I have a race this weekend, the Heat Wave, which I have raced the last 2 years. The temperature was cooler last year but the swim was longer. The previous year the swim must have been short – my much better swim was 3 ½ minutes longer. I still improved my time by about 5 minutes. You can read the analysis here or last year’s race report here .
Last year I had a huge improvement on the bike (9.3% faster – 2 MPH) and an okay improvement on the run (4.3% faster – 20 seconds per mile). I am not sure where I will come in this weekend. I have talked a lot about following race plans but I have not been diligent this year. The half ironman in April was an afterthought and I did not even look at a race plan for this weekend’s race. It is like I have just been exercising since the Mardi Gras Marathon. I truly believe that if I had put together a challenging training plan and followed it for the half ironman in New Orleans then my sub-5 hour goal would have been easily achievable. Now this race, like I said, it will be interesting where I finish this year.
Past performance is a pretty good predictor of how you will do in a race. Experience plays a huge part in this. A rule of thumb for half to full ironman performance is to double the time and add an hour. Last year I completed my first half ironman in 5:30. I judged a lot of my pacing for my full ironman off of this time. If you double that time and add an hour and you get 12:00 flat. This was my fantasy goal for ironman Louisville. However, I did not factor in all of the hard training that I would do over the summer in the Mississippi heat and I got lucky with a cool year in Louisville. I actually ended up blowing that goal out of the water. I finished my full ironman in 11:18. What is more telling is that my swim and run pacing’s were faster in the full ironman than in the half ironman. Go figure.
I was thinking about this the other day. How does this equation work in reverse? Well, my most recent race was the same half ironman in New Orleans and I finished that race in 5:08. Let’s see – if I half my full ironman time and deduct an hour what do I get? 5:09 – wow. That is uncanny (full in 2009 11:18 – half 2010 5:08). I can’t believe how close that is.
Does this mean that my race fitness is similar right now to when it was last August? It is the same but it is different. Let me explain. I do not have the same endurance that I had last year. Sure I can go out and ride 50 miles or go out and run 15 miles but I would have trouble going out and doing a brick at those distances. I could do that last year – or close to it anyways. Reading my post race report from the Heat Wave last year I actually got home after the race and ran a 5 miler. What? And the next day I did a 50 mile ‘recovery’ bike ride. That is crazy.
I wish I could say that I have traded endurance for speed and in some respects that is true. However, last Friday’s 5k Pump and Run race shows me that my top end is off. I would have liked to have been much deeper in the 19’s for that race (in the back of my mind I wanted high 18’s). I am not going to judge too much on this 5k race since I effectively blew up – but still I wish I had been faster. I need to go out and run an all out 5k in training just to see where I stand.
My strategies for the race: I am going to have a solid swim, push it hard on the bike – just short of implosion, and run hard.
I guess that is every race plan. Simple stuff.