Dynamic Loading via Daily Readiness Assessments

Quite a mouthful, that title.

Put simply, I have been adjusting my daily plan based on my morning metrics.

This article will explain those metrics => overnight, morning and active.

For a guy, who used to plan his workouts 7-10 days in advance and his season 13-20 weeks in advance… this is a radical change!

Lots of lingo in this article – Marco’s articles are a big help.


My Readiness Dashboard – explained below

OVERNIGHT via Oura Ring

The overnight assessment is the easiest. I keep my Oura ring charged and download first thing. The ring was helpful getting my health back on track at the end of 2021.

However, for making the decision if I’m ready to absorb load, the overnight reading is not as accurate as my morning test.

I don’t recommend the ring to you. I think you’ll get more useful information using the next two options.


MORNING via Polar H10 Strap and HRV4Training App

My morning ritual:

  • Wake up (no alarm)
  • Head downstairs
  • Drain bladder
  • Relax on my couch (supine) with my pulse oximeter going
  • Take reading via HR strap to HRV4Training app.

The whole process takes ~5 minutes.

If you pay for the PRO level (HRV app), then normal ranges are calculated and shown with baseline (below).


HRV with trend and normal range – you can pinch to show more days

Morning Resting HR with trend and normal range.
COVID recovery was May 25 – June 11

Overnight and Morning are passive metrics – I’m either asleep or lying down. There are good reasons for passive assessments (see Marco’s articles linked at the end).

My advice, start collecting the morning metrics and learn your healthy baseline.

These baseline metrics were a big part of my being able to return to training relatively quickly after catching COVID (link is my day by day return diary).


My active readiness test is based on an Olympic Champion’s warm-up routine.

The 400w segments are done only in Threshold & Specific Preparation
More in Nils’ Document Linked Below

SWEDISH ACTIVE READINESS TEST (SART)

I have been working with an Olympic Coach, Johan Röjler. Johan had the idea for me to perform a daily assessment based on NVDP’s warm-up.

My bike numbers are FAR below Nils’ level. However, the principles are the same.

  • Six minute steps
  • Start at 50% of “fit” Threshold watts
  • End at 65% of “fit” Threshold watts

Nils did his Threshold at 400 watts. At 53, I picked 300w.

The key isn’t the Threshold number.

What’s important is getting a 50%/65% number that is NOT demanding. You want to have a test you can get through at every level of fitness and fatigue.

I’m using 3 steps (150w/165w/180w). Power via Favero Assioma Duos and total test takes ~20 minutes. Johan is testing himself with a run-based protocol.

We are looking for heart rate suppression and “jumpiness.”

  • Day One of the training cycle – we expect HR to be responsive and jumpy following the 2 off days
  • Across the micro cycle – we expect some HR suppression BUT when there is material suppression, combined with other factors (mood, HRV, MRHR, soreness, energy) we gauge the risk/benefit for loading

The chart shows two cycles – one where I pulled the plug after three days, and the other where I pushed through fatigue (D2 & D4) and finished strong.

The SART is a nice warm up. My total output is 200 kj and no matter how wrecked I am (see June 22 & 23 above) – the test is doable.


With Passive Metrics (HRV, MRHR), the Red & Strong Green days are obvious.

What’s less clear is the signal for the Yellow and Weak Green days. Yellow and Weak Green days are where I make most of my mistakes.

Our hypothesis is fatigue (not-readiness) will manifest via heart rate suppression at submax levels.

By learning my normal response to training, I can decide if I’m in a “better to rest” or “train through” situation. The idea being to back off when my body isn’t in a position to absorb more load.

My readiness metrics, when combined with my training log, let me see the sessions that most kick my butt.

  • Are those sessions “worth it”?
  • Could there be a more effective way of loading?

These are judgement calls and part of the art of loading.

Overall => make mistakes visible, and learn from them.


