Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tom Longman "Insights" and Flashback to 70.3 Busselton

Busselton 70.3 – My insights from start to finish

Everyone always says ‘try and look for the silver linings’… ‘A glass half full approach’ some might say. I think this is definitely a mentality that is helpful when competing in triathlons. There are so many elements that make up a race, but this also means so many opportunities for things to go wrong. How you deal with these ‘speed bumps’ during your race, how you learn from them, and what you take from these experiences into your next race I think is key to your progression as a triathlete, or just being able to enjoy the triathlon journey to its fullest.

Triathlons are meant to be fun! I find I have to remind myself of this sometimes when I get caught up focusing on bike splits, negative splits and watts etc. I think it’s because I personally enjoy reflecting on past races and trying to figure out where I went wrong, what I did right and what I can do better next time. So a few months on from finishing Busselton 70.3 2015 I have been able to reflect on what was my second half Ironman. What follows are the insights I took from the race on reflection. Overall I felt I had gone into it with a good training block prior with minimal injuries so I was feeling good. What this meant was I could try and focus on the race plan I had and hope the ‘Tri gods’ were kind to me on the day.

The swim
Where you take off from the beach is important! Back yourself and place yourself in the pack where you think your ability can handle. I knew I didn’t want to be up the front trying to flog myself with other people swimming over me for 1.9ks of the swim leg, swimming is definitely not my forte. My plan was to try and get on to the feet of someone who was of a similar swimming ability to myself, tough one when most people around you are strangers…. So I tried to back myself and put myself near the front, second or third row back from memory. A few people swam past me (over me) but I managed to find some feet and get into a rhythm. 

The bike
Pack extra nutrition, just in case… I was using gels and Endura carbohydrate drink for my on-bike nutrition. I had three gels in a gel canister as well as two bottles of Endura. Based on training rides I thought this would have been enough, I was wrong… In the last 20ks of the bike I was really hungry and would have killed for another gel, but alas I had to wait to get back to transition as I always leave a spare for situations just like this. Unfortunately it was a little too late so I went into the run not quite as strong as I would have hoped. Pack some Panadol or the likes. For some reason on longer swims I can end up with a headache, not sure why. I have tried different things but can’t pick it, it sometimes just happens. In this case I did have a headache for the whole bike leg and having some Panadol at the start of the ride could of really helped out.


The run
One that follows on from my previous point, make sure you really fuel up on the bike….. and always have a reserve. Better to be prepared and not use it than the alternative. As I didn’t do this I started the run a little on the back foot because of lack of fuelling and I really felt this on the third lap (of a 3 lap course). I could have dug deeper in the last few ks of the run. This is always easier to say once the race is done, you’re reflecting while sitting around with a couple of mates comparing your race stories, a few beers in and the old “I could of gone heaps faster if I only did …..”. Although I felt like it fell apart a bit in the last 7k I still managed to pick up the pace in the last 1k (probably because I was getting cheered for by my wife, friends and GK Endurance crew) and I threw in a bit of a sprint in the finishing shoot.  For me I think this means there was more in the tank and I really should have dug that bit deeper, especially in the last 4-5ks, because I probably could have kept up the pace. This I think is more mental than anything so I will definitely be focusing on this in my next race.

Overall I was stoked with the race, got a PB! The training prior went well and didn’t break me, thanks GK Endurance and all my training buddies. The support from everyone, especially my wife Mel, training for one of these definitely takes up some time away from home and requires a very understanding partner. Overall the journey of training for, and competing in a 70.3 race is a great thing to do and can recommend it highly. Now to get back into it and take these new found insights into the next race.

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