After taking a week to recover from Honu 70.3, I’ve resumed my training. USA Triathlon (USAT) Olympic Distance National Championship is my next race. (I guess USAT recently modified the name from USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship to this.) As the name implies, the race is an olympic distance consisting of a 1.5k swim, a 40k bike and a 10k run. I’ve raced this distance before so it’s not a matter of “will” I finish but “when.” (Of course that’s assuming I don’t have a medical emergency.) In the past I hoped to achieve personal records and finish with respectable times. For this race I have these same goals. However, given that it’s Nationals, I’m feeling like the bar should be significantly higher.
With the distance being shorter than Honu 70.3, my main focus for training is speed. When I spoke to a few coaches last year about training for Honu 70.3 and then Nationals, they all said Nationals is all about speed. At that time I thought I understood the concept. Now that I’m actually training for this race I don’t think it sank in then. But it’s definitely sinking in now and very, very quickly. I’m still getting a sense of the key differences (between training for Hawaii and Nationals) with my workouts, methodology, mindset and overall a focus. I’ve already realized that since I was focused on distance for Hawaii, I need to make a real, almost physical transition to shift my mindset to speed. So far I’ve identified the following changes:
- I’m not looking to dig in for the long haul.
- Managing my energy level requires a different strategy. I think I need to manage at higher levels of intensity for most of, if not the entire race.
- The time I had to ramp up during my training sessions for Honu 70.3 now seems like a luxury. I need to start my sessions at a much faster pace.
All of this may sound a little odd since I’ve already completed three olympic distance races. It seems odd even to me in some ways. I think these observations and realizations come from the fact that:
- I was so focused on a much longer (and new) distance up until very recently.
- With each race and season I complete, I’m more experienced and tons wiser about my training and racing. My goals change as well.
- It’s the National Championship! The best of the best age groupers will be there, and they’ll be ready to give it their all as fast as they can. I owe it to myself and them to be as competitive as I can.
I’m not quite sure what other goals I want to set for this race. I’ll continue to think about this. For now…I’ll focus on….speed.