PB Survives Attack

PBSurvivesAttack.jpgRace Report here

The goal for Challenge Roth was to finally beat my PB set in 2006. Back then I thought it would be a given I’d go faster but six years on and it still stands. When I entered Roth I felt there was a good chance that Sub 9 hours would be on the cards. I’d twice come off the bike in 5:45 but without the running legs. My running has improved but I knew I’d still not been able to put in the run sessions that would give me any confidence I could run 3:15 or faster. My feeling going in to Roth was to have a chance of sub 9 would require a 50 min swim and a bike pretty close to 4:40 together with quick transitions. With the way my swimming and biking had improved neither of these times were unreasonable.

SWIM – 47:31

This really could not have gone better. I’d been loving my swim training and have improved throughout the winter to the point I could do 100s off 1:20. So wetsuit plus pack and I felt sub 50 minute was on the cards. I had a good start and kept my concentration so I didn’t lose the pack during any surges. It felt hard work to the first turn buoy but after that there was a great draft and it was a very comfortable swim. Pretty exciting as I see my swimming improving further. I know it’s not really necessary but I don’t see swim training as something thats done at the cost of the other disciplines.

BIKE – 5:00:16, 253 watts normalised power

This year my riding has been going very well. My CP had gone up so I wanted to test out aiming to ride at around 250 watts. I’ve had four solid camps – two in Lanza and two in the Pyrenees. On those I seemed pretty comfortable at 300 watts for periods and was able to recover well during the rides. This meant I was happy if my power set off high and came down towards the 250 mark. I also decided that since I’d done little flat riding I would happily get out of the saddle for hills.

rothpowers.jpgAt the time I felt that I was stronger in the second half of the ride but the graphs of my powers doesn’t completely back that up. Comparing the 5km average powers shows that I was a little stronger in the second half of the map. Probably reflects that at the time my perception was based on the end of lap 1 to the start of lap 2.

Ideally my powers would be more consistent but virtually the whole race I was in a pace line. In fact, the guys I hooked up with for the 2nd lap did a bike time 10 minutes quicker than me which suggests my relative strength in the second lap.

RUN – 3:49:45

This needs to be 30 minutes better. It’s always easy to blame some execution element – lack of fuel, bad pacing, dehydration. That may be the case but it also gives an excuse that leaves your training as being right and appropriate. My experience of Ironman is that you normally get the result you deserve and in this case I think it’s true. The question for me is which part of my prep was inappropriate. Two things came to mind

  1. Overall level of run training
  2. Final three weeks prep.

runmilesIt was definitely a combination of both. My running had been going well in terms of the speed I was running but still overall volume was low. I decided to take a look at how my run volume correlated with my marathon pace. Looking at the previous 6 months and the 20 days prior to the race.

The table to the right shows those volumes. There’s a clear split of pre foot surgery and post foot surgery. No surprise to me. In general I was over 1,000 miles. The once below that produced a below par performance (Kona 07). The other slow marathons in that period were:

Germany 08 – I’d done Epic Italy a few weeks before

Kona 08 – I’d done IM Wisconsin a few weeks before.

Looking post surgery the times have generally been slower. My best runs Lanza 10 and Wanaka 11 (slower time but tough course) are off the back of the biggest mileage. Austria is the quickest time but there is a question mark over the accuracy of the course. Clear though is that I perform poorly if I race close together – look at Kona 11 just a few weeks after Wales 11.

So rule 1 for the future

-Don’t expect to run quick if you race soon after another A  race or camp.

6monthcorrellationThis graph plots 6 month run mileage verses marathon time. I’ve excluded three races: Kona 09 and WA 09 as they were post surgery and minimal volume together with Kona 11 which was only a matter of weeks after Ironman Wales.

Other than Austria I’ve never run sub 3:30 with less than 1200 miles in the previous 6 months. Thats substantially more than my current run volume.

6monthcorrellation-2.jpgThe second graph shows marathon time against previous 20 days run volume using the same races as above. Remarkable it seems the more miles I manage the better I run though the correlation doesn’t look strong. My fastest marathon came off the back of nearly 140 miles in the previous 20 days !

Final graph shows number of runs of 15 miles or more in the previous 6 months. Not surprising is that the more I did the faster I went in general.

Other than Austria it seems that 20 such long runs is a target required for sub 3:30. For Roth I managed 11.

So it would seem that for future reference I have the following

  1. Over 1,000 miles running in 6 months
  2. More than 20 runs of 15 miles or more in previous 6 months
  3. Don’t do anything stupid in those final three weeks ahead of a race.

My next race is Ironman Wales. Which post recovery will be about 2 months worth of work. That race is my most important race this year as I’d like to go to Kona next year. With that in mind I took a look at 2 month run volume verses marathon time.

Seems that if I’ve managed 400 miles or more then I’ve gone at least sub 3:30.

I already knew I wasn’t putting in enough work. Perhaps this is the kick up the arse I need. So 50 miles per week for 8 weeks with at least a 15 mile run each week all at a decent pace, of course.


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