As everyone knows, this has been a very unpredictable season and there is no certainty that training or racing will be back to “normal” anytime soon. Many people have struggled to keep motivated with training over the past summer. I felt the complete opposite. Not having any races took the pressure off of having to perform well at a certain point in time and I could just focus and enjoy any bit of progress. 

 

Here I wanted to document my journey with the PKRS.AI app and how it has improved my performance over the past 3 months and going forward.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love racing and here you can read about my journey to Ironman Thun (Switzerland) in 2021. This is a summary of my past 3 months and I hope to keep you updated until race day even after my internship at PKRS.AI has finished.

I started structured training at the end of July. To give some background on myself, I am 26 years old and have been doing triathlon for only 18 months. Before that I had not done any endurance sports for almost 6 years, but competed in cross country running and skiing during high school. To prepare for the 2021 season, I will go through a full training cycle with PKRS.AI, which will take a total of 52 weeks. 

 

I started working for the company at the beginning of June and have enjoyed every moment. My head coach is Scott and we decided to start the preparation with a bike lactate test and then test outside the lab every 8 weeks. 

 

As I am very prone to injuries when running, due to a foot surgery a couple years ago, I will focus a lot on injury prevention and keep the running km low at the beginning of the training season. Cindy, our PKRS.AI strength coach, has given me some great exercises to follow so I hope that when I do start to add more volume on the run I can stay fit and healthy!

This is what my first test results looked like. For all of you who are not so familiar with testing I added a column briefly explaining each value.

 

Baseline Testing

 

Baseline

Explanation

Baseline Test type

FTP

275 Watts

Theoretical max power over 1h

Lactate lab test

Threshold speed 

6:50min/mile (4:16min/km)

Theoretical max speed over 1h

10km time trial in 40min 45sec

Critical swim speed (T100m)

107sec/ 100m

Max speed over the 1000m distance

1000m swim test

 

 

Phase 1: Base Phase

 

I really enjoyed getting a solid baseline on my performance and starting structured training again has been great. I would say my training went pretty well. I loved the strength training and feel that this is very beneficial to my performance in the TT position. During this period Scott gave me a lot of low intensity training and my recovery was great so I only needed MYRA to adapt my training once. As the weather was still very nice, I did all my bike riding outdoors and outside of the TT position. On average I completed 80% of my workouts, which accumulates to 9 hours of training per week plus an additional 90 minutes of injury prevention and mindset workouts. 

 

Phase 2: Conditioning

 

In this phase I started getting some intensity at threshold added to my schedule. Due to Covid I lost access to any swimming possibilities, so my training focused on cycling, running and lifting. When prepping my swim workouts I would tell MYRA to give me something short to do at home as a substitution and have followed this rigorously!

Again, my recovery was very good. I did feel pretty sore after each lifting session, but my overall recovery was the best it has ever been. I believe that the meditation and breathing exercises lowered my stress levels in general which improves sleep quality and the body’s ability to recover. 

 

My biggest achievement was improving my back squat by 25lbs (10kg) on my 3x12rep workout. Of course the strength adaptation will be exponential at first and I know there is still a long way to go, but this feels great. I am dreaming of a 225lbs (100kg) back squat at the beginning of 2021, so wish me luck!

 

10 months until my first Ironman and I am super motivated.

 

Phase 3: Advanced Conditioning

 

Some more testing happening at the beginning of this phase. I decided to do the 20 minute FTP test in the TT position to see how that goes on the road and I was super happy with my results!

 

Baseline

Test type

Phase 3

Test type

FTP bike

269

Lactate lab test

283

298 Watts over 20min in TT position

Threshold speed run

7:05min/mile (4:25min/km)

10km time trial in 40min 45sec

6:48 min/mile

(4:19min/km)

30min Test

Critical swim speed (T100m)

107

1000m swim test

N/A

N/A pools closed

 

My feeling did not fool me and my 20 minute test on the bike was a huge success as I improved my estimated FTP by over 10 Watts in a very unfamiliar position! 

 

I really felt the additional power I could apply to the pedals and even though I ride 90% of my time outside of TT, I have already improved a lot and I am excited to see what I can do on my next test on my road bike! It was also quite nice to see my run improving slightly even though my volume has been hovering around 25-30km per week, with only 2 threshold sessions so far. This reminded me once more how important it is to stay healthy and consistent with my training.

 

After my test week the training was pretty similar to the past training month with 1-2 threshold sessions per week and the rest at an easy Zone 2 pace to keep building the metabolic foundation for future training. The biggest change came for me when I lost access to my lifting due to Covid. My coach Scott stepped in here and added slightly more Intervals on the bike and one home based strength routine per week. Overall, the added bike intensity started to affect my recovery. In the last week of this phase my recovery dropped below optimal twice so I had the AI, MYRA adapt my training and remove one run and one 60 minute bike workout. This really helped and reminded me how important it is to do the morning check-in and debrief after each workout in order to give the AI as much information as possible.

 

Due to some personal reasons I will take 2 weeks off from training now, which will basically be my “offseason” and once I return Scott and I will continue this process and I will keep you updated on my progress! Scott has ensured that in the long term I will benefit from this break, as I did not take a proper offseason before starting this training journey. I will continue the Yoga and Mindset workouts and am already looking forward to continuing this journey in 2 weeks. 

 

Speak to you in 2 weeks.

Happy training and stay healthy!

Tim