Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Anatomy of a PR

This past weekend we had 4 athletes race at the Boulder 70.3 half ironman. All the pr’d is some way.
new best performances can come in many ways. Here is a quick recap of what they did and more importantly, how.
The biggest part of every story here is RACE EXECUTION everyone of these athletes used to train hard and then on race day, just go… some had a touchy, feely plan, go hard here, not so hard there. It should feel like this or that. But no hard data. “First 5 miles of the bike you do X watts no more”. “First lap of the run you run this pace. no faster, no slower”. This hard data was determined through field testing and backed, tweaked or changed completely with training analysis. When you combine this accurate, hard data to the experience of one’s PE (perceived exertion) you have 99% of the tools to perform at your best ever.

Results page here:

Megan Flanagan:
A relatively new athlete to us, but not new to triathlon. Megan is a great swimmer. A swimming back ground is always nice to have coming into triathlon but we all know you can’t win in the water. Megan’s focus has been improving her riding. Her bike is the weakest leg of her race. There has been a focus on threshold intervals. Not simply doing them but doing them right. We have employed some techniques that enable her to pace herself very well even without a power meter. The result. Faster AND more efficient riding. Which, as is the case most of the time, a better run as well!! Megan paced her bike better as well as rode faster. Back that up with a solid run right at her Zone 3 pace and you’ve a got a PR.

Gavin Anderson. First year Pro. Gavin is in his first year as a pro. A wife, 2 kids, full time job and then gets up early on Sunday to face off against the best pro’s in the country on a monthly basis. Yes, I feel lazy just writing this. Gavin also has a swimming back ground. His run and bike both need improvements to race at the pro level. Gavin has a huge capacity for workload, the amount of work he can absorb is astounding. Even after a few months of working together I still become amazed every now and then. Through some training and testing I discovered that Gavin has a great Endurance. For example his fatigue rate is very low. He runs very close to what he would stand alone for 13.1 miles after coming off the bike. So, despite his focus on the 70.3 series his training has revolved around getting “faster”. Threshold intervals, VO2 int. and more run volume. His run volume was simply to low before. When we first started we eliminated high cost, low return training, like lifting weights. Put in more recovery time, so that the hard workouts could be done HARD, at the correct wattages and pace prescribed. The results. Gavin has made steady progress, improving in every race, beating athletes that had better him earlier in the year. Felling stronger and getting closer to the money!

Joel Byersdorfer:
An Athlete at heart but new to triathlon. Joel’s best asset is his common sense. A runner and ultimate Frisbee player in the past, he knows when to really push and when the set training sch. just won’t work. Joel’s communication with me has made for a strong coach athlete team and the results show it. Joel is another case of when we improve the bike the run improves as well. Go figure! We identified Joel’s weak area and got to work. Joel, like everyone we had race, negative split the bike and pushed through the wind in the second half of the run not slowing down to much and earning a great result.

Brent Schoeb:
The definition of toughness.
To do well in any sport, to “PR”, to go beyond what you have done before you must, at some point, push your body beyond what it is capable of. At that moment the “what you are capable of” turns into “ what you were capable of”. However, sometimes, this happens is a different manner than we imagine. Brent was cruising through the bike leg when a rapid series of events caused a fall. Small bump in the road, throwing an empty water bottle, hitting his own arm, a gust of wind and he was inspecting the chip seal on the bike course roads. After Brent got back under way he knew something was wrong with his hand. As he started the run he had a decision to make. Med tent now or in 1:54 minutes when I finish. He chose the latter and ran through 90+ degree heat with one operational hand to a PR. A great story of adaptation and not giving up. Sometimes you don’t have to be at your best to achieve your best.