A 200 yard swim. A 10,000 meter bike. A 1.5 mile run. A triathlon sprint. That’s Threshold Racing’s Pre-Burn Series.
Even if you’re a long-distance triathlete, more and more coaches are recommending athletes spend more time in shorter races. With that in mind, Threshold Racing put on a series of events they call the “Pre-Burn”. These 200 yard swims, 10km bikes, and 1.5mile runs are held in a pool, on a “Watt-Bike”, and over a 2-loop parking lot run. A “fast” sprint, this triathlon puts your heart rate into Zone 4 (better known by me as the “ouch” zone) and keeps it there for the entire race. At the same time, you still have to pace yourself all the way to the finish.
Starting the swim in the pool, I did 4 “laps” in my own lane, and departed the water “fourth from last.” The @garmin #310xt recorded 157 yds… actually not too bad! For a laugh, check out the map!
Next was the bike. The stationary bike was provided by Wattbike, and it had several nifty features. I decided to use my run shoes rather than attaching my own bike pedals – a cool option on a stationary bike, though. So my T1 was longer than I intended. But, once on the bike, it’s equipped with a power meter than showed that my “circular” pedaling was anything but circular. Even though this was a race, I definitely used the information to improve my form – and make sure I put the same effort into each leg (I was favoring my right leg I discovered). Now I see why people like power meters! When I was pedaling in a circle the effort level decreased dramatically for the same speed.
My T2 was 8 seconds. The nice part about pedaling in my running shoes was the quick transition to the run. My legs were a little heavy and it took about 3/4 of a mile before I was able to start picking up the pace. Fortunately, I kept my heart rate in Z4 (anaerobic) the entire time.
The Pre-Burn series was a risky adventure, but participation has increased 300% in the last year, and it will probably increase even more in the future. It’s a great “race”, a place where you might even push yourself harder than a regular training event. It’s a great way to get warmed up for the triathlon season, and it was also a lot of fun!