I’ve talked about race plans with all of my clients in the past, and I thought I’d share mine for IMC. I didn’t stick to it 100%, but close enough for an effective plan. Note that this was a prediction before the race, and not an account OF the race. Also, I know this post isn’t glamorous, and nor should it be!
Ironman Canada Race Plan
I’ve put off this race plan for a couple reasons- busy with the trip, traveling, wrapping up work for two weeks. But, the real reason is because I haven’t been nervous for the race until today (Wednesday, Aug 22). It actually hit me at exactly 8:30 this morning- I’ve been riding the waves of excitement with an overwhelming amount of support from my family and tri-family that it took days of driving and focus to allow next Sunday’s task to truly set in. Race day is going to be Gnarly.
Another thought I had was that I didn’t want to write my race plan until I had something to be nervous about. For example, if you’re excited to see a person, you focus on the future act of seeing them, not the future act of what you’re going to do with them. Now that I’m close enough (driving through Washington at the moment) to see “her”, I can get nervous about how we’re going to treat each other.
So, here is what’s sinking in, and here’s how I’m going to handle it.
Swim- There are several elements of the swim that are interesting that I can accept and work with.
The Mass Swim Start: 2800 athletes, starting at the exact same time. I’m going to line up in the middle, 1/3 deep, away from the rocks on the sides. I’m not going to necessarily gun the swim start, but I’m not going to sit and watch folks swim either. At Wildflower last year, I waited too long and ended doing much more swim battling than I wanted.
The Swim Battle: Left pinky still broken. It IS going to get kicked, and it IS going to hurt. Accept it and move on. More reason to focus on getting in the correct swim draft position on some faster swimmer’s hip.
The Course: One mile-ish straight out to the middle of the lake. Right shoulder 90 degree turn for .5 mile straight, another Right shoulder 90 degree turn, one mile straight back to the beach. First mile, working on solid positioning and comfort. .4 mile section: the field will be a little more spread by here- relax the pace, say a prayer, and make the final turn. Last mile of the swim: Pickup the pace and lock it in. Last 1/2 mile of the swim: pee and fire up the arms- their work is done for now.
T1: Transition, sunscreen help from volunteers, eat a GU, apply necessary anti-chafing goodness
Bike: One loop consisting of 7,450 feet of climbing over 112 miles. Hilly, hot, some windy sections that eventually translate to a tail-wind, luckily. A “Special Needs” bag will be waiting for me at the mark, mile 70. This means I only have to pack myself for a little over half of the ride, and can re-stock gu’s/drinks when I get my SN Bag. This aids my entire race plan of “racing light”- carrying a little as possible for the lightest ride thus utilizing my racing heart rate to do the most work, aka fastest pace on the bike with the least amount of over-expenditure.
Supplies: On my bike, I’ll have the SHIV bladder filled with water. On the XLab cage: one bottle of water, one filled with Accelerade, plus two spare tires + tools. On myself, I’ll carry 5 Gu’s, non caffeinated type. Between the Gu’s and the Accel., I’ll be taking in 100 calories every 30-40 minutes. At the SN Bag pick-up, I’ll restock my Gu’s plus eat at least half of a power bar, and retrieve my NUUN pillbox. Finish power bar on the course.
Hilly Sections: Don’t blow up, and don’t relax at the top of the hill- stand when necessary but keep HR under control. After the climb at Yellow Lake, mile 92, drop-in NUUN tablet to Shiv bladder- finish it before T2. Light spinning/light standing from miles 100-112 of course. Get my back used to being upright again, loosen up cycling shoes.
T2: Beer & Nap
T2: Easy off of the bike- don’t anger the Spine Gods. Light self-massage on feet, easy bending over to put on shoes. Re-stock Gu’s, and get back to moving.
Run: First marathon race I’ll ever do (Two birds with one stone). Again, a special needs bag is at the turn around, mile 13.1, packing light.
Supplies: Can’t carry water with my back, so utilize the aid stations every time (every 1 mile). Carry another 4 Gu’s, stick to your math for timing and electrolyte intake.
The first 3 miles are a gradual incline out of town. Then, it gets rolly. Out and back course with a lolly-pop top at the 13.1 mile turn-around. Use the crowd to get out of town- look good here because you probably won’t when they see you next. After mile 3, check your average pace, and kick-it up- not max speed, but slightly faster than the first three miles, if and only if, heart rate doesn’t go beyond 150. Make some friends, too. Be grateful.
Mile 3 to mile 13.1 – Don’t fall apart. Friends and family are everywhere though they aren’t in-person. Re-live the greatest moments (almost all of them!) of the two weeks in your head and smile. It’s probably going to be hotter than two rats getting-it-on in a wool sock. Don’t worry.
13.1 Mile Turn-around and Special Needs bag pick-up: Restock 4 gu’s, caffeinated now, power bar pickup. Tell your legs what to do- pickup the pace. Make the 13.1-19.1 split the very best of the marathon. Fire up the Caffeine at the aid stations and show Simpson it IS possible to hold sub-10 (will do sub 9 if I can) minute miles during this section- what better motivation for a run piece than beasting a skeptic? You know he’s following every split section and posting it on your Facebook.
Miles 19 – Finish. Up to heart and soul, & God willing. If it’s a good day, I’ll finish around 13 hours. If it’s a realllllly good day, I’ll finish closer to 12.
I had an awesome day yesterday at the UCSB Sprint Triathlon. The weather ended up being nearly perfect after some minor predictions of rain for the previous two days, and, as always, I learned a few things from the experience.
