Prior Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss-Poor Performance

I started looking today at my numbers from the Hy-Vee Olympic triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) to try to pinpoint some areas where I can improve and need to work on. Let’s just say it’s a target-rich environment. Hy-Vee served as a good baseline because I was finally treating my asthma, even though after dealing with the asthma so much (not to mention at the time I had been neglecting my swim) I had a somewhat lower level of fitness than I’d like to have had. So, by the numbers:

Swim: 34:40, 71/100 in my age group
T1 (swim-to-bike transition): 6:34, 99/100
Bike: 1:15:11, 63/100
T2 (bike-to-run): 4:01, 97/100
Run: 57:04, 71/100
Overall: 2:57:28, 79/100

Snail

The first thing that should be apparent is that I’ve got a LOT of time I can save in my transitions. This really wasn’t a surprise since I especially took a long time in T1 making sure I could breathe, plus I had to answer the call of nature (and I have not yet achieved the sublime tri-bliss that allows me to go in my wetsuit). Median T1 time is ~ 3 minutes and median T2 time is ~2 minutes. That’s 5 minutes of free time while merely striving for the average. That would translate into 1 mph faster on the bike AND 20 seconds per mile off my run time, without even working harder. Realistically I probably don’t want to do much better because I’ve seen too many people wipe out aiming for flying mounts and dismounts, so that’s 5 minutes.

Tortoise

Next thing that’s apparent is that my cycling performance seems to be a lot better than my swim and my run. I’m not surprised by this because I see myself more as a cyclist who does tri’s rather than a triathlete who cycles (yes, I’m a bit of a bike snob). I was also WAY off form with running and swimming, and only somewhat off form on the bike. Form is a somewhat nebulous term that describes the balance between being trained but still being rested. Unfortunately I was undertrained AND underrested!

In terms of numbers, though, I plan to time myself to be on form for the USAT regional qualifier in Omaha in July in all three disciplines. My swim times have already gotten better with some work on technique, and I plan to wear a wetsuit for Omaha, so I’m projecting a 28:00 swim. If I use aerobars on the bike I should be able to manage a 22 mph pace on the back for the 40k, so I’m projecting 1:07:00 on the bike (although I’d be thrilled if I break 1 hour). I’m currently thinking that if I’m on form managing 8 minutes per mile on the run would be doable. So, all told, my target for Omaha is (drum roll, please) just under 2:30.

Gotta head out now and train to make it happen!

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