LINKS

A Four Step Return to Pain Free Running

Stretch goal… get back to SwimRun

If you have a look at NVDP’s appendix in How To Skate, you’ll see there’s a heck of a lot of running in the base program.

Why would speed skaters do so much running? Honestly, I’m not sure. Probably because they liked it. Eventually, Nils’ base training switched to bike only and the rest is history!

Nils’ coach, Johan, has been helping me with my return to running. In addition to speed skating, he is an expert at rehabilitating running injuries!

We are applying his knowledge to my legs BEFORE they are hurt.



Step One: Hiking

Before I ever thought about running, I hiked.

Initially, pub-to-pub in England!

Eventually, in the hills around Hong Kong and on big mountains around the World.

I’m going back to the beginning of my athletic journey and starting with weekly long hikes. 3-4 hours is what I’m tolerating right now.

No poles & with a day pack: I am challenging my balance and training the muscles & connective tissues of my lower legs (the source of my injury woes for the last 5+ years).


Step Two: Stretching

Johan got my attention with…

Hej Gordo, are you familiar with the Hip Progression in Going Long?

I just laughed.

Going Long is the title of the book I wrote with Joe Friel.

If you look closely at the progression (linked here), I’m not only the author, I was the model for the pictures.

Once he had my attention, Johan had me stand up during our call and walked me through the following:

  1. Extend up on my toes // Lift toes while standing on heels – 4 cycles
  2. From a deep African/Asian Squat – move forward/back/sideways – 2 circles each way
  3. Camel Pose (toes back / toes under) – 4 breaths in each

Three cycles, takes 8 minutes.

Now, I want to stretch, but I doesn’t seem to happen.

My solution… Teach

When I coach my kids, we do my stretches.

During and after my stretches, I focus on how good I feel.

I log it in my training diary – show Johan, tick the box. I’ve also added it to my daily metrics (Y/N).


Nature Box in Boulder – Home Depot Special

Step Three: Stop Coddling My Feet

Because it was my lower legs giving out, I’d taken to coddling my feet. Johan recommended I try strengthening them instead.

Two methods to start:

  1. Put the Nature Box in front of the sink and stand on it when doing the dishes.
  2. Barefoot at home – I’ve been in Hoka Recovery Slides for a few years

It’s meant to be a gradual shift.


Nature Box in Sweden – Scandinavian Flair

2 miles Easy, then 5s Sprints on 5 min recoveries (x4)

Step Four: Just Stay Healthy!

There isn’t much running right now – which is the way I started in the mid-1990s.

  • No back to back days
  • 9-10 min per mile pace
  • Stop before I get tight
  • Add a bit of sprinting

Training is focused on:

  • Bike volume to build metabolic health
  • Swimming: capped at ~40 minutes
  • Strength work is reduced in favor of aerobic endurance

LINKS

Sunday Summary 26 June 2022

Top Threads

  1. Dead Simple Nutrition
  2. Three Part, Submax Bike Benchmarking Workout
  3. Using the benchmark data – How To Endurance
  4. Extreme Plyo – drops (read comments!)
  5. Johan and I work on Swedish Article Readiness Test (SART)

Working Out

High-Performance Habits

Starting Fresh at 53

15 years ago, I was trying to hang with my elite competition.
These days, my focus is keeping up with this guy.
My training partner reminds me of my younger self.

What one thing, if it happened, would change everything?

Love, fitness, health, vanity, wealth, connection, mastery, purpose…

My adult life has been a series of “One Things”

Three tactics to help you with your goals.

++

Know Your Blindsports

My list is simple: recovery and running injury prevention.

I can’t see my blindspots and have habits that lead me to the same mistakes.

So…

Get Outside Expertise

It could be a book…


Experts put their best stuff in their books

It could be a device…


Make Mistakes Visible
My metrics make my errors obvious

It could be new relationships…

I wrote about how I met Joe Friel and changed the direction of my life.

