Training and Racing MiamiMan

Part of me thinks race reports should be left to the Pro’s and not us age groupers but one of my good friends/athletes tells me that I should write more as it does give some insight into training methods, recovery tips and overall helpful information for other working age group triathletes. So I hope this doesn’t come off as egotistical but if it does it wouldn’t be the first time I was accused of that so what the hell.
I did target MiamiMan back in February as a race I wanted to do well in. It’s a huge race in Florida with almost 3000 people and typically gets good athletes from other states and countries. By doing well I mean getting a top five would be great. My racing season this year has been hit and miss to say the least. Balancing being a dad, managing two companies and training is crazy. The summer had a lot of interruptions and was not consistent to say the least. As any of my athletes will to tell you, the word consistency rolls off my tongue in every other sentence. It is the most important aspect to training. Period. Who cares if you can crush the sessions for two weeks? If you can’t do it for a big block and be consistent it doesn’t matter. Back in September I was out of training for 10 days with an aggravated SI joint. I was floored and so was my advisor. Yes, I use a trusted and very knowledgeable person to set up my training and be a sounding board. He’s one of the best in the world and I’ve seen great results with his programme. Luckily, the back got better and then it was off and running. For some reason I was able to do better at the sessions but I took much better care of my recovery as well. The training each week had four tough sessions and the rest were very easy and aerobic. The swims were with a master’s team and each week I got a little closer to holding pace with the top guys. We did a lot of pull and underwater sets. Most people want to know what I do for bike sessions. I ride 5-6 days per week with two threshold power sessions alternating gear size. Most of the other riding is just cruisy in an aerobic zone. I also ride my road bike 30-40% of the time to help with muscle symmetry specific for riding. After the third hard week I was seeing higher power numbers than ever. Yes, I download and analyze every training session. The goal was to be over 4.4 watts per kilo and I hit the goal. The run sessions were the hardest and in many of the weeks I did three threshold runs each week. In the fourth week I did three threshold runs in the span of four days. Over the five weeks I missed two and half workouts and averaged 16 hours per week. Now 16 hours is not a lot but the quality was there.
I was able to be consistent and recover well for five straight weeks. By the fifth week I was toast though. I was working a lot and training a lot and absolutely crushed. I was hungry all the time despite eating well and felt wrecked just walking around. My friend and professional tri head Jan Van Berkel came into town two weeks ago and stayed with me. He’s extremely good at being analytical but flexible with training and recovery and he helped me out as well. He turned me on to Beet Juice which I have heard works really well when taken before racing. It’s like another gear as Jan says. I tried it in training and it indeed works. He also gave me good motivation during KEY sessions and paced me on some runs. The recovery techniques I used and was consistent with: protein/recovery shakes within 30 minutes after hard sessions, eight minute power naps on (Jan’s) magnetic bed, BCAA’s at night, extra multivitamins, Compex Electro Stim sessions, recovery socks to bed almost every night, compression socks on during the day, sleep as much as possible, legs up at night, massage once per week. I think this is the most attention I have paid to the above ever.
Finally the Taper week came and worked perfectly. I always say that if you feel you aren’t doing enough during the week than you are tapering well. I was chomping at the bit this week for sure. Race day came and the lead up was perfect: good espresso, perfect GF pancakes, 500ml of Beet juice and lots of Clif Bloks. I had on the Mavic CXR80 wheels for the wind and took off for the .6 mile swim. When I say I started fast I mean it was bloody fast. Too fast. I had to back off after the first buoy when the lactic acid almost ended me. When I came out of the swim I was right next to a good athlete who I’ve raced against for many years, Rodolfo. We ran right to our rack (we racked next to each other) and went out on the bike. I had a goal of certain wattage to maintain and knowing Rodolfo is a much better runner I had to separate myself so I went into the red zone to get a gap. We had a nice tailwind and I was holding 30-31 MPH (yes, a nice tailwind) and set out on the bike. The intersections were too sketchy and I almost got hit twice. One of the scariest bike courses ever. It was 11 miles out and turnaround and then 11 miles back. At the turnaround and into the wind I only held 19-20 MPH. I suffered bad. It hurt so good but in the end I was first off the bike and had the fastest bike split at the race. The second transition went perfect and I went out on the run in first place, which was great as I just wanted top five. The run was 6.6 miles and at 1.5 miles in Rodolfo ran past me and I stayed on him as long as I could. Then I just went into survival mode. Yes, I saw and heard all the awesome spectators and cheer people on the course. They really help. Fortunately, after a lot of looking over my shoulder I held onto second place. YAY. Mission accomplished. Anyway, there you have it and with a second place it was time to put into place the BodyZen Race Reward Plan which clearly say’s, First Place- eat whatever you want, Second Place gets you cheeseburger and fries, Third Place gets pizza and anything off the podium you get a salad. I can feel the burger juices running down my chin now. Thanks for reading.

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