10 steps back, 12 steps forward
Now that the triathlon season is over it is time to look back and evaluate the good and the bad. Some White Chicks quotes are thrown in for smiles. The 2014 season did not pick up where I left off in 2013, in fact it was far from it. I feel I was somewhat spoiled in 2013 as I don’t recall having a bad race (some were better than others, but I was always happy with my results). 2014 started with a stress fracture that forced me to miss the first two months of racing, and trying to get back into it was a struggle.
Perhaps I still haven’t gotten over this race, but it certainly taught me some lessons. This is how I felt:
But really I set myself up to have a bad race as despite not running more than 7km easy prior to this race, I expected myself to run a sub-40minute 10km off the bike, all while knowing that this was a particularly challenging course. The swim and bike were okay, but I tried to set off at an unsustainable pace on the run and paid the price. This really taught me about the principle of training and racing to your current ability levels, not where you want them to be.
Without getting into too many details, I have had my fair share of eating problems in my teen years and some of those obsessions have stuck with me. This has led to improper fueling of workouts and races which means I am not reaching my potential. This has impacted my races (another factor at Gravenhurst). I know better, but putting it into practice is easier said than done.
Or more importantly- the lack thereof. Full time work sucks (to put it bluntly), and having less time to train than usual, the first thing to be cut from training was strength work. I told myself that doing big-gear work on the bike and the handful of push-ups done before swim practice most mornings would be fine, despite knowing this really wasn’t the case. I don’t know how much this really impacted my racing short-term, but long-term it can lead to injuries due to muscle imbalances. It may have prevented the injuries I ran into in August that forced me to miss racing in Bracebridge.
Riding my TT bike more
In 2013 I did most of my riding on my road bike, usually only riding my TT bike once a week, twice if I was racing. I love my road bike and I think it is more comfortable for riding, but the position on the TT bike is different meaning that it needs to be practised if you’re going to be (somewhat) comfortable on race day. This year I rode my TT bike 4- 5 days a week, which made noticeable improvements in my ability to stay in aero as well as bike handing skills. This was very apparent during Barrelman in the strong winds.
Keeping up with swim training
By being in Waterloo for the summer it meant that I could train with the varsity swim team. This was extremely beneficial to me as I find it hard to motivate myself to go hard in the pool if no-one else is there. Didn’t make the pace time?
This was very apparent in 2013 when all my swim training was on my own- my swimming got worse as the season went on. Keeping up the intensity and working on other strokes has really helped my swimming and led to some respectable swim times throughout the season.
This is probably the most obvious thing for the “good” list of the season. I was so happy with this race that I had trouble sleeping for the next 3 nights. I had a very different taper approach into this race, which meant keeping high volume until Wednesday morning, then dropping off dramatically until race day. This is in contrast to the gradual 10-day taper that I have used in the past. I felt very energized on race morning. I listened to the advice of others and actually fuelled this race, which was crucial to set me up for a good run. And when Lionel Sanders is the only person who runs faster than you on race day, you can’t complain.
I will have a follow up post to explain the plans and goals for next season, but in summary