Monday, February 1, 2016

Race Strategy

Pre-Race Protocol

This season, I will have completed at least two 140.6 races, five 70.3 races and RAGBRAI (I have been told this is a competitive eating contest with a cycling problem). I have had ample practice to develop my pre-race protocol. What have I learned? Before I even start my pre-race protocol I need to have my family, work and training in their respective sweet spots.

Should I Warm Up for a Race?

There was a time when 500 people at a triathlon was a lot of people. It would be fair to say it was a BIG race. At that time, you could leave in and out of transition all the time, up until race start. I say this because at that time the leeway of the transition allowed for athletes to warm up in any manner they wanted. Now that races have become so much bigger, stricter rules have come into play. Bikes are not allowed to leave transition once they are in and some races take the swim warm up away, only giving you five minutes before your start. So how does one warm up for a triathlon? Is there a difference between each distance in what one needs? How do you decide what is best?

Controlling Pre-Race Anxiety

I’ve found that many of the mistakes athletes make during race week are driven by anxiety -- that’s not surprising, the last few days before a race can be nerve wracking.

To prevent pre-race nerves from getting the better of you, here are some of my top tips.

Effective Half Ironman Pacing

This pacing has worked very well in the past and is what I did to get to Kona, 1999.

The greatest challenge of long course racing is having the humility and patience to give yourself a chance to run well.

Ironman Racing - Your First Race

My buddy, Ian Brownlee, was kind enough to add some MOP thoughts. These are in italics. The normal print is my own ideas.

These thoughts are intended to help first timers with their pacing over the distance. I wrote the original article close to ten years ago. I updated it a bit but left the structure the same as it reflects how my first year of IM racing went.

Every one is different and somebody else's plan may not work for you. My comments are for those who just want to finish.

The Golden Rules of Going Long

Over my coaching career, I have been in contact with many athletes who are contemplating their first crack at the IM distance. Their goals are very similar-they want to finish the race. Period. If they skip the med-tent and manage a smile, great. However, what they are looking for is some advice on how to make their journey as satisfying (and pain free) as possible. If this sounds familiar, then I hope you will find this article helpful.

Call these The Golden Rules of Losing Your IronVirginity. Frankly, I think these points apply to everyone, and I need to constantly remind myself to avoid repeating my mistakes.

These are the biggest mistakes I made in my first triathlon season. They are also temptations that I constantly need to help others, as well as myself, avoid.

Rule One: You don't have to kill yourself in training.
So you've signed yourself up for an Ironman. You know it's a grueling race, so you better toughen yourself up by signing up for two marathons, half a dozen Century rides and a three-mile rough water swim. Not recommended!

For me, endurance training is exactly like turning a Styrofoam cup inside out. So long as you take it slowly you'll be able to do it. Try to rush things and - rip - you'll tear the cup.

You are the cup.

Rule Two: Build technique and endurance in your first year.
If you are making the jump up from Olympic or 1/2 IM racing, more than likely your greatest weakness is endurance. Most first timers (myself included) have averaged less than ten hours a week in training the season before their first Ironman. Most of our previous training was done on feel, a little of this and a little of that.