I am writing this from Kona, and tomorrow morning will be the Ironman World Championships here. I'll be watching the race, following my athletes, etc. I know my athletes will follow their plans, as we've rehearsed it well, they are confident.
But there will be many athletes, even at this event where the quality of the athletes is high, who will race beyond their means. Their training has been preparing for a certain output, and they will attempt to race well beyond that output. This will come from a lack of confidence in the plan and preparation, as well as peer pressure in the race to go as hard as possible for as long as possible.
Most athletes, even the competitive age-groupers that are fighting for a podium spot, would benefit from a strategy where they let the competition make the mistakes and take advantage of that. You don't have to be super aggressive to be successful here.
Pro's on the other hand, (at least on the men's side), have to take an opposite approach. They must take risks if they want to win. They must race beyond their training, because the difference in winning and getting 10th is very small. Different race, different strategies, different demands. It's hard to represent a certain race output, when such an effort is so taxing, they wouldn't be recovered and ready to race. They are going on faith that they are prepared for that huge, single-day stress.
It will be fun to watch, as that's what makes it so exciting, seeing who blows up and when. And my picks....Rasmus Henning and Chrissie.