Olympic Triathlon Training: Final Update/ Fail

So I was committed, I was totally going to do it, I swear. What really happened is this, they moved the race forward I was going to do, by 3 months. Then I couldn’t get to another one due to a wedding, then it was too late and they were too far away. It was supposed to be perfect, but it flew off the rails before it even started. I was supposed to start training about June 15th and race around September 15th at the Shooby Doobie Tri in Dartmouth and at least pretend that I could work the rest of the day. Long storey short it didn’t happen, but I still learned a few things.

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1.) Go through previous year’s results and check out the date

Some races it turns out move around. I assumed that because the race was at a given time one year that meant it was at the same time every year. September 20th vs June is a big difference. Some races happen the sameish date every year and some it turns out move around. This one moved due to scheduled construction in the fall. But the move up 11 weeks was only announced 8 weeks before the new date. I went back and looks at the race I was planning to do in previous years and it turns out it might happen May or September. If you are a race organizer, especially for a race that pretty much requires training like a 1/2 marathon or a triathlon, consider sticking to one time to boost your numbers.

2.) Have a back up if you can

I tried to do this one. But there just weren’t that many races. I realized in late may that I was going to have to make another plan and that an available race would likely be sooner than I had planned, so I started training while I looked for a race. There was one in early August that would have worked well enough. I trained for an pulled off a 10k personal best around the 20th of May at Bluenose. But then the save the dates came in for a family wedding and guess what, that race was no longer an option. I considered one the week before about a 5 hour drive away in Cape Bretton. Now the thing about that one was it’s in the highlands in incredibly beautiful (and mountainous) terrain in a tourist hot spot. So it would mean a 5 hour drive Friday afternoon, a 7 am start on Saturday and a 5 hour drive home after or a second night of accommodations at the most expensive time of the year. Only to do the same thing the very next week for a wedding. It was too much cash and mostly too much time away from work during our busiest time. I also held out hope that maybe a to be announced event in PEI would work but it’s not an olympic distance. Finally I thought about dropping down to a sprint but that wasn’t my goal either so instead I took up paddle boarding.

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3.) I quite like the plan I planned to use

Well the beginning anyway… I trained for an pulled off a 10k training program leading up to Bluenose in May through the Nike app, which I did not like. PS its still sending me weekly updates even though I finished the whole thing in May. My long runs were up around 14 km so I figured I would take 4 days off and start at  week three of my training program maybe skipping a long run or two in the first few weeks to avoid injury.

I ended up making my own training plan for the race when I looked at what was out there already. All of the triathlon training programs I looked at just seemed nuts for me. I train during the summer when it’s nice like normal regular people, but it’s also our busiest time of year and I have to sneak it in. I managed to do it last year for 12 weeks of 1/2 training. The plans out there were all 6 days a week and often included more than one workout a day all the way up to 10 workouts a week. I can do the 6 days a week thing but I don’t have the time or inclination to workout twice a day, like ever. Don’t sign me up for that, hard pass. I don’t have any delusions about winning. My goal is just to finish without embarrassing myself. Truthfully I’d take a lot of embarrassment before I would realistically work out twice a day three times a week for three months. So I made myself a more realistic option.

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I got to week 7 in the 12 week plan and I feel like I was preparing to do well on the day it just turns out I just couldn’t find a day to race. I even looked as far away a Quebec City but I still came up short. So instead I decided to do all the fun ones that I never seem to get to in training, next up Pumpkin Pacer in Hansport.

4.) Generally triathlon sites might not be as up to date as some runner peeps are at least on the east coast of Canada.

When I get the urge to race I get on Atlantic Chip and play the date game. I usually come away with something in drivable distance no problem. Triathlons are listed here as well. But not until they have a date. Heading over to Triathlon Nova Scotia and browsing their calendar in April and May it was completely empty. But reading their tweets from this year more than a couple of races got moved around and one got canceled. This year I thought about reaching out to organizers maybe on facebook but I didn’t want to be a bother, this coming year I might not hesitate. I’m guessing they organize triathlons because they have done triathlons and so they know it takes time to train. Perhaps it won’t be that much of a bother….

5.) It’s okay to take a year off

But it doesn’t mean you have to like it. I usually build to something each training season whether it’s on my own like a personal dirty century or last year’s half marathon. This year that didn’t happen. But I found I was still pretty motivated to get out there. Instead I did a bunch of races I always do and some I’ve always wanted to. I focused on fun not really times or training programs and personal silly things I wanted to do. So I did the tidal mud run that I’ve always wanted to do and the Bluenose 10k. This year honey’s son bought a house (6.5 km) away so one day I ran to his house and complained that I was tiered and hungry and thirsty and my clothes were dirty and could they drive me home, please. Which was as fun as it sounds and something I’ve always threatened to of to them. What I actually did was take a selfie with them send it to their dad and ran home. I also took up paddle boarding, rode my bike more and generally ran as far as I wanted to when I wanted to. And it was alright. Now I’m not going to lie, I still have that itchy accomplishment seeking feeling I had in 2015 which originally led me to triathlons and that part isn’t so fun but it’s got me planning next year already…

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First triathlon selfie!

Long runs on the weekend turned out to be a hard habit to break but speed work was much easier to leave behind. And weirdly even though my brace is bigger this year than last I got faster by quite a bit. I’ve run about 750 km so far this year. Last year my average pace over all was about 7:25 per km in training last year and this been hovering his summer around 7”05 per km. I had two PB’s this year in my 5k and 10k so it’s still been a pretty good year.

Plans for next year.

I might be friggin’ doomed here… eye roll. Since I’ve been itchy not training for something big and all the same reasons I wanted to tackle the olympic distance are still a thing. So I’ve been thinking that I would do the 1/2 instead of the 10k at Bluenose next year in May and finally tackle the olympic at Epic on Canada Day (July 1st). Epic is one of those big shiny races and Bluenose is a May long weekend given. But in writing this and looking into dates and links my plan is anything but bullet proof. This year, 2017, they decided to cancel the Olympic distances for the foreseeable future. Uggggg. Anyway there goes that plan… So lurking on prevous years’ results it looks like i’ll be able to find something that works well with a 1/2 at the Bluenose probably…

Have you ever made the choice to step away from training for a race? What led you to do it? Ps if you have insider information on dates for next year, like carly Rae Jepsen once said, call me, maybe?

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