2018 is well under way with two triathlons under my belt and several more on the horizon. I started off the season with Rev3 Westfields sprint, where I had a solid race and was able to take the overall win. I was particularly happy with my performance and outcome since the 5 days leading up to the race was perhaps the most challenging I’ve ever had. Not necessarily from a training perspective, but from a “life” perspective: In the span of 5 days, I traveled back and forth to New Jersey for a funeral (sadly and unexpectedly, my Aunt passed away… she was one of those amazing people who was always positive, always remembered special occasions with a card and a text message, and always demonstrated how to live life to its fullest), had some major changes at my job, and hosted a 50 person birthday party for Gavin’s 3rd bday (fifty people! – I realized that Gavin is significantly more popular than I am! lol).
I paid the price from that week and the race, as I was absolutely exhausted for over a week after. Fortunately, my training finally came back around and I was full steam ahead going into my final Eagleman 70.3, my first big race of 2018. Without going into too much detail, the race went, well, well. I think “well” is probably the best description. I didn’t quite hit my bike power numbers, my run-pacing target or come anywhere near my goal time, but I still managed to have a solid performance. Based on my training the weeks leading up to it and comparing to years past, I am certain that I could have performed better. But instead of overly focusing on the race, I thought it would be most useful (for me and any anyone who happens to be reading this) to look at a few lessons learned from the last few months. Besides, absent a very small number of races, most of the time – for better or worse – I reflect back feeling that I could have and should have performed better.
- Strength – Important for injury prevention; debatable if helpful for getting faster for swim bike or run; Very possible to be detrimental if doing any more than is absolutely necessary
- First Endurance Optygen HP– Been trying it for 2x months and can’t say I notice a difference.
- First Endurance PreRace is a game changer! I’ve used it several times and feel that it consistently helps.
- Ceramic Speed Pulleys – Not sure yet! They look cool but its going to really hard to justify the cost!
- Training Stress Scores/Cumulative Training Load numbers and Hours Logged are not directly proportional to fitness.
- Acupuncture – helps with recovery – both mentally and physical.
- More Swims = faster in pool but not necessarily in open water. I went from swimming just 1x per week to now swimming 2x (I am super luck that I can get away with very little pool time)
- You can overdo anything – Including stretching and foam rolling. The best recovery is sleep and if I am cutting into that with some other form of “recovery”, it’s not going to be the most effective.
- And lastly, the most important takeaway for me: Outcome Goals are super risky. Looking back on my race at Eagleman, most of my goals were outcome based. This is super dangerous. As a quick recap, outcome based goals are exactly that – based on the outcome of something. For me, I had a goal of being 1st OA Amateur, and going sub 4 hours. Neither of those are within my control. You don’t have control as to who is going to show up at a race, and while you can pick a fast course, you can’t control the gazillion variables, which affect your overall time (swim course distance being off, wind, heat etc..). While Eagleman was cooler and not as windy as many years, I spent over 7 minutes in transition the way the course was routed (I promise I wasn’t that slow in T1 or T2!) and I am simply not fast enough to be able to go under 4 hours if I’m spending 7 minutes in transition! Instead of Outcome goals, focusing on performance goals (e.g. I will hit xxx watts on the bike, or I won’t walk at all on the run) or process goals (e.g. I will get 7 hours of sleep consistently for my last 3 weeks of training, or I will not eat any processed carbs for 3 months etc…) are often much better.