Well my 4th Triathlon season of focused training has wrapped up. As with most Triathletes (most of the time) it was a mixed bag.
I felt I had 2:07 in me, but the best I eeked out it 2:09. So I am pleased I broke the 2:10 barrier and I will keep chipping away
Most importantly I feel I have learned a lot this season which I can apply in the future. Not everything that I have learned will make me a faster athlete, but perhaps a happier person
I did most of the local Portland short course triathlons and nothing
spectacular happened for me. Most of the races after blue lake (first
race of the season) I found myself wanting to go home and go back to
bed in the middle of the race - not a good sign. Certainly work and
family commitments played a part in that.
Here is what I have learned this year in no particular order:
1) Keep it fun - if it ain't fun why am I doing it? I am not going to be a pro and my priorities are to have a balanced life without wearing down my body and energy to where I am stressed out. Also if I am constantly missing fun bike races or other events because I am training so specifically then this is something to look at. Even if I don't do as well at a race I have to make sure I have my triathlon goals are aligned with enjoying training and racing.
2)Training harder doesn'tt necessarily make you faster at triathlon
and training smarter is key
3) Following a written plan without adapting it constantly to how you
feel is not training smartly. This opens the question on how you use
a coach without constant communication ...which is not
always practical unless you pay someone 300 + dollars a month and have
a great fit.
4) Be careful with track workouts. Especially if you are tall and if
it affects your flexibility/recovery/energy
5) Running: tempo runs are bread and butter. I like the 25 mins at
zone 4 then 10 min easy then 20 mins hard that coach Grant prescribed
earlier in the season.
6) Bike - do a few 60 min time trials followed by run and allow
enough recovery time for it prior to race day. I know Grant doesn't
agree with me here. I lack some bike base and strength which makes
running a slower process after. My hips take a beating especially.
7) Bike - Long bike rides can definitely be beneficial even for short
course if you lack base and bike strength. There needs to be a good
mix of intensity and hours in the saddle.
8) Swim - swimming 3 times a week adds aerobic base and helps you all
around if you need more aerobic fitness. It also helps you feel
stronger the rest of tour race If you have a good swim base.
9) Endurance - us amateur short course athletes often forget an
Olympic distance triathlon is still an endurance sport. We need speed,
strength, and flexibility...but we need the heart and lungs to let us
run after the swim and bike is over. This brings up the next point.
10) For days where it works, I really benefit from double workouts
even if shorter and if low/moderate intensity. The second workout
causes adaptation as you are already carrying a "load" into the
workout. The only downside is...more showers and messing about.
Finding efficiency in getting the workouts done is key (not wasting
time for prep and showering). For me those days might be the days
where Kacy doesn't work and I don't have the same child care
responsibilities. Also begs the question if I would benefit in having
a treadmill at home which I could use when I am watching the kid (soon
to be kids) after work or when they are asleep early in the morning.
11) Flexibility and recovery. Important especially for taller folks
like myself. I will be focusing on how I feel more next season and
will be stretching each and every day ..as well as incorporating foam
rollers (hot tub, etc), ice, and massage where needed.
Next I will be training for cross season while building up a good base
again after taking a week off training in Hawaii. I plan on enjoying
myself and hopefully finding some longer rides and runs as well. A new
carbon road bike will help build my inspiration no doubt! :) Drop me a
line especially if you want to ride long.