A Testing Week

The rain was falling as a steady downpour this morning. It wasn't too cold, but safety on the roads was a concern. This meant my morning ride was back on the turbo-trainer. Time to put a lot of effort into staying in the one spot. The main course was six VO2 intervals of three minutes, followed by 90 seconds of recovery. Entree was a 20 minute warm up.

I am planning on racing using only a combination of heart rate and feel. No power meter, no cadence meter, no speedometer, just sticking to the basics of swimming, cycling and running. Because of this, today I ignored all data from my monitor except for the beeps that told me when to start and end the hard efforts. I am hoping this will help enhance the feel for how my body is handling the pacing. An important skill for race day.

The result? Looks like I know my body quite well. The end heart rate of each interval started at 88% progressing to 92% of HRmax by the last repeat. Cadence average was 88rpm +/- 4rpm. All exactly where they should be.

For desert I had a short spinning cool down, followed by a strength maintenance session on the weights. I am really enjoying these abbreviated training sessions. Rather than causing fatigue, they seem to increase my energy levels. Hopefully this trend follows through to the HIM.

For the rest of the week I will be working on heat acclimation as discussed in previous posts, but my main focus will be organising my racing plan. To do this I will put my body through test sets around predicted race paces to get a clear understanding of where my body really is. The plan is as follows:

Swim 2000m TT
Bike 4x20km @ 60%, 65%, 70% & 75%HRmax leading to...
...Run of 13km on feel just below expected race pace.

Swim 10x200 @ Race Pace +5sec/100m
Bike 60km on feel at expected race pace leading to...
...Run of 10km @ 80%HRmax

Swim 5x300m Smooth and Fast
Bike 40km @ predicted race heart rate leading to...
... Run of 8km (measured kilometres) @ predicted race pace.

During these sessions I will consume the exact nutrition I plan to use on the race day. From these three key days not only will I further develop the mindset and my body's ability to hold the sustained, paced efforts required on race day, but I will get a very good indicator of how I handle these paces. As a result I should be able to fine tune my race plan according to any strengths and/or weaknesses identified.

Then after a sprint distance triathlon, just so I remember how to do the whole wetsuit thing again, it is a week of tapering to be ready for over 4 hours of fun. I'm feeling good. The plan is there. I just need to execute it.


  1. Your certainly are leaving no stone unturned! It is inspiring to see you prepare so thoroughly.

    A couple of quick questions:

    I can understand why you would not race with a power meter or speedo, but why wouldn't you keep an eye on your cadence as well as your HR?

    What band of HR% will you aiming to race at? Most people I know run a marathon between 82-90% of Max HR however I have no idea about HIM's.

    Also, a bit of a vague question: for someone who has done a few HIM's, how much should you give on each leg. That is, what is the ideal fatigue level after the swim and bike? My plan for my first is just to really cruise through the swim, bike and first half of the run with the aim of keeping my HR low, however what do more experienced competitors do?

    Sorry for long post.


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