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Triathlon Training: June 26-July 2, 2023

On Monday June 26, I biked 8.5 miles with a pace of 16.8 mph along a hilly loop. I pushed my heart rate on the hills but not to zone 5 where I should try to get to. It's uncomfortable but that is where improved fitness comes from. I like to save maximizing my heart rate, until the ends of workouts or, at least, prioritize finishing the workout over raising my heart rate.



To get some more bike and run experience - which is called a brick, I ran 4.1 miles immediately following the bike ride. It's important to get used to running following a bike ride. The legs can feel very tight until they get used to load of running rather than cycling.

Phil Mosley, from https://www.myprocoach.net/ calls these workouts "Run off the Bike". It's an opportunity to practice transitions as well. If you minimize your time transitioning from the swim to bike and the later from the bike to the run, it can make the differences of several placements during an event.


Later, I strength-trained by doing a very short workout. When I train and have short workouts, I focus on the large muscle groups by performing squats, bench press and pull ups.


On Tuesday June 27, I had a late start in driving to the city. I shortened my usual run to about 1.5 miles to leave time for a 900-meter swim in the pool, making sure to keep prioritizing the swim which causes the most anxiety during a triathlon.


On Wednesday, June 28 th, I had a short strength workout.

 


On Thursday June 29th, I had a short 650-yard swim, since I knew I would be getting longer open water swims over the coming weekend. Then, I ran 5 miles and tried to push the pace. I was able to keep my heart rate consistently in zone 4 for a threshold run, while just shy of being in zone 5. Later in the year, I would learn that getting into zone 5 one to three times per week helps the VO2 max increase. I also saw that my cadence was close the to recommended 180 step per minute. I have been consistently improving all three disciplines with hard work.



Like most days, I enjoyed the views along the Charles River of the Boston skyline and the boats on the Cambridge side. I like to take moments to appreciate where I am, even if doing so slows my pace. We cover so much ground as athletes and each photo is an original, since we are the only one in that exact spot at that exact moment.


 

On Friday, June 30th, my wife and I squeezed in some tennis which we have not spent enough time doing. We love tennis and I appreciate that, like basketball and volleyball, we use our bodies in ways that are more fluid and repetitive than running, biking or swimming.


In the evening, I strength-trained for 20 minutes. I seemed like I was not prioritizing strength training during the week. However, doing something was better than nothing.

 


On Saturday July 1st, I swam with the group down the middle of the entire pond. It was a challenge, due to the long distance and stressful trying to keep up. It was foggy. I am fortunate to have a strong body. However, swimming well takes a lot of skill. It also requires strength. The more I swim, the more I realize that I am becoming a stronger swimmer.


Dr Andy Galpin, states "SPECIFICITY is the fastest path towards a target". And Joe Friel in The Triathlete's Training Bible states that the peripheral physiological category needs to be trained specifically. He says that the calf muslce "knows the difference between running and biking." Therefore, to get better at swimming, you must swim! I had mistakenly thought, when I started that if I was training my central physiological category - "heart, lungs and blood" [Joe Friel], that I would be fit enough to swim for the same amount of time that I had trained with other sports.



The swim group was very supportive. After the break near the end of the pond, two of the members helped me with different technique lessons during the return swim back towards the beach. After they gave some pointers, they swam much faster than me. And, I tried to keep up. I was only able to keep them in sight as they increased the separation. I looked forward to the day the I could swim at the same pace.



We all talked back at the beach, just hanging out before getting of the water. Most members of the group are good at waiting for slower swimmers to return before heading to their cars.

It may have been about this time that we started to get concerned about the water quality at the pond. In the past, there were signs of bacteria as the temperatures increased. When that happens, the Environmental Protection Agency will test the water, if notified, and close the pond for swimming.

 

After the swim, a few of us went on a 10-mile bike ride. The group ride leader stopped to help one of cyclists with a flat tire. Knowing that the two fixing the flat would be a while, I led the remainder of the group for the rest of the ride.

 

On Sunday July 2, 2023, I was in New Hampshire. Even though the weather was not great, I was determined to get a long run in. It was raining hard and steadily.

 


At the covered bridge in Jackson, I observed a Blue Heron on rock in the middle of the Ellis River. The ability to see wildlife around Jackson is unpredictable. So, a sighting like this is a surprise.

 



The route that I chose had about 1000 feet of vertical over 10 miles. I went up and over a hill to create a loop and avoid major traffic along route 16 for half of the distance. I would run route 16 on the way back. It was an opportunity to push my heart rate on a long up hill.

 


The run in the rain was a challenge. I was soaked! Training on days like that helps me appreciate the good weather days!



The Appleman Sprint Triathlon was about three weeks from this weekend. The Cranberry Olympic Triathlon was approximately two months away and the Pilgrimman Half Ironman was about two and a half months away. My goal was to keep building up my experience, especially with the swim.





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