In Western Canada it is Ironman week!! Many of many training buddies with CSR and elsewhere are headed to Penticton this week to race in Ironman Canada next Sunday, August 26th. I wish I could go watch with so many people to cheer for! But you know what they say, if I was to go I would likely catch the Ironman bug and get in line to sign up for next year, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, ha! However, a few weeks ago, I facilitated a fun discussion on mental preparation for an Ironman for my training group. So for everyone who was there (and those who missed it) this blog is a reminder for you!
1. State your dream performance goal. Given your current fitness, the training you’ve done, your motivation, and current capabilities, if everything comes together what is most realistic race day performance goal for you? Is your goal simply to finish? To enjoy your race day? To set a personal best time in one or all three disciplines? To finish at the top end of your age group? To qualify for Kona? Once you’ve got your performance goal(s) clear, file it/them away and focus on the next three points as race day nears.
2. Focus on your reasons to stay confident! For some reason, especially when taper time begins, extra energy starts to mount and some feel compelled to start doubting. With the normal amount of added anxiousness it is not the time to make last minute changes such as to equipment or nutrition. Enjoy the countdown and extra time to put your feet up! Trust in what you know works for you, and in what you’ve already tried and tested especially in the nutrition and equipment departments. The physical training is in the bank, race day will be a celebration of all your hard work! Reflect on your preparation and reasons to be confident without comparing yourself to others. What improvements have you made? What training limitations have you pushed? Reflect on all the hard work you’ve put in to be ready for the day with the time and commitment you’ve had to do so? What have others said about you that encourages you? What specific things have you done to be race ready? Who or what inspires you to do an Ironman?
3. Be ready for anything and everything! In a race as long as an Ironman there are going to be uncomfortable and painful moments. It is important to anticipate as well as you can what will be YOUR biggest challenges of the day and prepare for how you will respond and ultimately stay positive. Things may go way better than expected. Or way worse than expected or anywhere in between. Visualize how you will react and respond with calm to any number or scenarios that could happen….losing your goggles in the swim, getting knocked in the head in the water, a flat tire, cramps, walking on the run, blisters, equipment malfunction such as heart rate monitor….the more you can mentally prepare for any race day scenario, the less it will take you by surprise, and the more you will be able to remain calm, respond positively and keep your energy focused on getting the best out of yourself for the race! What will be your overall guiding mantra for the day (or each race segment if you prefer to have an overall mantra for swim, bike and run)? Some examples I’ve heard are “just keep smiling”, “one step at a time”, “stay in the moment”, “the more I run, the sooner I’ll be done”, “keep calm and carry on”, “this too will pass” (if going through a tough part of the race), “whatever will be will be” to name a few!
4. Write your post-race obituary. How do you want to feel when you cross that finish line at the end of the day? What do you want to be able to say about yourself? Make a list of all the things you want to be able to say about yourself at the end of the day no matter what your end result is! In other words, focus on everything that you will have control over: your effort, your attitude, your perseverance, your composure, your grit!! You are choosing to get on the start line! You can choose the mindset with which you want to race!
Good luck to everyone I know toeing the line on Sunday! I’ll be cheering and tracking you all!!