I had a great test week last week! This was my first test week of my 2014 season. I will test every four weeks to see how my fitness is progressing, and to adjust my workouts accordingly. All of January, I was just building up my base, not doing any specific workouts. So, my results from this test week determine what my workout speeds/pace zones will look like.
On Thursday, I had my swim test. I was most nervous about this because for the last month, I’ve strictly been working on my stroke form. I’ve only done TWO long swims since Christmas. Because of this, I wasn’t sure if I could even swim 1,000 meters, much less do it fast! However, my swim form training has clearly been helping, because I not only PRed, I beat my last time by 40 seconds!! This is the biggest jump I’ve had for a swim test thus far!
Using the time for my 1,000 meter test, we’ve broken down what my “zones” will be. There are 5 zones that we break down my swim, bike, and run paces into. Zone 1 is a recovery pace, zone 2 is my endurance pace, zone 3: half Ironman race pace, zone 4 is just below a sprint, and zone 5 is an all out sprint. Typically I train in zone 3, occasionally short bursts in zone 4.
My next test for the week was Friday morning-bike test! My least favorite My bike test is a 30 minute all out test. We use my heart rate and power to determine my 5 zones. I was pleased to discover at the end of the test that I’d increased my FTP (functional threshold power) by 2 watts. Now, that’s not a very large increase, but like I said…I haven’t been doing workouts the last four weeks. I’ve only been doing base fitness training. Also, I have lost 5 pounds since starting training, so my watts per kilogram of weight have increased more. And hey, on the bike, I’ll take any increase I can!
Saturday morning was my final test, the run. We headed to the Air Force base track because it’s a half mile track-excellent for a 30 min test! However, the track had not been shoveled, so there were several large patches of snow on it…. It was 40 degrees outside, so the temperature was perfect, but it was very windy. With the snow combined with the wind, it was less than ideal conditions.
The snow and wind were definitely a challenge, and I felt my legs getting very tired toward the end of the test. However, I tried my hardest, and finished with very good results! I averaged 6:07 min per mile pace, which is just 3 seconds per mile slower than my best time last year. Also, that best time last year was during my peak training, and WITHOUT snow! Needless to say, I was very pleased with how I did. I’m excited for my February training to begin!!