Fast Age Group Racing

Fast Age Group Racing

Gordo_Oceanside_2011To kick off April, I raced Cali 70.3. Given that this is “Early Season Racing” month at EC, I thought I’d update my thoughts on fast age-group racing.

My buddy, Bevan, wrote about the dangers of defining our self-identity on athletic performance. Strong field racing can challenge your self-image.

In many AGs, Cali 70.3 had field strength that was equal to the World “Champs” in Clearwater. The best athletes want to race each other — on fair courses — and I’ll share thoughts on that later this month.

If you look under the hood at the fastest AG competitors, then you’ll find athletes with flexible lives that enable them to put training first at least some of the year. Add in Olympians, coaches who race (like all of us at EC), former triathlon champions and lifelong athletes… there are many speedy folks out there.

The competitive reality is the best races will get faster and faster and faster. When I started the sport, the best AG times (2011) would have been reasonable elite performances (1999). Today’s mid-pack elite performance will become tomorrows winning AG performance.

How to compete?

Put Yourself In A Position To Win
To develop your racing skills, choose a range of field strengths. Aim for a mix of field strengths so you can learn how to race from the front; middle and back of the field. There are useful lessons in all types of racing.

If you want to be competitive with the top athletes in your division (elite or AG) then you need to be exposed to them, at least part of the year. See how they train, learn their approach, understand their strengths and weaknesses. The Olympic Club in San Francisco; Flatirons Athletic Club in Boulder; training camps attended by the athletes you want to race… there are places where you can learn and see how you stack up.

Once you confirm that you are physically competitive (I’ve fooled myself when training alone), then you need to gain an understanding of what’s going to be required on race day. Racing is a skill separate from swim/bike/run and at the sharp end you will need to tolerate periods of sub-optimal pacing to get an optimal result.

Getting the final 1-2% of performance out of your fitness is an area where expert knowledge can be helpful. Across the rest of the month, we’ll be sharing ideas to help you out.

Categories: Racing

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