Pre Kona Analysis

PreKonaAnalysis09Met with Russell today for a long ride. Boy oh boy was I tired. Spent the whole ride happily letting Russ set the pace. Ended up with 116 miles in 7 hours and pleased I got out in the lovely weather.

More importantly, over a couple of our 4 coffees (!) we discussed training load and how my current method was rather simplistic and produced ridiculous spikes if I did similar volume seven days on the trot (see piccie in previous blog entry). Russell outlined what Training Peaks does and with a little googling when I got back I found a rather neat formula to use to calculate the measures that Training Peaks uses:

  • Acute Training Load (ATL) – this gives a measure of the training load over a recent period. I’m using 14 days though have set it up so thats easy to change
  • Chronic Training Load (CTL) – this gives a measure of training load over the longer term. 42 days for the moment
  • Training Stress Balance – this is CTL – ATL

My understanding of these measures in layman’s terms is that CTL gives a measure of what load you can handle. ATL gives current load being “endured”. If ATL if bigger than CTL (ie TSB is negative) you are stressing your body beyond what it’s current fitness can handle. This is what you need to improve but you don’t want to do it too long without a rest. When you rest ATL drops off quickly and TSB rises getting positive showing freshness. The idea is to get an appropriate TSB for racing. This will vary from athlete to athlete but if you track this you can note your TSB when you raced well and when you didn’t.

My measure of load is still simply – time x RPE (Rate of Perceived effort) which is far less sophisticated than using power meters, HR etc… but the graphs produced are remarkably similar to the type of thing you see from Training Peaks. Due to my measure of load the absolute figures can’t really be compared with those from Training Peaks.

Thats a tonne of preamble to the main reason for this post which is to talk about what form I feel I’m in and how preparations have gone. Thought it would be interesting to do this before heading out to Kona.

The graph above shows my ATL, CTL and TSB across all disciplines for this year. Simplistically you can see that I lost 75% of my fitness during my injury from it’s peak in Christchurch but my current fitness looks even higher than back then. It’s certainly in line with how I feel.

How has my preparation gone. It may seem strange to say this but I can’t see how it could have gone better. OK i could not have snapped my FHL tendon but when given that happened the training since my cast was removed has gone very well indeed.


This shows my rolling week to date hours. I’ve had 4 periods of pushing my volume with lighter periods in between. I was lucky really as plans / house sitting produced a very PreKonaAnalysis09-2nice structure. Being in Lanzarote ahead of the IM was a good start and doing the swim coaching course straight after proved a blessing giving me a proper rest. Then I got 3 blocks of increasing volume whilst house sitting in London (thanks to my sister), in Rutland (thanks to Roger) and finally in La Santa (thanks to Rachel). This final 2 week block in La Santa produced the numbers to the right. I must admit on the last day I was aqua jogging knowing I needed to do a certain amount of time to get 120 hours for the two weeks. I’m a sucker for stupid little goals like that.

This has meant that I’m for once heading in to my taper off the back of my biggest block of training. I’m quite excited to see what this will mean if I get fully rested up. That is the aim over the coming couple of weeks.



Here’s my swim chart. The brown line shows rolling WTD hours (zero being right at the bottom). Blue for CTL, green ATL and red TSB.

It seems throughout the summer I’ve been getting fitter by just pushing beyond my current fitness levels. My improvements reflect this. The last two weeks have clearly dug a hole and some focussed swim recovery is necessary. I will have to think about whether I just continue with my tried and test formula of swimming every day in Kona. Probably will but will be careful when to put in the intensity.



Similar pushing up of fitness throughout the summer by just stressing myself slightly beyond current fitness. It is noticeable that even now my TSB for biking is almost zero. This would suggest I need less of a bike taper.

Compared to Christchurch I’m in great shape and pretty fresh. This is definitely consistent with just how much riding I was doing over there. As Scott told me after my injury he thought I was about to “nuke myself”.

The taper for bike will include some decent riding next week.



Really here for amusement. The TSB is positive … so I guess I’m fresh.

Got my new orthotics yesterday and am walking around in them till saturday when I can try a run.

Funnily enough I’m rather excited about the run at Kona as it’s an adventure into the unknown. Logic tells me at some point I will fall apart but there’s part of me hoping that the aqua jogging will set me up for a stormer.


My preparations for Kona this year have gone very well indeed. Gordo has blogged in the past about committing to training and how few people are willing to fully commit, I guess because if you do and still fall short you would know you just weren’t good enough. My plan was to expand on this but it’s already long and it’s late so I will cover that in the next couple of weeks. Suffice to say I feel I’ve come the closest to fully committing to my training over the past few months as I ever had. As such I don’t feel I will have any excuses for my swim and bike. Currently my ambitious goal is to be heading out on the run in under 6 hours. We can chew on that till the next installment (from Kailua-Kona !!)

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