As I sit here, currently trying to make my way through my taper, It’s hard not to over analyze all the training I’ve put in up to this point. I had a few injuries in the fall that stemmed from some hip bursitis in my right hip, causing me to throw my left knee out at my fall half marathon. This rocked my base training period and cause me some loss of fitness and speed.
Couple that with the winter that never freaking ended, and my training season got off to a bit of a rough start this year. Not ideal with a 70.3 to kick off tri season, but what can you do.
One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to learn to swim like a “not loser” anymore. I can only suffer through so many triathlons doing side stroke before I fold. So despite the fact that my running had taken a hit, I started getting myself in the pool. I was going solo for a while, just swimming laps to build my endurance. I went to a few of the swim clinics with my tri club then started doing regular week day morning practice sessions with the club and Coach Fish. Fast forward to present day and I’m doing well in the pool. My speed is respectable, I can keep up with the drills in practice, and I can swim the distance I need to for my 70.3.
I also invested in a new bike this year. I’ve spent a great deal of time on my bike, learning her gears, feeling her out, and becoming one with her so we can crush us some bike courses this summer. My biking skills have improved as well as my speed and stamina on the bike.
I focused on my swim and my bike knowing I come from a strong running background and that no matter what I can always run. But now, less than two weeks out from race day I’m realizing I slacked on my running a bit too much. I’m a strong runner thanks to well over a decade of running under my feet, but that doesn’t mean I should have put it off so much these last few months.
There’s this notion that one should train their weakness. On the surface, working on our weakness makes complete sense. It’s a lot of what I did this year so far. But guess what? This is only an idea for most of us amateurs and age group athletes. Because elites and pros play to their strengths. Mirinda Carfrae won the Ironman World Championship in Kona this past October by playing to her strengths. She was 8 minutes behind the leaders coming out of T2 and came from behind to win setting both a new course record and new marathon record. Her strongest discipline is running and she used that to her advantage, trained to strike from behind on the run because that is where her strength lies.
And the funny part of it all is, we may not be “weak” at any of these sports. But by process of elimination we will pick which one we naturally excel the least in and deem ourselves “weak” at that particular discipline.
I do believe you need to work on whichever sport of the three you are less proficient at, but you can’t let the other things fall by the way side. There’s a reason why a good triathlon training plan has equal numbers of workouts per week in all three disciplines. And obviously there’s something to be said about playing to your strengths and training to take advantage of them.