Last week my triathlon coach, Nina, asked me to do some base line testing. I had read about base line testing but never actually did any last season, nor did I know how to work it into my program, to follow up on my progress. So, when she told me about doing some base line testing, I got really excited. I love going as hard as I can, and getting the stats on where I am at in my training. Now since I’m in the off-season, training in general is going to be low intensity, as well as minimal hours. It will be more focused on strength training and fun, random outdoor activities, but of course it also is a good time to see where my weaknesses are, and to get results in each discipline to have something to compare my progress to later.
So, on Wednesday night I headed to my swim class to take the T-pace test. In this test, I warmed up for 300yds, and then I had to do 300yds three times, and to go as fast as I can on each set. I was to record my time for each of the three 300yd swims. I did my first 300yd swim in 4:53 (1:37/100), the second 300yd in 5:03 (1:40/100), and the third 300yd in 5:07 (1:42/100). I was surprised by these results because my half ironman results, do not show that I can swim at these speeds, but I think I need to learn how to race during the swim portion of triathlon. I still feel like I’m just trying to get through it. I really liked getting these numbers, because I’m going to love seeing them go down as I improve!
On Thursday, I did the bike test. I did a 10min warm up, and then I was to cycle as hard as I could, yet maintain for 30min. The idea was to see my heart rate during the test. I maxed out at 177bpm, but I held most of the ride at 170, although we aren’t completely sure because my HR monitor slipped a little bit and we got some bad numbers for a few minutes. Also, my heart rate monitor doesn’t always read accurately, I’m sure a lot of people find this, but I’m sure there are some inconsistencies with the my heart rate as well, not just my Garmin. But again, I loved getting some actual facts. I did this test on my trainer, so the distance wasn’t very accurate, but that doesn’t matter just as long as the inaccuracies stay the same for the next time I do the test. Since, I don’t have a computrainer, I use the Garmin speed/cadence meter and it works alright, but it doesn’t give my actual speed, it’s always a lot less than how fast I would really be going outside. Either way, I got the facts I needed.
Friday, I let my legs rest, and then I did my run test on Saturday morning. I headed down to the Lake Shore park track for the first time ever for my very first baseline run test. I was pretty excited for this test because I LOVE to run. I warmed up, did my dynamic and neuromuscular warm up, did some stride runs, and then took off for my 30min test. Again, I was supposed to run as hard as I could but maintain a pace that I could keep for 30min, which really makes it a submax test. In this test, my heart rate maxed out at 241 bpm. This probably sounds high, but it’s really normal for me. I remember using high tech heart rate monitor testing when I was in college, and my heart rate did the same thing, and it also jumped around a lot then too, it would be at 241 and then somehow the machine would read that I was at 150, which didn’t make sense, but it misreads or my heart skips or something, but it’s the overall number and picture that matters. My heart rate pretty much stayed in the 200-240 range for most of the 30min. I trained with a heart rate monitor all of this triathlon season, and almost every time I ran my heart rate would be above 180, this felt normal. I covered 15 1/2 laps on a 400m (regular size) track, which ends up being 3.88 miles in 30 min, which is an average of a 7:44/mile pace. Now, I wasn’t too thrilled about the pace, but I hadn’t run at all in 3 weeks, and I didn’t exercise at all for 2 weeks, so I guess it wasn’t so bad, but that is the pace that I had trained to run the entire Boston Marathon at, so it was slightly disappointing, but I know I will get that pace up again during next season, and it is obvious in my heart rate that I was working hard which matters the most in this testing. Again, it was exciting to get these results so that I can work on being faster without my heart rate getting higher.
I’m really excited to see my progress, if only I had done the baseline tests when I first started triathlon training so that I could see how far I’ve come already!
Have you done base line testing before? Has it helped you track your progress? If you haven’t done base line testing, are you thinking of trying it before your season starts next year?