One has to know.

I just have to know. Will and I have been discussing about training and how hard you can push.
One of the mystery in my training is that I don’t know how fast I can go. This is my first season I really focus on pushing my endurance capacity. I have no idea how fast I can run in 5 k, 10 k, 1/2 mara or a marathon. I did a marathon last year and I ended up running/walking with a female runner and finished with her. Did it in 5 hr 17 min. I suspected if I go all out, it might be 4 1/2 hr.

But these are all theories. Guesses. Estimation. There is still no data to back it up. In a way, I am training in the dark. I don’t know how hard I can push or should I be pushing harder.

If I keep training, would I hit boston qualification? Pretty much this means running a sub 3 hr marathon. Or training in IM? Sub 14, 13,12, 11, 9?? :O How hard can one really push?

A bit frustrating? Just a bit.

This is the mission. Spent the next 4-5 years training from season to season and push this tri thing as hard as I can. My goal right now is to develop a solid base for IMUSA 2007.

Along the way I can start uncovering some numbers to help me find my starting point. And along the way, I will uncover numbers that will expand my horizon.

Take a look at the time of my first tri last year:

Overall place 78
Total time 1:57:15
Age Group placement 11/19

Swim place 129 (weakest area)
Swim time 17:03
Per 100 2:17

T1 2:31 (can be improve)

Bike place 75
Bike time 1:01:38
Kph 31.2

T2 2:11

Run Place 65
Run Time 33:55
min/km 4:32

I was shocked to see that I ran a 4:32 min/km. Especially after the swim and the bike. This is coming from a unstructure training (about 6-8 hr /week).

I can’t wait to see this summer.

As you can see…my head is focus again :)…this coming week suppose to be recovery week. B/c last week I took 4-5 days off, this week I am going to ease back into training. Next 4 weeks will be a Build Phase. Going to do a lot more bricks. Must learn to love running with heavy legs.


  • Have you read ‘Going Long’ by Joe Friel and Gordo Bryn?

    Great info here about a long-term approach to IM distance racing…

    Given your 4 to 5 year horizon, this might some good food for thought.

  • Cliff, do some mock triathlons and play around with how fast/hard you go, should give you at least some kind of an idea of what you can handle. I’m not very good yet myself so I can’t offer too much advice, all I can say is experiment, that’s what I’m doing and I’m learning a ton.

  • Cliff, the most important variable is aerobic endurance. Basic speed is worthless if you can’t keep it up. So, your plan on pushing yourself for several years is a good one. In fact, it’s the only one that will work. It takes time – years.

    As for knowing how fast you can go, you could do some time trials. Basically mock races. But that’s not the same as doing a race. The only place where you will really find out how well you’re doing is going into a competition.

  • Racing is key. You have to pull together the results you have and that gives you a ballpark idea.

    I think that’s why Going Long recommends 3-4 week tests so you can see improvements.

    I keep track of every ride and run so I can really see how I am doing.

  • Do you do speed work at all on the run? Or time trials on the bike or in the pool? Without races, these training tools will give you indication of increased speed and aerobic capacity.

    For sprint tris, I actually find that I’m warmed up for the run and don’t lose all that much speed.

    I like that you’ve mentioned the time investment that it takes. One season is not enough.

  • You need to go sign up for some races at those distances, Cliff. Then push yourself HARD during them. That way you’ll know what you’re capable of and what you can improve on. The only way to know is to learn from doing.
    Go race, have fun, push hard, and report back!

  • Despite you don’t have a reference point still you know you are on the good way!

    Are you finding out on an event this summer?

  • Cliff, the Sewage from teh river is nasty, you can smell it.

    My throat still hurts and now my ears are plugged up and I have sinus pressure. Going to the docs tonight, see if I can get some meds.

  • Heather the lurker again. 🙂 I liked Steven’s and Thomas’ comments about doing similar races. You can never know how you’ll perform under race conditions without doing a race. Personal bests are another question. It seems to me that hard work and consistency will lead to an ongoing string of personal bests. The more you invest your time and thought, the more progress you will make. My guess is that as you approach your physical limits, your personal bests will get closer to your daily times. (That is, your margin of improvement will get smaller. Say, a minute faster will be a big improvement instead of shaving 5-10 minutes off a previous run time.) Good luck with those heavy legs!

  • Hmm, I think you need to get out there and race. You’ll know how hard you can push and you can establish your baseline. Although, I establish my baseline off my training and shy away from racing a lot. I don’t see a benefit to pushing that hard all the time and I don’t need another $20 t-shirt. Are you taking splits during your workouts? That should also help you out. Specifically on my I run, I can use perceived exertion to get a very good idea of my pace.

    I don’t think there’s anyway to estimate an IM time, although I think you can set a goal time.

    Not sure you really need a lot of bricks. I have found transition runs to be useful though.

    Looking forward to seeing some great results from you this summer.

  • sign up for a couple of half marathons and a marathon, also consider a couple of Tim Trials on the Bike

    They will all help fill in the figures and therefore help tailor your training

    And agree … “Going Long” is a good book

  • Its always fun to wonder where one could go with the right effort and training.

    I too have the “Boston Fantasy” but my goal is for at age 70 when the times are much longer…lol.

  • Cliff,

    The best piece of advice I received before the St. Croix 70.3 was to train like you’re going to race. It helped me tons.

    Keep us posted.

    Stay tuned…

  • Cliff, yes I did ask him, he said once I feel up to it I can ride but that I shouldn’t race this weekend or ride hard else I’ll get sick again 🙁

  • I think with the long term plans you are developing you will need some macro training schedules. One or two years focused on base, a year of short course sprinting, then building and finally completion.

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