08 July 2012

Cadence matters... who knew?!

It's Sunday and we're nearing the tail-end of this heat wave that's been sitting over us for at least the past week.  If nothing else, I'll be well-prepared if the weather in Lake Placid decides to be 100+ on race day (let's hope that doesn't happen though).  Saturday was my last long-ish ride before Placid and having great company in Mindy and AJ made the four hour ride in hot weather much more bearable.  When we started at 7am, it was already clothes-sticking-to-your-back-because-of-too-much-sweat hot.

During the ride we had an interesting conversation about cadence on the bike.  One of my goals this year for Ironman Lake Placid is to have a solid run.  In order for that to happen, I need my legs to feel as good as they possibly can after 112 miles on the bike.  I do most of my biking in the big ring, both in training and in racing.  I also don't have a bike computer or cadence monitor, so in my head I am convinced that I am doing the ideal 90rpms when in reality, as I found out yesterday when AJ got behind me and mimicked my cadence and told me the readings on her computer, I'm doing more like 60-70 on hills and 80ish on flats (thank you for pointing this out to me AJ!!).  After this wake-up call, I did the second half of the bike using a smaller gear and going into my little ring for some of the uphills. I think the ride back to the cars was a net downhill so that probably helped, but the second half of the bike was substantially faster than the first half AND my legs didn't feel like they were working as hard. Even better, when we got off the bike after 70 miles and did a 4.5 mile run, my legs felt much fresher than they usually do and I managed to hit the intervals Jen had laid out in Training Peaks, even though it was close to 104 degrees by the time we were in our running shoes.  I'm sure running along the shaded C&O Canal also really helped the run feel as good as it did (thanks for your brilliant thinking Mindy!!)

In light of all this, I just ordered a cadence sensor to go with my Garmin.  I will do just about anything to make sure I set myself up to have a good run.  I'm sure knowing my cadence will force me to change the way I bike, at least a little bit, but if it means being more aware of how hard my legs are working and will help me keep them as fresh as possible, I am all for changes.

Oh, and can we talk about how fantastic this current moment of taper is?  This morning I had a 45 minute run.  THAT IS IT.  We had time to fold the laundry, unload the dishwasher, have a nice brunch in the kitchen together, take the dog to a dog beach in Maryland, make dinner, eat dinner, write on this blog and it's not even 7pm.  What a world of difference compared to the Sundays where I am out running or riding for alot longer.  And the other thing I like about the beginning of taper - you still have to feed the appetite.  It's like reaping the rewards of hard training, ummmmm without the hard training :)


The Miller Family said...

I have the garmin cadence sensor and use it on my bike and I love it! Happy tapering Caroline!

Mindy Ko said...

Magnum rewards!!!! just under 2 weeks...so exciting!

Catharine said...

Yay for taper! Yay for continuing to learn! I'm excited about your cadence discovery. AJ is terrific, isn't she :) I can't wait to watch you shine (from afar) at LP!

Caroline said...

I've been waiting with bated breath for my cadence sensor to arrive - it hasn't yet!! Hopefully before this weekend! Thanks for the happy taper wishes! And Mindy, let's see if we can arrange to have a cooler waiting for us at the finish filled with Magnum bars!