Thank you for all your amazing comments on the Great Floridian race recap! I am always blown away and touched by your support and tips.
As you read, the race was a lot of highs and a lot of lows. Here’s what I learned:
1. CrossFit is a win. There’s no denying CrossFit helped my form, endurance and mental stamina, especially on the swim (which is shorter and more intense). CrossFit has done nothing but good things for my body and I plan on continuing it along with all my training. I should note I’m glad I took the two weeks before the race off.
2. Three words: open. water. swims. Not only is swimming in open water much better practice for an open water swim, but it also makes swimming long distances a billion less boring.
3. Practice transitions. In theory transitioning from swim to bike or bike to run should be easy. Change your clothes as fast as you can, add whatever gear necessary– and make it fast. But somehow I forget that I’m dizzy after the swim and a little shaky after the bike and I move slow. Next time I’d practice faster transitions.
4. Do hill training on shorter rides. I completed many of my long runs on the actual hilly (really hilly) course that the race follows, but I think I could have upped my hill endurance by doing some hill-specific shorter weekday rides.
5. Visualize everything. I did an awesome job at visualizing the swim: getting in the water, each stroke and finishing strong. It helped, a lot. Unfortunately I left out the rest of the race so when the going got tough, I didn’t have the mental endurance I needed.
6. Get solid on nutrition. This goes without saying after the downfall of my run. It’s impossible to perfect your nutrition too much: what works, what doesn’t and when I need it. Avoiding heavy foods and gluten helped, but there’s plenty of work to do.
7. Swim-to-bike bricks. The bike-to-run bricks helped my training a lot by preparing my legs to run when tired, but I wasn’t as prepared to ride after a long swim.
8. Longer runs on bricks. This is hard! The last thing I want to do after a solo long ride is go for a solo long run. I think starting off strong on the run reflected my short runs after rides, but then I hit the wall.
9. Run at night. Most of my runs were before sunrise so running past sunset was entirely unusual. I think the more I could do to train for race conditions, the more prepared I’ll be.
10. It’s all about abs. I included a lot of core training and it paid off. My stronger core helped a ton in the swim and carried me on the bike and run. So worth the extra 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a week.
What’s the best racing lesson have you learned?