Here we are, in the middle of winter in Colorado, and it was 75 degrees yesterday. Wow. It is great weather to do just about any activity, and I was lucky enough to get in a nice ride earlier this week. However, with my training plan starting on February 21st, I am still working through some strength training, and even more importantly, preparing for the swim.
The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon swim is 1.5 miles. I have not swam that far since finishing Ironman Boulder in August 2014. For the remainder of 2014, I focused on the bike. In 2015, it was all about the run. I made dramatic improvements in my running technique that translated directly to performance. In August 2014, for 10K, my pace was about 9:50/mile. As of the early 2016, I could hold a pace below 8:00/mile. Encouraged by this success, for 2017, I will build on this by improving my swimming. This, hopefully, will round out my triathlon skill set, and allow me to compete more effectively.
When I raced in Ironman Boulder, my swim was catastrophic. I was aiming for a 1:20-1:30 swim time, but ended up swimming 2:06, coming too close to the 2:20 cutoff than I was comfortable with. I felt horrendous, and cramped nearly the entire swim. My legs were so compromised by that point, that it impacted the remainder of my race. My 13 hour target became a 15:36 result. I have heard a saying that goes something like, “you can’t win the race in the water, but you can certainly lose it.” I am living proof.
That said, I want to prepare for the swim as though my life depended on it. Once I’m in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay, with who-knows-what in the water around me, I’m sure I’ll be glad I approached the preparation this way.
I am doing two main things to get ready for the swim, and many minor things that should contribute to my swimming success. The first thing I did was to obtain a solid training plan. I referenced that in the previous blog, and got the plan from Hypercat Racing in Ventura, CA. The second thing I am doing is using knowledge gained by listening to the ‘Tower 26 – Be Race Ready’ podcast. The podcasts can be found at http://www.tower26.com or in iTunes. These are great podcasts, and are focused exclusively on triathlon swimming. As far as minor things, I am remaining very focused on critical strength training, core training, and nutrition. I have always known that core training will help my swimming, but once I really got into the technique, it’s clear how much core is required to remain efficent.
In the coming weeks, we’ll talk about progress. In the next post, I won’t be talking about swimming specifically, but instead I will discuss the difference between efficiency and power, as it relates to each of the three individual triathlon sports. Hint: fitness + technique = performance.
Thanks again for reading, and until next time…