“So, what’s next?” is a common question I field. There is nothing in the sport of duathlon above the World Championships, so I am not travelling to Saturn to compete in the Intergalactic Games.
That said, I was forever changed by the Worlds, and I would love the opportunity to compete at that level, again. My battle is a familiar one that everyone knows about. I call it the “groove.” The groove is that space that athletes get into as they maintain their baseline performance. It is comparable to maintaining the principal on an investment. You don’t want to get worse, but the pathway to getting stronger requires further forays into the unknown. Sometimes, all you want to do are old familiar workouts….you know, the same ones you did months and years ago. That is a formula for mediocrity.
At Worlds, I got great insight into what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.
1) Stretching/Yoga. This was great. More would be better
3) Cleaning up my diet. Sure, some toxins still enter my body, but most have been and remain removed from my diet.
4) Getting a coach. Sharon creates workouts that I would never ever have considered.
5) Taking days off and getting messages. Rest and recovery were at least as important as the hard workouts.
Alas, there were things I was doing wrong.
1) I lacked monitored cycling. I had no video coaching that I could cycle to and learn from. I have addressed this by purchasing Coach Troy Jacobson’s videos and find that those workouts are harder than the workouts that I used to do outdoors. Cycling indoors, with a purpose, has me going nearly 2 mph faster than I went at World’s, with only two months.
2) I wore the wrong clothing. I ran in a T-shirt instead of running singlet, and I would get bloody nipples. My running and cycling shoes were between a half and a full size too small. I got bigger shoes, and my discomfort has gone away. My cycling shorts were too large, and I could never get comfortable in a saddle for a ride longer than an hour.
3) Sleep. I felt guilt over afternoon cat naps and would not always take them. My body was screaming for rest after running 12 miles before sunrise, and I would ignore it. The fix is to take a quick nap when you see the need. I still have a way to go before I am good at this.
Alas, the largest issue is that I don’t run or cycle as much as those who are winning the Worlds. Sure, all of the top competitors have 10 to 20 years of experience on me, but there is no substitute to cycling and running, when preparing for a cycling and running event. For most of this lack, I feel no guilt. I am married, with children and am a leader in our community at work, at church and in scouting. I do what I can, but not more.
To go to Worlds one must do well at Nationals. Nationals this year are in St Paul, MN, and we leave to go in 6 days. My fitness levels compared to last year are great, and I don’t have the nervousness this year that I did last year. The course has been exposed to lots and lots of rain over the last few months. Transition is currently got mud in it, and I have even read that the course may be changed to accommodate poor conditions. Doesn’t matter. This year, my entire family gets to see the grandeur of the race and watch me compete. It sure would be a bad day to get a flat tire!
Off to Nationals!