Here we go again…race week before a 70.3. Every year it seems like the winter may never end but then before I know it, I’m on the starting line of a half ironman. This year is no different with the inaugural New Orleans 70.3 this coming Sunday. I’m particularly excited for this event since I’ll be joined by 10+ QT2 athletes on the starting line! Everyone doing this event is in great shape and ready to rock this early season 70.3.
The venue looks to be very flat and warm which is a stark contrast to last year where I raced Oceanside and froze in the hills. I really enjoy hot racing, hence my choice to do St Croix in another 4 weeks!
Fitness: things have gone very well in training for me over the past 21 weeks since the start of the 2009 training season. Although I see myself as a coach more than an athlete these days, I still manage to throw down some decent training and then nail my nutrition on a day to day basis. This approach allows me to continue to improve from year to year somehow even as external stressors continue to increase. Here are some facts and figures from where I sit today (because god knows I love facts and figures!):
DUR: 12,000 yards
20 min power: 343 watts
DUR: 319 miles
DUR: 37 miles
Weight: 159 pounds
Body Fat: 6.3%
**DUR = Average of 2 highest volume training weeks during previous 6 weeks
Where does all of this put me for the race this coming weekend? Well, as most people know, I like to think of race speed potential as the combination of durability and single sport speed potential. As shown by my training volumes above, I have met critical volume for the event. This means I have the durability required to meet my speed potential curve at this race distance. Therefore, my race speed potential will be defined by my single sport speed potentials:
My 400TT is about 3 seconds faster than my best last year; my 20 min power is about 13 watts beyond my best last year; and my 5K is about equal to my best last year. Body composition wise, I’m a bit heavier at the same body fat as last year meaning I’ve put on a bit of muscle which is likely reflected in my increased power on the bike. I’m also not yet down to optimal body fat percentage since this is a depleted position not worth wasting on an early season race. Lastly, my BMI is about 22.2 which is right in the range of most top male triathletes at optimal body composition. Most pros fall between 21 and 23 at optimal body fat percentage. This range can be used as the indicator that a particular athletes has the right amount of muscle on their body to race well (not too much, not too little). It’s also a great tool to look at where limiters may be in triathletes.
So, given all of these performance indicators, and the course that is expected in New Orleans, I get the following estimate on race time using the Triathlon Calculator:
This reflects about a 5-7 minute improvement over last year on a similar course which is always the goals from year to year (5-7 at half, and ~15 at full). Now it just comes down to executing my race fueling plan as well as the pacing recommended by the Triathlon Calculator (which is based on my current performance indicators).
For those not familiar with QT2, this is a piece of the same approach we take with all of our athletes in setting targets, tracking progress, and determining reasonable outcomes.