Week 18 Update: Oct 14, 2013
Another fine week. I relearned an important lesson that I keep forgetting. A missed workout is a missed workout; making workouts up later in the week just piles on unnecessary stress. This week was a fine example of carrying over a missed workout on Sunday to later in the week (Friday). Boy did I pay a price for that move. More on that later. Here are some highlights from this past week.
- Sleep affects my spO2 as much if not more than hydration. Yep, if I don't get enough sleep, I wake up with really strange pulse-oximetry readings.
- Increasing hypoxic sleep conditions really wreaks havoc on my recovery. I think I need to monitor all these factors closely to ensure that I am fully recovered AND I am not overtaxing myself. There are still many months ahead and I would hate to burn out now.
- Too many weird things this week to mention up here….read on!
Spreading out the workload across the week - even on Tuesday and Thursday when I work the longest hours - helped me recover a bit more than previous weeks. Also, as I said in my opening, I now workout right before swimming in the evening because I seem to perform better with a continuous workout schedule compared to splitting the day into two sessions. No more swim workout leg cramps!
Almost 300 hours (291.5 at the end of last week). Today (Monday, October 14th), I have added 7.4 hours on Sunday and today leaving me 1.1 hours away from 300. Why does this matter? It doesn't. I just like to see these large, round numbers go by as I slowly climb the total workload hill. Time to celebrate on Wednesday evening. Come join me for a pint at the Auld Shebeen in Fairfax.
I tried to make up for a missed swim workout due to a pool closure. Instead of swimming, we went sailing so that hardly made up for the missed pool time. I made up for the missed workout by swimming during my son's swim practice on Friday morning at 4:30am. Yes, that is correct. FOUR THIRTY IN THE MORNING. When I quit competitive swimming, I vowed never to wake up at the crack of dawn to swim ever again. I believe that was the first time I swam before 5am since the 1980's - too bad my streak ended. Well, I really ought to stick to the old addage that “a missed workout is a missed workout.” Making up the workout later in the week was brutal. I swam late Thursday night (7:30-9pm) after I workout out for 90 minutes before swim practice. After practice, I went home, ate my weight in leftovers and then hit the rack for a measely 5 hours of rest at 11,000 feet. Sleep? I hardly felt it. My alarm went off and I got up, got my son up, and piled us both in the car. I have no clue how I got to the pool because it was all a blur. Next thing I knew, I was in the water and working out again. The reason I am reliving this dreadful 12-hour span is to explain why the figure below shows a dramatic dip in my motivation to workout and productivity along with a corresponding increase in fatigue and soreness. Next time I decide to make up for a lost workout, I am going to read this blog post. Boy, was that dumb.
Just like last week, the figure below shows a sharp decline in the good things and a sharp increase in the bad things. If I stick to my single-session workout days then I will continue to see improvement….provided I do not try to make up for lost workouts by carrying them forward. The other interesting part of this figure is that I am starting to increase our sleeping altitude and I believe those changes affect my mood dramatically. See the next figure for more details.
OK, last week I said we were continually increasing our sleeping altitude and I felt great. Well, I still feel great I guess but my pulse-oximetry data now shows that I am not really recovering. Consider all the relevant factors that go into these numbers. My resting heart rate (RestHR in the figure) is affected by my workout intensity, hydration, recovery, altitude and sleep quality. Oxygen saturation (spO2) is affected by all those factors but probably more sensitive to altitude than resting heart rate. Here is what I am noticing from the figure below….
- My sleep quality is slowly improving now that the heat is behind us and our nights are cooler.
- My resting HR has slowly climbed from the upper 40's to now the mid-50's and sometimes lower 60's.
- Oxygen saturation continues to stay well above 90 in the morning - indicating that I am getting more accustomed to the lower oxygen levels (i.e., I am acclimating well).
Take all these together and I think I am geting a clearer picture that I am not sufficiently recovered from my increasing workloads and workout intensity. Time to cut back on both intensity and duration. I might consider taking an additional day off if the trend continues.
Updates for the week
- I skipped IHT this week because I felt I was getting enough hypoxic exposure at night sleeping and I wanted to make sure I fully recovered. IHT seemed like it would just inhibit my recovery. This week, however, I intend to introduce it again into my training schedule. Hopefully, there are no adverse affects to the additional hypoxic exposure.
- Calf compression socks work. Yep. Empirical evidence from an N=1 study convinced me that my calves recover overnight when I wear them. It might be part placebo effect or some other crazy suggestion effect but I am sold. My soleus no longer feels tight or strained after a long, hard run. Your mileage may differ but I am sold.
- Sean (my brother) really helped me fix the errors in my pulmonology functioning post. I plan to post it later tonight or tomorrow morning.
- Once I get that posted, I would like to answer other people's questions. Any suggestions on more topics? I have other posts in mind but I figured I would ask those who read my blog posts. So, what do you want to know?
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