The New Year is here and the training for the 2008 season is full on. For the past couple of years I take a look back at my races/logs to review performance, see what worked and whatnot and identify trends or bits of information that can help me improve my current training in hopes to achieve my goals. After reviewing my 2007 logs it is obvious it was a weird year and you can find the details on my post on 2007 Racing Season Recap, basically the year was inconsistent due to injuries and health issues and yet I still managed to post PR at all my 70.3 races when compared to last year. The challenges I faced caused me to train and manage my available time for efficiently and that caused me to do specific race preparation work as I was forced to leave some of the general phase work to the side. In 2007 when compared to 2006 I rode 313 less miles; I ran 229 more miles and swam 160K more yards. Yet I had solid bike performances, swimming improved a bit and posted a PR running.
At Florida 70.3 I finished in 4:28:04 vs. 4:31:48 although the bike course wasn’t the same as last year and the swim course was a bit longer this year (I am not only saying that as an excuse). Overall I had a great race this year considering I raced with a fractured tibia and that limited my run for sure. Still I ran faster this year than in 2006!
At Timberman 70.3 I finished in 4:37:40 this year vs 4:44:07 on 2006. Overall I have a better result due to a solid swim, my bike was pretty similar to last year although the bike course was a bit different this year and my run this year was my best 13.1 miles out of all my 70.3 races with a 6:32 min/mile pace. Interestingly enough this came after recovering from my fracture and a solid couple of months of riding my back. This suggests to me that I managed to run faster through more cycle training even though I didn’t do as much run training. IOW, cycling was definitely my limiter but getting a fractured leg forced me to work more on that aspect and even though I didn’t gain much bike speed, the solid work allowed me to race more comfortable and still has plenty of energy to post a good run with minimum training.
At Cancun 70.3 this year I finished in 4:30:50 vs 4:53:11 in 2006. My time was much waster on 2007 but it is important to notice that the conditions from this year vs last year were totally different. On 2006 we raced under 90s heat and 80% + humidity and I did a poor job hydrating before the race, while on 2007 it was overcast and rainy with temp on the 70s. On 2007 I had solid swim but I had a slowish ride and a faster run although this was my slowest run for the year. I developed tendonitis after Timberman and I didn’t run much leading to the race and couldn’t post an important volume on the bike. This caused me to race very conservative as I felt I didn’t had the fitness to push on the bike and rely on my strong run as usual, but it was a great learning experience.
Finally I finished on 4:17:05 at the 70.3 Championship which is my best time ever for this distance, however I don’t get too carried away since we had amazing riding conditions which I doubt I will ever encounter in another race. To begin with due to the nature of the race there was some drafting heading away from the city although it wasn’t as bad as I heard and we had space to avoid blatant drafting, in other words it was your option. Still, even when riding draft legally you still get the benefit of speed by having a bunch guys riding on a line. Coming back, we had a crazy tailwind for like 25+ miles which help to post incredible bike speeds. Taking this aside I think with my fitness level at the time I could have posted a time like 5 min slower under normal conditions.
A big change for me for this race was that I raced not holding anything back at all and pushed the hardest I ever rode in a race and that help my speed but made my run very tough and challenging. I managed to post a solid 6:32 min/mile pace but slower of my initial 6:15 goal. In the end it was a fun experience and a nice way to close the season which was rounded by another solid swim.
The numbers breakdown
Year 2007 (Year 2006)
Total – 3136 (3450)
Month avg – 261 (288)
Week avg – 65 (72)
Total – 818 (590)
Month avg – 68 (49)
Week avg – 17 (Yr 2006 – 12)
Total – 399K (235K)
Month avg – 33K (20K)
Week avg – 8K (5K)
Avg bike speed - 18.92 mph (17.69 mph)
Avg run pace – 6:52 min/mile (7:12 min/mile)
Avg swim pace – 1:34 min/yds (1:41 min/yds)
As I mentioned before on 2007 I rode less, but ran a bit more and swam much more when compared to 2006. When comparing my distance vs total time trained for each sport it is noticeable my training was more race specific and that allowed me to achieve more with less. The concept of specificity became the theme on my training wit all those bump on the road and it proved to be a wise move and prove how training with a purpose works. In other words, even though I spent a bit less time on the bike when I was riding instead of logging miles and riding at a comfortably pace, most of the time I rode I did more at higher intensity. I did more functional threshold work when on the trainer and rode high steady or tempo when on the road. This allowed me to get comfortable at riding at tempo speed which is the intensity I strive for during a 70.3 race (hello specificity!) these numbers don’t show it but my functional threshold power increased from 260 watts (2006) to 275 watts (2007)
For running I was forced to just run mostly at easy steady pace just to attempt getting back in run shape; I didn’t do any speed/hard sessions because I wasn’t running enough. Still I am happily impressed that with the little running I did (less than 70 miles per week) and a fracture, I was able to run faster than 2006. I know running comes with certain ease to me and I must take this to my advantage.
Finally my swim for 2007 on paper seems it would be the biggest disappointment performance wise when compare to 2006. Even though I swam almost double on average per week vs 2006, still my 2007 swim times where only a few minutes faster (although all my swim where under 30 min with or without a wetsuit) But something else the numbers don’t show is that in my opinion all that swimming helped me perform better during the races overall. I didn’t swim much faster but anytime I came out of the water I felt like I was just beginning the race. That meant I was feeling fresh and ready to push through the next two legs; unlike 2006 than a few times I came out of the swim feeling winded and even tired.
Using this for 2008
The main goal for this year is to take my time during the general phase to allow my body to grow strong and resistant to consistent training and less prone to injuries. That’s the number one goal!
Using the info from above I am planning to shoot for weekly hourly average of 10 hrs for the year. I will keep my swimming around the same volume but I will change one of my sessions for a long session (5K at least) as I feel this made a big impact when I scheduled them prior FL 70.3.
I will also shoot to get my run monthly average to 100 miles per week doing the bulk of work in during the winter months and this should allow me to tap into the sub 1:20hrs during races for sure. I’ll work on volume by running 6x a week and I will add some road racing all the way until April as part of my speed training. I will also have a weekly race pace session which will get longer as the race gets close.
Finally, for biking (a priority for sure) is going to be to ride more but also to work on increasing my threshold power to close to 300 watts. Through the season I will include weekly threshold sessions and as the races get closer the focus would be to ride comfortable 2.5-3 hrs at tempo pace or maybe harder. The monthly mileage average I will shoot for is going to be 350-400 miles. It is time to shut up and train and train and train and train…