you. You can read more about TSS here. But what about the swim? There are no swim "power meters" or any meter for that matter that gauges your output. Fortunately TrainingPeaks came up with something (that is better than nothing!) to roughly gauge your TSS. You can read about it here.

So now that I can quantify my output of all three disciplines in this sport and track it, there is now some new motivation to see improvement.

In order to more accurately calculate your TSS, you need to retest your disciplines to find your threshold pace. For the swim, it is your T-Pace. For the bike, it is your FTP. For the run, it is your threshold HR.

Testing = motivation for me. It also breaks up the monotony of training.

Testing = goals. Goals = MORE motivation.

These are good things!

I have realized over the this past season, now that I have completed every major distance at least twice, that my motivation for this sport is no longer about accomplishing a new distance, nor is it about PR-ing a distance. It is about placing.

Every race course is different. Of course you will go faster on a flatter course vs a hillier course. Its gravity at work here! So instead of worrying about a time, it is time to start "racing."

One of the greatest things my coach told me at the start of an Olympic race back in June is this: "Jon, don't just go for a PR. You are racing now!"

Now I pray to God my job doesn't eat me alive first and I can actually fit in some decent volume next season!


  1. I love the numbers just as much as you do. I'm a stats geek. WKO+ is awesome! I'm also reviewing Runner's Studio at the moment. I'm looking at using a Garmin and Polar to get the best of everything.

  2. Dude, I'll be the first to admit that I was a little lost on this post. I get training with numbers, but if I were going to, you'd have to sit down with me and explain what you just said. I'm just glad you like those numbers and can comprehend them. I hope it gives you a ton of motivation to train!

  3. I geek out to data, but currently haven't spent the money on anything more than a $7 stopwatch. I have pined over the Garmin 910XT, but I can't really give a good explanation to my husband why a slow athlete like me needs more data. I think the motivation factor you discuss here is the point though. It is just a fun way to see progress. Maybe Santa will be super generous this year.

  4. I'm with Mr Smith above in that those acronyms might as well have been in Chinese as I've relied on my Coach to calculate all that sh*t too.

    Now that I have been boxed out of IMFL for next year my goals have changed and I am going to focus on the 70.3 in the 2nd half of 2013 and try to get F-A-S-T and so I am assuming I will have to get to know those acronyms and what they mean and what they mean to me.

    Thank goodness I have December to read about this stuff.

    Nice to see you back on the Interwebs posting. How is everything in WP with the weather and Sandy, etc?


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