Since my return to engaging with you, a similar thing has been happening.

Opportunity has been knocking.

Be open to engagement, embrace opportunity when it comes knocking.

All of the above require knowing where we want to go.

Unsure where to focus? Jim’s series on the Thinker & the Prover is a great place to start.

What’s your One Thing?

Write it down – even better, write ten things down.

Dead Simple Nutrition

Take advice from someone who has done what you’re trying to do

I started out fat and clueless.

The lessons I learned are different from someone, who grew up a star athlete.

  • If you want to be fast, take tips from someone who figured out how to be fast
  • If you want to lose weight, take tips from someone who lost the weight
  • If you want to improve your healthspan, read Howard’s book!

Know your goal and choose your reference set carefully. So much noise out there.

  • 360 days for health
  • 5 days for performance

Choose wisely


LOW can be better than NO

  • Low glutten
  • Low processed sugars
  • Low manufactured food

Less, rather than total elimination.

Pay attention to the bloat. For me… cereals, pastas and breads

Bloat items are better swapped with something I tolerate. When I swap them, moderate the portion, add a protein source and mix in some veggies.

Pay attention to well tolerated energy sources. For me… rice, rice milk, quinoa, potatoes.


I use Protein differently:

  • Protein with every meal
  • No long gaps without protein
  • ‘Recovery’ drinks across long training days – rice milk with protein powder
  • Real meals between sessions – avoid gel hell

Protein, especially with good fats, moderates my appetite and keeps my digestion happy.


Dairy

I tolerate it well but I’m careful not use as a sugar crutch.

There can be a lot of added sugar in dairy (especially “vegan” yogurts).


There is information in cravings and binges.

Cravings => usually a depletion signal. High-performance athletes need to train the ability to process food for fuel. Long sessions provide enough depletion, even when eating.

Binges => a sign of too much – too much intensity, too much stress, too much load.

To make progress with your body, and counter your binges/cravings, trade stress for the ability to lose fat.


A stable weight is a sign you have your act together.

Get to a stable, strong weight and stay there.

Effective nutrition is defined by what is not there:

  • Swings
  • Cravings
  • Binges
  • Injures
  • Illness

Where to focus:

  1. Eat less sugar – sweeteners are everywhere. Do not restrict whole fruits, they fill you up and reduce processed food intake.
  2. Protein with every meal – all day long
  3. Incremental change – lifetime journey!
  4. Start by improving the quality of your non-training nutrition
  5. Appropriate levels of carbohydrate – fuel the burn

Don’t get hooked on brand names…

Just Keep Winning


Sunday Summary 19 June 2022

Top Five Threads

  1. The 1st step is EASY
  2. Bike Session (30/30s and Power Singles)
  3. When you feel you are behind financially
  4. Give your Self something useful to Prove Right
  5. I’m back on Strava // Post_COVID week summary

High Performance Habits

Workouts & Working Out

The 20K Track Session


The WARM UP for this session is my favorite part.

Most athletes would be best served by doing the “warm-up” – the aerobic benchmarking – then hit the trails for a relaxed hour of running.

When I did this workout, I’d run a 2:51 marathon (off the bike) ten weeks earlier at Ironman New Zealand. My LT1 numbers were creeping ever closer to LT2… Scott Molina wanted to give my run training more “headroom.” Scott was right.

What would I do differently? Test lactate: baseline, LT1, LT1+10bpm and end of every 2nd 800. The La- data would have give pace/HR more context.

If you read to the end then you’ll see we were thinking about “the next trip” – Clas and I never got that done.

When YOU get the chance to take the “trip of a lifetime,” I hope you take it.

Take your shot.



gRAAM – Trans USA Day Sixty-One
aiken, south carolina

Wasn’t sure how this workout was going to go. I was feeling pretty good for most of yesterday. Had a false start at one school and also had to negotiate with the facilities manager mid-session. Went like this…

FM – Ya’all CAN’T be here!
B (rippin’ it) – Talk to him, I’m running.
G – I’ll be right there, sir.

