Racing is always a good test for an athlete or a coach, especially if you can get data from it. These days, it is very easy to get essential data.
Usually pace and strokes per minute on the swim. On the bike, cadence, pace, power and heart rate (hr) and for the run, pace, hr and cadence.
Races are good in that they enable you to see where you’re at, especially when you know your body or the body of an athlete you have coached for a while. It is great to compare data across different races.
On Sunday (28/2/21) at the Australian Champs Sprint triathlon, it was my comeback race after 22 months without an on road triathlon in Australia. Port Mac Ironman was my last race.
I was super excited and nervous. A little bit like a little boy in a candy store! I wanted to do well and push myself, but I knew I did not have the run legs to win.
It hurt like hell but it was so good to be back and to share the experience with my squad. The squad had an awesome day out with some great results which only made my come back even more exciting.
Here is my full race analysis:
The swim was good. It felt hard and I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I stayed in Leigh’s feet the entire swim. 38 strokes per minute meant I was near max effort. Happy to break 10min for 750m. Probably about 30” away from my best if I do more intensity which I rarely do. I usually only swim in the ocean from October until April then I get back in the pool with a local swim squad. I find that my swim picks up nicely when I train with them in the pool and get those hard reps in.
The bike hurt just as much. I was on my own the entire ride. I felt an obvious lack of rhythm and the ride felt like a roller coaster of accelerating and slowing. Little rises felt like big hills. My cadence of 86 RPM was spot on. Power was 15 watts under normal with 296 AV even with an extra 7kgs. Extra weight should mean more power on the flat. Av HR 145, which is 5 under where I should be. The drop in watts & HR could be fitness or fatigue from training the week before. I would expect an improvement of about 2min over the 20kms with improved fitness and weight loss. I led off the bike but Jeremy passed me in transition.
The run felt horrible, no rhythm & heavy on my feet. Leigh passed me after 2kms, Scott after 3kms and Mark after 4kms. I could not go with them and they passed me like I was standing still. I pretty much died the entire time. 4:07 per km Av, 182 cadence & 146 HR Av. Cadence is spot on. With 7kgs to lose it is normal to be slower and feel heavy on your feet. HR was 10 beats under normal which can be fatigue but also the fact that it is my first triathlon back & that I have done no speed work & no hard runs OTB.
I only started running intensity with 70.3 focus on 01-02. Sprint triathlons are very specific and you need heaps of speed work to do well.
Improvements should be about 30sec per km at my best fitness and weight.
I need more time & patience to be back at my best. I tell this to my crew all the time, but it is hard to apply it to yourself. It is hard when you are driven and want to win to be passed by 4 people on the run but this was a good experience for me and a good motivator to do better. I am going to M45-49 this year and I would have only been 10th in that AG and that is without the three best of the moment in that AG Sam, Adam and Chris. The biggest motivator and teacher for me is failing and getting smashed. I do not learn from winning. Winning puts me at ease, in my comfort zone and I put my guards down. Yesterday was exactly what I needed – being thrashed by others and it gave me extra motivation to do better, to train harder and to eat better. The weight loss is a big part of my improvement plan. Running is like cycling uphill, every kg will count. I need to go back to 84kgs. I also need to keep being consistent & start the IM prep tomorrow. I think I should be close to my best by Cairns IM if I do not get sick or injured.
I would love to win an IM in my AG one day. I have been 2nd on 4 occasions. I often come up against Ben Bell who is for me close to impossible to beat. The guy still runs under the 3h marathon mark off the bike at 46. I would need 15min off the bike to beat him. Cairns is also a race that Damien Angus always does. We call him “Danger” for a reason. He still does under 9h10 in Cairns and it is the only IM he does each year. He is 47. Sam Hume is also very hard to beat at Ironman or 70.3 distance. People that are better than me are a great motivator. I don’t feel intimidated or deflated by them, but they help me train harder, they help maintain my motivation and inspire me get out of bed in the morning. Train safe everyone 🙂