Saturday, 29 October 2016

week 52

Yes, it's week 52 in the training diary and  officially the end of my 2016 season. As usual i’m reviewing the data in my training log, and my thoughts on the races and events this season. 

Blogging has been intermittent, mainly due to the increase in coaching work over the last 2 years.  I’ll make an attempt at an update for the second half of my racing season, which actually has been the most interesting in terms of my own increased level of focus (towards the goal of Kona slot at Weymouth) and the variety of races and activities I managed to take on around this. I'll do this over a few seperate posts. 

As seems to be a theme this year, I felt that I only “just” came into shape to race in time…and spent my “taper” period wishing that i’d advanced the process because the training was just starting to become fun!!  In retrospect this has probably “always” been the case ….and is probably the best case scenario. When you enjoy 8 hour training days, and have the ability to arrange your working schedule to allow 3-4 of those a week, is when you’re most likely to get yourself overtrained - so that “sweet spot” is best kept short, and fresh for race day. 

Unfortunately, the other way to put this is that it’s best that training feels difficult, the routine very tiring and the whole process a lot of hard work not  a lot of fun, for *most* of the preparation period before for your key race! 

This year’s antidote to this, which due to a generally more relaxed approach to my race performances, was a continued development of my off road riding ….not nearly as much as I’d have liked, but I was able to take part in the Aggregate 100km Gravel race (and flukily “win” it) and then The 3Peaks cyclocross race - a unique, gruelling, fantastic experience which I’d like to write about separately sometime. Actually, this took place after Ironman Weymouth…now that I think about it. 

So…going back to talking about triathlon races, and chronological order ….Xman XXX really was the kick start to my training campaign for Ironman Weymouth. The event that I had forked out a lot of quid to do, and was the key event of my season. The goal being to win my age group, and pick up a slot for the Ironman World Championships. There was certainly a period in my preparation for that ( read back two paragraphs!) when I decided that I didn’t want to go to Kona, or specifically didn’t want to have to get in shape to do another Ironman. And then a period where I didn’t really expect p qualify anyway. Training, compared to the previous 7 years, was not going well…. very few long rides and nothing specific, a persistent niggle in my foot that limited my running to only every few days and 16-18km at a time. Although there was a joyous period when my swim pace did improve …

Through the association of Team Reko with Freak Events, I’ve had many opportunities to get out and race this year. I have to admit that I took a rather relaxed approach to these races - even so, each event provided a great boost of invigoration, and somewhat reassured me that I wasn’t quite so unfit, or slow….and I’d just have to be prepared to push it a little more on the one day of the year. Race day. 

There will be full a report of Ironman Weymouth to follow.... but the outcome was good. I enjoyed the race, from start to finish ( aside from a few moments/hours of frutsration with my bike) and although did not push for podium, won my age group and the privilege of handing over my credit card to Ironman once again the following day accpet my age group slot for Kona 2017. 

2016, my first year as a 40 year old, my return to amatuer racing in a nutshell? I got through it on the minimum effective dose ... which still gives me a small feeling of guilt. This is my problem though..."minimum efective dose" is actaully the optimum!  I was able to get the outcome I was aiming for without having to do too much of what I didnt want to do, and fit it around a lot of stuff that I DID want to do. Essentially, it's been a year off. 

Next year, the outcome goal is a bit more ambitious...Iand the "minimum effective dose" to achive that will be significantly more arduous. So if 2016 has been a bit of a break, I feel it's been a break that was needed....and has had the secondary benefit of demonstrating what really is necessary, and what is not in terms of getting in shape - potential areas where I will improve on " good enough"  with a return to my previous focus in training, and the bits that really didnt seem to make a great deal of difference!! 

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