Looking Ahead – Ironman Arizona and Arizona 70.3

Though the DNF rate at Worlds was surprisingly low considering the grueling course, I did have two incredible triathlete friends drop out, one siting that it just wasn’t there physically or mentally.  It’s inevitable that some days are going to be harder than others.  I mentioned to a buddy the morning before the race, while looking into transition, that although it’s always the same distance from the start, the finish shoot often feels much closer or farther away depending on the day you’re having.  I recall Ironman Lake Placid 2013 throwing my back out while putting on my wetsuit then continuing to race the next 10 hours through debilitating pain to a new IM PR.  That day was a real test!  But it’s much more fun to race confident.  All my best races have come while feeling good with the numbers coming together gracefully.

Following Chattanooga I was compelled to look back at previous 70.3’s to see how often the numbers fell apart, noticing unsurprisingly so that I had much greater consistency back when I was being coached.

703 Report Card

This could be because I was more diligent with my workouts, being kept in check each time I deviated, or also because I was notably more committed with significantly greater volume.  Perhaps it was due to season planning, though I managed to stay consistent racing fresh or fatigued.  My feeling is the attachment I had to HR was more substantial than I realized at the time (which my coach was always trying to ingrain into my head), and that my daily commitment to that one number (bpm) payed dividend on race morning.

Whatever the cause, following my last 2 sub-par performances, I’d like to get back to the land of consistency on the bike and run, where I didn’t have to look at my watch to know I was dead on (150/160bpm on the bike and run respectively).  These were always the days of PR’s and podiums.  Operating at 176bpm for a solid 2.5 hours on the bike is unstainable in a 70.3 and potentially devastating in the 10 hour sport of Ironman.

Looking forward to my last 2 races, Arizona 70.3 in October and Ironman Arizona in November I am making a commitment to get back to a few of the core concepts that led my success in 2014.

  • Staying in zone – I will be turning off all my data except HR and Time for the key longer workouts and monitoring my output afterwards only.
  • Race day fueling in training – piggybacking off of training in zone I will be prioritizing fueling as I would on race day to train my gut as well as my muscles for the Full, having never had a true success over that distance.
  • Prioritization of key workouts – namely putting more emphasis on my longer efforts to determine where I’m at leading into the full. I’d love to get comfortable with my long bricks, not just surviving, so that I can feel confident approaching the full.

Here’s my 9 week program –

In addition to the 3 criteria’s above there’s one more that I’m throwing into the mix and that is enjoying the process and remembering to have fun.   Otherwise all the hard work will feel like it was for nothing if you can’t enjoy what you’re doing to get to the test and not just the outcome.  Ways of doing this include being social with workouts, not taking yourself so seriously and preventing long workouts from being a deterrent to a well-balanced social life.

This week has been all about refreshing the mind and body.  We will get back to work on Monday.  Looking forward to it!

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