Perfect weather for a bike ride . . .

December 24, 2008

Too much, or not enough?

Not a whole lotta ice, but enough to make walking around the office courtyards yesterday an adventure in balance. The roads, largely, were clear - which would have been good had I ridden.
I think this is the perfect segue into new years resolutions.... wake up earlier, relax more, make the bus stop at the very least. There just isn't an excuse good enough any more to make my mental justifications hold any water lately! It's fantastic outside, and even though it was still lightly misting on the way home from work last evening, I had the car window down. Yeah, yeah.... the commuterDude DROVE again, but the wife has taken ill, so I picked up her RX and a vaporizer on the way home, and was home quick to relieve her from kid duty. It all works out.

I'd say I'm acclimated, though - 33 degrees and "freezing fog" felt just fine with the window down, rolling along with fIREHOSE in the CD player. Even 20 degrees feels downright warm, and the prospect of doing a 200K in this stuff doesn't bother me that much anymore. Heck, the first week of January - unless this jinxes it - is looking like a slight chance of rain and highs in the mid-40's. I can deal with that! That's AWESOME! Of course, down in central Texas it'll be 66 degrees... but, I'm leaning towards sucking it up and saving the time and gas money -- sorry, Ort! I've got a couple of offers to have company on the January 200K, one Spencer and one Jeff Winter, perhaps -- and possibly more, not sure. The motivation and team mentality is really helping me keep focus on the prize -- one-to-go, and a possible draft, conversation, and maybe even a new route up north of town? I'm actually EXCITED about a January 200K! Back in July, I was outright worried about this winter!

Day three of Heart-Rate Training is feeling pretty good, because it's a rest day --- but I have a deepness in my lungs that feels good, a slight soreness in my legs from the elliptical machine's more aggressive setting. Today is a scheduled rest day. I've been tossing and turning about what to do when summer comes along, and I'm hankering riding EVERY day again. Right now it's been easy to stick to a program because I've been slacking on actual riding. Here's my thinking: The fixxie doesn't HAVE to be relegated only to winter riding. With it's ridiculously low gearing, high-RPM, minimal effort drivetrain it's almost like not riding at all. Of course, the heartrate does rise on a hill, but that can be tendered I imagine. So, I can ride that bike on "rest" days, and maybe take the bus in the AM, even in summertime, to keep the miles off my legs. My fear is over-training, but the built-in coach should prove invaluable in this regard. It will, however, mean a little silliness: I might be commuting on the fixxie wearing the heartrate monitor: the ONLY reason, to make sure I'm not pushing TOO hard. By then, perceived effort should dictate - but the one thing I REALLY like about this upscale HRM is that built-in coach: just in the past two days, I haven't EXACTLY hit my workout targets... in fact, I've pushed too hard. As a result, it completely re-wrote the rest of the week's training schedule. Today is a rest day, same as it was on Monday, but what changed is Friday and Saturday. Thursday now is a very light day, only 45 minutes duration. Friday was a more intense day, but now it's a full rest day. Saturday has been downgraded to moderate and for only 45 minutes. As new workouts get logged, the plan constantly changes. It's pretty neat, actually. In fact, if I decide to slack off, say on Saturday, it knows that I didn't log anything, and will probably take away Sunday's rest day until I get the right workout back in.

There is a thought, and I will be hitting some fitness forums and such to find out, about not including any of my bicycling in the plan. Now, this could be dangerous because my "coach" won't be able to accurately tell me if I'm training too hard, etc., but considering that my system has been idling and very slowly putting on weight over the past couple of years. The way I'd been eating, I should be heavier -- but the bicycling I have been doing has maintained me to a very slow gain, instead of ballooning. Also, the longer endurance rides don't have the same effect as they used to. So, stands to reason possibly that my efforts could be logged under "normal activity" -- say like if I had a very physical outdoor labor job. If I was in THAT boat, I certainly wouldn't be logging my "workouts" around a job site, or that (say if I was a mail-man) that I'd walked 10 miles that day. That would just be my normal routine. From that perspective, I could choose whether or not to count the commuter part of my cycling, right? If I know I'm going to be taking it easy, I COULD log a ride home as my "light" day, or conversely use the afternoon ride as an opportunity to do a hard hour, if the "coach" called for it, and save a trip to the gym. In that same sense, I could just ride to get to work, keep the sweat down, and go into the gym that same day to log a prescribed workout, and then take it easy on the trip home, or take the bus. Can I have both, or do I risk undoing something? Based on what I've read of the "coach" software, there are many more parameters it's tracking on my cardio system -- respiration rate, cool-down and warm-up durations to-target, etc. -- apparently, if it works, it should be able to tell after a few minutes if the current workout is going to gain me anything, and adjust on the fly. So, overtraining shouldn't be too large a risk - in theory. I don't want to over-train, or under-train. In my post-30-year-old position, I've already noticed that things are harder this time around than they were when I was ramping up in my mid-20's, towards my 2003 fitness level. I want to succeed, and if it means wearing the heart-rate belt on a commute, so be it. I'm trying really hard not to self-justify here -- if anyone's got an opinion or counter-theory, I'd love to see it in the comments.

So far, so good - however. I'm confident enough to feel that if I'd ridden to the bus stop, and then the 11 miles home tonight, I wouldn't have wrecked anything -- but I'm not 100% sure.
In any case, instead of talking about it all year - which is what 2008 seems to contain as a recurring theme - I have data, and direction, and focus - all leading towards a 2009 of DOING, instead of TALKING.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no doubt in my mind that cycling to and from work should be considered "normal activity" for you.

i suggest that you commute as you always commute, and if the coach calls for a harder day, either plan a trip to the gym or structure an intense targeted ride (laps around smp for ex) specifically designed to meet and maintain target heart rate ranges.

~warbird