The UCSB Sprint Tri, aka Kendra’s Race, is a 1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3 mile run. The most unique part of this race, in my opinion, was the swim. The bike and run routes were great- fast and mostly flat. But the swim start from Campus Point had three unique elements that some may not normally think about- 1) it has about 50-60 yards of 3 feet deep water to run through before you can actually start swimming, 2) It was high-tide with noticeably big waves coming in (the volunteer paddle boarders were surfing in-between wave starts), 3) Kelp, kelp, and more kelp.
It’s the final race of the collegiate season, so naturally, there were a lot of “kids” there from all over California; UCSB, USC, CAL, Cal Poly, etc. In addition, it’s one of the few races that you’ll see a large group of high school athletes. Hell, there was an even an 8 year old racing that day- very, very cool.
What’s also cool is that I figured that 1) with the amount of training time I have, 2) the fact I don’t have to sit in class from 8:00 am – 2:45 pm, and 3) that my only time to run isn’t called “recess” or “P.E.”, that I’d have the upper hand on 100% of all triathlon elements. Probably a fair assumption, right? *****
Nope! I got smoked at the sprint start of the swim. Unofficially official- they were the fastest kids on the planet. They were fearless of rolling their ankles or twisting their knees- almost a reckless abandon. I’m not even sure they were dealing with the same current, water conditions, and beach holes that I was. In fact, now that I think about it, they might have been running on top of the water like one of these:
30 yards into the 60 yards of knee-high water sprinting, it was clear that the high school athletes had divided my wave start into two groups, with myself leading the slower one- “Damn, I need to go back to playing kickball, packing Luncheables, and playing video games”, I thought.
The kelp played an interesting role for the swim, too. Every once in a while, you’ll get an element of the sport that you’re only going to learn to overcome by doing it. It’s not like I’m going to say to a client, “Hey, today for your workout, we’re going to go swim in kelp”. Now, one may experience kelp in more ocean practice- I get that, but yesterday’s kelp-ness is significant for one simple lesson:
In a triathlon race, you either learn to adapt, orrr… you learn to adapt.
You tell yourself that it’s not a problem, just like you would tell yourself when you were a kid that there are no monsters hiding under your bed. Luckily, it was high-tide, so the kelp was just beneath the surface, and not in your face enough to make one panic. There are worse things that can happen during a swim start! Grab a hold, pull through, and relax- it will all be over in 12 minutes.
The rest of the race went great- as for all of the greyhounds that bolted on the start? I got them on the bike and the run. Maybe when they have another growth spurt and get some longer legs, they’ll be able to hold their lead!
Now- who wants to go play some kickball?
*****Like you may notice from some of my previous posts, these events that I write about usually contain lessons I learned from being wrong, and this case is not any different. After all, I started this site to spread positive information that I learned the easy AND the hard way. If a coach doesn’t do anything to teach you lessons learned the hard way, they don’t have any business trying to relate to your beginnings in any sport.
Be aware: this post may also be titled, “You know what really grinds my gears?”
I just had an interesting conversation with a local endurance athlete, Jen, who pointed out some good perspectives about our local trainer/coach community. The first thought we had was how unbelievably fortunate we are to have access to some resources and people that help progress endurance sports to the next level. The most recent being last week’s Santa Barbara Trail Runner’s event hosting of Unbreakable - a documentary about the Western States 100 Race from 2010. In addition to finding a venue, the club setup a Q & A section with the film’s director, one of the star athletes, as well as several regional athletes who have also completed the 100 mile race from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA. While I don’t personally know the locals who participated in the event, I certainly left that night feeling empowered and inspired by their stories, in addition to the film. And if the independent clubs weren’t enough, this town has amazing variety of top-notch coaches, trainers, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc.
Of course, we discussed the opposite side of the trainer spectrum, too, and surprisingly we both had similar thoughts- some trainers/business owners in this town don’t understand what they should be doing. 1) They have financial pressures that don’t allow then to focus on their craft, 2) they’re too involved with being everyone’s best friend, 3) they believe motivation is enough of a tool to inspire someone, 4) or they’re content with not knowing more, and thus stuck in older training methods. So, in this spirit, (and perhaps to vocalize my vow of professionalism), I made a Top 5 list of what fitness pros should and shouldn’t be doing.
Top 5 Things a Trainer/Coach Should Be…
1. Progressing their current training clients to their desired goals, using proven scientific methods.
2. Consistently researching & testing new methods for fitness advancements.
3. Inspiring others with their own lifestyle and activities.
4. Coaching themselves towards their own personal goal.
5. Finding balance in their own personal/professional/training life.
Top 5 Things a Trainer/Coach Should NOT Be…
1. Signing up for local events, posting them to social media sites, saying “Who’s going to join me?!” (in an effort to acquire more active readers), when in-fact come race day, they’re actually sleeping-in.
2. Not exercising themselves, or setting their own fitness/athletic goals.
3. Posting stock photos of someone you’ve never met with a pretty motivating phrase behind it. I mean, feel free to post your own photos, or your client’s, (I love seeing actual results and progress!) but leave the sunset bikini model shots taken in Jamaica in Sports Illustrated.
4. Taking photos of clients with wretched form and posting them online. I understand you want to have an online presence. But, don’t worry about the picture- put down the camera and correct your clients posture before their discs herniate, please!
5. Content with lack of professional drive. If the coach/trainer doesn’t want to be a beast, an animal, a Garuda, a Quailien, etc, you (the client) will never be inspired.
What else did I miss from this list? What do you folks like and dislike about trainers & coaches in your local area? (Please no specific names)
I try to keep things simple and brutally honest when it comes to posting training tips, workouts, nutrition, etc., and I do this for several reasons. But, the most important reason is that what works for me, what I teach to my coaching clients, and the methods I’ve developed over the past three years have worked, regardless if the material is simple or complex. The video below doesn’t have all of the answers of what will work for you, but I bet you can appreciate it’s simplistic first-step in determining how to prepare for your longer exercise bouts.