What Do You Think Your Best Distance Is/Will Be? - KickRunners.com
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#1 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 02:59 PM - Thead Starter
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Notice, I asked what is your BEST, not what is your FAVORITE. You may love doing sprints but may not have the fast twitch muscles to really be competitive. Conversely, you may love going long but the training volume tears you down.

It doesn't have to be a distance that you've actually raced. Based on your strengths, what do you think your best distance is?

For me, since I haven't raced at HIM or above yet, I'll have to draw parallels from running and apply them to triathlon.

I am primarily a strength athlete. I don't have the innate pure speed to really take advantage of flat, fast courses yet I'm all over rollers and hills. And I have a lot of endurance. I tend to perform better and be more competitive at the 15K-HM vs. 5K-10K.

As much as I LOVE the oly distance, I honestly don't think I have the top end speed talent to really do well. So even though I have not done a HIM yet, that could be the distance where I can really maximize my capabilities. I'm not saying that my focus will now be on HIM or above. I could go back to exclusively doing olys but I just have to realize that that may not be where my strengths lie.

Discuss.....

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#2 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:17 PM
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Great question, hobey, and I'm glad you qualified the question, because I know this thread would have turned into a "I like" rather than a "I'm best at" discussion.

For me, I'm not really sure what I'm best at. On the surface, I might say long course (half Iron/Iron distance), but that's probably my innate bias of what I like, as long course is much more sexy to me.

But I really don't know if I'm better at long course. I have never trained specifically for the short stuff, but in a small local triathlon (Sprint or Oly) or road race (5K or 10K) I have gotten myself to routinely finish in or on the line of Top-10. And I could probably say same for long course, but unfortunately there are no small scale long course races I've done. And on top of that with Long Course, I have yet to hit my potential. I am still climbing, getting faster, learing how to race the distances, and I'm convinced that it takes about 5 years to peak at the longer distances, as there is just too much base to build and far too much to learn to get a successful race execution.

I think if I spent the next year racing exclusively Sprints, I could get very, very fast. Maybe to the point where even though that speed could translate over to long course, I would be much more successful at those distances.

It's something I can't draw conconclusions on because, again, I haven't trained for short course -- only long course.

Then again, maybe I'm equal, since I can't come up with an answer here.

Either way, it's a great question!
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#3 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:18 PM
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Interesting. I think my BEST would probably be Oly. I say this as swim is my week link, bike is my strongest then run. I feel like the bike is long enough on the Oly that I can take advantage of that and the run isn't so long that it wipes me out.

I loved doing my HIM and am considering Timberman 70.3 to be my A race next year, but it was so hard to get the training in.
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#4 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:35 PM
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Since I have very limited tri experience I will have to use my run experience to base my answer on. I'm defenitely a better endurance racer (not to say that I'm fast at anything). I swear to God I don't have a fast twitch muscle in my body . I hate shorter races because I feel like I'm dying the entire time. I love pushing myself to go longer and stronger and I get great satisfaction in going long distances.
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#5 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:35 PM - Thead Starter
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I don't know if this example will help others answer the question but take BrewDad and his friend, B.

They train together and both are huge proponents of the Pfitz philosophy so the training plans are similar if not identical. Same mileage per week, etc.

In the 5K, B is usually faster than BrewDad and typically beats him at any race they run together. At the marathon, BrewDad has blown B away and he has the edge in the HM.

Try to answer in that context.

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#6 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:37 PM
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I'm thinking a half Iron is my best distance. I'm a slowtwitcher. Let's face it. 26.2 at the end of an IM sucks. 13.1 is more managable

Testing!
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#7 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:46 PM
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Interesting question. I think I tend to excel at the half-hour efforts. I seem to be able to find that barely-manageable pace and just hang on.

The 5k is just a little too short and the 10k is just a little too long. Guess I should start looking for some 8k's to test this theory.

I guess my question would be how many people would say they enjoy the "wrong" distance. That is, who is going to say they really like to go long even though their body seems to do best at very short distances? Wouldn't most of us naturally enjoy the distance we excel at?

