A battle has been raging in my head and body. I registered for the August Mt Washington bicycle hillclimb race after a few-year hiatus from the August event. I'd like to give it my best shot, maybe even strive for a new best time if the weather gods smile on the Rock Pile on August 17. I feel I still have some unfinished business there. My current best of 1:05:33 was when I broke a rear spoke and my wheel went totally wonky. I had to stop twice to apply medieval techniques to coerce my wheel to stop rubbing the frame. Of course, without a spoke wrench, I was only partially successful. The rear tire still nearly rubbed through the carbon chain stay by the time I reached the summit. What did I leave on the table that day?
Also in August, nine days before Mt Washington, I plan to to run the CIGNA 5k again in Manchester, NH. I did very well last year with minimal training. Just days away from turning 50, I would have handily won the 50+ age category out of hundreds. Seems my VOmax training on the bike carries over nicely to running. I ran sub-18 minutes last year. This year I'd like to run sub-17:30, or about a 5:38 pace. I can break 18 minutes running an hour a week with minimal speed work, but not 17:30. That will take some serious commitment, particularly speed work starting about now.
So therein lies the conundrum. How can I peak for both of these events so close to each other? I would need to do speed/intensity work in each discipline 2-3x per week, which is simply not sustainable. Tri-guys do training bricks, but their events aren't 17 or 60 minute anaerobic puke fests. I need to train at higher intensities than at what triathletes train. I'm not sure which one is more important to me, PR the 5k or PR Mt Washington.
My cycling form is quite good right now, hitting power numbers consistent with very good results in seasons past. I find, however, that I'm tired almost all of the time. Too often, I attempt or plan a VOmax workout on the bike on Tuesdays, only to quickly learn it just isn't happening. I shut it down or don't even attempt intensity work. Mondays and Thursdays used to be my recovery days when I did not run. Now I run 5mi or 10k on those days. I simply don't get rest. And I haven't even started speed work on foot yet. So something has to give. If I continue down the current path, I will surely self destruct and fail to do well in either event.
A new 5k best is probably more attainable. I'd trade one of my bike VOmax sessions for, say, a 4x1200m session on foot. Done deal. But I'd be lucky to break 1:10 on Mt Washington under that program, or be a contender in any number of other cycling events later this summer. Running is a new world, full of all kinds of pitfalls and pleasant rewards. There are not as many mysteries left in cycling endeavors. Over the 12 years I've been competing in hillclimb events, the training process is pretty well dialed. A new PR at 50 would be quite satisfying though.
My triathlete friends say I need to combine riding and running on my hard days so I can get rest days back into my week. I've tried running after a hard bike workout. It sucks. A typical VOmax workout on the bike completely depletes me. How can one get high value speed work on foot in that state? If I backed off on the bike work some, say did only four instead of six intervals, I'd leave something for the run, but then I wouldn't reach the same level of proficiency on the bike. The only way going for bests in both events could work is if speed work on the bike and running substantially compliment each other, in that trading bike VOmax time for running speed work is almost as good as doing all of the bike VOmax work. I don't know.
Historically, I've always focused more on the process than results. There's a lot less stress and let down that way, and burn-out is much less likely to occur. Strange how something I picked up only to improve bone density came to such a lofty level in my psyche. Any thoughts how to get through the next two months without imploding?