Power lifter Ed Coan wrote in Tribe of Mentors (book by Tim Ferriss, but it compiles answers to his questions from many people) that when he trains for power lifting he would plan the 12 week stretch up to competition such that he was absolutely positive that he could accomplish the training lift for each day.
When it comes to a first Ironman, I think there is more faith involved than that. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has now done an Ironman distance who wasn’t confident before the race that they would in fact be able to do it. (Okay, there are probably plenty of athletes out there who were not worried about it given the amount of time that is allowed in the race, so maybe I should limit this to those of us who are going to be near the back of the pack on a good day). This is because most people do not do the full distance cycling or running before race day, much less put together in a single day or even weekend. It’s daunting. Why wouldn’t we doubt that we can actually do it? We put our faith in all that building training, that after a nice long taper, we can get to the finish line on race day – barring unforeseen delays.
I received this email recently from Ironman New Zealand:
With six weeks to go, now is the time when training might be getting on top of you, and you’re feeling a bit ‘over it’. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:
➡️ Don’t stress. It’s always better to be 10% undertrained than 10% overtrained.
➡️ Stay focused on the process, not your finish time.
➡️ Spend some time remembering why you’re doing the race, and write these reasons down!
➡️ Book yourself in for a massage!
If you haven’t already, join our awesome supportive online community here ➡️ Training for IRONMAN New Zealand 2019.
#AnythingIsPossible #IMNZ #IM703NZ
I think this is good advice, particularly points one and two for a first timer. If overly anxious about ‘can I do it’, one is going to be more likely to overtrain leading up to race day – possibly extending workouts in the last block of training longer than they are prepared for. If you do this and then show up to the start line with a nagging injury, your chances of getting to the end are reduced, at least to do so and recover quicly. Power lifter Ed Coan said another thing, a concept that in it’s own way does apply to Iron-distance triathlons (paraphrased here): the only time to push your body to the max is during competition.