8/30/15

Less is more...42 days 'til Kona!


In 30 days, Karel and I will be boarding a plane to Kona, Hawaii.
Holy Moly.....we will be racing in the 2015 Ironman World Championship in 41 days!!

This upcoming Ironman is very special for three reasons.
1) I absolutely LOVE racing in Kona. The island, the competition, the energy, the elements, the race vibe...it all makes me so excited to race for 140.6 miles!
2) This will be my 10th Ironman and 4th Ironman World Championship! I can't believe I have been racing endurance triathlons for 9 years and my body has allowed me to qualify for Kona at 4 of my 6 Kona qualifier Ironman races. 
3) I will be sharing the race course with my best friend and hubby, Karel. This is his first Ironman World Championship and 4th Ironman that he will finish. We love racing together and sharing our personal race stories to one another, after the race. 

Around this time of the Ironman journey, I find that Ironman athletes can make a few mistakes as it relates to training. There is a lot of self-doubt, worry, anxiety and fear that the body and mind is not and will not be ready for race day. This uncertainty and lack of trust in the training process often leads to doing more than needed in preparation for the upcoming Ironman event. 

You know what's funny...I don't believe you you need to feel in the best shape of your life, to race  for 140.6 miles. There's no magic number of hours you need to train or miles to cover for each sport to feel "prepared". And certainly, there is no "look" as to what your body composition needs to look like to race well for 140.6 miles. 

 As athletes, we are constantly developing, learning, gaining skills and improving. Year after year, we get stronger, faster, more efficient or smarter. 
Therefore, I do believe that you can feel ready, confident and prepared for your upcoming race. And that readiness comes from trusting the plan that keeps you healthy, injury free and hungry to race. 

Around 3-6 weeks out from an Ironman race, I often see and hear of athletes doing way too much volume and/or intensity. Perhaps it's inappropriately scheduled in the training plan or at fault of the athlete who feels she/he needs to do more as a result of fear-based training. 

This is my favorite time of my Ironman journey because every workout completed is one day closer to the race. Rather than chasing certain watts, times or paces, I chase improvements. 
Just improvements. 
Some days it's perfecting my fueling whereas other days I feel stronger or faster. Some days I feel like I am more resilient whereas other days I feel better with my endurance.

But this is not the time for me get greedy - wanting every workout to be perfect or better than the previous day. 

For Ironman athletes, the 3-6 weeks out from race day bring a lot of baggage. There is the emotional stress where your mind wants to be "all in" but as an age-grouper, we still have to balance work, family and other to-do's. Then there is the residual fatigue that we bring to every workout simply because we have been training for at least 3 months....if not way longer. 

With this baggage, we have to be extremely careful as to listen to the body. We must be ok to do less, adjust the intensity/duration, modify the week or take an extra recovery day. 
Certainly, work needs to get done to prepare the body for race day. There should be great dedication to every workout, workouts shouldn't be skipped because "it doesn't matter" and motivation should be at an all time high as this is the time when we execute to the best of our ability to feel as prepared as possible come taper. 

Sure, I have a few big time/placing goals for race day that keep me excited to train but above all, my focus is on arriving to the start line in Kona with a very healthy and strong body.

For the next 6 weeks - all I need my body to do is to stay healthy and I will be ready to race! 

More is not better. 

I trust my plan. I trust my previous fitness and I trust what I have learned in this Ironman journey. 
For the next 6 weeks, my main focus is on being smart so that I can be as consistent as possible with every week of training.
And most of all, I want to keep having fun. 

If you are currently training for an Ironman, it is important that you have the strength to adjust.
There's no good in taking risks 3-6 weeks out from race day because many times, these risks don't pay off. The fear-based training doesn't make for better race day performances. Being "in the moment" to get a workout checked-off for self validation may give you confidence but it isn't necessary in the big picture.
Remember that you are bringing months of fitness to your upcoming Ironman race...not one or two epic completed, haphazard workouts. 

Save your BEST performance for race day. 

Trust me - your body and mind will know what to do on race day.
Stay focused, stay smart and keep having fun.