Monday, 3 September 2007

Where am I?

Having tried to avoid going on about triathlon too much over the last few weeks I thought I'd get back to the stats this week and think about our second and final 'A' race of the year. This coming Saturday we are off to the Vitruvian and I'm looking to place well and set myself up for a strong winter of training. In the UK, with the triathlon season running from May to September, triathletes are made over the long winter months. During the summer we spend so much time either tapering, racing or recovering that long periods of consistent training are hard to come by. For me this weekend is about pushing myself to the absolute limit and finding out exactly where I am in all three disciplines. The next eight months of training will then be designed with the aim of getting me from where I am now to where I want to be by Frankfurt next July.

I know where I need to be in Germany (55 min swim, 5 hour bike and 3.25 run)... So where am I (or more accurately where do I THINK I am) now? Having not done the Vit before and with triathlon distances being a little inaccurate setting a relevant goal is a little difficult but here goes...

Swimming is going well, having struggled in the pool somewhat in the lead up to Switzerland I've upped both the intensity and volume over the last six weeks and have produced some pb sessions... such as 6 x 300 off 5:10 averaging about 4:30-4:35 per 300 (about 5-10 seconds quicker than similar sessions prior to IMCH). I'd like to think then that I could break an hour for the Ironman swim so at 1.9k I'd expect to dip under 30 minutes on Saturday.

I wasn't so sure about my biking since Ironman but a pb at the Pool Triangle on Wednesday night of 30:43 (compared to a pre-ironman pb of 30:54) shows that I have as much speed as ever. Although I haven't felt so strong over longer distances I think the near 300 miles I clocked over the bank holiday weekend training week should see me good. Based on last year's results then, I've set myself the target of 2:20 for the Vitruvian bike leg which at an average of 22.4 mph is 0.6mph slower than I managed on the only slightly shorter Bala race in June.

Finally the run... Due to significant increases in both my swim and bike speed over the last 12 months running has gone from Hero to Zero in my triathlon performance! It no doubt requires the most work of the three disciplines to reach my July'08 target but plenty of short hard efforts over recent weeks coupled with three good runs of 16, 16 &18 miles respectively and I'm confident of a sub-90 minute half marathon on Saturday. This would be similar to the 85 minute 20k I ran at the end of Bala on a much more demanding run course.

Overall then, if all goes to plan, my race goal is 4 hours and 20 minutes. The only slight question marks remaining are the horrendous transitions I had in Stockton two weeks ago and the fact that at 71kg's I'm 3kg's heavier than both Bala and IMCH earlier this year. With training going well though I'm feeling pretty confident that a focused mon-fri will lead to a good result on Saturday.

This brings me nicely to the photo of the week... my good mate Martin with his well deserved 'Official Qualification Certificate for the Hawaii World Ironman Championships 2007'. This for me represents the bottom line, it's exactly where I want to be in just over ten months time. Having seen first hand how hard Martin had to not only train but then race in order to qualify I know these things are not just given to you but you must earn them. Do I want it badly enough to find my true limit? That is a question which I will ask myself on the start line in six days time and answer over the last 10k of the run.

That's about it for now... I just wanted to say well done and thanks for the inspiration to my good friend EK who won a bronze medal at the world age-group championships in Hungary this morning and also to University of Leeds Sports Science student (and local Leeds lad) Alistair Brownlee who won silver (click on 'junior men') in the elite junior race on Friday. Both athletes produced awe-inspiring runs to reach the podiums of their respective races and will be in my thoughts when the going gets tough at the weekend!

Yet again it's ridiculous o'clock on Sunday night / Monday morning and I'm breaking one of my golden rules (to prioritise sleep) in order to write this blog!! Next week, with the race on Saturday, we have designated Sunday a duvet day and so a mid afternoon 'blog-slot' should be the order of the day ;)

Before I go... thanks for all the positive comments about our blog, both verbally and via the 'comment' option on this site. Our replies can be found in the comments section under the relevant post.

Have a great week,


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