By Bill Plock, newest Team Trainright team member.
It's been 28 days since I started with Team Trainright and I feel stronger. I can hardly wait to race and see how I do. I realize I'll be crushed if I don't have good results, but I'm also confident I will do well, short of having some medical or mechanical issue.
As you will see below, the sheer volume of work that I did last year during this time versus this year isn't dramatically different. This year I've run a bit more, 55 miles and last year it was 42. But since being coached, nearly all my runs have included some kind of steady state, lactate threshold paces (see my post about my threshold test at Carmichael Training Center in Colorado Springs, http://www.coloradobikeaholics.com/2011/04/lactate-threshold-lt-training-is_05.html). That means I'm near race pace for perhaps four, 8 to 10 minute increments during and hour's run. I never did that kind of workout last year.
The other major difference is with my swimming. In the last four weeks I have swam about 17,000 yards, about the same as last year. But, this year I have not swam longer than 800 yards at any one time. It's been all drills. Last year I would just pop in the water and swim a mile or two and hardly do any speed work. As a result my overall speed is definitely faster.
Its incredible to compare statistics for this year versus last year. Here are a few cycling stats, I can say I'm consistent despite the crappy weather we have had. These statistics don't reflect a few indoor training days, and there is another big difference. Last year on bad weather days, I would go to a spin class. This year I used my indoor trainer and did some very targeted workouts.
Distance: 2011 = 464, 2010 = 477
Time: 35:22, 35:13
Elevation gain: 29,314 ft, 25,298 ft
Average Heartrate: 112 for both!
Average time per ride: 1:57, 2:31 (big difference here)
What does this say? Not much at first glance, but look at the average time for my ride. I've gained 30 minutes of free time this year. What does this mean? It means, on my rides I've been spending more time at a more intense effort doing drills similar to what I've been doing on the run. But, I've still had my days to just explore–very important to me.
While not completely scientific, or tested in a race yet, I know I'm stronger based on a run I did the other day. I ran for an hour with most of the pace around 7 min/mile, which is about the pace I ran for the Platte river half marathon on April 10th. My average heart rate in the race was 152. On my run the other day it was 135. That is a HUGE difference that can't be explained in any way other than I'm in better shape.
Being coached has surprised me in other ways too. I enjoy being given a workout, especially now that I'm seeing results, there is no guesswork and it's nice to feel like I accomplished something each day. I also find that I'm more efficient in my life. When my workout is over, it's over. Last year I might've gone for a ride and instead of mowing the yard, I might've felt like I still had some energy so I would've gone for a run. I even look forward to my off day, whereas last year I just wondered how could not have an off day!
The best part though is no doubt I just feel stronger and more confident. I know not everyone can afford a coach, but if you are thinking you need to buy race wheels or a time trial bike to get faster, you might consider spending that money on a coach–I think you will see better results, which will positively effect many things in your life, not just your race results!