Monday, August 19, 2013

Rethinking in the Wake of a Poor Performance

Results from the Rattlesnake triathlon were a little late in posting and, truth be told, I was not terribly enthusiastic to see them. But I always do look at race results in detail so I finally got around to it on Monday morning.

What I saw did not please me.

Overall, I finished more ore less in the middle of the pack. In my age group, however, I finished fourth to last and I had the third slowest run time. There are many factors to explain it, but ultimately, I can’t blame anyone or anything but myself.

It’s human nature to wallow in self-pity at times like this. I’d be a liar if I said I had not started to go there. The frustration is particularly strong when I look back to last year when I had one of my best performances ever at a race. Given the fact that I’m in my forties, it’s not entirely unexpected that my performance year over year will decline. However I don’t believe the decline should be quite so dramatic.

I know that self-pity and despair generally don’t accomplish much of anything so after a few minutes down that road, I started thinking a bit more clearly, a bit more logically. What is done is done and the question is now about what I’m going to do for the remainder of the season. In fact, that there are two more races in the next 10 weeks is something of a silver lining. It gives me time to make some changes and hopefully improvements.


I tipped the scale Monday morning at 195.2 pounds which is almost as high as I’ve been in the last 12 months. It’s hard to say how much of a factor, but there are 10 to 11 pounds I’ve been dragging along that weren’t there a year ago.

With the TriRock San Diego about five weeks away, I’ve resolved to lose 5 pounds (1 a week) between now and then and to keep it off. Then, I plan to lose another 5 between that race and Ironman 70.3 Austin.

The hardest part is going to be curtailing my incoming calories. There’s no question that I like to eat. A lot. Like so much of my training, this is going to be a test of will as much as test of my body. Truly, the challenge will be keeping the weight off once I’ve reached the target.

Updated Training Plan

“No plan survives contact with the enemy”
            --Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

I have probably used that quote somewhere before so my apology for the repetition, but it’s quite valid to my current circumstances.

My current plan needs some reworking and 10 weeks is a good amount of time to see a successful implementation. Consistent with my goal to lose some weight will be more strength work—something I have lacked all summer. Additional running will also be part of the plan. At this stage, I’m not sure about doing intervals but I may employ fartlek training to help drive up my stamina level.

Injury Prevention

Since recovering from my soleus muscle injury earlier this year, I’ve stayed relatively healthy. The last time I experienced any real pain running was in Sweden back in early June. I feel fairly strong from that perspective, but also a little cautious. The worst thing would be to re-injure my right leg or develop a new injury. The first sign of trouble will have me stopping whatever I’m doing and taking some time to recover. Better yet will be to find the right effort level to avoid problems in the first place.

Looking back on this experience I think I may have subconsciously taken the wrong lesson from my marathon training. When I was preparing for that, I had no choice but to employ a modified strategy. It was a pleasant surprise that I ended up hitting a PR. Now that I’m healthy again, it’s time to push a little harder and, hopefully, see some better results.

Thanks for reading!

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