Yesterday’s race simulation consisted of a 45 minute swim, 112 mile bike, and 10k run.
The Swim: simply put, 45 minutes straight swimming with sighting practice for the last 5 minutes. I practiced sighting after the right-arm entry as well as the left. Felt fine.
The Bike: I tried to do my normal route that I used for previous Ironman races but the last 2 miles were cut off due to construction. That meant that my last 2 miles consisted of riding in circles around my block, passing my house 2x, and it was the hardest 2 miles of the ride as I was already somewhat fatigued.
The Run: a simple 10k out and back on the river trail next to my house.
The most significant lessons occurred on the bike. The purpose of the bike was to let my body feel all 112 miles to see how my neck, legs, and lower back would feel after prolonged riding in aero position. I wanted to keep my heart rate low in order to be fully recovered before Wednesday’s bike interval session. The bike took me about 6 hours and 35 minutes; my neck felt fine other than the discomfort of constantly extending my neck to see as my helmet kept sliding forward and covering my vision. I started to feel my lower back at the 3rd hour, it would stiffen and loosen up at random moments, but not so much to where I had to stop pedaling.
I wanted to see just how ‘fat-adapted’ I’ve become so I thought I would limit my nutritional intake to the bare minimum of 500 calories for the entire bike ride. I finished the bike ride feeling fine despite the limited calories but I paid the price on the run.
I started the run after a 4 minute transition and felt the usual ‘dead-leg’ feeling off the bike. I figured that things would eventually stabilize after a few miles but they never did. At mile 3 on my 10k run, I hit the wall and started walking. At this point, I tried to force myself to run but couldn’t go any longer than 1-2 minutes before having to walk. I had simply bonked. I finished the last 3 miles, jogging and walking in shame.
So what did I learn?
The biggest thing I took away from this simulation is that I am not as fat adapted as I thought and that I’m going to have to ingest more calories on the bile. Convention suggests 300-700 calories per hour so I’m going to try 300.
My bike is on point. I kept my heart rate low for the first 3/4 of the ride, floating around 115-118 beats per minute. With such a heart rate, I generated around 21 mph with a tail wind, 16 mph with a head wind, and 18.2 mph with no wind. I plan on biking at 125-130 bpm on race day so my time is on point to definitely break 6 hours.
I’ve gotta lose weight and put some more time on the run. I know that my poor run performance was likely due to nutritional deficiencies but even then, I expected to be able to at least jog slowly after hitting the wall. The fact that I had to walk means that if I DO hit the wall during the race, I will be walking. In the past, I was able to shuffle my feet after hitting the wall so I need to get my run fitness to that point or better.
I need to improve my core strength and hamstring flexibility. Based on basic biomechanics, the causes of such discomfort is likely due to shortness in hamstrings and poor core strength. I’ll resolve this issue with planks and stretching.
Things are shaping up nicely for the race. I’ve got to focus on proper recovery so I can crank out another race simulation this weekend so stay tuned.