The legend goes that in 450 B.C., Pheidippides ran from Marathon to
Athens, a distance of about 26 miles, to bring news of Greece’s victory
over Persia in the eponymous battle of Marathon. Upon arrival in
Athens, Pheidippides cried "Victory!" collapsed and died. Last
November, along with 39,265 others, I ran from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island
to Central Park in the New York City Marathon. Pheidippides had some important news to
deliver and was under orders. Why would anyone else run 26.2 miles?
What are your pre-race rituals? 1-2 weeks before a major race I take my bike to the shop for adjustments and make sure its working flawlessly. Tires are re-inspected the day before and with enough time to allow a visit to shop in case I need a spare tube or inflation cartridge. I lay out all gear so that I can check it against the list before packing it away. I also mix up my water bottles with energy drink the night before. I set the coffee maker and microwave my favorite breakfast–McCann’s Steel Cut Oats with a little maple syrup and almonds. The checklist and other tips are below. I’ve also posted the the checklist as a text file for easy printing. Happy racing!
Peter Drucker said: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” and while I’m sure he wasn’t referring to triathlon or even athletic training, his wisdom still applies. I’ve created a simple template to track two workouts a day per week, including data on time, distance, resting heart rate, physical and mental exertion and workout notes. The templates are based on concepts outlined in Joe Friel’s “Triathlete’s Training Bible” and Chris Carmichael’s “The Lance Armstrong Performance Program.” I was inspired to create them by Douglas Johnston, who created an amazing set of DIY planner templates that I use every day. This is the first version of the Triathlon Training Log template. Please drop me a line with constructive specific ideas. Enjoy!
For the last few weeks the New York Road Runners have been saying that the race routes may be altered to accomodate Christo and Jean-Claude’s "Gates" project. I’ve been watching the pieces be put into place over the last few weeks, but today, the Gates and their saffron banners waved at runners all along the 9.3 mile race route. The Gates made me realize just how many miles of path there are in the park; the saffron banners were just low enough so that I could jump and touch them. Gorgeous!
I did my first race in Central Park with the New York Road Runners–the NYRR Fred Lebow Classic 5 mile run. The night before the race, Deb (my partner) asked why I’d want to take the train into Central Park to run 5 miles when I could just as easily run that distance in Brooklyn. I just said "it’s different"–not a great answer. What makes it different? Normally running is a solitary activity. It’s me, my iPod, stopwatch, some days, a heart rate monitor, other days, our dog, Hazel. Yesterday it was me and 2,700 like-minded runners. I felt like a member of the tribe. (Eons ago, I reckon fleeing predators was not fun–now we do it to exercise the parts of our body that atrophy from knowledge work.) It’s motivating to see so many people who share in the passion for running and sport. It was a perfect day for a race, sunny, 36 degrees. Unlike a morning run, for which I have estimates for distances these scored races are provide an accurate fitness snapshot. Knowing that I have a race on the calendar is a great reason to get out and train. The race is the reward for the work I put in on training days. Oh, and most important of all, it’s great fun.
New York Road Runners is an amazing organization–they organize races, classes and even have a community foundation to get kids in the city to start running. To learn more or join, visit their website.
I thought I knew how to swim. I grew up at the shore and spent many summer days at the beach, playing in the ocean. One summer, I even had gainful employment as a lifeguard, albeit at small apartment complex pool. The truth: I didn’t really know how to swim. I knew how not to sink.
Well, I did it! I finished the Westchester Triathlon in 2 hours, 43 minutes and set a personal record in the process! This time bests by 2 hour 55 minute time at St. Anthony’s by 12 minutes, but what’s even better is that this time I completed the .9 mile swim in 29 minutes! That’s a 9 minute improvement! I feel validated in my swim training strategy, which was simply to focus on form instead of worrying about getting fast. Well, the practice on form translated into less effort and SPEED. I was consistent about sighting and swam pretty much in a straight line. I emerged from the water ready for the bike ride.
July 12, Brooklyn, NY — Yesterday I competed in my second, and arguably most difficult triathlon—the Mossman–it wasn’t necessarily the course, which was fast, but rather my mental and physical state. I simply did not feel ready for the race, but didn’t want to bow out and not compete. In spite of not feeling well I eeked out times comparable with my performance in the St. Anthony’s Triathlon. I didn’t get much faster–though it’s hard to benchmark different events. However, if you were to place one event against the other, and double for distance, I did this one a little faster–the good news is that I rode 20.02 MPH on the bike–a stated goal, compared to 19.15 MPH last time–that’s almost a 1 mph gain. Also, the runs, let’s compare–there were some speed gains. At St. Anthony’s I ran 8 minute, 30 second miles. At Mossman, I did 7 minute, 51 second miles. Now, the swims, let’s see. 40:34 per hour @ St. Anthony’s compared to 39:38 @ Mossman–so that’s almost a minute faster. Transition times, were also faster at Mossman–T1 @ St. Anthony’s was 5:28, @ Mossman 3:46. Transition 2 @ St. Anthony’s was 2:11, @ Mossman, 1:45, so I got faster at those–so overall, if the two were equal, Mossman was a faster race–of course I didn’t have to go as long. What I probably should start doing is recording my splits–I wonder what would have happened if I had to go twice as long yesterday?