So after all of the discussion with my coach, a couple of really good training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday followed by a super race on Saturday, here’s what I’ve come up with for a plan:
Coach P – I think I get the nudge you were trying to give me about challenging myself more on the bike. I did another mountain ride of 4400′ in 23 miles, as well as an Olympic distance tri this week. You are right to suspect I have been lacking a bit of confidence in what I might be capable of, based on this year relative to what I’ve achieved the past five months in training and racing. I think this is lingering from the past two years when I have been on and off IR with resulting poor performance on race days, compared to the previous 15 years. I’m finding it hard to realise that, right now, I don’t have that worry. On my Oly today, I was able to hold 0.93 IF (for the 22 miles excluding the start and finish) and back that up with a run where I ran 8:50/8:30/8:09/7:52/7:50/8:30 (big uphill in the last mile). On the mountain ride, I seem to be able to lock in @ 0.8 IF +/- 2% and hold it there for 3 hours, at an HR of 115 +/-3. On the Oly today, hard to believe, but I was holding 119 HR +/- 1 bpm for the whole way. I think the new bike contributes to that remarkably low HR relative to IF, compared to what I do on my road bike on steady mountain climbs, or for that matter used to do on my old TT bike.
I reviewed the elevation map for the course, and plugged it into best bike split for a little more triangulation.
Sum of all this is I am finally willing to accept that I can go harder on the bike than I was able to last year in a half and full IM. I have to say that I race PRIMARILY by RPE, on all three legs. As you know, after a couple of decades in this sport, and spending a lot of my mental energy when training on observing the relationship between HR, power, pace, and HR, I think I’ve got a really good internal sense of just what I am capable of within a race, at any given moment along the course, basically, asking myself continuously “Can I hold this effort level until the end?”.
So for me, talking about HR, watts, and pace feels a little too rigid, but I think I need a whip, rather than a rein, so here are some numbers to use as a double check to make sure I am testing myself enough on race day:
- Bike: HR of 112/3 through the first loop (mile 40/74) if I’m feeling capable at that point, let that go up to 115 through the two climbs on the second loop (mi 63), and then work as I can over the net downhill the rest of the way, maybe getting to 118. I anticipate this will give me an NP/AP of 169/161, IF 0.78, and a time of 3:36-40
- There are four climbs (2 each done twice) on this course, and I think I can let myself push a *little* bit on each of them, getting up to 200 watts (FTP of 216) on them. But, really, I lose more time relative to the field on downhills, and that’s not something that’s amenable to improved fitness or pushing the envelope. It is what it is, partly my size, and partly my caution. Here’s a link to the course map with elevation if you’re curious: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21309191
- Run: Start off with my usual conservative first mile, then ease into a non-audible breathing pattern for the first 10K loop, with an HR range of 118-121; 2nd loop, start to ratchet things up, starting on an HR of 123, building to 127/30 at the end; 3rd loop, start to race, and see what I’ve got, building the whole way to whatever I’m capable of. If the temps are less than 75F, I should be able to avg 8:40-50; if it’s warmer, that will be slower.
One of my key mantras while on course will be “trust (have confidence in, remember what you accomplished during your) training”. My version of “honor your training self.”