Monday, July 11, 2011

Mass State Race Plan: the Dry Run

Here we are. July. One last race before Nationals. Yeesh.

I'm thinking of Mass State as my last chance to really try out the game plan before the big day. I want to practice really pushing, keeping that "go faster" mentality from Griskus. But the big experiment is nutrition.

By the time I got to the run at Griskus, my stomach was a wreck. It was not interested in taking on anything else. I had originally based my race nutrition on Hammer's recommendations for endurance athletes. (There's something really satisfying about sinking your teeth into 144 pages of nutritional info.) The basic takeaways that I used were: Eat 3 hours before exercise and not again til you're moving, take in about 250 calories/hour, drink about 20 oz per hour.

After the race, I talked with my coach. She suggested perhaps the gel I was using was not mixing well with the sports drink. So, I've switched those up (now I'm entirely hammer-fueled). I also think that I was probably just trying to take on too much. I came across another local triathlete's blog, who suggests a lower calorie approach, so I'm reducing across the board and going for the lowest end of the hammer guidelines (150cal/hour, 16oz/hour). The hammer guidelines are written for people doing all sorts of endurance events, and although olympic races typically take me over 2.5 hours, they're not endurance in the traditional sense. I like olympic races because you can race them. The heart rate is higher, and I think that's why it's harder to absorb quite so much. Also, it turns out I'm not that big of person.

I've been trying out a less-is-more philosophy in training, and that's what I'll have on Sunday. Plenty of water before the race, a gel before the swim and one on the bike, a single bottle with half sustained energy and half heed (so it's not too sweet), then water on the run. On the whole, no-eating-before-the-race thing, I never do that in training. I always eat something before a workout, even in the wee hours of the morning, and it's usually within an hour of the session, so I'm having my clifbar when I feel like it. So that's the plan (and here's the spreadsheet).

Oh, right, except there's more to the race than what I eat. I've been approaching this race as a C race. My body is still feeling the effects of some very heavy sessions last week and early this one. I'm taking it easier now, but I'm still not to that itchy I-have-to-move feeling that indicates a nice taper. I want to race on perceived effort and not get too caught up in numbers or podiums.

OK, who am I kidding? I live for numbers. So here they are: last year I had a strong swim at this race, so let's do that again, 25 min goal (if I swam my pace from this morning I should finish in 22). That bike has got a wicked hill, twice. I averaged 18 last year for the whole thing with a negative split. This year, let's go 18.5 for the first lap and see what I've got for the second lap. The run felt long and wicked hot. It's supposed to be cooler this year. Goal for the run is to keep the legs turning over and shoot for 7:30s.

This should be fun.

Oh, and I've been playing around with my new gps watch. Here's my swim from Walden this morning. Looks like my sighting is improving.


Shannon July 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

Good luck!! I was hoping to get out there to cheer you guys on, but i'll be out of town :(

I'm a bit worried about nutrition for the oly distance... need to practice taking in more liquids!

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