Saturday, March 28, 2015

How to go from bottom 10%-25% finisher (Overall and AG) to top-half (middle) to top-third in about 10 seasons of Multi-Sport, and some other thoughts - Part 1 of more than 1 Part Series

I have decided to write a multi-part blog series on how I went from the bottom 10%-25% of finishers (Overall and AG) in multi-sport (triathlon and duathlon) to the middle, top 50%, to top-third.  Mind you, I am not a pro, an elite triathlete, in fact, and I have never won a triathlon. 

First, here are my qualifications that allows me to tell you how to get better:
  • Since 2006 I have started and completed 30 duathlons, also 2 duathlon relays (bike portion in both)
  • Since 2007 I have started 78, and finished 76 (3 70.3 and the rest are Oly and Sprint).  One of the races I did not finish was due to a stress fracture and I bowed out after the bike and the other was due to a flat tire.  I also did one relay, where I swam and biked.
  • I have started and completed 53 time trials.
  • I have started and completed 40 running races.
  • Since 2007 I have put in over 2000 hours of racing and training (I didn't keep very good records in 2006, but I did do some training when doing those first duathlons)
  • I was coached, by a very good coach for almost 3 years (2007-2010), so I understand something about coaching.
  • I do read triathlon magazines, articles, blogs, occasionally, but I don't get into any "fads" or anything. I don't bounce around between the newest diet, gear, or training thing that is "in".
  • I am an engineer and scientist, by degrees and by job, so you can trust me
There are some pretty simple things you should know:
  • To race faster, you need to train faster.  Not always going fast, you do need to recover and you do need to do base training, etc.  If you never train at or above race pace, you will never go faster.  My wife's cousin runs the same pace, no matter 5K or half-marathon, about a 10 min/mi pace..  She asked me "How come I never get faster?".  I asked if she ever does intervals, or anything above her race pace.  She doesn't.  She just goes out and runs farther, or shorter, but never goes faster.  That was my problem for awhile.  All I did was run shorter or longer, never really concentrating on speed.  Then I started doing fartleks and intervals, etc.  Guess what?  I got faster.  This goes for everything, swimming and biking.
  • Learn to swim and swim well, and swim often.  A lot of triathletes think they can get away with not swimming much, or at all, and a lot can, because they are fast cyclists and\or runners.  If you are well conditioned at the swim, the other two things are easier.  If these people who are naturally good runners and/or bikers spent a little more time on the swim, they would probably be much better overall triathletes.  Instead of coming out of the water in the middle or back, and running and biking up to the front, they could come out further ahead and have even better bike and run splits.
  • I am going to reference Devon Palmer's blog and blog post from Feb 20th (  Devon Palmer is a amateur turned pro turned amateur triathlete, coach, self proclaimed spokes model, who has some funny and reasonably good advice, at times.  The post is about over-training and use of that word.  He doesn't like it and neither do I.  It is probably not possible for your average amateur triathlete to be over-trained.  More than likely, they are stressed and/or not getting enough rest or nutrition, or they are just not in good enough shape.  There have been times that I thought I was over-trained.  In reality, I could maintain the training level I was at, if I just got more rest and ate enough\correctly. 
Don't take yourself too seriously. 
When I think of some more sage advice, I will write a similarly titled post, except it will be "Part 2"

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

February 2015 Training Summary

I spent the first year of Feb in Italy.  Florence, Italy.  It is a beautiful city.  Had a great time.  Did not get much training.  This Feb is lower, than average, lowest training of any Feb, expect when I did no training, or not enough to count.  It is worth it, need the break.  Between going to France for work and Italy for vacation, this two month span is the least amount of training I have done this early in the year, which is fine.  I need the break.  I am not sure I needed to work in France.  I am going to have to pick it up in March and the first few weeks in April to get ready for St. Anthony's. 

Getting back in the pool after being out for 3 weeks has been rough.  I have not gotten back into the groove yet. My 100 splits are off 5-15 seconds, depending on the morning. I am going to try to go 3 days a week up to the week before St. Anthony's.

I did a 5 mile TT on the treadmill, to see where my run is at.  I am about 3 weeks away from the Irish 8K in St. Paul, which I use as an early season judge of my run fitness.  I did a 5 min warm-up and then did the 5miles in 38:04 (about 7:36/mi).  I am pretty happy with that.  I started the first mile at 7:54/mi.  At about 1.2mi, 2.2mi, 3.2mi, and 4.2mi I ran about a minute at 2%, otherwise I ran at 1% incline.  After the last 2%, I did 30 seconds at 0%, and near the finish I did 0% for 30 seconds.

I think my biggest concern is going to be the bike.  Hopefully, I can get enough in March, and April, to get my legs ready for St. Anthony's.  It is not like I am super competitive, but I still want to have a good race.  I want to be able to race hard, not for the race to be difficult because I am not in shape.

Anyway, below is the usual comparison to previous Februaries (sp?), YTD, and since 2007 tables.

Comparison of February from Year to Year

Since 2007 Total and Averages

YTD and Totals Since 2007