Learning continued this week as I completed my final duathlon tune-up race prior to the USAT Duathlon National Championship April 13. The race Sunday was the Las Olas Triathlon and Duathlon in Ft. Lauderdale. I raced the event last year competing in the triathlon sprint. The race venue is spectacular as it is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale with the run and half the ride on the A1A Highway with views of the ocean. Both years I competed at the race it has sold out with 1,000 racers in the duathlon, triathlon or aqua bike events.
I had several objectives for this race being the final one before Nationals. The most significant being to simulate the taper stage, preparing my body as close to what I will do for Nationals. I hadn’t fully tapered for a race since the USAT Triathlon National Championships in August so competing with a fresh tapered body was something I was really looking forward to along with the curiosity of how it would translate to duathlon racing. Finding the right mix and amount of activities is quite the art and science leading up to a race. You don’t want to be too fresh where you lost endurance and don’t want to press too hard, not having your body fresh enough to give yourself the best possible effort on race day.
As I was preparing for the week prior to the week of the race I adjusted the weekend workouts in volume, intensity and simulation based on several data points including the lead ups to prior races, current fitness, and what I learned about the nuances of duathlon preparation versus triathlon and run racing. The changes worked out really well. By race morning my legs felt fresh and ready to fire.
Nutrition preparation was pretty similar to prior races with a slight tweak. By eating a plant-based diet I am fueling my body in the best possible manner all the time and leading up to a race I dial it up a notch by consuming the healthiest options for performance. I certainly found my favorite pre-race meal. That being the power packed Acai Bowl coming 12 hours prior to race start. If you want to learn how to make one come join The Healthy Giraffe Event March 23. We will be preparing one of three different options.
Properly hydrating the day prior to the race and race morning continued as a focus. I did change my pre-race drink which I had been using prior to workouts and tested it out at Gasparilla and it was on target. It provides a boost energy, focus, and more. Contact me if you want to learn more.
With duathlons focusing on two disciplines (bike and run) versus three (swim, bike, and run) in triathlon, I changed my training plan starting in November to ramp up my bike mileage and that ratio to run miles. I’ve increased my bike mileage and intensity above anything I had done in prior years. I was curious to see how that would translate at the Las Olas race as I felt stronger than ever on the bike. It translated well as I felt strong throughout and battled hard in the final two plus miles of a significant headwind back to transition and finish with the overall top bike time. I have a few things I will work on for the bike portion in the final five weeks but overall it’s headed in the right direction for Nationals.
Refining the paces and strategy for the run portions of the duathlon continued to be tested at this race. The first run went to plan and I’m still reflecting on the second and final run. Based on what my body felt like I will be implementing a few additional mixes to my workouts to simulate what I was feeling and be best prepared for the runs.
Overall I’m pleased with the preparation, learning, and effort. I placed 2nd Overall in the race so that was in some way a validation my plan, work, and execution paying off. The key is to continue to learn, tweak, consult with coaches, and work my butt off. Five weeks to go before Nationals…
Finally, if you follow me on Intagram, Twitter, or Facebook you know I love supporting my daughter, Morgan, in whatever she does. Over the years that has been at school events, performances, dance recitals, soccer games, running and more. With the race in Ft. Lauderdale and close to where Morgan goes to school, Florida Atlantic University, she was able to come support me. My favorite part of the race Sunday was hearing Morgan yell, “Go Dad!” as I was running the course. What a feeling for the dad having his girl there supporting him for a race.
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In the Featured Photo – Morgan and I celebrating post race, the Acai Bowl pre-race dinner via Raw Juce, good friend and duathlon legend Bob Brown, and the podium award.