2 races down, 1 big question

My stated goal on this blog is to become a “semi-decent” triathlete.  Well, 2 1/2 IM’s down, and I’ve earned one of the three words.  “Semi-decent” still seems a ways away, though.  I think my swim is relatively respectable right now – last race I placed in the top 30% of my age group here, which is a far cry from my dismal performance on the bike and run portions.  There I placed towards the top of the bottom 30% in each race, which is not cool.

So why is it that I’m not doing so hot?  Here are my thoughts:

1. My training time did not adequately represent the needs of each event.

The amount of time I spent swimming almost equalled the amount of time I spent running.  This means that I’m pretty much just slacking on the run.  To become a more competitive triathlete, I need to make the simple commitment to run more.  The same is somewhat true for the bike, but that I think was more from lack of access than anything.  When I move back to NY and away from dangerous and smog-filled streets, I’ll be able to get out and hit the road instead of training purely on a rather shaky and questionable trainer.

2. I did not train enough on tired legs.

To run a 13.1 mile segment after already racing for several hours, it only makes sense to train to do so in a way that will reflect the rigors of competition.  In reviewing my training, I realized that I spent most of my time running when my legs were relatively fresh – almost the exact opposite of what I probably should have been doing.  Yes, I worked in BRIC workouts, but they were pretty strategically placed in my weekly schedule after relatively low-volume and/or low-intensity days.

3. I didn’t take the time to learn to bike properly.

I’ve got the whole pedaling thing down, but I’ve found myself pretty much riding on the old saying “it’s just like riding a bike”, counting on the fact that from childhood, I’ve naturally mastered the sport.  After a rather hilly IM 70.3 in Providence, I am seeing that “this ain’t your daddys biking”.  I’ll be turning to my buddy Zack on this one to learn the art and science behind the basic mechanics.

4. Informal training.

Time to get smart and serious about training.  I’ve let myself just coast along, biking and running when it felt right, and only holding my swimming times as sacred.  So I’m going to have to push myself to formalize my schedule and push myself further beyond my limits.  In addition, I’ll just have to become a smarter triathlete, structuring intervals and miles into a strategic approach to improvement.  The present “throw it all at the wall and see what sticks” got me to race completion, but nowhere near the competition.

So back to the drawing board.  This is what I find pretty fun about triathlon, though – there’s always something new to try, always more you can do to get better, and always cool training systems to plan and play with.

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