Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Winter Recap, Looking Ahead

          The racing season for many of us begins in about 8 weeks at the Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Woodstock Sprint Triathlon, which is the (un)official rust-breaker for Ontario racing. Throughout the winter we try desperately to find ways to analyze and assess how our training is going: TTs, FTP tests and other assorted acronyms, but the first real test is always that first race. In this blog I'll go over some of my winter results and what some of my goals are for the upcoming season.

          I finished school at Queen's in October (random month to finish, I know) and have subsequently moved back to Guelph. This has allowed me to do a sizable portion of training over the winter with my LPC and Hurdle Project teammates. Aside from the training, I am currently working full-time at Gryph's restaurant on campus (until it closes April 22nd), actively (some may say desperately) looking for a job for the summer and beyond, and doing a sizeable amount of volunteering in the community. Needless to say, I am pretty busy. Despite this, the training is going very well and I have been able to remain remarkably consistent, which is one of my personal goals for the season.

          On February 2nd I swam an 800m TT (time trial). Very much like your stereotypical triathlete, I was more nervous about diving off of the blocks than I was for the TT itself. Turns out I was worried for nothing, it wasn't as bad as I thought (aka they let me avoid the dive and just push off the wall - with only minimal ridicule from my Hurdle Project 'teammates'). My goal was to swim 12 flat, however I ended up going 12:29.5, which was a bit of a disappointing performance.  Later, on February 21st, I swam a much more laid back 800m TT. I came through 400 in 6:00, right on pace, but finished in 12:15. So I am still a little off of my goal for the winter, but like I say, the real test will be the actual races when we get out into the open water.

          March 3rd was the Around the Bay 5k road race that myself and a few other LPCers competed in. There was a snowstorm the night before the race but the morning of, the roads were clear and weather posed no issue. If anything, I seem to perform better in the cold than the heat, so a temperature of about -10 on race day meant it was time to break out the short shorts. The race went well. Around the Bay 5k is 2.5k out and 2.5k back. There was a chilly wind on the way out so I tucked in with a pack and put in a bit of surge at 2k knowing I was very close to goal pace and that this is typically the time in a race where you fall off of pace (as I could feel happening with this pack). The way back was slightly downhill and the wind was at our backs so I put all of my focus on my pace and pushed it to the cool indoor finish line that Around the Bay puts together. My goal for about a year now has been to go sub 16 (something that a few years ago I thought I would never be capable of doing), and I went 15:57.

          The following weekend was the final LPC FTP (functional threshold power) test of the winter. More appropriately named the '20 minutes of unrelenting agony test', it is essentially a 20 minute all-out effort indoors trying to achieve as high of an average power as possible. This 20 minute value is later multiplied by .95 to estimate the power you would be able to hold over an hour of all-out effort, but I will focus on my 20 minute power in this post.  A bit of a history on my FTP tests. In 2015 I did a test in December and again in April, where I improved from 305Watts to 351W. When I did the test this January, the average power I was able to hold over the 20 minutes was 327W, much higher than that time last year. This past weekend I averaged 341W. So a little disappointing from what I thought may have been possible. I weighed in at 75kg before the test, so my relative 20 minute FTP was 4.55W/kg, which is actually similar to last year's because my weight is down a bit this year. But this is the problem with these winter tests is that you can over think and over analyze your results, when really, as I have been saying, the real test is really that first race. I am feeling very strong on the bike and am confident that despite the FTP test results I am stronger than last year, so will not let it deter me.

            This post has been longer than I was expecting, so if you made it this far congratulations, you have too much time on your hands. But I'm glad that you did because I have one more thing to mention, and it is by far the most important. I am thrilled to be a part of the Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Ambassador team again this year. Their contribution to young/student athletes is invaluable and I hope it doesn't go unnoticed, it certainly doesn't by me. And of course I will be representing LPC and the Hurdle Project again this year and would not be where I am without them.

Look for me at the following races this summer:

Woodstock Sprint Tri
Guelph Lake Olympic Tri (Club Champs)
Welland Long Course Tri
Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic Tri (Club Team Challenge)
K-Town Long Course Tri
Wasaga Beach Olympic Tri
and once again... the Barrelman Half Iron Distance Tri

             You may have noticed that all of these races are local. Aside from them all being very fun and well organized, there will be more than enough competition at each of them. Look for me at the finish line and feel free to ask me about my race and talk to me about yours.