As you know, I am evaluating options and beginning to plan for the 2011 season. As part of that, I analyze my past year and see what I can learn from the results.
One of the analyses I've performed this year was to take a look at how I fared versus my top AG competitor in each of my 10 short-course races. I focus on short course due to the wide variation in performance in my LC races and because I do enough of them to get some meaningful data to compare--especially across years. In this analysis, I'm comparing against the person that won my AG in each race, or against the 2nd place person, if I was the winner. In 2011, I won 4 races, finished 2nd in another 4 and 3rd once. I had one 5th place finish at Stone Harbor, which was 2 weeks after IM Germany and generally a bad idea. I looked at how I did in each of the three disciplines against the top competitor:
Swim: I was faster than my top competitor in 8 of the 10 swims and across the 10 races i was cumulatively 6:00 faster or on average, I enjoyed a 36 second advantage leaving the swim.
Bike: I was also faster in 8 of the 10 bike splits and enjoyed an aggregate advantage of 23:16 or 2:20 on average.
Transitions: I was 88 seconds faster cumulatively in transitions or about 9 seconds per race.
Run: Here, I was never faster than my main competitor and gave up 31:20 cumulatively during 2010. This averages out to be 3:08 per race.
Putting it together:
Swim: + 6:00
Tran: + 1:28
So my strength in the swim, and especially the bike essentially cancel out my weakness in the run.
Now my strength in the swim is a new thing as I had a breakthrough year in 2010. Alas, the weakness in the run is also becomming a bigger factor as of late. Below find my overall %-tile in each of the 3 disciplines by year (short course races):
2002:64 2003:54 2004:75 2005:57 2006:76 2007:75 2008:81 2009:76 2010:91
2002:94 2003:91 2004:98 2005:97 2006:97 2007:96 2008:97 2009:94 2010:96
2002:77 2003:59 2004:75 2005:83 2006:77 2007:80 2008:78 2009:70 2010:70
2002:86 2003:76 2004:90 2005:92 2006:91 2007:92 2008:93 2009:89 2010:91
Several conclusions can be drawn from the above:
-I was a stronger runner than swimmer up through 2007. By 2010, I was a much better swimmer than runner.
-I peaked as a runner in 2005 and held steady through 2008. The last two years my run has really suffered.
-I've steadily improved in swimming and really made a breakthrough in 2010.
-My bike has always been strong but seemed to peak in 2004. I had a nice rebound in 2010 from a bit of a fall-off in 2009.
-Overall, my best year was 2008, although I actually think it was 2007. 2010 was again a bit of a rebound year.
Putting it all together, my run is my vulnerability and what I must make progress on in 2011. I'm working on that now but as you'll see, I keep bumping up against the limitations of my bad left knee.
I've also concluded that if I'm able to improve my top-end on the bike and race more comfortably on the bike leg that my run will also improve, so I'm working hard on that as well--thus the origin of Project FTP. I think I can bring my bike back to the level I enjoyed in 2004-2008 and that this will help boost my run.
As you can see, the 2011 plan is still a work in progress....