Jana's Rev3 Race report - coach perspective - part 3 (final)

This is the final portion of the Jana’s race report from my perspective as a coach. On part 1 I shared some information about her training in previous months leading to the race. On part 2 I shared in general her final preparation before Rev3 and also her fueling plan based on data like her energy expenditure and some of the products she uses for training and racing.

In this final portion I’ll focus on her plan before the race and the execution. Before every major race I give each of my athletes a detail racing plan with info regarding their nutrition for the 3-5 days prior an event plus other relevant information about equipment, traveling, etc. I also include specific information about the race (like registration), some DOs and DON’Ts prior a major event, and even some specific things I want them to visualize to make sure they are ready for any challenge during the race.

The main portion of the plan is the pacing plans, that plus the fueling plan we practiced during the specific phase on the weeks leading to the race (like the one I shared on part 2) are the key aspects of proper execution. The pacing plan is developed on all the data collected during training and adjusted due to the last bit of increase in fitness achieved during the taper. Finally, I consider the race course profile and adjust the pacing given the terrain including key points in the race.

With the above in mind, below there are some elements of Jana’s racing plan, keep in mind below is a short version:

Suggested Pacing: Moderate pace – Time sub 35 min.
Summary: Start at the front of the pack; the first ~200 yards start a bit faster than race pace to attempt ‘catching’ some of the fast swimmers feet. Then settle down into race pace focusing on navigation. Last ~200 yards pick up the pace a bit, begin visualizing T1 and get the legs ready for the run to transition.
Actual Swim Time – 38 min (32nd place Age Group, 105th overall female)
Analysis – As mentioned on part 1, we have been focusing on improving Jana’s swim (her Achilles) but we had limited opportunities for open water swim. This probably was the reason for the slower swim. Still, her fitness in the water is better than last year, hence even with a slow swim, she had the energy to tap into for the bike/run.

Transition 1 Suggested time – sub 2 min (actual 1:59min)
For all my athletes, we always try to avoid wasting time in transition as one can really gain on the competition. The run from the swim to the bike was a bit long and Jana is still mastering the ‘taking the wetsuit off’ skill, still she was within the goal and the fastest among the top 5 gals.

Suggested Pacing: Current Critical Power (CP) – 240watts (230w on my PowerTap wheel*) – Target for the race 180 watts
*My racing wheel which Jana borrowed is a Hed Jet 90 with a Powertap 2.4, usually this wheel reads a bit lower of my other powertaps hence I always adjust my pacing based on that. In Jana’s case even though her CP was around 240watts, I used 230watts to develop the pacing strategy.

Summary: Intensity Factor target - ~79-80% of CP, average watts (AP) – 180-185w, Never exceed 240w!!!
Power on flats – 180-185w, if riding with tail wind – 180w, if riding with head wind – 185w
Power on climbs- If short hill (less than 3 min) 200-205w, if long climb (longer than 3 min) 190-195w

Suggested pace for first 18.6 miles – 175-180watts (actual during the race ~175w AP/ 180w NP)
Suggested pace for first 18.6 miles – 180-185watts (actual during the race ~178w AP/ 185w NP)
Suggested pace for last 18.6 miles – 185watts (actual during the race ~177w AP/ 183w NP)

Actual Bike pacing and time – 177 watts average (AP), 183watts Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor 0.79 (IF),  AP/NP = 1.03  2:46 hrs (including run to T2). (2nd place age group, 5th overall female). 

Fueling - ~70 gr Carbs (2.5 scoops powerbar perform/24 oz water + 1 powerbar gel + 1 bottle of water per hour)

Analysis – Ever since I started working with Jana I made her a power convert and she has been training with power ever since. She has a PowerTap 2.4 similar to their Pro +. The advanatge of guding her training with power and adjusting on race day based on perceived exertion and racing conditions allowed her to take guessing out of the equation and refrain her from doing any pacing mistakes. She knew based on her current fitness (critical power) and her training, what level of effort you should be able to sustain over 56 miles and common sense adjustments based on 'feel' would allow her to post a good bike split while leaving enough energy in the 'tank' for the run.

