I learned something yesterday. A couple things actually. One – I don’t have it figured out. Two – you can’t expect to go fast when you make poor training choices the week of a race – particularly a HIM. What is surprising to me – is that I thought I already knew both of those – so I’m a bit disappointed that I got to learn the lesson again.
The first lesson is pretty self explanatory. The second lesson is a bit more long winded to explain. After a lack luster performance for most of last season – I began training this year with the motivation to do hit a home run it at each race.
Saint Anthony’s – Check
Bong 30k – Check
High Cliff Half (Bike Relay) – 1/2 Check
Door County – CHECK
Tri-ing for Childrens – Check
Pigman – Swing and a Miss
So what happened? Let’s start at the end, than jump to the beginning and work our way back to the end.
The gun went off. I did my thing on the swim – ran to transition and hopped on the bike. Got rolling – with the plan of riding for 10 to 15 minutes in the IM effort range; and than dialing it up to 250 to 260. I shaked and baked that, and rolled up to HIM. All was well, but I found myself having a difficult time keeping my power in that range – the RPE for it was a lot higher than I expected. Initially, I attributed it to my PT hub – it was the first time I used it and maybe I didn’t get the manual zero right (post ride analysis shows this to NOT be the case, along with a check of the zero torque while riding).
As the ride progressed – my sustainable power kept trending downwards. After a short coast downhill, a turn, or other rest “opportunity” – I’d be good for a bit – than it would drift back down. The last 40 minutes of the ride or so I was barely able to sustain 200 watts.
I hit the run and between the heat, how I felt, and the potential outcome for the day – I didn’t have a lot. By mile 3 I had decided I was going to run for 30 minutes and pull the plug. 30 minutes came, and the aid station had no shade – so I continued on. By about 200 yards after that aid station I stopped, and pulled my chip off and headed back to the aid station. 10 feet later, my chip was back on and I was jogging in the correct direction. When I got to the aid station at mile 5, saw they had shade – I was done.
I sat there for who knows how long until Mary went by – she convinced me to join her for the remainder of the run.
So what did my performance tell me? I was not recovered. My body was tired and not ready, willing or capable of doing a Half Ironman at Half Ironman. I may have been fine for a sprint or olympic – or even a garden variety long ride – but I was not up to the task of riding or running at half ironman.
So am I just making excuses now? Maybe. Maybe not. To save you all from the boring details – in the 14 days leading up to the race I executed nearly 1600 cycling TSS. One of the workouts I did – received a comment of “I don’t think I could walk after that”. Which was backed up with another stiff week of work.
Last week, when I was doing my workouts I should have recognized the signs my body was sending me – and back off – instead I did 6×3′ (3′) @ 110% FTP on Thursday, which was preceded on Wednesday by Spinervals Aero Base Builder I (basically 56 minutes @ HIM – broken up), which I really struggled to do well.
So enough of the whining and pity, and “I know what went wrong” talk. I *think* I know why I didn’t have it on race day – but it could be anything. Long story short I’m adjusting my final 3 weeks of training to include more rest. My fitness is there buried in my body – recent workouts prove that. There is not a lot I can do in the next three weeks to add to it.
Just going to focus on 4 to 6 key workouts in the next 14 days with the rest being EASY filler – then race week.
The more important question for me to ponder after IMWI – is where do I go from here. How do I make the jump to the next level? I have had a powermeter since 2008 – and all three years I have essentially raced my races with the same power target(s). The ony real improvement has come from Dexter – which allowed me to roll a 2:25 on sickly 224 watts yesterday – with Racine 2008 and 2009 being essentially the same time but @ 250ish watts. Course differences – maybe – but he is damn fast for sure.
What do I need to do to get up to 350 watts or so @ FTP – to really kill it? Can I get there, or am I tapped out in the 300 to 315 range that I am lingering in? Do I really need to be peaking out my training @ 20 to 23 hours per week – or can I find a way to get fit and fast for my races in the 15 to 18 hour range – that I’ve been told some other local fast guys do?
Lots of things to think about, but I need to keep them in the freezer until after IMWI – as my focus needs to be there and not on the future.