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The good, the bad, & the ugly. Looking for training advice(2 posts)

The good, the bad, & the ugly. Looking for training advicejs5280
Jul 29, 2002 5:51 PM
Well, completed the Xterra (1k, 26k, 10k) up at Keystone yesterday. It's a story of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have an Olympic distance traditional tri here in 2 weeks so I'm looking for advice on preparing for this event and future events.

First the good, I was happy with the mt. biking leg. Felt strong, very little suffering, passing people left and right, and hit my estimated time. Cycling is my strength, although I'm a middle of the pack rider. My goal for triathlon is fitness and PRs, not the podium.

Now the bad. Blew up on the swim after 200 meters. I decided to go out in the middle of the pack, it was a tight course and mentally I felt fine with the close proximity of people, legs, arms, etc. The water was cool (64 degrees), but not cold by any means. I was keeping what I thought was a good pace, I had to slow down so I didn't swim over people. I think my body had a different take. After 200 meters, I couldn't catch my breath, my HR maxed, and panic set in. I side/back stroked the remaining 300 meters for the first lap. I managed to catch my breath and freestyle most of the second lap.

I was little surprised by this performance although there are some contributing factors. 1) This was my first open-water race. 2) The lake is at 9300 ft. I train at 5280 ft. 3) I've done 98% of my training in a pool and without a wetsuit 4) This is only my 2nd tri, the first being a sprint. I'm thinking a large part of it was the altitude (hard to recover), the inexperience with open-water racing, and not much time swimming in a wetsuit. I plan to work on open-water wetsuit swims these next two weeks. It's just strange because mentally I was calm but physiologically, my body was in overdrive. Any insights on this?

Well the ugly was the run. The bike ride was 8 miles/2300' climb followed by a technical return trip downhill. My legs felt great with lots of time to recover on the downhill. Quickly ran the bike through the transition and started on my way. About 10 minutes in, my legs felt like lead and my HR spiked quite easily. I ended up walking the uphills figuring running wasn't going to buy me much extra time, and ran the downhills. All in all, probably 4k jog, 6k brisk walk. The course was slow gradual slope with only a few hilly sections. Basically I was right on schedule till the run and then there was nothing left. Any ideas? Also, if anything I was over-hydrated (stopped to take a leak even) and good on calories. I'm near positive I didn't bonk. I have to admit, I haven't been doing really any bike-run bricks. I usually do swim-run together at the gym. Also I've never experienced the uncomfortableness of running after biking. At least I don't think so. My running motion feels fine but in this case my legs were just plain weak. Was this really that feeling you're supposed to get post-ride? Could I have just pushed through it? I'm going to spend some time the next two weeks doing bike-run bricks including hopefully a full/near-full distance. Also, I think my training duration wasn't long enough. My max training times were typically no longer than 2-3 hours, just about the same time the bottom fell out.

On the up side, I had a lot of fun and I finished. The pro's are incredible, finishing in the time it took me to just do the bike leg. Amazing! Plus I have some good ideas about how to approach another off-road format and hopefully be in good shape for this olympic distance coming up (Boulder Peak). Thanks in advance for any advice from others and hope this helps others in their preparation.
re: The good, the bad, & the ugly. Looking for training advicebrider
Jul 31, 2002 6:49 AM
First the swim -- there's a big tendency to mess up the breathing pattern in open water for two reasons. (1) Cold water increases the need for oxygen. (2) When you can't see the bottom (and it's cold), people tend to hold their breath when their face is in the water, rather than exhaling.

Practice this in the pool if you aren't already doing this -- ehxale when your face is in the water so you can fully inhale on the roll. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes a HUGE difference. Now, when you get back in the open water, do a warm up and concentrate on relaxing into your stroke and exhaling at the proper time. No doubt the altitude contributed, but I don't think it was totally to blame.

As for your legs on the run, not having been in your head I can't say for sure, but it was probably a combination of altitude and lack of experience running off the bike. Bricks will help. Your legs will feel heavy, your quads will feel huge, and your stride will feel like it's only one foot long (and circular!), but if you could step outside yourself and watch, you'd see that all's going as normal. You can push through it and settle into a good feeling stride. Getting used to how you'll feel coming off the bike will go a long way to extending your run endurance in races.