Amateur Age Group Triathlete
Amateur Age Group Triathlete

3 Months Training and Racing Between Ironmen:

roborobby roborobSep 11th 2014
So I'm two days away from competing on the GB Age Group Team in the ETU Long Distance European Champs out here in Holland (aka "Challenge Almere"). I've done everything I needed to do in training, and am bubbling with energy from a well designed taper my coach has given me, so really nothing to do now or think about except relax and look forward to the big day. My first venture into iron distance was just over 3 months ago. Just enough time for the memories of the prolonged moments of pain, desperation and despair to have faded, leaving only the warm fuzzy bits like the stunning course, sense of achievement and comradery from supporters and new friends made along the way.

In the days after City to Summit my legs were in pieces, but I otherwise still felt fit and healthy as I hadn't pushed my cardio system much given the bike issues and the slow marathon hike. I did learn that having a blow out too soon after the day in terms of eating and drinking junk is not a good idea, as it just slows your recovery and makes you feel even worse. This time I'll save the celebrations and kicking back until I'm rested and have my mind completely off triathlon and any pain associated with it, given that this will be my last proper race of the season.

Since City to Summit, I've had a decent range of events to target: an aquathlon, running race, cycle sportive, and olympic, middle and offroad tris. One of the benefits of going long is that it gives a new sense of perspective for these shorter events, in that I can look at them and say 'okay this is an olympic, I'm going to hit this x-times harder than my ironman pace, and this middle will be better the two so I'll go for this wattage on the bike and this pace on the run which should do the trick', rather than thinking at any point that any of them sounds like a long way! I guess the big lesson learned this year has been planning out pacing strategies rather than just going for it and seeing what happens (as in going too hard and seeing that this hurts!). Maybe a bit mechanical, but I aim to be a bit braver with racing from the heart once I have a few finishes under my belt.

Summary of the races since City to Summit:

Windrush Aquathlon, 22nd June: London League 500m pool swim, 5k run. 2nd Overall.

Worthing Standard 6th July: 1.5k sea swim, 40k bike, 10k run. 9th Overall.

JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, 10th July. 5.6k run. 19m53

Ride 100 London, 10th August. 86 mile sportive. 3h55.

Midnight Man 70.3, 16th August. 1.9k lake swim, 90k bike, 21.1k run. 4h27m07 and 5th overall.

Xterra England, 24th August. 1.5k lake swim, 30k MTB, 9k trail run. Hobbled in 69th place after a run of mechanical issues on the bike.
Given these were all effectively training sessions for Challenge Almere, I was really happy with some of results, especially Windrush and Midnight Man. I was hoping to win Windrush seeing as I had come 2nd last year, but didn't expect to struggle to find pace as much as I did, 3 weeks after City to Summit. Made me realise that the stress from competing in ironman can break the body down in deeper ways than just muscles and tendons. I think it had got me on a nervous system level as the muscles felt fresh but I couldn't get the communication from the brain to the muscles to get them to fire quickly enough! Midnight Man was timed perfectly for Almere, and was a great confidence booster as I was able to execute the plan of going 20 watts over IM pace on the bike and then pushing under 4m/k average on the run with no issues at all. This was my third ever half IM, and I've decided this is by far my favourite distance, so looking forward to racing some of these much harder from next year!
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