Tag Archives | Triathlon

Tackling Triathlon From A Different Angle

In the August of 2013 I raced in Boulder Half Ironman 70.3. It was my worst race ever. Why? In my head I was all in. I mean, I’ve done a full distance Ironman (140.6 miles) and had an incredible day with no complications in any way. But during this 70.3 I realized I had done just enough training to get to the starting line, but not enough to get across the finish line and feel like I had accomplished something major. In fact, when I crossed the finish line I felt defeated and done.

When I crossed the finish line that day, my wife and then 6 month old son, Micah, were waiting for me. Usually I take some time to soak in the glory of finishing a race. Not on this day. I crossed the finish line. Got my medal, a banana and a bottle of water and said, “let’s go home. I’m hungry. I shouldn’t have raced today, but it gave me time to figure out a new plan.”

On one hand I was glad I did the race. On another hand, I should have been more realistic about where I was in my training and the time I had or hadn’t put into training.

Triathlon_Spence_Smith
So here I am now… It’s 2015 and I’m excited to be racing again this year in triathlon. It’s all part of the plan I thought through while finishing that brutal race in Boulder. Here it is.

 1. No long course races until I know I can commit to the time it takes to train. (Half Ironman/Ironman)
 2. I will only compete in short course races and runs. (Sprint/Olympic distance triathlons and nothing longer than a half marathon run.)
3. Take 2014 off from racing. 
 4. In 2015, get leaner and faster and start competing in triathlon for time. 

So far, the plan has been going well. I took last year off and loved the break. I gave me time to get my head back in the game and figure a few things out about my overall health, which wasn’t easy or stellar at all.

This year, I’m approaching it all from a different perspective. I know what I need to do to get faster and leaner.

The commitment here isn’t to the race. It’s not even to the training because the training is second nature at this point and the race is just the end result of the hard work put into training.

The commitment is to the discipline of what I need to do in order to meet these goals.

1. Getting leaner means losing weight first.

The lighter I am, the easier it is to go fast. That’s a no brainer concept but the results of losing weight have been more than I thought. I’m more focused. I feel physically better. My resting heart rate is lower and my overall numbers are done or in the normal range.

2. Getting faster means training differently than before.

Since February, I’ve been training at a low heart rate. My coach says, “You have to train slower if you want to go faster.” ( this is alone is worth it’s own blog post ). Combine that with modifying my diet drastically ( again worthy of it’s own post ) and I’ve lost 25 lbs. Started January weighing in at 225lbs. I still have 10lbs to meet my goal weight, but I feel much better than I’ve felt in years. I feel faster, leaner and mentally ready for the challenge ahead.  

3. Setting myself up for success means adjusting my expectations of knowing what I can and can’t do.

I have to be ok with my limits but willing to push myself in areas I’ve never been in my training. I’ve limited my training schedule to 5 days a week Monday through Friday with up to 10 hours of training for the week. No weekend training which leaves it open for travel, family activities, or an unscheduled casual ride or run.

The process alone has taught me more about myself than I’ve ever learned training for triathlon.

I know this. If I want serious change, doing the same thing expecting to hit different results doesn’t ever work. I’m taking a fresh new look at what needs to happen, embracing it and walking out what it’s going to take to hit those goals.

This is where the real challenge is.

When I get to the race, I will have already won battles I’ve been fighting within myself to make the healthy changes I’ve needed to make. If that’s all that comes from all of this then I’d be happy. But let’s be honest. I want to go fast and beat people on the course.

And that will be awesome!!

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