YMCA Sprint Triathlon Series dates announced; Our aerobic engine and how it relates to racing success; Data vs feeling; Benefits of waxing your chain; Lewis Pugh swims underneath an ice sheet in Antarctica.
Here is your weekly TT Times newsletter:
Events We're Looking Forward To-
- I'm excited to announce our support of the YMCA Sprint Triathlon Series. The Spring Sprint, Y-Not Tri, and Fall Sprint are now a series, with special rankings for participants who compete in all three. We have also developed a beginner-focused training plan and seminar series that is completely free to anyone who signs up for any YMCA triathlon. The first supporting seminar is Monday, February 10th at our shop. All details, links to registration, and training plans can be found here.
Training Thoughts and Updates-
- It's easy to think the key to triathlon success is all about backing up hard session after hard session. Besides, we've all been told, "No pain, no gain!" Yet it's usually the size of an athlete's aerobic engine that determines how successful they'll be in triathlon. How do you build that aerobic engine? By being disciplined and spending most of your training time below your aerobic threshold. High intensity training has its place in a successful triathlon training plan, but it's a smaller component than many think.
- This is not the first time athletes have become too obsessed with training numbers. As a coach who actually enjoys diving into the numbers of training/racing, I often struggle to find the right balance between expressing what the numbers say is possible and what the athlete can actually do on any given day. Possibly the most important skill for an athlete to develop is a sense of feel: a feel for their body and a feel for a variety of efforts/paces. You develop this through training and racing experience. Ultimately a power meter will not help you win a race if you already developed a refined sense of pace (i.e. Kristin Armstrong won the 2016 Rio Olympic time trial gold medal without a power meter- the one event where a power meter is very helpful). The best balance in my opinion is to use heart rate monitors and power meters, as they provide valuable insight for both you and your coach. But occasionally train or race with the device covered so that you have to focus on what your body is telling you, not your Garmin. You can learn a lot about your personal sense of feel and pacing this way.
- This week's Tri Town Times newsletter is all about feedback, knowing yourself, and developing a sense of feel. This article from Shane Parrish is possibly the best article I've ever read on coaching, the mental game of sport, and developing your inbuilt sense of feel.
Gear That Caught Our Attention:
Speaking of being obsessed with numbers: A worn down drivetrain, or dry and poorly lubricated chain can add 20-30watts of mechanical resistance. There are three different types of lubricants for chains: dry lubes (clean but short lasting), wet lubes (messy but longer lasting), and chain wax (time intensive to apply, but long lasting and clean). Only a waxed chain can stay clean for hundreds of miles and maintain its lubricating properties. We now wax chains at Tri Town, read more about this unique service here and why you may consider it before your next race or key event.
Quote that Struck a Chord:
“Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last blockon a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.” - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
If You Have a Moment to Spare:
- This short clip of endurance swimmer and climate advocate Lewis Pugh swimming in the freezing water of the Antarctic blew my mind with both its beauty and insanity.
- Seeing moments like this are a good reminder of why many drivers despise seeing cyclists on the road. Ultimately we as cyclists need to take the initiative to set the example and ride responsibility.
Have a great week!