Swim, Bike, Run. Three back to back workouts set up in that particular order to limit potential injuries due to fatigue. Or at least that is what I figure the reason to be. Getting ready for this type of event is an interesting way to get in shape because really, you actually do have to train all three aspects of the race.
My weakest event of the three is swimming, so I’ve naturally put the bulk of my work into that so far. Getting in the distance, working on bilateral breathing, and refining my high-elbow-catch all has shown improvements pretty quickly. I’m feeling much more comfortable, even just after a few weeks of work in the pool. Open water is a different story, but we will get there when we get there.
It occurred to me while browsing the 2017 race results that swimming really isn’t what I should be focusing all of my efforts. The spread between the fastest and slowest swimmers is only about ten minutes total. While I am by no means going to become an elite swimmer, only being behind the elite athletes by ten minutes isn’t so bad. I saw that what really makes or breaks a triathlete’s time is the bike and run. The difference between averaging 15 miles per hour on the bike, to the elite 24 miles per hour equates to the difference between a 40 minute bike, and an hour+ bike ride. That’s a twenty minute difference, which is twice as long as the swim from first to last. The run’s math is the same. Elites finish in 16 to 18 minutes, while I would do ~30.
Moral of the story? A huge amount of time in the pool will result in shaving off just a few minutes in the swim, whereas an equal amount of effort into my bike and run might give me way more dividends in the long run. Not to say that I will be abandoning my pool work any time soon, but I know I need to spend just as much effort running and biking if I am going to do as well as I would like to do.
This all the more hits home after tonight’s run of four miles in the time of 47 minutes (granted we had a loooong light to wait for). Not our strongest effort!
For anyone interested in the numbers, I found this link with general time ranges per phase: