Next year is nearly here!

It’s time I had some race plans for 2013!

About this time last year I had some vague ideas for 2012. It was then that I decided to enter the Celtman and get myself a coach to make sure I did myself justice.

2012 was a massive year, with the Celtman and the Terrex Sting in Stirling 5-day event. I found it really hard to recover from the Sting. After feeling better, racing and then feeling worse again a couple of times, I had to take a good 6-8 weeks “off”. This meant no hard training.

Celtman Finisher

Celtman Finisher

End of The Sting -little did I know how long it would take to get over this!

End of The Sting – little did I know how long it would take to get over this!

I started thinking … so what did I learn? And what next?

I put my down-time to good use planning for next year. I decided the Celtman was a bit too logistically complex, expensive and time consuming to do two years in a row. One of the biggest adventure races in the UK next year is the Coast to Coast. However, it involves a lot of kayaking and I’m not sure I could dedicate enough training time to do it competitively.

First question: What did I enjoy about this year? I really thrived on having a target which I had to work towards. When I entered the Celtman I couldn’t have done the race within the time limits. I also found that I was good at ‘normal’ triathlons. Coming 2nd at the Slateman was a revelation – I really enjoyed the head-to-head racing and the satisfaction of doing well in a competitive field. And having Scott as my coach worked really well, so he’s still on board for 2013 :D.

Turns out I'm quite good at this

Turns out I’m quite good at this

I believe that it’s important to make the most of your strengths. I love mountain biking and always will – but my technical skills will never be the best. From this year’s events I realised that I have the strength and endurance needed to be good on a road bike. I also swim well, especially outdoors. Back in 1999 I stopped running because I got so frustrated with injuries. Running is still hard due to recurrent niggles. But it seems I can produce a half-decent run on not a lot of training!

I can cope with a bit of this ... but I'm often chasing!

I can cope with a bit of this … even if I’m often chasing!

Lastly, I like variety and need to do keep ‘doing different things’ or ‘doing things differently’!

Love this and even do it for recreational purposes!

Love this and even do it for recreational purposes!

Thinking about all this helped me to narrow down my choices.

I decided on my target: a middle distance triathlon. This is 1900m swim, 90km road bike and 21km run. It should take about 5 hours. Why did I choose this?

  • I excel at this race duration.
  • I will use my swimming and road biking strengths.
  • I can still do fun mountain biking and adventure racing as training. This is especially true over the winter.
  • I can recover much more easily from this distance. Weeks rather than months!

But .. I could finish a middle distance triathlon next week if I wanted to. So where’s the challenge?

I’m going to enter the Scottish Middle Distance championships in Aberfeldy. I’ll set myself stretching target times that I couldn’t achieve now.

The next question was – how do I structure my year to achieve that? This was an iterative process. I started with a full list of all the races I fancied doing. There were 47 of them in 12 months!! I talked to Andy about how things fitted together. He is an experienced triathlete and fully qualified cycling coach, so knows a thing or two, even if we don’t always agree ;-).

Of course, I also asked my coach, Scott. My list went back and forth a couple of times. I listened to their advice and reluctantly removed a few races and switched others from off-road to on-road. I also deleted events which looked a bit dull – I still want interesting courses and scenery!

I will need to be quicker. My endurance and pacing are already very good. So my lead up races are mostly shorter on-road triathlons with open water swims. They have similar physiological demands to a middle distance tri, but will help me get faster. I should also recover from them quickly. I need to watch how much travelling I have to do, and think about how I can combine races with family visits!

Before then I will keep doing the Open 5s. The plan is to do them with Lucy in the female pairs category. This will keep things interesting (I did them solo last year). A target once a month through the winter also helps keep me training hard when it’s cold, dark and wet outside.

After Aberfeldy I will just do what I feel like – which may include the Craggy off-road tri and a 24h MTB race – I haven’t done one for so many years!

So here’s the plan … no doubt I will have to change and adjust it as the year unfolds, but at least I have something to start with :-).

2013 plan

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Posted on 28/12/2012, in Adventure Racing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Looks like a big year. I can’t wait to read about all your adventures 🙂 I’ve been planning my 2013 too. Have a big list of adventure racing and Audax cycling events. I’m also focusing on my strength (enjoying variety) rather than my current injury-caused weakness (running). I know there’s always lots of running in adventure racing but (like you) my team mate and I both seem to be able to pull a good run out of the bag without too much training. And being slower in the run means we are more accurate in our nav 😉

    • Hi Andrew – Thanks! I saw your post about 2013 plans. I think you will get less injuries if you do more cycling and at the same time find you get enough fitness to help you run what you want to – so long as that doesn’t mean 100 mile epics! 😀

      Magazine articles often say “what is your weakness in triathlon? Spend more time working on it” But … depending on why that is a weakness and whether you are already close to your potential best in it, then the gains returned from the effort made could be very small – compared to a possibly much larger gain if you worked on your strength.

      Doing what you enjoy most will always mean you do more of it – and I think for you it is important to just be out and doing things!

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