The results are in. I will make the same excuses about this year’s test that I’ve been making to Joey Adams. I was tired, and coming off two weeks of inactivity due to a severe cold. And in general I felt not at all in shape.
Last year I tested with a VO2 max of 44.0, rendering me “Good” on the scale for 30-39 year old males. The scale running from Very Poor, Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent and Superior. This year, I notched a 47.8 (+8.6%), pegging me as “Excellent”. So there is some progress. Without a doubt, the philosophy of aerobic base training is producing gains. Small gains, but it’s something. I’ve a ways to go. I don’t train enough.
My thresholds have pushed upward and my heart zones have followed suit. My Aerobic Threshold, the point at which the body begins tapping resources other than fat for energy, has adjusted upward 9 beats. So I get a little more performance this year at the same energy cost. Similar gains at the top end with the Anaerobic Threshold, where my body now goes another 5 beats higher before preferring only carbohydrate for energy, of which carbohydrates are limited and can be replenished only so quickly, meaning extended performance above this threshold is limited and will ultimately have a lactic acid penalty. Again, a little more performance this year at the same energy cost.
The real eye-opener was the resting metabolic rate test. Effectively, you sit idle with the mask on for 20 minutes or so and you end up with a daily caloric intake requirement. My bottom line is that for a very ordinary day, I need 2800 calories; 75% of which need to arrive by noontime. I have changed my eating habits from rigid “breakfast” and “lunch” to more of a grazing period from 9am to about 1pm, where I pack in about 2100 calories. It took some getting used to, but I have a LOT more energy when I workout at night. It’s a big difference. In general, I just feel a lot better. Probably because I’m no longer starving. By comparison, I used to net, on average, 400 calories for breakfast, and maybe 400-500 for lunch. About half of what I really needed. I never did it on purpose, it was just how things worked out. Sometimes it takes a test like this to make you understand what you’re doing to yourself.
Dinners are generally modest but depending on the day’s workout, will be as big as they have to be to support whatever was burned off by activity. Workouts run 600 cal/hr and up.
My weight is up now to about 10 pounds more than it was on race day at Mount Washington last year. I imagine it will stay around here. I am doing more strength work now, and I would imagine that since my body now has fuel to build muscle, it will probably do so. Last year I would eat like a bird and then down some protein and hope that would make muscle appear. So yeah, that doesn’t actually work.
I should know better. Last year in the sweltering heat, I had the ride of my life at the Prouty. The night before, I slept like shit, so how was that possible? Possible, because the night before, I ate a lot of food. A fried chicken sandwich and fries (alright, no points won here on nutrition, but after months of eating not nearly enough, it was clearly well received). During the ride, I packed my face at every sag stop. I ate like I had never eaten before. And I rode accordingly.
I need to carry that eating intensity through this season. I need to eat on training rides. A lot. And that is tough, considering that typical ride food is easy to get sick of. I am going to have to try everything I can, and stop at a lot of stores along the way.
Overall, my wattage is awful. I need more strength, and I think eating is really going to help. Another thing that will help is snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Two very cool winter activities I have gotten into that are fantastic base training tools. Snowshoes are really fun, and skiing just builds out all of the systems. Many weeks to go for both. This year, I hope, is going to be much different than last, and hopefully…better.