A Jim of All Trades

Triathlon Training and a Time Trial

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My summer has been going well, though I haven’t been doing a whole lot aside from working and triathlon training. I haven’t been neglecting this site due to lack of interest, I just don’t feel inclined to post a lot about training and haven’t been working on any other projects. Still, I wanted to give an update about my last stretch of training for those interested.

In two weeks from today I’ll participate in my third, and likely final, triathlon of the year. It is another sprint distance race, very similar to the first one I did this year. The swim is in a pool, as have been the other races I’ve done. Next year I’ll be looking to do some open water swimming and at least one race that’s a longer distance.

The training has been going okay for the most part. I got a different training book (The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel*) and have been using it instead of the one I used for the first two races (Training Plans for Multisport Athletes… by Gale Bernhardt*). I might do a brief review of the two books later, so won’t go into much detail here, but will say that I’ve taken on a higher workload using the “Training Bible” vs. what was in the plans I tried for the “Training Plans for Multisport Athletes…”. So, I’ve been putting in more time and effort than I was before. (*This isn’t meant to be an endorsement for either book and I’m not affiliated with either, just linking for reference.)

Also, I’ve been playing in a softball league, which has really made for some interesting days. Sometimes twice per week there are days where I’ll get up early to swim or bike, go to work, go to a softball game right after work, then go for a run after the game. It’s a bit much. I was looking forward to the season being over, and the team finished with the worst record in the league, but everyone makes the playoffs, the team started winning, and we’ve advanced to the championship – so, it’s lasted a few weeks longer than I expected. It isn’t too bad and I did miss some games here or there, but I’m looking forward to it finally being over with. I decided weeks ago that I won’t play next year, and I’m extremely thankful to have a supportive wife who doesn’t mind me being this active.

Okay, as for the training… I’ve been following a separate swimming program and have mixed impressions about it. Well, I think the program is pretty good, I’m just not a very good swimmer. There are times where I feel like I’m making improvements and other times where it seems like I’m going in the wrong direction. I feel a lot more comfortable in the water than I did at the start of the year, but that hasn’t translated to a lot of speed. It’s my first year swimming, so I know I just have to keep working at it and give it more time.

I’m a little disappointed in my run results in the last two races so have been focusing on it a bit more over the past month, but again, improvements are slow. Using online videos and the Triathlete’s Bible, I’ve been working on my form and stride; at first the changes felt awkward, but it’s beginning to feel more natural. I’ve also been doing harder workouts (more/bigger intervals, hills, etc.) and longer runs, so hopefully that equates to a faster time come race day.

Biking has grown to be my favorite of the three and, like running, I’ve been putting in more time, effort, and miles on the bike. I might have gained a little more speed, but not a ton. I also picked up some new aero wheels for my bike, but I’ll post about those later because I want more experience and to do some testing with them first. They do help me go faster though.

The plan for the race is to swim as hard as I can, hold a nice hard (but not too hard) pace on the bike so I have enough energy left for the run, and pace myself well through it – something I had trouble with in the previous two races. This is only the second year for the race and looking at the results from last year, it drew a fair amount of people, a number of which who were faster than me. So, I have no expectations as to where I’ll finish. Hopefully I do well overall, but I’m more focused on executing a disciplined race plan and finishing with a strong run this time. We’ll see, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

One last thing… A couple weeks ago I competed in a time trial (“TT”), which was a lot of fun. A time trial is a bike race where everyone is going against the clock. Riders are started 30 seconds a part and timed individually, the one who finishes with the fastest time is the winner.

This was put on by a local bike club and was a lot of fun. I had never done anything with the club before and everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. There was a wide variety of people there of varying ages and fitness levels. It wasn’t an intense competition, everyone was just doing it for fun and to see how good they could do for themselves. I was the only person there on a tri-bike, but some of the road bikes were plenty capable of fast times.

The course was short, only 6.8 miles, but that made it more fun (in my opinion) because I could go pretty close to all-out without worrying about burning out early. I averaged 22.6 mph for the course, which I’m really pleased with. It was pretty flat, but there were a few rolling hills and short climbs mixed in. There was one guy faster than me, he averaged over 24 mph on a road bike, which is extremely impressive to me. Knowing the course now I think I could do a bit better if I tried again, but I’m not going to touch his time without another year or two of training under my belt.

The club does the TT once a month for 4 months over the summer. I missed the first two and the next one is the week before my upcoming tri, so I will miss out on doing it again. Next year I’ll put them in my calendar and try to do all if my schedule allows, I really did enjoy it.

Thanks for reading and happy training!

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Written by Jim

July 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm

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