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#8 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:48 PM
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For me it's the Olympic, hands down. For a couple of reasons:
1. the main one is it favors runners over cyclists (I remember Sheldon mentioned this on the board a few years ago). And, I'm a much faster runner (esp when trained) than I am a cyclist.
2. perfect distance swim for me - I can hold a decently fast 1-mile swim. I'm not a sprinter and I'm much slower longer distances. And, the swim is more heavily weighted in the olympic distance vs. HIM or IM.
3. Something about the training plans, the distances needed to cover and the quality workouts just works for me. Any longer, and I'm just getting in the distance vs. working on speed.
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#9 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:54 PM
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the longer the better. I'm a runner first, cyclist second, and tris come third. I'm doing my first IM at the end of the year. I'm definitely an endurance guy, so we'll see how that goes.

I'm a 3:05 marathoner, which is good, but not spectacular. However, add on more mileage and I finish "stronger." I've had top 10 finishes at ultras. I'll never be a record-setter, but ultra distance events seem to work for me.
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#10 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 03:56 PM
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Cool question Hobey!

I've only trained specifically for IM distance and one HIM, and performed Olys and one sprint race using the residual fitness. I believe that if I trained specifically for a fast Oly or speedy HIM, my performance would be better than the times logged in the past races. I can race a respectable 5k, 10m, or marathon, but combining the 3 disciplines is something I'm still working on.

I would say Oly & HIM would be my best~
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#11 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:06 PM
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Well, based on Beth's answer, I guess HIM would be my best, given that cycling is my strength.
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#12 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:08 PM
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I think my best distance would be 50y swim, 5mi bike and maybe 5k run.
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#13 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:08 PM
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I'm not exactly sure as I'm still only in my 3rd year, but I would probably say the oly distance. Mostly I am just basing this on my placing in the races that I have done, and it seems like my strongest showing is in the oly distance. It's certainly possible that I will someday be able to compete at a higher level with the HIM distance, but I know I still have a couple of years of figuring out the long stuff. Who knows with the IM - I just want to finish that one so I don't have super high aspirations yet!
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#14 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:11 PM
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I actually have no idea. I've only done sprints. I've gotten better (differential between PW and PR on same course: 16min). I don't foresee myself become a fasthole at any distance though. I don't know how I would even compare performance at a new distance to what I have done since I'd be a newbie and anything new would probably follow the same progression from BOP to MOP.

I have no idea if I'll even do anything more (even an Oly) just because of constraints on my time. I already get into trouble with 4-6hrs/week of training.

So, I'll have to wait a good 10 years or so to answer this.
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#15 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:46 PM
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If I fix my swim, best distance is sprint. I'm actually quite fast when I need to be.
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#16 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 04:58 PM
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Fun topic to discuss, hobey! So when you plug in your road race times into some of those calculators, do you do better in a longer distance than a shorter one? In my case, shorter races are way faster, but that doesn't mean I am of more fast twitch muscles; I simply haven't trained enough for the longer distance.

It is a tough question, I am not sure. Based on the current strength (or lack there of, or, should I say 'still developing cycling muscle strength' in a positive manner ), I would say sprint. The longer the distance is, the clearer my cycling limitation becomes. I can go short and hard. The longer the bike leg, the bigger the negative impact on my run will be. Trying to figure out the answer from the race placement wouldn't give a fair picture in my opinion. Because those who are strong at HIM or IM don't often race in shorter distances. If those start showing up in shorter races.....
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#17 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 05:37 PM
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Very hard to say for myself, but kind of for a different reason.

If you look solely at my placement in my age group, as compared to others, I would say I fare best in sprints/olympics, usually being in the top 10-33% of my age group.

As compared to that, I am usually right around the top 40-50% for longer distances (HIM-IM).

BUT, I also think, well know, that far more prepared athletes show up at the HIM/IM distance. There are plenty of first timers in the sprints and olympics, so by sheer experience I may place higher than the first timers.

