4 of the last 5 weeks have been between 1,100-1,500 TSS, and let me tell you, that has kept me in the hurt locker for the week. Brent mentioned his sensations of his first recovery day...well I've had that for the past 6 days pretty much. Wednesday it seemed the legs were itching for action - but once on the bike it was obvious it was to be another day of recovery. When energy levels return, I have a very active mind in the wee hours of the morning - today for example. The trouble is, I'm too dim-witted when in the hurt locker to remember that, doh! Anyway, today feels like the first day of the peak and taper into OP - I'm excited for the next few weeks, rather than looking forward to the post-OP break.
So what's all this nonesense about high CTL training? Here's a plot of my CTL for the last 3 years. The y-axis begins at 80 and goes in 10 point increments, horizontal lines represent months (CTL, or chronic training load, is a measure of current training load based on the accumulated TSS of previous training. I've put a short def in the glossary, but just realized it doesn't mention TSS. Sooner or later the actual calculation of CTL/ATL/TSB will be publicly available, but until then please accept my apologies for the cloak and dagger stuff). To get a feeling for the stress associated with TSS points, it's normalized so that 100 points is the equivalent of going all out for one hour. Hmmm...thinking that way, 1500 TSS is the equivalent stress of 15 x 1 hour time trials in a single week. NO WONDER!
Hmmm...now that I look closer, it's more of a 2.5 year plot, oops. '03 data is not as complete as I thought...lots of time on the MTB sans PM. Anyway, the trend is obvious - increasing. The implications, especially to an enduro freak, should be pretty obvious. By strategically increasing one's ability to train, one can train more - and race longer, and with the right training (refered to as composition of CTL), faster. So part of the experimentation leading to OP is to see how far I can push CTL and also with an eye towards big weeks since TransRockies will be one helluva big week. I'm happily calling 145 my limit for this season;)
Speaking of CTL limits and such, check out Tinker's schedule for '06. That looks incredibly ambitious, even for Tinker. Sorta boggles the imagination what CTL he'll find after RAAM...
This is my 3rd year of doing self-experimentation leading to OP, it's the best form of learning. There isn't a lot of info on how to train for ultras and it's something I've been passionately putting my thoughts to for a few years now. In a month or so, the results of the current experiment will be distilled and the results added to the library of my training hypotheses/ideas/methods. The rough training sketch for the main racing season is in place, but it always gets tweaked in March after the OP process. From March forward, I stick to what works, no more experimentation.
For now, on this 7th day, I'm darn excited to get to the business at hand: dropping some CTL and increasing the intensity. One of the projects that lends itself to this period is the 29/26 singletrack testing. So look for some interesting 5am posts in the near future, but be forewarned, they might blow up the universe!