Honest Assessment

Saturday, June 1, 2013 by admin

As the summer approaches, many of us will be getting ready for our key races of the year. The last few weeks before your “A” race are a great time to reflect upon the training that you have completed over the last few months. With about 3 weeks before your “A” race you shouldn’t be stressed over getting in big training sessions. It takes more than 2 – 3 weeks to see gains in fitness and these last weeks should be used to taper your training and make some honest assessments of how your training has progressed so that you can develop a good race plan. One of the most important parts of having an excellent race relates to taking an honest assessment of the paces and efforts you have trained at over the last months and developing your race plan around those efforts and paces. If you train with power and GPS, this is very easy to do. Now is the time to be honest with yourself. If you did all your long training runs at 9:00/mi on fresh legs, you won’t magically be able to run 8:00/mi in your upcoming half Ironman so don’t start out the run leg of your race at 8:00/mi. By being honest with yourself, you can set yourself up for success. Here are some good tips for reviewing your training and developing a race plan.  

Review your key workouts throughout the season, big continuous swim sets, long runs, long bike rides, and big training day efforts. Out of all the workouts over the season, which were the most successful? Look for key markers such as peak paces, peak power, workouts with less than 5% decoupling and positive comments. 

  • After isolating some of your key workouts, identify the common traits from each of those workouts. Think about things such as your nutrition strategy before and during, how much sleep you got the 2 nights before, hydration levels, and the meals you ate leading into the session.
  • Next, look a bit deeper into the structure of each of these successful workouts. Most likely these key workouts are designed by your coach in such a way to simulate a race day scenario. Look at the workout structure to identify what type of warm up was completed, isolate the main set and cool down. From that you should be able to extrapolate various paces, power zones, and efforts as well as fueling strategies during each of those segments.
  • After you have identified the basic components of these workouts, it’s time to look at the pace / power /efforts you were able to sustain in each of these workouts. These are the paces / power / efforts you will need to incorporate into your race plan. To some, this may be a surprise either good or bad. If you are pleasantly surprised, that is great, but if not, don’t fret. By taking this analytical approach, it will ensure success on race day. 

Always remember that the key to fast triathlon is to let others make the mistakes early on. The goal for every race should be to lift your effort from one discipline to the next. You will have your best race when you are able to push the last part of the run at near your max effort. Trust me when I tell you, I have tried it every other way and when I go into a race with an honest assessment of my current abilities and execute my race plan, I always have a good day. Even if you don’t have a PR for the day it always feels better to finish your race strong with a hard kick than walking across the finish line. Race smarter not harder.

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