Here’s a race report from my win at Philippines Ironman 70.3
It was five weeks from Challenge Roth to Ironman 70.3 Philippines. I had about 5 days rest, then started one session per day through 2nd week. The 3rd week training was good and consistent (##km), 4th week built a little more, 5th week I did nothing.
I have realised, slowly, over the last few years I perform best on a very extreme taper of virtually no running in the week before a race, and very little riding (2-3hrs), and 3-5km of swimming. So after 3 consistent weeks of training I was feeling ready for a rest, and following that I would be feeling ready for a race.
My 4th week training was my usual routine with 4 added (now to be routine) easy 8 –10km runs, but on Saturday when I usually just do a run session, I went and trained with Chris MacCormack in Cronulla for the day. We headed out for a bike session (50km warm up, 40km TT effort, 10k easy, 30km TT effort), and I was struggling big time to push 300 watts. It felt like threshold training to stay with Chris, and I was glad when the first effort was over. I had a powerbar caffienated gel and was sure it would give me a big boost and I’d be able to at least do the same effort again for 30k. Not to be! I bonked at 16k and could barely pedal. I had a rest, a drink, and only just made it back the 10k without falling off my bike. I was very wobbly. I was right after some food, then we went for 10k jog, then 4k swim, and drove home. It was a busy day. So I didn’t ride as per usual Sunday, and did the run session I missed Saturday, then did my long run Monday. That was the end of my “training” before the race.
Monday – 28km run. Swam easy 2k (nearly sank, was buggered)
Tuesday. Rest. Pack.
Wednesday. travel to Manila.
Thursday. Swim 2.5k. Run 3k on treadmill easy.
Friday. Ride 1 1/2 hrs. Swim 15mins.
Saturday. Ride 20mins easy.
So as you can see I do VERY little before a major race, and if anyone has been struggling to convert the hours spent in training to a strong race, I suggest you try doing less in the week before your next race. This won’t be best for everyone, but worth a try for some.
It hadn’t been that many weeks of training since Challenge Roth and I hadn’t had a rest week yet, so I didn’t know how far I had progressed, and how I would feel on race day – had I done enough to be competitive? or not?
I did know I would feel good on race day, and would be able to push hard enough to make it through the bike with the leaders, and was hoping to be able to stay within reach on the run, and make a good race of it for myself, and spectators, but I didn’t have too many thoughts of running away with the win. After the race Jaimie said to me “I knew you would have a good race. You had been training well, was relaxed before you went, and sounded happy in the Philippines.” It’s no secret I race best when I am happy.
Race day – Wake up, step outside, it’s beautiful and warm, just like every other day. On the start line I looked across at Terenzo who was wearing a long-john aquasphere speedsuit over his race suit for the swim. We had all laughed a few days earlier when this issue was brought up. I didn’t take my speedsuit because I believed they were no longer legal. It turns out that rule starts next week (sept 1st). I did have an Adidas suit with no rubber on it, but in such warm water I would have been too hot for the slight improvement in slipstream dynamics gained. I figured it wouldn’t matter that much, and would just have to swim a bit harder to try and stay ahead of Terenzo, if i could.
I sprinted from the gun, and was in front of everyone near me, with Terenzo and Leon Griffin leading everyone a few meters to my right. I edged in front and they joined onto my feet. Alaska Milk had put up $300 bonus after 1.3km, when we run between two lakes. I was motivated to get this, and also to get as much lead over whoever I could in the swim. Leon dropped off our feet, and I opened up a gap over Terenzo as we exited the water and changed lakes. I held this small lead till 4km into the bike. We had a good lead and agreed to swap turns every 10mins.
I could tell I was feeling stronger than Terenzo, the pace was faster when I was on the front, and I went there a little more often. Despite this, Leon caught up to us at 35km. Again another time bonus at 45km motivated me to push the pace and lead into it. I got a small gap over Terenzo and Leon and was more confident I had stronger legs than them on the bike today. They caught back up when I eased off for 30seconds when there was confusion as to which side of the road we should be on, and we swapped turns for 20km, until I decided to try and get a lead or at least push them out of their comfort zone a bit and not let them rest for the run. I built a good gap, over 30seconds on Terenzo and a minute on Leon, only to lose that lead when sent the wrong way into transition. I wasted time deciding what to do and gave much of my lead back. I tried to relax and started the run with Terenzo on my shoulder.
In the first km I again sensed I was feeling a little better than Terenzo. I felt like I was out for an easy jog, and just half a step in front of him, so at 3km’s I picked it up a little bit and quickly built a lead of about 15 seconds a km. I got another bonus at 10.5km into the run, and felt so good I just kept running fast and loving it. I finished with a 7minute lead and still felt fresh at the finish line. The heat hadn’t worried me, nor had the fact I’d swum, ridden, and run faster than everyone else.
It’s funny how it takes someone else to ask you the right questions before you fully recognise some important self realisations. That afternoon while I was waiting my turn at the cable wakeboarding lake, a journalist asked what I was thinking as I crossed the line.
I was thinking how good it felt to have swum hard, ridden hard, and run fast and still feel fresh when I crossed the line. I felt so happy I had finally put together the right training plan, taper plan, and executed a solid race in Hawaii like conditions was an enormous confidence boost for my Hawaii race, and also for myself as a triathlete. I was proud to have had the perfect race for my sponsors Team Abu Dhabi, and for my fiancé Jaimie. The main though I had was about the confidence in my preperation and my race plan for Hawaii, and the positive thoughts I will now carry with me for the next 7 weeks to Kona.
Thank you once again to my sponsors –Triathlon Team Abu Dhabi – and all the sponsors of our team – Abu Dhabi, Storck, Suunto, Adidas, Oakley, Aquasphere, Powerbar, Xentis, Shimano, Continental, SRM, and Paul Lange & Co Bike shop.