So, my 2013 tri season is over. Time to take some time out and reflect on how it’s gone and ponder on what I’d like to achieve next year.
I completed 6 triathlons, including my first two standard/olympic distance events and my first sea swim.
I improved my time massively at two events I’d done the previous year, taking 10 minutes off my time for the QE2 tri which had been my first open water event in 2012.
And although you can’t really compare the two olympic distance events, I did improve on my time by 15 minutes at my second attempt.
So, I reckon that’s a win for my triathlon season. I did what I set out to achieve, stepping up to the longer distance and enjoying the events I entered. Of course, no race is ever perfect and there’s loads I want to improve on for next year.
Let’s look at each discipline:
Oh boy, I still do have my moments when I swim in a race. There are times when I hate it, when I swear to myself I am never doing this again. And yet, I’ve finished them all and got back into the water and raced again each time.
So as one of the OW swim coaches advised me, I’m going to look at how far I’ve come and not how far I think I have to go.
And that means the swim is a big win. Each time I get better at handling the panic and the stress. And in my last race swim in the pool at Haddington I had a lovely, controlled and totally non-stressed swim.
I’ve tackled two 1500m open water swims, including one that measured closer to 1800m and survived my first sea swim (which I actually enjoyed). And in training, I have learned to enjoy open water swimming, particularly when the water has been clear and relatively warm. I’m actually sad to put my wetsuit away as I don’t expect to be able to do another open water swim this year.
I’m well on the way to logging more swim time and distance than any previous year. And I’ve been back in the pool already, working on my technique and speed, which I’ll continue to do over the autumn/winter.
I’ve already logged more bike mileage than in previous years, thanks to indoor sessions on the turbo or spinning classes early in the year and more miles on the road thanks to the good weather.
In the two comparable sprint races, I’ve improved my bike time and I’ve gone longer with the standard distance events. But still I’m passed more than I’m passing on the bike and this is the area where I’m most likely to make speed gains.
So the plan is to get myself a proper bike fit, look at aero bars for my road bike next year and get a cyclocross bike to ride through the winter.
The rub is that I don’t LOVE the cycle. I have glimpses of loving it sometimes in training or racing on a nice day, or on the few occasions when I’m out riding with my tri buddies. Over the winter, I’ll hit the turbo, and spin trainer when I can’t go outside, but it’s really not my favourite session.
I’m toying with the idea of doing a long cycle challenge next year and there will be opportunities to do things like the C2C ride. But, it becomes a commitment in itself and I fear it would detract from other training. If I was out doing 60-100 miles on a bike on a Sunday, I would be expecting too much to be running a training 10k or doing a mile in the pool the following day.
Hmm… poor old running. I still love it, but it doesn’t get the love and attention it used to. And that was the deal this year. It just had to look after itself.
In comparable tris, I’ve run a little faster than last year, but last year I was coming back from injury, and I haven’t reached the potential of my best year of 2011.
I’ve managed the endurance, confident I can run a 5 or 10k off the back of a swim and cycle. But I haven’t quite got up to speed. I had a freak glimpse of form with a 25:10 run at parkrun when I was building up to my first standard distance tri, but I’ve come nowhere near that again.
But I’ve done what I needed to run for triathlon. Now, over the winter, I can do more speed work and give it a bit of focus again.
Next year, I’d really like to have a go at getting a sub 50 10k and still doing a good number of tris. So I need to think about how best to do that. One thought is to put myself in for a half marathon in the off tri season, to get the miles in and repeat the kind of training that helped me to my previous 10k PB.
But I need to avoid the temptation to take on too many different goals.
Mixed and inconsistent – some good, some slow and this is an easy place to sneak some time. So I will aim to make this consistent and faster in 2014.
I’ve got strategies to combat the race adrenaline nerves and they do work, but I need to make sure I don’t neglect these. Mentally I’ve proved I can stick at a tough long race at Allerthorpe.
Things I do want to do next year:
- A couple of standard distance tris – it would be great to really target one of these and maybe do a big, or iconic race
- The new Newcastle triathlon – a new race in my home town and my first river swim
- Blaydon Race – just love this one
Things I have to bear in mind:
- I’ll be doing tri coaching training in September and October so will need to make time for studying, volunteering and coaching.
- After limiting the window for possible holiday time this year by booking races, I need to pick my events carefully
- I can’t do everything 🙂