Being on vacation has the added advantage of being rested and relaxed and reflective of an interesting year from a triathlon perspective.
There were no PBs and no achievements of note . A few lows at the beginning of the year and just mental exhaustion from a difficult 2012. I did manage to come back from these lows and that was the single high .
There wasn't much racing , just 2 Ironmans and a Half Ironman .The results for the record were
IM New Zealand 15hrs
IM Busselton 12.14
Mandurah 70.3 5.36
It shows a progressive improvement from the beginning of the year and after New Zealand. I could not get any lower in terms of results . Lots of mistakes were made a long the way but it was a reflection of the sheer tiredness of the routine and lack of enjoyment in training with no real motivation.
That changed with my changing my routine and I have cut down the volume of work outs and refocused back on my core .Cross fit whilst not for everyone has helped me significantly and whilst I am still a baby in training , I feel stronger . 2014 will be a year of consolidating the improvements and building on it.
Where I lacked any improvement has been my speed work and the periods of just having viral infections. I lost about 7-9 weeks in training over the last 6 months and that has been a drastic dent in the build. But with all these experiences have come lessons . I feel stronger mentally and with the focus on building a core as the starting point towards a solid base for harder but shorter sessions of running and biking. That is the plan.
Whilst not earth shattering crossing IMWA at 12.14 was a highlight and whilst all races are tiring , I felt good .I had no issues with my feet or gut and raced my own race. What it did highlight was the need for my continuing to get stronger in the core and that will help my SBR sections and to start more interval work .The planning begins after New Years with my A races planned and a refocus on getting the basics right. There is no great recipe for improvement , just lots of small steps and some missteps along the way . I read a post again on the great Arthur Lydiard and his running programmes. Every great coach bar a few , just re package the basics , but at the core , there is the build , periodization , there is the interval work and speed work . All the articles I have read now emphasize to the endurance athlete the importance of speed in improving their results see :
Arthur Lydiard's Athletic Training : http://www.fitnesssports.com/lyd_clinic_guide/Arthur%20Lydiard.pdf
Outside Magazine: The secret to High Intensity Interval training
But at the core , the year has for many been one of ups and downs .I read the achievements of my many endurance friends and I am in awe. The core of all this and the blog is , there is nothing if you do not love what you do and who you are. Like all training programmes , I learn one inevitable truth even for endurance, there is a challenge but you fail if you do not know yourself , love yourself and embrace yourself. At the core is a simple truth .
At a recent get together with a friend of 30 years , he mentioned how he has started back running and working out and he follows my blog on Facebook and is depressed every time he checks on the volume of training done . Whilst said in jest , at least he has made a start and I told him that everyone has to make a start somewhere .Whilst full of admiration for my pursuit of triathlon , I hope he is not blinded by the worship of the endurance junkie pursuing volume. I have learnt after multiple races to feel comfortable in my own skin , warts and all. Mistakes are made but that is part of the challenge . Whilst trite , it is not just the destination it is the adventure of getting to that finish line. Have a goal , challenge yourself and embrace that challenge. The sunrise over a training session is always so much sweeter when you are chasing a goal.
For 2014 , It will be completing my 12th IM, the Rottnest crossing in a team and improving my swim to a low 1.15 and a 5.30 bike and a 4 hour marathon run.
I wish all my friends , colleagues in sport and just the dreamers , the very best for 2014 . I look forward to enjoying the triumphs and the lows that will inevitably be part of 2014 .