Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting Old Don't Mean You Slow Down

Last week I did the Tiburon Triathlon.

It was the 2nd triathlon I've done this season, the second triathlon I've done since ending my three year long triathlon hiatus.

My first time doing this triathlon was 5 years ago -- when I was 15 pounds lighter, and much younger both mentally & physically. I had very few expectations for myself this time around, other than to get some more race time in, and a have fun.

There's also the beer that Marin Brewing Company serves at the end of the race...but I digress....

To my surprise;

- My swim time was faster by close to two minutes;

- My bike time was several minutes faster -- but some of that is explainable by a mechanical failure back in 2006, and a different course this year.

- My run time was (to my great surprise), much faster. I ran a sub-8 minute mile for those two miles. Five years ago (and 15 pounds back) I ran a slower time on the same course.

The swim is explainable by a combination of a newer wetsuit and being a much better swimmer. Better doesn't mean better cardio or upper body strength -- it means smoother in the water.

The run -- this is where it gets funky. I was dead tired after the bike section. The whole first mile of the 2 mile course I had chest pains. Also -- because my legs were trashed from the bike portion -- I couldn't do a long stride. So I ran with a lot of short steps, often mid-foot striking.

While I don't support (anymore) barefoot running or the usage of barefoot running shoes like the VFF, there is no getting around the fact that fore and midfoot striking is (in certain contexts) a faster way to run. The results from last week bore that out.

The key is to find the right training methodology to make forefoot/midfoot running safe. This isn't about shoes -- its about drills, training routines, and contexts.

Lastly, like Randy Couture, Deana Torres, and George Foreman, it really is possible to still perform at the top of your game as you get older. The key is to find ways to improve your game as time goes by.