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.

This is my fourth triathlon season. In my first season I broke the fifth metatarsal bone of my left foot. In my second season I tore calf muscles and achilles tendons. In my third season I broke my right clavicle. None of these things are conducive to normal progression rates. I need to remember that each of these things took me not only out of training for a bulk period of time, but also that two of them immobilised parts of my body for extended periods. It’s a good way to encourage muscle atrophy, which at my age is something I need to spend time in the gym to stave off, as much as to get stronger.
I couldn’t swim for at least 6 weeks last summer, and I spent a big portion of the winter in the pool just to get myself back to the previous high point of my swimming ability (which had probably been around the British Champs). At the start of the 2013 season my swimming had not progressed over last year. Since then I’ve been working on my swim stroke and my 1500m pace has maybe deteriorated a little; one step back to make two steps forward. I making some other changes to help kick this on. There are people far more knowledgeable than me that I can call on.
I also spent a lot of the winter running purely to develop the robustness to train at the volume and intensity my legs need to run fast. I have never since run as fast as I did in 2009, before I broke the bone in my foot. I think I’m now back to the point where I can get back to my run training load of 2009, and more. It will take a little time though, and Gareth at Swansea Health Solutions will have to work hard to keep me healthy. We can do that.
Biking is biking. It almost looks after itself and I can keep doing what I’ve been doing and keep improving, but I’ve made some little tweaks there. I’d love to do more but it’s more important that I swim faster.
I’ve failed to perform at any of my key races so far this year, which has been crushingly disappointing. But if it wasn’t, it would mean I didn’t care. I have a long game planned, and I’ll stick to the long game but I’m tweaking the plan.