Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Years In: What I've Learned

A little less than a year ago, I posted what I took away from my first year as a triathlete. There's no question that there were a host of things I leaned in the first year. Nevertheless, while there are fewer, there are still some nuggets of wisdom I think I managed to glean from my first non-rookie year. So here goes:

  1.  You cannot prepare enough! I didn't do a bad job of getting ready for my first 70.3 event. After all, I did finish it and actually was only 20 minutes behind my goal time. However, now that I know what the experience is like, I'll be more ready next year with more running, more biking and bricks. Yep, even though I sore them off earlier this season I think the shorter variety makes some sense. 
  2. Putting down a big base paid off. I spent a lot of my off season working out in Zone 1 which is 60% to 75% of my max heart rate. That base gave me a solid platform of endurance upon which I was able to build better stamina. I swam faster and ran faster during the season. I plan on putting down an even larger base this off-season
  3. I'm not good in the heat. Period. On the run portion of HITS I had the benefit of putting ice under my hat, being drenched with cold sponges and drinking plenty of water and energy drink. It helped. Indeed, it probably made the difference between finishing and a DNF, but it did not make me any faster. I may not be able to completely avoid hot courses (this is a summer event in Colorado after all) but avoiding temps in the mid to upper nineties is going to factor in to my 2013 schedule.
  4. Sleep may be the ultimate "X Factor." I'm not a terrible sleeper, but I could be a lot better. I read about Tour de France athletes getting something like 9 hours a night and it makes the 7 or so I usually get seem kind of paltry. I managed to train myself to fall asleep earlier on the night before races but I need to extend that to every day. I plan on talking more about that this off-season.
  5. I can't rule out a 140.6. That is not to say that I've convinced myself to train for the ultimate triathlon distance. Far from it. The time, energy, physical and mental toll that such an effort would require are sill very daunting. They're just not daunting enough to convince me that I don't want to join that elite club. It definitely won't be happening next year. But I may (will probably) put a full marathon on the schedule at the end of the off-season and see how that goes. I raced for close to seven hours at HITS. I ought to be able to run for five or so.
It's amazing how fast a season goes. Even with five races and months and months or training, it's still flown by faster than Alistair Brownlee in the Olympics! While part of me is sad the season and the summer have ended, another part is anxious to hit the reset button and focus on the good work that can be done in the off season. I've already got the beginnings of a training plan written and as soon as tomorrow I'll be back at the local rec center pool swimming laps. 

Additionally, I'm still training hard for the upcoming Rock & Roll Denver half marathon in just under three weeks. I've got a sub two hour goal in mind for that one. 

There's so much more I could say, but short and to the point always makes for a better post.

Happy Labor Day, thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

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