December 20, 2012

Oh Fitness, Where Art Thou?

I've got a really bad trend going...let's call it the ebb and flow of fitness. For the fourth year in five my fitness has ranged far too wide during the course of a year. If a Chronic Training Load above 75 TSS/day is considered the cross over point of 'real' fitness then I've managed only a few scant months of such over the last 60 months. I'll admit that I have a pretty good excuse for the loss of 2012 fitness, but still it's a bit disconcerting when you strive to be your best and it's constantly transient. First let's look at training volume over the past five years:

2008 is the largest at 390 hours for the year - about 33 hours per month, 2010 the lowest at a mere 243 hours, or just over 20 hours per month. The last 2 years are very, eerily, similar on a host of fronts. I don't know if I can hit 400 hours this coming year, but it is certainly a goal. Here is a look at my CTL track (blue line), with notes the last few years:
You can see the ramp rate jumps in May after a terrible spring. Peak 20m power is the highest I've tested since 2008 at 361W for 20m. CTL is also at the highest point since I started training consistently with power at a peak of 90 TSS/day in mid September just before 'Cross Vegas.

A slightly longer runnup to high CTL - peaking at 88 TSS/d in late August - had me better prepared for the CX season than in either 2010 or 2009. The fact that CTL dropped so readily in the months of the season illustrates the same lack of training consistency that is my unfortunate habit. Peak 20m values for the year


Peak value for CTL was only 64, again in late summer. Not sure why the bottom fell out of my early spring, but the fact that peak CTL was only 64 says I was pretty busy with the rest of my life this year.


This was one of the better years with regard to consistency of training after September 1st. Peak CTL was 74 in early August, but didn't plummet until the end of November. Instead it approximated the kind of gradual drop in CTL that would normally accompany a block of racing. 20m best was actually from a race in November.


Certainly a different look to the season. Peak CTL of 83 was in early May rather than late summer. This was the first season of Sterling 'Cross and CTL stayed high (well, sorta) thru the season, varying only 10 points from September to the end of November.

So what is the take away from all of this? Essentially it's that consistency is the most important part of fitness - and I'm pretty mediocre at consistency. Life has a funny way of interrupting training! Will 2013 be any better? Given a new situation I am optimistic...