Do You Trust Your Speed?

Speed is a relative term because my speed may be faster or slower than your speed but what is common amongst all athletes is the trust in their speed.  When I first started in endurance sports my first race was a half-marathon that I ran in 2 hours 18 minutes or 10:34/mi.  My speed that day was on display from the outset but soon bonked and fought the good fight to the finish line.  That day created my reference point or what I refer to as my speed line. Through lots of training I brought that time down to  a PR of 1:36 or 7:21/mi for a half-marathon.  My speed line was 7:21/mi but my constant base runs were around 9:00/mi which was held at a 140 bpm.  Since all of my training is based on HR I typically just draw a connection between my HR and my paces.  I run with my watch set to total time and HR and nothing else so that I don't focus on pace and try to hit those speeds. Running isn't the only place where I have seen my speed line move from one spot to another.  Recently my swimming speed line has been consistently in the 1:45/100y pace and not feeling as if I am going to pass out from swimming so hard.  When I started triathlon that pace was typically around 2:00/100y.  The speed line has moved fast in the past few months and this is now where my dilemma regarding my speed line comes into play. [caption id="attachment_7819" align="alignright" width="270"]speed - triathlon - swimming - ironman Source: Triathlete Europe Magazine[/caption]

Do I Trust My Speed In The Water?

I ask myself this question repeatedly these days.  When I  jump into the pool and swim a 1:39/100y and not feel exhausted I wonder where this speed came from and if I can trust it.  Can I hold  1:45/100y pace for an entire 2.4 miles?  Is this something that I trust myself to do?  I have routinely would have said yes but based on a few race times like Ironman Arizona and 70.3 Puerto Rico it is hard to trust my speed.  Yes the open water and race are a lot different from the time spent in the pool, but here is where I have a counterpoint. Last year while training for IMAZ I was swimming 32:00-36:00 per 1.2 mile swims in the open water.  If you extrapolate that to the full Ironman distance you are looking at 64 minutes to 72 minutes.  I finished IMAZ in 90 minutes or WAY FAR OFF.  I trusted my speed going into the water in November and that proved to not be a great thing to do as I didn't hold that pace. Can I trust my speed these days? I am fighting a mental war between accepting the new-found speed and what has happened in the past.  It is not usual for me to question my ability but the breaking of new ground is causing me to ask myself if I can trust this speed. [caption id="attachment_7817" align="alignright" width="260"]speed - running - swimming - triathlon Source: Running Magazine[/caption]

Do I Trust My Speed In Running?

In the case of running my trust in my speed is 100%.  I have seen that 9:00/mi pace at 140 bpm drop to 8:30/mi at the same heart rate.  While it hurts to maintain a Z2 pace these days I am fully confident that I can hold these paces for a long period of time.  For example, on Sunday I had a split workout where the first run was 1h15 minutes with the final 20 minutes at Z4.  The next set started nearly 3 hours later with a 1 hour spin on the trainer followed by a steady Z2 run for an hour. During the first run I was hurting big time during the tempo portion but that should be expected to be hard.  My HR for those 20 minutes never touched 160bpm and my pace was around 8:00/mi.  I was thrilled to see the pace when the run was done.  My overall pace for this entire run was 8:22/mi. Heading into the second set I had no clue what would happen but when I started running I thought there is no way I am going to be able to hold a 10:00/mi pace.  Since my Timex never picked up a satellite I couldn't even cheat to see the mile paces as the miles ticked off.  I ran with all my heart and my speed was just not evident.  It hurt so bad and the lactic acid was almost causing me to walk.  Downloading the data when I got home I saw a pace of 8:25/mi with an average HR of 143 bpm and a max HR of 160.  My speed line has been moved. I fully trust that if I follow a race plan at Ironman Texas that there is no doubt I will run a sub-4 hour marathon.  Why?  I am in the middle of build phase and holding these paces.  With a full taper I will have fresh legs to run on but as well all know it takes a smart ride beforehand.  I am not concerned about executing a proper race plan for the bike to set me up for the run. As you can see I have the mental ability to accept my run speed but not the swim speed that I have gained in the past three months.  I am not sure why this is the case but it is and the more I get in the water, both pool and open water, I will be able to gain the confidence in my swim speed.

Have You Ever Questioned Your Speed?

What Was Your Secret In Accepting Your New Found Speed?

TAGS: speed , triathlon , ironman , pace , trust
Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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