FM – Eye, got signs everywhere. No Tress-passin’
G – Well, that big sign says open to the public.
FM – Eye, don’t care what that sign says, I put up them other signs yisterday. We be sprayin the grass tamarra!

G – Oh sorry about that. That gate over there was open.
FM – That was the mower man. Told him to leave it open last night.
G – We didn’t want to cause any problems.

FM – You ain’t from ‘round here, are ya?
G – Nope, we’re from Canada.
FM – That’s a long way. Just passin’ through, eh?
G – Yep, riding to Hilton Head tomorrow.
FM – Well, ah guess it’s OK. Just head out that same gate. Ya looked liked ya needed a break anyhow. See ya.

My session went like this..

Concrete Track
Low 80s, moderate to high humidity, light to moderate winds
Two Miles Easy
Two Miles AeT, 3:51/3:55/3:57 — avgs 141/142/143
Three K AeT+10, 3:46/3:46/3:46 — avgs 151/152/153
Four Strides

<<<June 2022 NOTE – the warm-up ends here>>>

8×800/200 — hr is ending
1-4 & 7/8 2:43H (157,161,163, 167 & 163, 167)
5 — 2:45, 169
6 — 2:47, 171

Not sure why I popped the HR on 5/6. It was pretty hot, maybe I was dehydrated RI was mid 50s to around a minute on the 200, HR might have got a little under 150 but not all the time

2:44 is 34 min 10K pace, I think. Pretty solid aerobic numbers. Morning weight was 78KG. You know, I am aerobically faster and more powerful than I’ve ever been. I know that light is useful but it can’t be the whole story. Baron thinks that I am lighter than I think I am (not sure what that means, it’s the same scale as last summer).

A little bit about why I like this session so much.

First up, I need at least a mile to warm my legs up. During big IM training, it can take a 30 min spin plus the two miles for me to get rolling. Even though I was shelled a couple of days ago, I was pretty fresh (on my standards) for this session.

The warm-up is 10.6K including the strides (and their RI). It lets me check in on my key metrics of AeT Pace (steady state) and AeT+10 Pace (what I like to call max steady state). It also gives me a big dose of running that is at (or above) IM pace/effort. It does it in a way than supports and enhances my run endurance, cardiac capacity, and leg turnover. Also, if I have an inability to get to LT then that is a clear indicator of a substantial training fatigue.

I’ve been doing this session (in various forms) for over a year – I two years ago, I used to do Yasso 800s at a much faster pace but now feel that protocol is sub-optimal for IM (too fast, not enough volume, too stressful). The numbers above represent my best yet performance for this workout.

While a variation of this workout is useful. When I review most athlete’s training performance vis-à-vis their workout performance, they would simply be best riding more and doing the 10K warm-up section as a week day aerobic test set. Why? Because most folks are running IM so far from their AeT pace that their true limiter lies in steady state bike fitness. So they are simply getting themselves tired for no benefit if they did the main set above.

The track also provides a good opportunity to experiment a bit with cadence and body position – quick light cadence, controlled speed, relaxed speed, long spine, tall balanced athlete.

I’m glad that I have some sea-level data to benchmark against my Boulder numbers.

+++++

Ironspeed

We threw the Baron on the track this morning. I was a little nervous because he’s a real racehorse and you never know what will happen on the track. However, it was a unique chance for us to get some data when he’s heading into a race.

15 min easy
30 min goal IM Pace
15 min goal IM effort
5 min bring it a little over LT
10 min easy

AeT Pace (140) = 3:40 per K, 5:54 per mile
Max Steady State (150) = 3:33 per K, 5:40 per mile
Total session was a Half Marathon run in 1:18:40, 145 avg

+++++

We said good bye to Ben today – like Barry, he found the track session challenging. Muscular fatigue possibly combining with the beginnings of a sore throat made it tough for him to elevate his HR. I’ll let him tell his story but I will give him _respect_ for making it the whole way!

