Friday, August 27, 2010

Armchair empiricism and triathlon

Further obsessing about this weekend's race, I conducted my own empirical analysis of my success in triathlon. My n is about 10. I conclude that a good run equals a good triathlon and the rest is all set-up. I've had some good rides (for me) in a few races -- in the DC Triathlon this June I had my strongest ever 40 km ride, and in the Great Illini in September 2008 I rode my personal best for the bike leg of an iron-distance race. But in neither was my overall result satisfying. I had a great swim in Cozumel last December (I think the course was short, and we had a strong current for most of the swim -- on top of which, I was watching clown fish playing beneath me!), a moderate but not great bike, and tanked the run for a disappointing result. But there is a 100% correlation between my having a strong run leg and a pleasing result, at the Olympic distance (Luray, Virginia triathlon two weeks ago) and the 1/2 iron distance (two races in Oregon in the past few years). I've never had a good run in an iron distance event, so I have no idea if the result adheres. But the race plan for this weekend is to enjoy the swim, if that's possible in the Ohio River; relax on the scenic but rather hilly bike course; and make a mental commitment to a strong run. Here's hoping.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds right to me. For what it's worth, I've never had a particularly good run in a tri. I always seem to burn out my legs on the bike. The best results I've had have been in duos, where a run is followed by a bike, and then a second run. I don't entirely understand why. In those races my first run leg has been very fast, the bike leg fast, and the second run, still quite fast for me, given the length of the event. I haven't had the same kind of results on the run legs of tris. I always feel like I end up going more slowly than i would at the end of a pure running event of approximately the same duration. I wonder if there's something about the first running leg that sets up the second run??