Best of the worst
by TriHardAlanFeb 23rd 2014
When I wrote my last blog I was was just about to start an easy week in a 3 hard 1 easy 4 week cycle and had just completed my first race. This time round in much the same place having just completed 3 hard weeks and completed my 2nd race of the year. Looking back, I don't think that last easy week was easy enough. I still did the club swims and track and really didn't change much at all. The result, for the 1st time this week I felt jaded and tired. Last week was 7 runs, 5 swims and 4 bikes and is typical of what I have been doing and without a single rest day in that 3 week period and although there was a couple of single sport days, it wasn't enough.This week, in the build up to racing yesterday, I decided to get all my hard training done Mon, Tues, Wed but Thursday arrived and I had to quit the club swim half way through, was simply running on empty. But it bought the message home and next week I will skip the club swims and track and my only hard session will be a 25k run as part of my marathon preparation.
Talking of that race yesterday, this was something entered on a bit of a whim a couple of weeks ago and was the F3 Duathlon at Dorney Lake, Sprint Distance, 5k run, 20k bike 5k run. The intent was just to test the bike, having been doing a little less training on it to accommodate the extra swimming and marathon preparation. I also decided to experiment with my preparation by discarding my usual approach of taking a total rest day the day before and instead having a swim only day on the Thursday, bike and run, with race pace small bursts, on the Friday before raciing on the Saturday. This is more in line with what everybody else does so wanted to give it a go. Race day arrived and the dreaded rain took a rest and the sun appeared and leaving my house it didn't even feel windy but I was heading to Dorney so knew that wouldn't last! Upon arrival I was greeted with lots of familiar faces, mostly from my club, we had a strong turn out for an early season event with lots of the fast folk there. After arriving early, racking, warming up etc I lined up, waited for the Oxford/Cambridge athletes to go of first who were competing in a mob match and waited for our turn. With Super Sprint, Sprint and Olympic distances all starting together there was a big crowd and made sure I got to the front for a clean getaway. After a bit more chat the gun went and I was of and quickly in to a good rhythm. 1k down and Garmin flashes up 3.38. Hhhmm, tad fast but felt good and suspected it would slow a little but with the rest all around 3.46/3.48 it was my fastest 5k of the year so far. Or at least it would have been if it was 5k, instead I crossed the timing mat in 19.36 at 5.25k. Why is a course that goes out to a traffic cone and back that badly measured? God knows! After a 40 second, could have been better, transition, was of on the bike. Don't think I got up to speed quick enough re the mount, shoes etc but that will come. The 4 lap course that followed was typical Dorney, windy! Never felt great but was very consistent. It was a little bit of a cross wind but with it behind me was knocking out 1.35 K's and about 1.46 going in to it. Not as quick as when I last did a Sprint Tri there last summer on same course but was definitely windier and its early in the season. It was 2 mins quicker than the same race two years ago. Time 32.49 on a short course for an average 34.1 kph. After another 40 sec transition out on the 2nd run. As the k's ticked of I seemed to be running at the same pace, about 3.46 ish and felt pretty good. As ever concentrated on form, high cadence, small strides, hips forward and shouted some encouragement to my fellow Turbos. As the race finished I was closing on two more people but as they looked too young for my AG I didn't push too hard and finished the again long at 5.27k in 19.58 at an average speed of 3.47 which means I held my pace well. Overall time, 1.13.37. Turns out I was 11th overall and regretted a little not pushing harder to catch the two guys in front of me as I probably could have. I was also the 4th vet and 2nd in Age Group, the winner finishing 3rd overall in a staggering 1.07 so despite having high hopes of winning my Age Group at the beginning nothing I can do against that class of athlete, sometimes you just have to accept its not to be. Overall, a pleasing day. I can definitely cycle better but that will come. And was also a great day for my club Thames Turbo. Not only did we have 1st male and female, 1st vet (prize wise) and including myself a total of 5 athletes in the top 11. Of course, that would have sounded so much better as top ten!
The other significant thing I did this month was a swim time trial. Been pleased with my progress in the pool but wanted to see how that transpired to wet suit swimming. With the lakes at least a couple of months away from opening, and to be frank I wont be rushing down there when they first open as they are often still too cold, I was keen to see what I could do. One of my targets is to get my 750m Sprint swim time down from my current pb of 13.52 to 12.22, ie a minute and a half of. So, I headed down to the 36m Hampton Pool where wetsuits are allowed, hoped for a quite lane and timed 21 laps at race intensity for a 756 time trial. I was lucky enough to only have to stop a few times and only briefly and clocked a very pleasing 12.02. Take of the 6m, and that is clearly sub 12 and had an average speed of 1.35 per 100m. This felt like vindication of the hard work and proof my methods are working. Clearly, I may need to reevaluate my targets. With some further improvement and a decent draft, an art I need to also need to practice, is low 11's possible? And clearly my 26.04 target for 1500m, 2 mins of my current pb, is no longer valid. I should be good for sub 25. Once again, I have to ask myself, how long till May?
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