Monday, September 29, 2008

Triathlon Race Simulations

Nothing gets me ready for a race like a race simulation. No duh, right? As much as I don't like to drive the 2:30min round trip to Bartlett Lake in Cave Creek, AZ, the location is ideal for Xterra triathlon race simulations. The Xterra race courses this time of year are pretty a 2-lap, 1500m lake swim, go uphill on a bike for 3,000ft and then run a 10k as fast as the trail permits.

At Bartlett, the climb is a road bike climb which was all the better as I could use my Power Tap, capture some good data and get the right feel for the right watts. "Right watts???" Yes, "right watts"....race adrenaline will naturally enable me (and you) to push beyond the norm, but I need to be able to keep this pace going for the duration which requires some checks and balances. I've got the "feel" dialed.

Beyond the obvious fitness benefits to performing race simulations, I reap large mental gains when doing these workouts. Visualization is a necessary and great tool, but re-creating the physical demands and figuring out how to keep putting the watts down on the bike when I am mid-way through a climb and suffering like a dog is a whole different animal. The good news is that, as always, once I submit to the treatment, I emerge a stronger and faster triathlete.

I knocked out two really tough simulations this past weekend. Both included my standard pre-race warm-ups (20min bike/10-12min swim) followed by a 1500m open water/wetsuit swim, 2.5hrs of riding where 1hr was race pace and all out, slightly shorter than race distance, runs. You will notice the heavier weight on the bike and the lighter weight on the run. Bottom line, comparatively I am a better runner and need to squeeze every bit of riding gains from my training.

The rest of the week is all about Xterra Nationals at Lake Tahoe. I am doing a partial taper for this race as to not jeopardize to greatly my training for Worlds in just 4wks. Bring it.