My 2013 racing season ended yesterday with the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. It went out with a bang…in my calf…but more about that later. Overall, I competed in 3 half-marathons, 1 full marathon, 2 sprint triathlons, 1 mini indoor triathlon, a 62-mile organized bike ride, 2 Olympic triathlons, 1 full half-ironman (or 70.3 distance), a 200-mile relay across the state, a marathon relay and the run portion of a half-ironman relay. This was my first triathlon year – with my first times racing in open water for all events, my first Olympic distance, my first organized ride and my first half-ironman distance. Phew – that’s a lot in one year, now that I look at it. No wonder my body is tired. I learned a lot, which was my goal, and spent a lot.
Here are my biggest takeaways…
1) Don’t race too much. Some people can do it with success – I found training and competing in all of these events led to mediocre performances and sub-par training. Next year, I’ll have a lighter schedule leading up to my first full Ironman distance in August. I wanted to do all of these events to get the experience needed, and pr-ed at most triathlon events (since they were my first time) but didn’t meet expectations at most.
2) You have to put in the miles. I spent a lot of time working on my swimming and it’s paid off. I had a long way to go and it has improved immensely. I have a lot farther to go with it – but I feel success there. I didn’t spend as much time on the bike as I should have and that showed. A 20-mile training ride before a 62-mile organized ride and 30 miles as the longest ride before a half-ironman are inadequate. I knew it at the time, but must remind myself continuously not to put off the rides or else I”ll never make it through 112 miles on the bike sandwiched between a 2.4-mile swim and 26.2-mile run.
3) Overtraining leads to injury. I’ve spent much of this season trying to get my running back up to speed (no pun intended) and as a result, keep pushing it. From sickness before the marathon, Achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee and now, a strained calf after yesterday’s race – I should know better. I have a marathon slated for the beginning of the year, but will take a break this week at least from all impact before serious training begins. Overtraining compounds – the miles pile up on each other – and you lose your oomph.
4) I may be addicted to racing. I love the night-before rituals, the travel, the planning, the taper (sort of), developing a race plan – I’ll have to get accustomed to doing less of it next year and find the joy in training.
So for 2013, I plan on a lighter schedule. I have no doubt 3-4 half marathons are in my future as are a half and full Ironman, a couple running relays and a century ride or two in preparation…and of course the January marathon. 2013 was about quantity and experience – 2014 will be about quality. I feel the need for a come-back year that makes me feel not just capable, but strong.
Off for a week of rest. I’m planning on keeping this week to a near zero to allow my body to heal. Rest is as important as doing. That’s hard to put into practice, but perhaps the most essential thing to success.