Training Is Not Always About Distance!

As triathletes, we must be flexible in our abilities to perform in different sports.  While marathoners must master endurance running, swimmers master moving through water, and baseball players focus on hitting and throwing balls, triathletes have even more to focus on: swimming, cycling, and running, back to back without a nap in the middle as fast and as long as possible!

One thing I personally learned after finishing the UCSB Triathlon is that speed, power, and endurance are what make triathletes so unique in the sports world.   For the 2009 triathlon season, I focused on going the distance and finishing the race.  I developed a base that was good enough to simply go the distance and have some serious fun along the way.  Unfortunately, strictly going the distance doesn’t work for me in 2010.

2010 is about power, speed, AND endurance.   This is why I decided to take one goal out of concrete and place it on the table using putty: Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course.   Sure, I can train for the long distances and eek out a finish, but 2010 provides me with a wonderful opportunity to show myself and the world what one year of triathlon training can do!   Time to set some new personal records and finish in a competitive position!

Starting Q2

For my first bike ride of Q2, I decided to return to an old favorite route, the Mountain Dr/El Cielito route.  This route is less about distance and more about acceleration and hill climbing.

The route and elevation profile of the cycling workout.

Being a very curvatious route that follows the contours of the foothills, the rider gets plenty of time of opportunity to practice acceleration, handling hairpin turns, and test their brakes.  The rider has just enough time to get up to speed before a hairpin turn comes up, hit the brakes, lean through the curve and then power out with the pedals to get speed back up before the next turn.  The goes in and out of so many canyons that there isn’t really time to recover.  Great workout!

But the fun doesn’t stop there.  The route is not flat and has a few inclines and hills, including two 350 foot climbs.  I’ll be honest, I hate hills.  The quads burn, the breathe, the sweat, and the slow speed wears me down, but this is the type of workout that makes me a better cyclist and a better triathlete. While I didn’t make all the way to the top of El Cielito, I went higher than I’ve ever gone before!

Last year, this 10.5 mile ride kicked my butt.   Today, it felt like a warm-up! (Follow this link to the Training Peaks data set)

This ride not only shows how far I’ve come with training, but that the point isn’t always about the distance.  Sure I can train to go longer, faster, farther than ever before, but wouldn’t it be nice to compete in a triathlon and not only know I am going to finish, but know that I will finish in a position that is not last?

Choose your performance…  far, fast or both?