Sunday, May 23, 2010

Specificity

Specificity is the principle of training that states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport/event for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect.

Eagleman may be the flattest half iron in the world. I had a choice of riding the hills of Long Island's north shore on Saturday with a group or riding the flats most likely solo. My sage coach responded to my query regarding this choice by reminding me of "specificity." I had 3 hours on the plan so went to Heckscher State Park. Hecksher has a 3.5 or so mile loop that is flat as a pancake with very little vehicle traffic. It can get windy but Hecksher is almost the perfect place to train for Eagleman due to, you guessed it, specificity. I heard somewhere, I forget where, that they best way to train for Eagleman is to go on the trainer, put a french fry lamp over your head to simulate the heat, and put a fan in your face to simulate the wind. I wanted to ride outside so Hecksher was the best option with race day fast approaching.

I put the race wheels on the tri bike to get a feel for them on the road as well. I filled the bottles with some new Infinit nutrition brew that I hadn't tried yet but hope to use in the race. My plan was to ride one lap at a recovery/warm up pace, 3 laps at race pace and do that a total of 3 times. Finish up the 3 hours at a recovery pace.

Last year I rode Eagleman's 56 miles in 3:05. This was at an average power of 192 watts and a speed of 18.1. Even though I haven't trained as much as I would have hoped (this might be the lament of almost any athlete though), I still want to do better this year. BikeMike recommended to attempt the race pace sections at a power of 205-215 watts. Speed is always variable based on wind conditions so I dumbed down the bike computer to only show power, cadence, and heart rate figuring I could download the data afterwards to see what the speed actually was.

I nailed this workout. It has been a long time since I felt this good about a training day. I was high on the power targets, often riding in the 230s. Each loop felt strong and I felt strong until the end. But then, and there always is a then, when I hit the lap button after the last interval, my new Edge500 hung. Dayum.

I pulled over. I hit every button and the computer came back alive so I thought I was good. I had about 30 minutes left so rambled around a bit and finished up with just over 50 miles done in 3:00. This translated into 16.7 mph but included a lot recovery pace time so I figured the race pace sections would be nice.

When I got home, though, the "then" struck again. The data wouldn't download so I couldn't analyze it. The summary data was in the computer but I couldn't get any detail. I tried for a few hours to get the data with no success. I may have hit a known bug with the Garmin software that others seem to have complained about but the data for that ride seems gone forever. Arggggghhhhh.

I followed up the real work day with a recovery ride of 35 miles on Sunday morning, in the hills but at an easy effort. 85 miles for the weekend and a big chunk of that directly relevant for my upcoming race. I hopped in the pool tonight and added some swimming to the mix. My body is now recognizing the tiredness from some real training.

Lots of specificity this weekend. I sure hope trying to fix the bike computer issues isn't part of this training specificity but the rest of the weekend's training absolutely was "relevant and appropriate."
Rock on!

13 comments:

Diane said...

Greta Job You and so nice to hear you making progress and feeling really positive. I can feel the excitement in your writing and your passion for your sport. I look forward to the upcoming weeks and months as your quest for glory continues.

Have a great week!

Big Clyde said...

Congrats on great training today! I would have enjoyed riding along on some of those loops with you! Maybe someday, Rock.

Glad it went well for you.

Kathleen said...

I am glad you had a good training weekend. It does feel good when that happens.

Patrick Mahoney said...

Great post and a good weekend of training. I agree with specificity. I guess that means I need to hit some hills because my next race is very much not flat...

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Oh yes, specificity!! My old college exercise physiology professor pounded that principle into our heads and i always seem to remember that if nothing else. It makes total sense. What a bummer about the garmin data not downloading. Those would have been some nice numbers to analyze i'm sure. At least you know that you kicked butt on the workout and that's really all that matters.

Jess said...

Wow sounds like you got some really solid workouts in! Specificity training is super important, but I never do a very good job with it because I just tend to train on the areas that are most readily available to me.

chris mcpeake said...

Nothing works better then Specificity. Keep up those great workouts.

misszippy said...

Love that recipe for training for Eagleman...so true! I hope for your sake it turns out to be an unusually cool/non-windy day! I've melted down on that run course before and it's no fun! Great job simulating the course this weekend.

joyRuN said...

recovery ride of 35 miles

My tush hurts just thinking about that. And that's recovery!

D10 said...

Sounds like you had a solid weekend. You are going to do great come the half.

Julie said...

Way to be a Rock Star and bust out a great training weekend! Woo hoo for nailing it! There is no doubt that you will improve this year...I can feel it:)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Specificity is my second favorite Police album, right after Nebulosity. Synchronicity is a distant third. Then, the little-known The Police Sing Die Fledermaus As Though it Were A Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta.

Least favorite Police album: Garmin. Because even though I don't own one, all I ever read about in the blogosphere is how those things invariably f*ck up at some crucial point. I don't know why Garmin is still in business.

Of course, my iPod also effed up on me ... so maybe it's just an electronics thing.

In any case, nice work! And sorry you lost your data. But if you set your data free and it doesn't come back to you ... was it ever really yours to begin with?

Only Garmin knows. And he ain't talking because he just EFFIN' CRASHED AGAIN!1!

Caratunk Girl said...

Solid workouts! I don't have a garmin, but I hear once you have one it is pretty awesome, and then frustrating when things don't work. And I laughed at the french fry hat over your head to simulate the heat. I think that specificity training is key, just as you said.