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"

No comments: