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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

2014 End of Season Summary

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanSep 30th 2014
Having completed my last Triathlon of the year I can now look at the season and l can judge how successful its been. I started by looking at last years end of season summary which contained the following targets to aim for this year:

Improve swim
Improve bike
Maintain run speed
Race less
Don't be excessive about time targets
Win my AG in a Triathlon

Improving my swim was the number 1 priority. At the time I wrote that end of season summary the process had already started simply by swimming more. I also said I wanted to identify some third party help to improve my technique. That didn't happen. No reason for this other than maybe the simple fact I was improving without it so got complacent. The net result, I took my 1500M Olympic swim PB from 28.14 down to 24.41 and with sub 25 the target that's job done. The one thing I did notice is once the race season started the improvement stalled. I didn't go backwards, just simply stopped improving. But then is that to be expected? Maybe.

Bike. Season started slowly. Think maybe on reflection concentrating on my swimming and spring marathon training set me behind a little. But at some point in July it all kicked in, quite spectacularly, well, by my standards! An Olympic at Dorney, entered really as a training race and a stepping stone to improvement, took me to another level. Previous 40k bike split PB was 1.07 but that was smashed with a 1.01. I could barely believe the K splits as they happened and after starting the day with a tidy 27 min swim and rounding it of with a sub 39 min run I clocked a 5 min PB for my first sub 2.10 Olympic, which was also a target before the season started. That race was the high light of my season.

Run. It was a bit mixed. I did at times run faster than ever. But not consistently. Other times it was a bit slow. It definitely slipped a bit as the season got longer after a strong Spring. Its not a major area for concern. I have been through this cycle many times, improving your running is easy, you simply work hard with minimal structure.

Did I manage to race less? Well, I did 15 Triathlons in 2013 and 17 this year. But in 2013 I did an Ironman so I am pretty sure I raced less miles. So that's racing less, right? Bit tenuous maybe :-) I did try and take more rest days to keep fresh and I think this worked up to some point in August, when I did 5 races, and then I suspect it caught up with me. First half of the year I had a 3 hard weeks, 1 easy week routine but found it hard to stick to that as the races piled up. The answer, well, its race less obliviously! Must try harder in 2015. No, really, I must.

The last two targets contradict each other a little. Being obsessive about targets undoubtedly tightens me up and stops me performing at my best. But if you want to qualify for World Championships, or indeed simply improve, you have to have targets right? And one of those was to win my AG at a Triathlon as I had never done this before. So somehow you have to get a balance, be focused enough to push the extra mile sometimes needed but relaxed enough to physically function at your best. I think I managed this for two thirds of the season but slipped in to bad habits at the end by having unreasonable expectations. So for next season, back to concentrating on nothing more than doing my best. Did I manage a AG win? Yes, 3 times. All small events but a step in the right direction.

The other thing I took from this season was the opportunity, whilst not locked in to certain dates with qualifiers, championships and an Ironman schedule, the chance to try new events. Two of these were very, very enjoyable and I will definitely at some point go back to both, The Outlaw Half and Liverpool Tri. I cant speak highly enough of either event, both superbly organised with great courses and a reasonable entry fee. Even the atrocious weather that Liverpool was subjected too didn't put me of. I also tried Windsor for the first time and that sadly was disappointing. Admittedly this could in no small part be because its best feature, the bike course, which for some people might outweigh the negatives, is one of my regular training routes so its hard to get excited about it. I enjoyed the run course and the crowds but the logistics, car parking among other things, are poor. I think the race has outgrown itself.

So, for 2015, the targets are simple, swim faster, bike faster, run more consistently, qualify for the World AG Championships in Chicago.

How will I do all of this? Not sure yet but as I take an end of season rest I will be taking some time to think about that.
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