By David Warden
James Lawrence is a visionary.
As James' coach for the 50 50 50, I'm outside my expertise by opening with philosophy instead of physiology, but ultimately isn't philosophy at the core of this endeavor? Questioning limits? Challenging opinions? Perusing dreams? James is one of a rare breed of individuals on the brink of completing something that has never been accomplished. Skeptics and trolls are ubiquitous, but visionaries are few. James Lawrence is a visionary, and we need more visionaries.
But every successful vision requires action, and that action often requires a plan and comparing that plan to the results.
Day 1 Splits
If I can summarize the first day on the bike in one word, it would be "uncharacteristic." James' bike performance today was uncharacteristic from his training. A midnight start, three flats, and pulled over by the police (just on a typical midnight 112 mile ride, officer) were not experienced in his training. This likely contributed to additional uncharacteristic results including poor left/right balance, below target cadence, and above target normalized power. These three metrics (courtesy of James' Garmin Edge 1000) are critical to the success of the 50 50 50. Consistent left/right balance will at best contribute to a more efficient use of energy, but at worst an imbalance causing injury. A low cadence will use more glycogen (as precious as gold for this enterprise) and use more fast twitch muscles which can delay recovery. Finally, if pacing is important over a single Ironman distance event, its imperative over 50 in a row.
James' training displayed excellent discipline in these three areas, never drifting more than 2% between is left and right (he slightly favors his left), close to 90 rpm on cadence, and adhered to my prescribed pacing. Day 1, however, was anything but typical for James, with left/right at 53/47%, average cadence as low as 79 (as reported by his TrainingPeaks.com data), and normalized power at 181, above the targeted 160. Additionally, his peak 20 minutes was 224 watts, criminally high for an event of 50 days.
With the exception of a calibration or mechanical issue, the left/right and cadence should be easy to correct for Day 2 and forward, I just needed to remind him to monitor them in real time on the Garmin Edge. With Garmin Connect reporting a better cadence, it also may not have been as bad as I thought. The higher power can partially be explained by the two protracted stops early in the ride of 10 and 6 minutes from the police and the first flat. James was a little spooked by these early setbacks and let himself go above target to try and get back on track. With a daily bike goal of 7 hours, he actually had 40 minutes to spare, and I hope he will remember he can afford a few stops and still stay on his tight schedule from state to state.
On the positive side, he completed an Ironman today, which is always a good day. Additionally, his Power to HR ratio (Pw:Hr) was remarkably good at 4.25% for a ride of that duration, indicating both his outstanding endurance fitness and cumulative rest over his long taper.
James reported a run that was devastatingly hot, 85% humidity and very hot. I'm concerned about his recovery for Day 2, but have confidence in his ability to recover.