Well done, Amigo.

I’ve extended an invitation to him to come out to Boulder and hang for a bit. Maybe he’ll come out for more action. He reciprocated with an invite to hang at the spacious Casa del Travis during the September Hell Camp.

+++++

After we dropped Ben at the airport. Baron and I headed to the pool. We each had our own lane in a VERY fine 50m pool – Augusta Aquatic Center if you ever get to town. Very nice, $4 for a swim.

LCM with sleeveless wetsuit
400 easy every 4th back
4×100 on 1:30 (1:25 to 1:20)
4×50 on 1:00 (40 to 32)
20×100 on 1:40 (first 10 avg 1:19, second 10 avg 1:17/18 – all three stroke breathing)
450 easy (booted out due to lightning)

No lightning rod on the roof so we were evicted part way through the final 1K steady finale!

+++++

B.D.Gae

Buh-duh-gay! What’s buh-duh-gay? Baron drills gordo across Europe. Even when nuked, I’ve been enjoying this trip. My life might not always be “fun” but it’s certainly rewarding.

At first, we were thinking about Rome to Mockfjärd but that seemed like a long way and I’ve been to Northern Germany in April (wet!).

Next year is Baron’s Zofingen focus year so I was thinking that some climbing might make sense. Also, this trip started getting a bit ‘old’ around eight weeks so, perhaps, that’s a decent length for an extended tour.

So right now, we are considering Gordo’s Latin Extravaganza – start with a swim in the Atlantic (Portugal or Spain) and then rip every major Southern European Mountain Range. Skip the camping and go the pensionne route, perhaps.

I’ve done some riding in the Alpes Maritimes in May before – that would be nice. We could also do Epic France recon and bag most the grand tour climbs (Spain, France, Italy).

Just an idea, for now.

+++++

Final Thoughts

Not much left to go. Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.

Had a little bit of Krishnamurti run through my head over the last few days. “We can never be deceived if we don’t want anything.” So true, whenever I feel deceived then I try to look to what I was seeking to possess in the situation.

Shaka,
g

Four Questions About Growing Financial Wealth

Do you ever feel you are behind? That you don’t have enough? That you might run out?

What to do?

Make vague feelings real by writing down some specifics.

Then get to work.


ONE => Is this a Reference Set issue?

If I spend time in Aspen then my “needs” escalate, and my self-assessment “declines.”

Same deal in Boulder, but it’s from a fitness point of view.

Others might have vanity triggers in places like LA, or on Instagram!

Feelings are sensitive to environment. The same life, done somewhere else, will be different.

Feelings of envy, fear and anxiety are sensitive to images – careful with environment, turn off cable news, get off Facebook/Instagram.

++

TWO => Is this a Skills issue?

A 35 yo surgeon with $250,000 of education debt, is in a different position than most. The surgeon is likely to earn themselves into financial security.

  • Where does my current job track lead?
  • Do I need retraining?
  • Armed with additional skills, it is easier to move up the income ladder?
  • Do I need to do the same job for a higher bidder?
  • What is the market rate for my skill set?

++

THREE => Is this a Spending issue?

It’s not always spending… but sometimes it is, particularly when spending isn’t generating satisfaction.

If you have the skills & the salary, but are left feeling uneasy, then a family financial review can make sense.

These discussions are HIGHLY emotional. I recommend a skilled facilitator.

++

FOUR => Is this a Time Horizon issue?

Back to the surgeon… highly skilled, employed, spending under control… the situation is going to play out just fine.

  • Pay down debt
  • Keep spending in check
  • Conservative monthly investment program

15 years along, the family is in a strong position. They had doubts, I did not.


I was asked, what would I have done?

Starting over at 40 yo

Core Job matches my highest paying skill set. Medicine, tech, finance, aviation… track into something that pays well.

The Core Job enables me to borrow long for a Core Investment. Buy real estate in a zip code with great public schools and a diverse local economy.

Secondary Job in an area of personal interest. It’s what many do with coaching/consulting.

Side Projects with Equity Upside. I would be looking for opportunities to invest (primarily time) in situations with financial upside. Do enough of these and something is likely to hit.

One new skill each year – coding, online marketing, blogging, video content, copywriting, language, ministry, education, graphic design, photography… stacked across a decade… powerful.

  1. Core Job
  2. Secondary Job
  3. Equity Upside
  4. Continuous Learning and Skill Acquisition

I have a friend, who did all of the above.

  • Around 40 yo, they were divorced
  • Then their employer went bust
  • Then they found our their pension had invested in the employer
  • So the pension went bust…

Long story short, a rapid journey from “set” to “f*%^ed”.

They could see “effective net worth” was negative due to financial obligations related to the divorce.

What I saw for a decade…

Three jobs: two of the jobs had flexible scheduling. Time off was used to work continuously (7/52/365). The third job was consulting, which was done inside the daily gaps.

Modest spending: given the income rolling in, not much went out.

Heavy investment: every single month, buy financial assets. Take overtime, buy more. Bonuses and financial windfalls, buy more. Buy, buy, buy.

This path isn’t for everyone – it comes with a cost in terms of family life. You need a spouse, who is completely on board. It’s a team effort.

A decade of grinding and the family is in a strong position. Now, the challenge may be to shift away from financial assets and build multigenerational Human Capital.


Final Word

Think deeply about Reference Set

  • There is a weak link between financial assets and life satisfaction
  • We never get time back
  • Too often wants are driven by external influences
  • Know what feeds your soul – write it down, take your shot

Make the target clear to yourself – for me => an active, outdoor life sharing experiences with friends and family

Stay on target.

Life Lessons From Admiral Jonser

RADM Scott “Jonser” Jones

Years ago, I wrote a book about Ironman Triathlon. At the back of the book, I put my email address and invited readers to reach out.

Scott read the book, and sent the email…

I was sitting at my computer and wrote him back five minutes later.

Take the shot, make your own luck

22 years prior to that email, Scott dropped out of high school and joined the Navy.

At 17, he took the shot.

40 years of service

Shot after shot, after shot…

June 10, 1982 (E1) to June 10, 2022 (O8)



Scott was able to live his childhood dream.

What was yours?


One good relationship can change your life

There have been moments in my life when Scott has pointed out faulty thinking.

Based on the turnout at his retirement ceremony, there are hundreds of people who have appreciated a timely dose of Vitamin Josner.

One person can make a huge difference in the world.

Find your tribe, iterate towards better, contribute.


Just Keep Winning !

Just Keep Winning – some time this year, I started saying this (all the time) and passing it along to others

  • People hate you for no reason… just keep winning
  • Feeling imposter syndrome… just keep winning
  • Unsure what’s next… just keep winning

I get to the ceremony and it’s on the cake!

This got me thinking…

I have no memory of where Just Keep Winning came from but, now, I have a hunch.



People influence me, without my awareness

When you come across a positive influence, be willing:

  • to change
  • to go to them
  • to share what they like to do

Last Thursday, I gave you a list:

  1. Do they make me laugh?
  2. Do they help me think better?
  3. Do they set an example for the type of man I want to be?

I’ll add one more filter… The Better Test

What happens when this person arrives on the scene?

Pay attention when you see “better” happening.

Jonser makes things better.


The Admiral at 17 => top right

Sunday Summary 12 June 2022

Top Threads

  1. I Allocate Money to Create the Wife & Life I Want
  2. Late-Season Peaking
  3. Swimming better & my return
  4. Buddy Runs for ultras & heat
  5. Fast Amateur SwimRun Training

High Performance

Workouts & Working Out