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

Triathlon, the challenge

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanJun 12th 2014
I have been meaning to write some race reports recently with the first such whim coming on the 4th May when I did my first Triathlon of the season. But having done another 4 since then that moment has well passed!

What such a busy schedule has given me is a chance to reflect on how effective my training has been during the winter and what kind of shape I am in and has also served to remind me of one of the more obvious facts about Triathlon, it’s very difficult to get the balance right between 3 sports, strength and conditioning and rest and recovery.

From Jan to March my swim volume was very high, topping 43k in Jan and 38k in Feb. This was a decision made to improve my weak discipline and make me a more rounded athlete. Has it worked and has there been a sacrifice in the other disciplines? Yes and probably are the answers to that.

The last two races have thrown up some interesting figures. In the Outlaw Half, an event that admittedly I didn’t train for and was intently conservative on the bike, from 164 in my Age Group I exited the swim in 28th, T1 in 26th, Bike 28th, T2 28th and the Run 9th. The following week at the Thorpe Park Triathlon, Sprint Distance event where I was in a small wave for our Club Champs so not racing directly against my Age Group rivals, from 51 athletes went swim 5th, T1 4th, bike 5th, T2 5th, run 6th.

So getting back to those two questions, the first of which has my swim improved, yes. My 750m pb has gone from 13.52 (the only time I had gone sub 14 previously) to 13.07 and would have been sub 13 at Thorpe last week had the timing mat not been 100m from the swim exit. My time at the Outlaw Half at 34 mins was a 5 min PB, so a huge improvement. There is more to come as my OW times don’t yet match my pool efforts but suspect this is a combination of navigation, lack of drafting and pacing, ie simply not trying hard enough so will try and adjust that.

To the second question, have my other disciplines suffered, well that’s more difficult to answer. I felt I had a bad run at the Outlaw Half at 1.33 but in terms of my Age Group clearly not and my average pace at the British Sprint Champs was 3.53 per k, a bit below my normal 3.45 for of the bike events but those two apart I have been strong throughout the season so far, so no, not on the run. The bike, well, at times my Duathlon bike times I have been better than my Triathlon bike times, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. At Thorpe I was 50 seconds down on last year’s race, which did take place in September last year so had the benefit of a full seasons training. However, over all, yes, I think my bike has been the sacrifice. My run volume was kept high for the marathon in April so something had to give.

So my next challenge is to try and find the balance between improving my weaker discipline and still maintaining the standard of my stronger ones, and this is what makes Triathlon such a challenging sport.
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