Changing Goals

After a few months of training to run a 5K again, wouldn’t you know it? The airfares to NYC were such that the only day to fly was exactly the day of the race I had signed up for. That said, it’s probably good that I missed it. I had two physical goals for this year. One of them was to run a half marathon. However, my shin splints were returning to the point that simply bumping my shin very gently was very painful If that’s how it was running 5K, what would 22 kilometres be like? And so, I’ve given up on running. I’ll miss the feeling of running out in the world on a hot day, seeing the sights and listening to great music, but it’s just not something I can do. I’m a bit disappointed, but on one level I expected this would happen.

On the positive side, I still have my other goal: I want to cycle 200 kilometres (124 miles) in one trip. I’ve done 160 kilometres (100 miles) a couple of times already so I am within striking distance of it, but I haven’t done any long distance cycling to speak of this summer so I need to get on it.

To that end, I got back on the bike today to test my FTP – Functional Threshold Power – essentially it’s an estimation of how much power I can continuously put out if I am working as hard as I can for an hour. It’s used by the training programs I use to calculate how much effort I need to put in to various routines. It means that the designer of the training program can specify exactly how hard I should be working. The other nice thing about measuring FTP is that it can be used as a gauge of progress. The stronger and more fit I get the higher it goes.

So to do the test, there’s a warm up followed by a few efforts to get your legs moving and then, after a short, easy stretch, the test starts. It’s simple in theory: Push as hard as you think you can sustain for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, have a cooldown and you’re done.


Today was a perfect day to do it. While I walked a lot in New York (15-25 km/day, as it turned out), I didn’t put any hard efforts in. I had a good, carb filled breakfast and was ready to go. In the end, my FTP went from 208 to 220 watts, an increase of just about 6%.

So now I need to ramp up my training program. Now that I’m no longer balancing my cycling and running training I can do a bit more cycling. Tomorrow will be an easy ride because I just did the FTP test. I am considering a long ride on Sunday, though. I have to watch the weather a bit as there’s a heat warning to be aware of.  Using my bike in lieu of transit will also help in this respect.

Now to figure out the route. That’s the exciting part!


14 thoughts on “Changing Goals

    1. Interested to read it. It is great fun once you are past the first few weeks. Were my body designed just a little different I’d be doing so much of it.

      1. NOT taking it at a turtle’s pace is a good part of why it took me several decades to run. Before I started slowly and built up I might run once every 5-10 years. A friend might say “Let’s go for a run” and we’d go out for 30 minutes at normal pace. I’d feel completely awful and be sore for days and not understand what it is that people see in it.

        The fun really came when I could just put on some good music, run through an interesting area and explore at faster than walking speed. In 2016 I managed to get up to half-marathon distance and those runs were great. I’d see so many interesting places over the course of a 22 km run. Sadly, just touching my shins at that point would result in a lot of pain. So in the end it wasn’t worth it.

      2. My incentive to run is the Himalayas, if I want to continue with my treks there I have to run to be fit and ready. Let’s see how it goes. I do wish you could achieve your goal but some things are out of our control.

      3. I never hit the “fun” part, haha. The health and mood impacts are still worth it though. I’ve been using an elliptical lately hoping it will help my outdoor running.

      4. I think the fun for me came with where I go. when we lived downtown I’d explore lots of little laneways and back alleys and saw interesting things. Out here where we live now there are great trails through the woods.

        The elliptical would probably be great for me – it’s the impact that gets me. Sadly I’m very fussy about the exercise I do indoors. Treadmill and elliptical are the worst for me.

      5. Ah, I run around the reservoir by my house. It’s nice, but I don’t really go anywhere.

        I don’t like treadmills. I had a positive experience with an elliptical in physical therapy, so I think that’s why I like mine. I associate it with actually being able to move again. It was one of the things I felt like I made good progress on when I was going there.

      6. Oh that’s interesting – associations matter so much. Cycling is all about good feelings for me so I gravitate toward that. Treadmills are all about cold and bad weather and the dismal winter that seems to bring nothing but blahs. So even if I’m in Louisiana on a treadmill indoors because it’s over 100 and humid it still feels bad.

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