Jana did a great job pacing close to her target. Her average watts were within 3w of her race plan target (180w) and her normalized power (the metabolic cost of the ride) was 183w within her race pace range (180-185w). This means she did a great job pacing within her capabilities and she avoid having power spikes that in the long term not only result in a variable ride (AP/NP) but also in general zap the energy out of athletes legs, especially during the run.

This can is more obvious based on the plan recommendation to avoid going over 240watts; on her power file she only went over 240w 7 times during the race all was for less than 10 seconds. On the picture below of Jana's power file you can see this, the top dashed yellow line was the ceiling she was not supposed to pass during the race (240w) and the line below was the power target for the entire race (180w).
I assume the power spikes were the result of some efforts when climbing or passing a competitor. Also we divided the race in 3 segments and she had wattage targets for each based on terrain and strategy (presented earlier). You can see what we planned vs what she actually accomplished; all in all she was very close every segment, though in the end she slowed down a bit, perhaps due to the heat/terrain.

Jana's power file Rev3 Quassy
As a side note, before the race after driving the course and knowing Jana’s bike position (CdA, Crr, etc) we thought she could ride around ~2:45hrs with good conditions, she rode 2:46:47! This plus following the fueling plan she practiced through training yielded her to post the 2nd fastest bike split of the day among female Age Groupers and 14th including female pros; it also allowed her to pass 30 gals in her AG and 100 female overall getting back to T2 on 2nd place AG and 5th overall female.

Transition 2 suggested time sub 1:30 min (actual 1:05min)
Great transition, in and out! She again had the fastest T2 among the top 5 gals, hence she was able to get some of the lost time on the swim back and exiting T2 ahead on the leading female in her AG.

Suggested Pacing: Pace target 7:10-7:15 min/mile (before I saw the run course). Adjusted to 7:25s-7:30s after seeing the course!

Summary – the day before we drove the run course and realized it was much more challenging that what we estimated from online map courses, hence I immediately adjusted her pacing plan. Usually I advise my athletes to guide all their effort primarily by perceived exertion and use pace/power as a way to assure they are not doing anything ‘stupid’ specially on early stages of the bike and run. In this case, Jana’s plan suggested to start ‘a bit’ easier (7:35s) for the first few miles, then settled onto 7:25-7:30s until mile 10ish and hopefully close at faster than 7:25s on the last 3 miles.

Actual Run pacing and time – 1:39:16 hrs 7:35s min/mile

Fueling - ~45 gr of Carbs (a few cups of sports drink, a few cups of water and 1 powerbar gel per hr)

Analysis - The pacing advised was relative because of the nature of the course. The run was very challenging with plenty of steep hills hence she knew that when going uphill (which that course had plenty of) she would have to adjust her pace by feel. In other words, when going up, the pace would be much slower than the planned 7:25-7:30s because of the inclines/gravity, but her effort should “feel” like she was running 7:25-7:30s on a flat terrain.

Unfortunately we couldn’t collect much run data as Jana’s Garmin died the morning of the race so I only have the splits from the race. She paced the 1st 5.5 miles at 7:29 min/mile which was a bit faster of what we planned. On the next 5.4 miles her avg was 7:28s min/mile which was on target with the plan. The last portion (2.2 miles) her pace dropped to 8:06 min/mile

Considering the above, I think the fact she started a bit too fast cost het to slow down when she needed to be the fastest. That plus the tough terrain and the heat which increased on the 2nd portion of the run lead me to believe were the main factors that caused her decrease in speed. Jana managed to exit T2 in 1st place of her AG which we held for until the end, still, at one point she was as high as 4th placed overall and eventually she got passed to finished 1st in her age group and 5th female overall.

All in all a great result, still, we will continue to address her swim and tweak some of the execution details like starting the run a bit slower to close strong and avoid running almost 1 min slower of what she is capable (for that course). That will be the focus for coming races.

There you have it, a race report from a coach’s perspective. I hope the info provided can be useful for some of you and apply it to your racing! Also, perhaps the info above might make you consider learning how to train with power, of you choose to do so, you should consider CycleOps power meters. They offer great products for a great value!

To learn more about our programs, visit www.e3ts.com , Happy training...

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