2013 marks my first full season as a triathlete. In planning my race schedule, I tried to fit in as many multisport events as possible in an effort to gain much-needed experience. The difficulty in this task was setting up a full schedule without emptying my bank account. Fortunately, TCSD puts on about ten free triathlons and duathlons throughout the year, so those will make up a large part of my multisport racing racing events.
I’d still like to focus on my running this year, and thus I have planned a good number of standalone running events throughout my season. As of now, I have planned for four 10Ks and two 5Ks spread through my early season (March) to the start of my peak phase (June).
In terms of major races, my first big race of the season will be Ironman 70.3 Oceanside on March 30. This will be my longest race of the season, a half-iron distance. This was planned as a fun early season event to encourage lots of base training. Following Oceanside, I will not have any major events until June, when I will begin my first season competing as a Junior-Elite Triathlete. I will be participating in both the Monroe Junior-Elite Triathlon in May and the Flatland Junior-Elite Triathlon in July in an effort to qualify for the USAT Junior-Elite Triathlon National Championships in August.
In addition, I have thrown in some standalone cycling events (crits) and open-water ocean swims in an effort to gain experience and technical skills that I feel are essential to be a competitive Junior-Elite Triathlete.
2013 has brought some new changes in the focus of my triathlon career. I recently discovered USAT’s Junior Elite Triathlon program: a highly competitive race series for teens aged 16-19 that holds draft-legal triathlons in an ITU-style format (the type of racing seen in the Olympics for triathlon) in an effort to grow to Olympic Triathlon program in the United States. This type of racing is very different from the traditional non-drafting format that I am used to: you MUST swim very fast to have any hope of finishing well, there is less emphasis on the cycle leg, and the run is even more important.
Like I said before, non-drafting triathlons are a very different sport from draft-legal triathlons. Because of this, my training focus has also had to change as well. Starting this year, I will be swimming A LOT more, trying to hit at least 25,000 yards/week by early April. In addition, I will be doing a lot more open-water swimming in training to gain the necessary sighting and breathing skills. In terms of biking, I will switch almost all of my training to a standard (non time-trial) road bike. I will also start riding at least twice a week with local groups in an effort to gain drafting skills, including rotating a paceline, cornering, initiating a breakaway, etc. As for running, I need to become fast at the 5km distance. This calls for at least two speed workouts each week consisting of a large number of 400m and 1000m repeats.
I will be going off to college in late August or mid September. It’s looking like I’m going to end up at either the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Santa Barbara [Update: Accepted in late March]. Because the shift in my triathlon focus puts an even bigger emphasis on running, I’ve thought about pursuing an opportunity to run in college. Training with a Division 1 team would help immensely with my triathlon career, even if I didn’t do any races under their name.
I have realized that I need to get my open 5K and 10K times down a little further to peak the interest of college coaches. If I am given the opportunity to be a part of a team, I will put triathlon on hold in the fall to focus 100% on running. I believe focusing on a single sport while training with a competitive team under a college coach would significantly improve my running. Because I am currently training for three sports and am self-coached, I feel the following times would be needed to convince college coaches of my potential: 16 minutes for 5K (5:09/mile) OR 33 minutes for 10K (5:19/mile).
UPDATE 3/17/2013: I ran a “normalized” 5K in 16:44 (5:23/mile) with poor pacing at the Concordia University 5K.
- Qualify for USAT Junior-Elite Nationals
- Walk on to a Division 1 college running team
- Under 16 minutes for 5km run (5:09/mile) OR under 33 minutes for 10km run (5:19/mile)
- Under 30 minutes for 20km cycle time-trial (24.8mph)
- Under 10 minutes for 750m (825 scy) pool swim (1:13/100y)