Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swim Time trials – hard vs easy

In the last few weeks, i started swimming with the local masters team – this has really helped me improve way faster than trying to do it all on my own.  I am getting faster at the shorter sets (50s, 100s, 200s etc) but i haven’t done any distance work for a few weeks.

last night i didn’t have a plan before jumping in to the water.  After a warm-up i was feeling ok and since I have the Nations Tri (Olympic distance) coming up in just under 3 weeks, i decided to do some longer time trials.

So my plan was at first to try 5 minutes continuous to see how we go.  I didn’t get lap splits for this, but the end result was :-



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

4:55 300yards 1:38.3 / 49.16

compared to recent efforts, that is really great. I don’t think i have ever averaged faster than 50s for 50yards (often around the 53 mark).  I was puffing by the end of the 5 minutes, but felt quite good. 

So the next time effort (after short break) was for 10 minutes – for this set my perceived effort was harder, but the average time was very similar.  at the end of 10 minutes, i was definitely feeling it.  I don’t think i could have held that pace for too much longer.



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

9:58 600yards 1:39.6 / 49.83

interesting – within 1 sec/100y of the 5min TT.  The problem is that this is not a pace i could keep up for a longer swim.  Since i am aiming for 1500m/1650y for the Nations Tri.

So my next set was a 30min TT, about the time i think i can complete course.  For this set i purposely took it easy, trying to be comfortable and efficient.  I finished strong, and could have kept going at that pace. 



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

30:17.6 1750yards 1:43.8 / 51.93

I think this is an interesting result.  what felt significantly easier, was actually only 4 seconds per 100 yards slower.  I think i can happily give up those 4 seconds for a comfortable swim, and have lots of energy left for the rest of the race.

splits @ 300 and 600yards (had the lap timer on for the 10 & 30 minute tt’s)


5min TT

10min TT

30min TT









my goal is to be able to keep the 10min speed for a full 30 mins, but that will take a lot of work and some better technique.  for the last 10 minutes I managed to increase speed, as i was feeling pretty good.  This is going to be the plan for my race – start at a good steady pace, and hopefully increase the pace during the 2nd half.  I'd much rather do this than start out too hard (which is easy to do in a race) and not have much left towards the end.  I also just looked at the tide charts – low tide on race day should be 6:30 – right about the start of the first wave.  so the first leg of the out&back swim will be downstream, and of course against the tide on the way back.

This session represents somewhat of a breakthrough for me – only a year ago i was averaging well over 2mins per 100yards, right around 2:20 – 2:25.

I looked at my training log, and the last 30minute time trial i did was only 8 days before.  I managed to beat my time by 18 seconds.  Working on technique with the masters team really is making a difference.  The last time i did a 30min TT was April 1st – with an average of 53.9/50y – 1:47.8/100y (1700y in 30:33.1), this is pretty good progress (50y extra distance and 16 seconds less time).

If you were thinking about joining a local masters program, my recommendation is that you definitely should.  These numbers are evidence that it does work.  I didn’t think i was good enough to join in with the Masters team, but they were really great.  I have already improved a lot in only 3 weeks. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 Culpeper Triathlon Race Report

This is my 2nd year competing in the Culpeper Triathlon.  I’ve had a tough year for injuries this year, so really had not spent any quality time on the Bike, and had not completed any runs since the Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon.  I have been working hard on my swim, so my plan was to have a good swim, and they take it easy on the bike and run.

I started on the front line of my wave, off to the right hand side (shortest line to the first buoy).  Usually i hang back a little, since my swimming is not strong yet.  This time i went out quite hard, trying to draft a little from the faster swimmers who jumped out in front of me.  The water in the lake is dirty – so murky that you can barely see you hands in front of you, so seeing where anyone in front of you is almost impossible.  I hit the first buoy in decent shape, but was definitely puffing hard.  Since i was on the right at the start, and it was a left turn, i had to take it a little wide.  I think i took it out too hard, and felt my form going – i tried had to breath every 2nd stroke because it wasn’t taking it easy.
overall a good swim – 14:39, including walking to the transition mat.  My HR out of the water was 183.  I really gave it everything i had, and walked to recover on the way to the bike.  The time was 2:10 better than the same swim from last year.

not much special here, other than the competitor next to me knocked off my helmet and glasses before i got there.  i think i lost 20 seconds finding my glasses.   For the 2nd time i had mounted my shoes to the bike (with elastic bands to keep them positioned) so T1 is really easy.  dump the swimming gear, on with glasses and helmet and go. 

1:57 – slower that i would have liked, but not too bad (2:14 last year) – pretty good considering the time lost to finding my glasses.  next time i may put the helmet on the ground, depending on how tightly spaced the bikes are on the rack

my goal was to keep a cadence average of 90 – i think i did well with this.  Since i had only had 1 road ride since October last year, i took it easy.  I still managed to get around in an ok time (57.12 compared to 56.09 last year), so that is pretty good.  I did managed to get a 2:00 drafting penalty.  I saw the motor bikes on the course, and i was trying hard not to be too close to those in front, but with so many bikes on the course this was difficult.  looks like i will have to try harder next time.

1:14 – pretty decent, nothing much to report.  Took my feet out of the shoes on the last downhill before the short uphill into transition.  passed a lot of people right at the dismount line.  racked the bike and put my shoes on pretty quickly. 

took it easy again, legs felt in pretty good shape after a somewhat easy ride.   Time was 26:41, pretty good considering i took it easy, and had almost no training.  run time from last year was 26:34.
Overall i was very happy – total time (minus the 2:00 penalty) was 1:41:34 – better than last years 1:42:09 even when taking the bike/run easy.  hopefully next year i’ll be injury free, and try to get to around 1:30.

The event is a good one, except for the murky water for the swim.  The bike course is challenging but not overly difficult.  the run is up/down hill, but also a good challenge.  I’ll be looking forward to this race again next year.