year in review 2020 training | the bookish athlete

This year, I did some reflecting on both my reading and training habits. Before I looked back over my 2020 reading list, I knew that I’d kept up a fairly steady reading rhythm and had read consistently for most of the year.

I wasn’t as enthusiastic about looking back over my training data because it lacked the same level of consistency. The perfectionist in me was not thrilled about this. However, I’m still able to recognize a few moments of pride and accomplishment from the past year.

I’ve included a few graphs in this 2020 review to paint a picture of the ups and the downs. I started using Training Peaks again in 2019 to track my workouts, so it was nice to have some real data to back-up what I already suspected.

overall training

Training Peaks calculates your fitness level using a rolling average metric called the TSS (training stress score). It’s the blue line in each of the graphs below. TSS scores take into account your workout intensity and duration. Over time, those data points either go up (as your fitness improves). Or, they go down as your fitness declines.

Several months ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to work up to a score of 50. And in 2020, I danced around that score, hit it, but then lost it again (evidenced by that long, gradual downhill below). But for 2021, I’m on my way back up!

2020 overall | the bookish athlete



I switched the majority of my workouts to swim training in mid-2019. But when the pandemic hit, the pools closed. It’s pretty clear from this graph when things shut down. But then pools and gyms re-opened for a while, which was good because Paul and I were training for a Swim/Run race (that was eventually canceled). I was able to get back in the water for a few weeks.

And then we moved, but there’s a great pool in Woodland Park that I’ve been taking advantage of just in the past several weeks. There are big windows that face Pikes Peak, and it’s awesome to watch from the pool as the sun rises and lights up the mountain.

2020 swim | the bookish athlete



Before March, I had been doing a little bit of running here and there. And then, when it became pretty much my only option, I embraced it. Plus, the Swim/Run Paul and I were training for included 19 total miles of running. But when the race was canceled, I didn’t want all that training and mileage to go to waste.

So in September, I put together a run/swim of my own – 39K trail run followed by a 3900m swim. Then that run/swim almost didn’t happen because house-hunting took priority. But I was still able to squeeze in that big day of training. Since then, the running has tapered off. Mainly because it’s snowy and cold. That colder weather is why there is also a biking blurb in this review.

2020 run | the bookish athlete



Biking is not something that’s been in my training logs since probably 2013 when I did my first (and only) Ironman. I’d been toying with the idea of getting a Peloton bike for a few weeks. And once I realized what I was in for during the winters, I made it happen. And I love it!

The bike showed up just in time for the last few days of 2020, and I’ve been taking classes every day since it arrived. So far, I like the trajectory of this graph. And if you’re curious about what this bike can do, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far.

2020 bike | the bookish athlete


up next


I still haven’t set “official” training goals for 2021. Outcome goals (like specific races) are probably a better word than official. So much is still up in the air. The main objective I’m sticking to is consistency. I started a 4-week Power Zone training program on the Peloton that kicked off with a 20 minute FTP (functional threshold power) test. Woof! The program has four days of rides planned out, and I’m filling in the rest of the days with some unprogrammed rides, plus two swims and a little bit of strength training and yoga. I also want to try to get outside at least once each week for a trail run or hike.

tools and data

As much as I see the value in keeping track of my workouts, I started to feel like I was using too many tools and losing focus on the workouts and training. I’ve streamlined the different watches, apps, platforms, etc., so they don’t become overwhelming or not useful. I’ve got another post on how I’m using Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, and Strava in 2021.

All the best to you for 2021 – what better time to read more books and train like a badass?