As I enter my 13th year as a pro and 14th as a coach I have a lot of case studies about common mistakes people make at the full/iron distance. Here as some of the most common.
Lacking BIG DAYS: Every athlete with a job is strapped for time. But they still need to find a way for a few key big days. Pros have these weekly, hell, I have them several times a week and sometimes day after day for a month like when in Spain at www.Stronglikebulltrainingcamp.com but unless you have a van and driver, coaches, a chef, a bike mechanic, and a group of athletes to push you, that kind of training isn’t possible. What is possible is spending some relationship or job capital to get several big days at key points in your prep from the race. A good coach can tell you how to do more with less and exactly which those days should be. You don’t need to be a pro, you just need to train like one a few critical days a year.
Swim form: working on swim form, is critical for a proper swim and to not be a start the bike and the rest of the long day in an energy hole. Sometimes swim form isn’t even about a faster swim split, its about just saving energy both mentally, and physically. Athletes feel guilty if they don’t suffer in their workouts but sometimes less pain and more focus on form results in more gain.
Race planning: Athletes often make race schedules up based on factors that don’t line up very well. “Well my BFF is running this marathon, and my dad is doing this ultra, and I always wanted to get drunk in New Orleans and puke those awesome donuts so I am doing that 70.3, and I signed up for 3 ironman races in 8 weeks. What do you think?” Building your race schedule is an art form and a science. If you want to have a great IM/full you need to focus on it and that means building a schedule that contributes to that event, not one that leaves you smashed for it.
Race execution: This is more than just “pacing”. Its about setting goals, and doing the work to achieve them. Want to get to Kona? OK, but be honest about the work that it will take and then execute that kind of race. Your race execution should reflect the work you did and be a humble and conservative estimation of your training. IM/Full distance racing punishes those that try to race above their heads. You earn your time, so make sure the pace and effort you race at is realistic. Even then it might all go sideways, but you are SURE to find out just how long a 26.2 mile walk is if you race above your fitness and thats an ego issue as much as anything else. A coach is their to be objective and give you feed back, athletes (including myself when I race) are often to emotionally vested to be objective.
Life Management. I know a lot of athletes that waste a lot of time. The ones that don’t go a lot faster. Plan your life out, plan your day out and ABT: always be training. Of course when you aren’t don’t be. Be a fully present parent, partner, employee, hobo, whatever. But if your surfing the net, watching TV, or procrastating, your wasting time and time is critical for us. Time is the one thing, every Full/IM athlete needs more of.
Photo: Me doing some hand on coaching at a workout with some of great athletes I had in 2014. (in this photo is are some of my athletes including a NYC Marathon Elite runner, an ironman finisher, my self, and the two time American Zofingen champion.)
I Have several spots for my 2015 team. If you would like me to coach you read about it below or email me: evilracingcult (at) gmail (dot) com