Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ironman and the Details

Ironman racing is all about the details. Focus on the details and late in the race they will pay off. Blow off a few details here and there, and late in the race, you're in trouble. Pay attention to the details in your training, and make them important then, not just on race day.

Coach Vance


fcborik said...

I've never done an Ironman or Half-Ironman, so I'm not exactly sure what details are important, but since I'm preparing for my first Half IM, I figure I'd put forth a few that I'm thinking about (besides executing the training plan).

1. Trained with the exact equipment that will be used during the race. This includes long bike rides in the tri-suit.
2. Running shoes that are fresh, but broken in.
3. Heat adaptation for race day, if required (mine will be).
4. Training on bike and run courses with similar (or slightly harder) elevation profiles.
5. Drive the bike course, noting any technically challenging portions.
6. Detailed, written plan for race week and race day. Writing things down helps me think through stuff that I would otherwise miss. Race week includes a day by day list of activities to minimize stress caused by unexpected problems. Race day planning includes pre-race routine, mental thoughts and keys for each leg of the race, strategies for handling the course, and pacing strategies (power levels, pace, percieved effort).
7. Nutrition plan. (I've tested this and practiced it now for several months, so I just have to do what I've been doing).
8. Contingency planning. Do I have clothing in case it becomes cold/rains? What if I can't wear a wetsuit due to temperature? Can I handle flats/tire rips on the bike?
9. Recovery plan. If the objective of taper is to focus on recovery, then what is the plan? Adequate sleep? Naps? Active recovery? Stretchihg? Massages? (Yes!!) Nutrition?
10. Mental plan and approach. Part of race planning, but also need to go into race week with confidence. What are the things that build confidence? I think the single thing that inspires race confidence is having successfully executed the training plan. In the military, we always said: "Trust your training". That works extremely well if: (a) the training was relevant to the task and (b) you don't make random changes at the last minute.

Did I miss anything?


Frank Borik

Jim Vance said...

All excellent points Frank. I think the details go even deeper, in the execution of one's mental focus with each turn of the pedals, every step and stride, every corner, every uphill. Singularly, these have little significance, but when we see the sum of parts, it's astoundingly powerful in the later stages of the race. This takes active engagement every practice, every training session.