So does that make me better at the short stuff? I have no idea. I do know that I feel like my eyeballs are going to pop out when I do that stuff and I hate trying to "go fast" because I feel like I am absolutely not built to do it.

On that note, I feel like I am better suited for long long stuff than anything else. It may just be the way I want to see it, but I feel like my 5:06 ironman marathon may be a bit more impressive than a 25 minute three mile run split at the end of a sprint triathlon. I will also tell you though that that stinking 8:20 min/mile run at the end of a sprint hurts more than that 5:06 ironman marathon...call me crazy, but oh well.

Just running, I notice the same sort of thing, but again I think it is who shows up at the races. I will place much higher in a 5k than I will in a marathon, but there are a lot of people who are doing the distance for the first time in a 5k - same for a marathon, but I think the percentage is greater.

My highest placing I think though came from a 50k on a hot 86 degree record-high day in December. That does not include my 2nd AG place in a 5k, but I don't count that because there weren't many people there. Maybe I should say the 50k was my best placing relative to the crowd I was racing against.

I feel better suited for the longer stuff as I'd rather run a half marathon than a 5k or 10k any day, so that is not answering your question the way you wanted it answered, but I think it is still pertinent.
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#18 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 05:38 PM
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My best race so far has been a sprint. However, I don't think that's my best distance. I am not fast. I am more of an endurance athlete. I don't think the Oly is long enough. So, HIM would probably be my best distance.
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#19 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 08:27 PM
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Being a weakish swimmer, I would say my best distance is the half IM. I can usually stay within sight of the leaders and then I can use the power on the bike to catch and pass them. The bike is long enough for me to catch the leaders because it short enough for me to hammer the whole way. I have to hold on in the run and it's long enough to tire everybody , but short enough to keep the HR red lined.

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#20 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 09:16 PM
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To show you how we are all built so differently, for me the absolute single most hurt I have ever gone through, without a fruitcake of a doubt, is holding onto the run in the Ironman. Nothing compares. Not a thing.

My two most painful moments in my triathlon life came in the marathon of Ironman. IMCdA '07 I pulled off a 3:35 marathon split that seriously nearly killed me. And in IMLP '08, I did it again, on a much tougher marathon course, to the tune of 3:34. After those two, Sprints are like a walk in the park pain wise. Because the pain of holding on for dear life when there is but a bitty life to hold onto with such little energy to do it is so steep, so great, in an Ironman that to ask to do it for only a few short minutes in a Sprint when you still have so much left in the tank even though you feel as if nothing is there and lactate is building... is no comparison.

For me.
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#21 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 09:18 PM
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Let me remind you folks that Sheldon swam a 1:02 at his last IRONMAN!

Testing!
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#22 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 09:28 PM
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I have no idea....
I don't think I've done enough of any one distance to honestly compare them.

It's still a bit unfamiliar to me to know where the red line is for various distances, so I think I hold back too much for fear of crashing and burning, regardless of the distance.

I can't count my HIM experience right now, either...because I did crash. lol I got up and finished, but I don't have a "healthy" HIM under my belt. I think I'd like to do more of that distance, just to see how I'd do without "falling down and going boom."

Ferries are for wimps!!
Let's swim!
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#23 of 35 Old 07-09-2009, 09:52 PM
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I don't know what my best is...but I'm looking forward to finding out!
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#24 of 35 Old 07-10-2009, 12:36 AM
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by best and strengths and capabilities you seem to be qualifying as fastest. reaching for your potential as fast, no?

answering not to Tri distances
my best distance, my strongest distance and the distance I'm capable of are 3 different distances.
My best distance would be 3 miles. It's my commute. and my warm up so from 2 - 12 or more times a day. 3-5 days a week 3+ years.
My strongest distance: the hour trail through the woods @ my brother's.
My capabilities: hmm?
None of which are fast
On a bike I prefer to just wind it out and go.
In the pool. ha lazy river count? or can I bring the kayak?
That or the distance between the computer and the coffee pot.
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#25 of 35 Old 07-10-2009, 12:55 AM
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.
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