Saturday, February 23, 2013

A frist look at my intensive analytical review of my triathlon performance

Ok, as I mentioned prior, I am digging into a detailed review of my Tri database to assess what has happened over the last 12 years and more importantly, to figure out what to do going forward.  I promissed I'd share some of this with you in the days ahead and here is the first installment!

Find below, a summary of my average SBR split pace over the last 12 years for Short Course ONLY:

The reason that this chart shows only SC data is that my relative emphasis on LC vs SC from year to year really skews my average pace data (I run a slower  pace for a marathon than a 5k).  By just including short course data I have a better dataset for comparison.  Of course, some SC courses are harder than others (OLY vs Sprint or hilly vs flat) and the weather varies but at the end of the day I can't adjust for everything--the advantage of this dataset is that it is real world.

So here is the important interpretation of the above data:

1. From 2001-2006 I was just experimenting on my own.  I improved a bit and by 2004 was at my triathlon peak from a bike perspective.  This is consistent with a lot of other analyses I have done.  I averaged over 24 mph for the 9 SC races I did that year.  My interpretation of this is that I was closer to my potential on the bike than I was on the run or swim when I started so with some regular training I arrived at my bike potential earlier than my run and swim.  This makes sense as my primary mode of exercise prior to starting triathlon was cycling.  The fall off in cycling performance that is evident since 2004 is a function of my aging.

2. My swim was pretty mediocre and stagnant until 2007 and then I worked with Peter Reid and he had me do 120% more swimming than I had ever done before.  This led to a 4 minute/mile or so improvement in my swimming capability.  Pete also decided it was right for me to disinvest in my bike and you can see the clear drop-off in my bike pace in 2007.  However, he also had me emphasize running in 2007 and the net result was I achieved my peak overall triathlon competitiveness in 2007.  I was an All-american that year and was ranked 76th in the country.

3. In 2008 I was back on my own and I decided to reinvest in biking.  Note the improvement in my bike.  I cut my swimming volume by 40% and paid the price swim wise.

4. In 2009, I was burnt oot and took it "easy" all year--no long course.  Note the decrease in performance.

5. In 2010, I reimagined my swim and focused on technique over volume.  Note the improvements, especially by 2012.  I was also able to regain my bike fitness that I enjoyed in 2007--albeit, with way more volume.

6. Over the last three years my run has significantly declined.  Part of this is less run training versus 2007, but that is real limiter that I now face with my knee.  The reality is my run is in decline, and pretty significantly so.

7. Relative to my peak year of 2007, in 2012 I was about 45 seconds faster for the typical 0.25-mile sprint swim (on less volume--a real success, but as I commented on in my prior post, I'll need to aggressively ramp up my swim volume this summer to extend this improvement to the IM distance).  

I'm about the same as I was in 2007 bikewise, but I invest much more time into my bike training.  Relative to my real peak in 2004, I'm about 30 seconds slower for the average 11-12 mile sprint bike leg.  The real problem is I'm now a full minute/mile slower on the run than I was in 2007--this is a 3+ minute penalty.  Despite my improvements in my swim and my increased effort on the bike to try to counter my aging, my decline in my run is making me a less competitive traithlete (compared to the absolute).

Obviously, I'm most interested in arresting or reversing my running decline....that's what you'll see as a primary theme this guarantees that it will work but hey, I need to attack my biggest issues!

More data later!

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