Sitting around at MIT this past weekend waiting for a review of our swim analysis videos, I asked Jeff how many minutes he wanted me to give him when we raced Rev 3. Jeff responded that he was going to beat me straight up and essentially have the race of his life. I laughed and asked him to place some serious money on his assertion. Whether or not Jeff thinks he can go faster than me over 70.3 miles in 2 and a half months isn’t really the point — the point is that Jeff believes in race day magic.
There are lots of advantages to taking numbers so seriously in training, but one of the biggest advantages is also one of the biggest drawbacks — I can predict pretty accurately how fast I will be able to go on race day. This is great from a race execution perspective but it also impedes unfounded delusions of grandeur.
For example, right now my Zone 1 run pace averages out to about an 8:45 – 8:50 minute per mile, my Zone 1 bike watts are about 140-150 and my 400 yard TT time for the swim is just under 6 minutes. I know my body weight and my training volume. I also know the distances of the Rev 3 course and the fact that both the bike and run courses are very hilly. If I take an plug this information into the triathlon calculator I get the following results for Rev 3: Swim 32:34; Bike 2:59; Run 1:57; and Total Time 5:31:51. So essentially, if I did the race this weekend, I would be looking at about a 5:30 for total time on a pretty tough course. With another two and a half months of training, I’m hoping my bike and run can improve enough to get into the low 5:20s, but unless I see improvement in my training indicators a magical time drop isn’t going to happen.
Now, Jeff believes that he can flat out beat me at Rev 3. Based on his training paces, volume, weight and the course at Rev 3, the triathlon calculator reveals the following results: Swim 37:06; Bike 3:43:36; Run 2:41:14; and Total Time 7:05:49. Obviously these numbers are based on his training metrics as of today and he can improve in the next two and a half months (mostly by upping his volume and being more consistent) but absent some serious hard work, a nasty medical or mechanical on my part or a massive dose of Felix Felicis, there’s no way Jeff will come close to my time at Rev 3.
By knowing my numbers, I know what I’m capable of in any given race. By ignoring his numbers, Jeff believes he is infinitely capable and can spend his time on the course coming up with an excuse as to why it just wasn’t his day.