Duathletes are Special (cases)
One of the upsides (or problems – depending upon how I’m feeling on any given day) of being a Duathlete as opposed to a Triathlete, is that there are effectively two race seasons each year; one in the Autumn and another in the Winter/Spring. There are actually precious few good quality Duathlon races in the summer, a source of much dismay to the writer but I’m steering clear of the soap box today…
On the one hand, this provides plenty of opportunity to stay motivated during the winter since the racing options are plentiful between January and April, whilst on the other hand, this requires motivation during the winter since the racing options are plentiful between January and April…
See my point?! The notion of real ‘down time’ during the winter is anathema to the committed Duathlete, as there’s not a lot of time to regain anything approaching race fitness by mid-to-late January if one takes too much of a break in December.
Moreover, in my case, since I’ve ‘gone long’, there are so few races on the calendar – particularly in the UK – that exceed the standard distance for Duathlons, that my entire season has to be built around just a couple of events, with very little choice in the matter.
So, my resultant 2014 race calendar works around two ‘A’-races, namely PowermanUK in May and Powerman World Championships in Zofingen in September (TBC).
Winter and spring races therefore represent shorter-distance training race efforts in preparation for these priority races. In itself this poses a few other problems, including the fact that I want to be as competitive as possible in every race, but have to recognise that my training is not focused on optimising performance over those shorter distances. Have to learn to put my ego to one side and look at the ‘greater good’…
All this being said, I find it much easier to log the hard winter miles when I know I have a few races coming up. I can’t understand athletes who punish themselves in training to then only race a couple of times a year. Whether the distances are ‘optimal’ or not, I get a buzz out of racing, and that’s the reason I train. Train to race, not train to train.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy (some of) my training sessions, but they are very much a means to an end for me, as opposed to an end in themselves.
Anyway, as a result, the race calendar for 2014 currently looks something like this.
19th January – Maxifuels Winter Duathlon Series Race 1 (B-race)
Eton Dorney, Windsor; Std distance (but in reverse, 5K/40K/10K)
23rd February – Anglian Water Duathlon (B-race)
Nr Peterborough (Grafham Water); Std distance
22nd March – Clumber Park Duathlon (B-race)
Notts; Std distance (ITU Worlds Qualifier)
13th April – National Duathlon Championships (B-race)
Newby Hall, Harrogate; Std distance
11th May – PowermanUK (A-race)
Sherborne; Long distance; 10K/120K/20K
9th September – Powerman Long Distance World Championships (A-race)
Zofingen, Switzerland (TBC); Long distance (10K/150K/30K)
There will be other races to intersperse throughout the summer months, once I’ve got through the winter/spring, and can review how things have gone at PowermanUK and what’s needed as preparation for the Powerman World Champs in September.
In all of these, I’m really excited about racing for the Racetime Events Triathlon Club for the first year. This is a fantastically enthusiastic and proactive online Tri-club based in Leicestershire, and I can’t wait to race under their banner in 2014. I won’t be a member of their elite race team, but nonetheless, seeing the elites’ results should hopefully inspire me to continue to race hard and achieve further improvements throughout the year. Their elite members are a great bunch, and always ready to offer advice and support, so I’m very pleased to be part of the extended family going into 2014.
Having enjoyed the benefit of a week’s warm weather training in Lanzarote in late October, I have also signed-up for my first dedicated training camp with my coach, Jimmy George and the team from VO2 Maximum Triathlon Coaching. Really looking forward to spending a week with them in Majorca at the end of March for what should be a real quality week’s hard graft. For me, the timing couldn’t be better, coming as it does 6 weeks before PowermanUK. Bring on the hurt!
For now, my Christmas training plan has clearly been devised by a coach feeling the need to spread the seasonal cheer, including as it does the off-season’s first set of hill reps and brick sessions. Thanks, Jimmy! (Good job I’m convinced he has my best interests at heart.)
Hoping to get a good day’s riding in the Peak District at some point with ‘little brother’. With 4 years on me and being a single-discipline sportsman, I fully expect to be looking at his wheel for much of the day, but hopefully in close proximity. If one can’t get a helpful tow from one’s own brother, what’s the world coming to??
Right. Few things to clear up for work before heading off to gym for tempo intervals on the dreadmill. Back to it.
Your very good health one and all.
We’ll converse in 2014 no doubt; here’s to good racing in the new year!