Session one of the Front Runner 'Season of Bricks' is now done and dusted.
As we get closer to Busso 70.3 the Front Runner group is moving into its final, race preparation mode. That means that over the next few weeks we have a number of race simulation brick sessions. These bricks are designed to help athletes put the finishing touches on their preparations, testing gear, practicing nutrition, practicing pacing etc. It is quite race specific training which is why we save it until we are getting close to the actual event.
The session today was all about race pace on the bike. The session was actually pretty short for a Saturday morning, being around three hours and 70km or riding. However, a good hour of that ride was spent at around 70.3 race pace, done as 3 x 20 minute efforts. As I love saying to anyone who will listen, by the time you get to race day, race pace shouldn't be s surprise. Once you are on the bike in the race you should know exactly what you need to do and what it feels like. Slipping into race pace at the beginning of the bike should feel like slipping on an old comfy pair of track pants. Albeit track pants that get progressively tighter, itchier and generally less comfortable the longer you wear them. Hmmm, perhaps this analogy doesn't hold up that well. The point being, race pace in a 70.3 should be familiar rather than something to be afraid of, if you are afraid of it then you are probably going too hard. The way you get familiar with race pace is by doing sessions like the one this morning.
Doing 3 x 20 minutes at race pace sounds like a very challenging session, and to be honest it isn't easy, but you have to remember that this is a pace that most people will be holding for between 2 and 3 hours, 60 minutes really shouldn't be that much of a worry. The way I explain the session to people is that during the first 20 minutes you should be pretty comfy. During the 2nd 20 minutes you might start to feel a bit uncomfortable, but it should still feel sustainable. During the last 20 minutes it might start to feel a bit tough, but you should still feel like there is a bit to give at the end. If paced correctly you should be able to hold the same intensity through the entire 3 x 20 minutes. If you get to the end of the 3rd 20 minutes and really fall in a hole, or if you finish the efforts and collapse off your bike, then you have gone too hard. You will certainly have had a tough session, but you will not have been practicing for your race, which is the point.
For the squad this morning I think most had a successful session. They worked hard, but didn't kill themselves on the bike and then they all ran well off the bike. There are still several weeks until Busso 70.3, but the days are ticking away. With sessions like this one and the other bricks that are planned in the coming weeks, our athletes will certainly be ready.