Help me raise $2,500 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation!
My, my, how time flies! July is almost here, which means it is less than one month until the big race on July 24! It’s now been almost four months since I decided to take on this challenge, and after countless hours and kilometers of training, I’m definitely noticing some great improvements in my fitness level.
My last training update was back in the start of May, and since then the weekly totals have been steadily ramping up, the week of June 13 I covered over 150km! I have also continued diligently following my training plan with very few workouts missed in the past four months, something I am very proud of. I’ve also started using the power of Microsoft Power BI to visually see my training data, check it out below!
I am up to swimming 2,000m straight now, which is slightly over the 1,900m total distance. I have dropped my average swimming pace by about 7% to right around 2:00/100m in the past two months, which is a great improvement for me. With the added buoyancy swimming in a wetsuit brings, I should definitely be able to complete the swim portion of the race in under 40 minutes!
Saturdays over the past few two months have mostly been dedicated to long bike rides between two and three hours long to really build up the endurance. I have been out on the bike course riding the highways between Calgary and Bragg Creek four times over that span, and am now quite comfortable with the traffic on Highways 22 and 8.
I have also managed to improve my average biking speed on the long rides by about 10%, largely from the fact that I can cruise along without being interrupted by traffic signals, pedestrians, etc., as you are in the city. At 26-27 km/hr, I’m still a little slower than ideal, but depending on how the wind is blowing, I should be able to finish the ride in around three and a quarter hours.
I really am enjoying the longer rides though, and am looking forward to being done training and being able to just go out and ride for hours without having to worry so much about speed. Taking the time to stop and check out the scenery, take breaks to eat, etc., will be much less stressful than trying to wolf down a Peanut Butter sandwich while semi-trailers are passing by a few feet to my left! I can definitely see myself getting into bike touring in the future, Golden Triangle, here I come!
I am quite pleased with where my running is at. I haven’t yet covered the full half-marathon distance that I will in the race, but at 20.4 km on June 19, I was only 700m short! My pace on that run would have led me to a half-marathon time of 1:53, which I would be superbly happy with! I’m sure running after the bike I won’t be able to maintain quite that pace, but finishing the run in under two hours is definitely doable!
Overall Race Prediction
Living in a city like Calgary, training open water swimming is not very easy, especially when I don’t live in one of our private lake communities. So the only real uncertainty for me is around how that swim in Auburn Bay will go in terms of swimming in the wetsuit, sighting, etc. However, from past triathlons, I know that my pool time generally matches my open water time for the same distance, so finishing the swim in 40 minutes or less.
For the ride, I’ve ridden the majority of the bike course, and as long as there isn’t a killer west wind, I will be able to cruise along at my own pace with a few brief stops at the aid stations and hopefully finish around three hours and fifteen minutes or maybe even a little less!
For the run, I’ve done lots of Brick workouts (running right off the bike), and have been able to maintain a pace of around 5:30-5:40/km, which will translate into a sub two hour run. The run takes place around the Glenmore Reservoir and Weaselhead natural area, and I am very familiar with the course. Aside from a few decent hills, it will just be a matter of putting one foot infront of the other and pushing ahead!
Factoring in time for the swim/bike and bike/run transitions, and a few aid station stops along the way, achieving my goal of six hours and fifteen minutes or less in the race is definitely achievable! And if the winds blow in my favour, maybe I’ll even be able to crack the six hour mark!
Nutrition & Energy
Back in May I tracked my nutrition intake rigorously for the month, mostly to see if I was consuming the recommended number of calories given my higher level of activities, but also to see if I was getting the right breakdown between carbs, protein and fat. It turns out, my stomach is a pretty good gauge! For the month, I was right around what the math said I should be consuming, and I came within a few percent of achieving my target macro nutrient mix of 60% carbs, 25% fat and 15% protein.
I’ve also been experimenting with various energy bars, gels and sodium replacement drinks on my longer workouts over one hour. I am a fairly sweaty guy, and in some of my sweat rate tests I have found I can lose up to 2kg of weight in an hour of running to sweating. I’ve found that for me when riding if I consume one protein bar and one energy gel per hour along with about 750mL of fluids (some water, some electrolytes), I do pretty well. When running it is energy gels every 30-40 minutes and drinking 250mL of water/energy drink every 20-30 minutes.
Now that I have the important nutrition & fluids piece figured out I find that I recover quickly post workout and I don’t cramp up or have my performance suffer during training. The important part will be to stick this plan as much as possible during the race, and avoid any promo/freebie products that are being given out, at least until after the race is done!
Since announcing I was going to be raising money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation as part of my race effort, I have raised over $1,600! I am extremely grateful to all who have donated so far. If you haven’t had a chance to donate yet, there is still lots of time. I have set a goal of raising $2,500 for this great cause and I would love for you to help me get there! Don’t wait, donate today!