3 Years Older but 3 Minutes Faster

I love doing the Metasprint Aquathlon at Palawan Beach, Sentosa Resort, Singapore every year. I have been racing this sprint aquathlon (750 m swim & 5 Km run) since 2013, and I use it to kick-start my multi-sport year. Held every February, many triathletes use the race to shake-off the holiday blues and to determine how much more training they will need before they reach competitive level for their “A” race. The swim is done on the peaceful and secluded waters of Palawan Beach, while the run is along the road parallel to the beach with plenty of shade.

Being the geeky triathlete that I am, I looked back at my past records, and I was extremely happy to see that I have vastly improved since my first race! I am 3 years older, but my overall race time has improved by nearly 3 minutes! This is huge (!), well, at least for me because a 3-minute improvement is like crossing the finish line 600 meters ahead compared to 3 years ago!

Year

Time (minutes)

Swim, 750 m

Transition Run, 5 Km

Overall

2013

19:48 2:37 25:34 48:00
2015 19:22 2:17 26:54

48:33

2016 17:41 2:32 25:13

45:27

I attribute my race improvement to primarily two (2) things. First, my swimming has significantly improved. This is totally unexpected because swimming is my weakest sport in a triathlon. I couldn’t even swim 50 meters until my late twenties, when my girlfriend (now my wife, Chris) taught me how to breath properly, so that I can last the distance. It took me years before I felt really comfortable swimming in open water and learning proper technique. More recently, I have gotten a personal swim coach, who taught me bi-lateral breathing. And this has helped me improve not only my distance per stroke, but also my ability to do “sighting” in open water, thereby, saving me precious time from getting lost and minimizing energy expenditure that I can reserve for the run.

The second thing that has improved is my running. Although I have improved by a measly 21 seconds between my 2013 and 2016 5 Km run splits, I was surprised that I was able to maintain my speed, despite my legs being 3 years older! My secrets to ageless running are, one, speed work, and two, race simulation. Doing interval training at the track oval has certainly paid off because it taught my legs to maintain a fast pace for the sprint race. I also did at least 2 race simulations by swimming in my apartment’s outdoor pool, then running around our neighborhood. Although the water visibility in the pool and the run terrain were different from the race itself, it did helped my body to be accustomed to the transition from swimming to running.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the start of my 2016 multi-sport year. It also inspires me to continue training and supplement it with track oval speed work and weight-training.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome 2016 everyone!

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