I just completed Mooloolaba Triathlon, my second Olympic distance triathlon, by swimming 1.5km, cycling 40km and running 10km.
Modesty aside (which seems to be a side effect of me finishing a triathlon!) I executed to perfection at Mooloolaba finishing in 2 hours 46 minutes and beating my Noosa Triathlon time by two mins. Woohoo!!!
Of course, you can’t really compare the two triathlons since the courses are completely different but my coach did tell me that the Mooloolaba Triathlon was generally considered a slower course because you have to run up a hill three times.
But overall I felt better. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was effortless in that although I did put a lot of effort into it I didn’t overdo it and cry or run out of energy as I did at Noosa. Tips below on what helped for other budding triathlon lovers.
Swim: 31:20 – Exactly 2 mins faster than Noosa and closing in on my sub 30 min goal – I’ve been putting in 3 60 minute swim sessions per week, mostly at swim squad and am slowly improving.
Bike: 1 hr 17 – Sadly 50 secs slower than Noosa but at least I didn’t cry this time and it felt fine :)
Run: 51:37 – 1:05 min faster than Noosa. Although it felt slower and was less painful! I paced it far better, sticking to heart rate zones (see tips below) until the final downhill stretch.
What helped me go faster with less effort this time?
1. Pacing – I kept my heart rate in the high zone three to low zone four and avoided spiking it on the bike or run. So I never ran out of juice.
2. Nutrition – I ate every 30 minutes during the triathlon, even if I didn’t feel hungry and even when the run was nearly over.
3. Training – Be consistent! I reckon it took 192 hours of training to shave off two minutes off my time. Which sounds crazy, but if I think of it as 1 hour 20 mins of training to get a one-second speed improvement that sounds about right. It takes real effort to get faster, especially when you’re over 40 – or closer to 50.
My training plan is all about consistency. There’s no need to go hard or tire yourself out so you don’t enjoy the activities anymore. The best training plan is about showing up consistently, whether that be for two or three sessions of each discipline each week. Just keep showing up again and again, as I’ve been doing for just over a year, and the improvements will happen all by themselves.
See my Noosa Triathlon tips post for many more triathlon tips.
What’s the point?
You may be wondering about the point of striving to get better at swimming, biking and running. It takes up a lot of my time and money. And honestly, in my worst moments when the sweat is pouring down my forehead straight into my eyes and my calves are burning and the smell of my own sweat is starting to offend me I wonder the same thing. There’s still a negative voice in my head that wants to sabotage my fitness efforts.
But in my better moments, I realise that this effort, including the consistent training as well as race day, has made me impressed with myself. And for someone who’s been plagued by issues with self-esteem, depression and anxiety things don’t get much better than when people ask me how my triathlon went and I hear myself say:
“Great! Thank you for asking. I impressed myself.”
Have you done anything that’s impressed yourself recently?
Other posts in the Triathlon Training at 50 Series
Please note: I am only 49. I’ll turn 50 in March 2018 but I started training early :)
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