I was getting ready to write a short thing about how I’m waiting to hear about a possible roll down place for the World Triathlon Age Group Championships to be held on the Olympic course in London in September. As I was writing it in my head I got the email from the BTF awarding me a place. Yey!
The qualification races I entered this year didn’t go to plan and didn’t go well, leaving me outside the direct qualification places and with a scraping (or scrapping?) chance of a roll down spot if others chose not to attend or registered for the sprint distance race instead. It has be written that this year has already been the most competitive age group triathlon season ever, because of the interest in a home World champs and possibly as an Olympic knock on. It has been pretty nuts out there. My 35-39 age group had the largest number of athletes vying for places too, and there are a lot of fast guys in there. Generally this season has made me look forward to turning 40 next year, and I can’t imagine many scenarios that do that!
I had a crap race on Saturday for a number of reasons, which I’ll summon the strength to write about later this week. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll recall that I’ve improved again this year, and recently made some tweaks to sort out some issues. I’ve made some training mistakes this season, but I’ve been wondering why I’m getting overhauled by some athletes in my age group. Some guys are progressing more effectively than me. Is it age?
I realised a few things. It’s good to reflect and review experiences and data, partly to better explain where I am now, and partly to better plan how to keep getting faster. An extremely knowledgeable and experienced Welsh coach and former triathlete laid down to me very clearly what I need to do, and I’ll take that advice and use it. But there are some other things going on.
Between the European Triathlon Championships and the British Champs this year there’s a tricky 4 weeks of working out how to recover, kick the fitness on, and try to “peak” again. There’s not much you can do or expect from 4 weeks, and as you dropped most of your training load & fatigue for the first race you can probably hit it quite hard fairly safely depending on your robustness and try to recover some fitness for the second race. One way to help with this is to smash out a race in amongst the short period of training, and this year the TriExercise Pembrokeshire Coast Triathlon sat perfectly in the calendar. It’s a great race; a very hard course with very tough competition, a beautiful swim and run and an excuse to spend some time down the road in Pembrokeshire. It’s a race I’d always try to fit in. And the kids love camping.
The race had a late start to match the tides, and the roads we race on are largely out in the countryside and not heavily used so it doesn’t get busy late in the day. I’ve been reflecting on my performances so far this year, feeling strongly that I’ve been missing something. I’ve also been reviewing my data and some recent research and came up with a handful of changes to make to my preparation and to the race itself.