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Journey, Training

My first 2 training weeks on the new purplepatch fitness training program are done! After a nice introduction to the program by one of the coaches I was given a week to do some benchmark testing, so that my coach gets a better idea to asses my training and current fitness level.

So what does this involve and why is it important for your training?

First of all a benchmark test in each discipline allows you to asses your swimming, biking and running performance and the results of these tests are used to determine your training zones. That’s critical for your training sessions to know your target zones. Each training session is different and focuses on different areas. On one day you might have a low stress long endurance run and the other day you might need to do some short but high intense run intervals. Both of these training sessions require different pacing and different target zones.

The tests themselves are quite demanding and require some solid pacing and strong efforts.

For the swim benchmark I did a 1km Time Trial and a 100m best effort. The first effort is a solid endurance test, whereas the second focuses on your speed. This gives a good comparison of your endurance vs. speed fitness.

For the bike benchmark I did a 5min ALL OUT EFFORT. Ride as hard as you can for 5 minutes and record your average Heart Rate/Power (if you use a power meter which I don’t) over this time. Followed the 5min effort I did a 20 min Time Trial at your absolute best effort. Again you record your average heart rate. I did the test on a flat course with a few inclines.

For the run test I did a 30min best effort run. You record your average Heart Rate for the last 20mins. This is really hard and requires good pacing.

Based on the results the coach works out your training zones. I use 5 different zones for my training

Zone 1Recovery, very easy effort
Zone 2Easy endurance, you should be able to hold a conversation
Zone 3Medium endurance, strong but not breathless
Zone 4Threshold, Hard, no more talking here
Zone 5Very Hard, High Speed. lasts for a few seconds up to a minute max

These zones are important and allow me to drive a lot of my training sessions but it’s important to know that it’s only one way of measuring your effort. Another important aspect is how you feel and the perceived exertion. This can’t be measured by technology, that’s what your body is telling you! So keep listening.

Sometimes we get too caught up by data and forget to listening to our body. This can be a limiter in training and racing when we strictly stick to what our watch is telling us!

For me this is something I lack in my training and racing and need to improve! I get too attached to the data and need to start listening more to my body when it comes to perceived effort. That was a great take away message for me doing these benchmark tests.

Overall I was happy with the test results given the fact that I am still in the early stage of my training. I am looking forward to take another test in a few months time to see how much I have improved (or not haha)



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