Deborah Cox is one of the first athletes we worked with who wanted to compete in an Olympic Triathlon. Here are some questions we asked Deborah after her race performance, to give you a benchmark she finished her first sprint triathlon with a 5k run time of 43 minutes, this year she finished her olympic triathlon with a 10k run time of 54 minutes! I am proud of Deborah for her personal improvement and here are some things she had to say after her race:
Q: What made you decide to start training for your first Olympic triathlon?
I tried my first triathlon – a sprint – at the end of last October and suffered! My heart rate was too high from the very start and I never got it under control. I was so exhausted I could barely finish the run. Who would love that? So, I decided to try the Olympic distance, hoping I could settle down a little more in each leg of the race before having to scramble bug-eyed in transition.
Q: What did you feel was your biggest challenge or obstacle to overcome in order to reach your personal goals on race day?
Here’s the short list:
Knowing how to plan the training. Looking at stuff on the internet is overwhelming and I didn’t have the experience to sort it out. (Of course, with TTR, I didn’t have to!) I’m not a swimmer and got gassed in that leg of the sprint. I knew for the Olympic, I’d have to improve the efficiency of my stroke even if it meant slowing down. And, some lessons. I’d only been running for 3 months when I did my sprint. Starting to run at the age of 63 hurts! I hope to never see a video of myself running! Actually, I walked several times during the sprint so it was obvious I needed to train more. I wanted to try the Olympic distance but had a lot of self-doubt and negative narratives to deal with! Oh well.
Q: What were your biggest improvements from your first sprint triathlon to your second Olympic triathlon?
I felt composed and focused. My goal was to finish strong and feeling good. I was able to keep my swim pace exactly where I wanted so my heart rate never got too high. I was prepared to get passed by a lot of other swimmers so it didn’t mess with my head. I didn’t push on the bike so I was able to start the run feeling strong. Then kept a steady, sustainable pace. I took my time during transitions. Adrenaline is expensive mistake to make.
Q: What parts of your training plan did you believe helped you most?
Drills. They keep it interesting and present small, regular opportunities to succeed and chart improvement. Knowing what and how much to do every day. I love my training calendar. Trusting Coach Dan would give me the right volume to get me where I wanted to go. Practicing hydration and race nutrition.
Q: What was the hardest workout you did to prepare for your first Olympic Triathlon?
Every one I wanted to blow off and didn’t. Oh, and anything involving running shoes.
Q: What is one thing you learned from this race and experience working with a coach at TTR?
The amazing benefit of turning the training schedule over to someone competent. All I had to do was concentrate on me. Also, that improvement is the inevitable result of training. How much or how fast aren’t the right questions for me. I just want to see what I’m capable of!
Q: Anything else you want people to know?
Coach Dan’s personal attention and encouragement were invaluable. He wanted to know when I was sick, injured or even just tired and dragging. He didn’t care that I’m not and will never be an elite athlete. He truly went the extra distance to make sure I had everything I needed to maximize my training experience. He wanted to help me meet my goals and my questions and concerns were always answered. He told me I could do it and I decided to believe him.
Deb’s run pace improvement: