When Ironman week rolls around it’s very easy to get swept up in the hype and it’s very important that you take control of your Ironman Triathlon and go in with a plan and stick with it.
If it’s your first Ironman it’s especially important to avoid being influenced by the actions of all those other triathletes around you.
It can be tempting to follow the crowd and divert from the course of action that will serve you best.
You will need to have a lot of self control and have the confidence and self-belief that you have done everything in your power to prepare for the big day.
Making last minute changes in nutrition, gear, or race strategy because you see someone else doing things differently is usually not a very good idea.
For one thing, what they are doing could be wrong and ill-advised.
In the book I wrote called Ironstruck…The Ironman Triathlon Journey I wrote about something I called the Ironman Bubble.
Imagine yourself completely enveloped in a protective bubble that makes you impervious to what is happening all around you.
Let the sound and the fury of all that transpires on race day just bounce off you and stay focused on your goal…and you will succeed.
Let me give you some examples….
It’s race morning and the gun is going to sound for the start of the swim in about an hour and you see a lot of people walking around with water bottles and you wonder if you should be talking on fluids as well because all these other people are.
If you have hydrated properly in the days prior to the race it’s not necessary to be taking on more water at the last minute just because others are.
It could lead to upset stomach as there’s not sufficient time for it to be assimilated by your body and in effect, could do more harm than good.
If you see someone going through intricate stretching maneuvers in the transition area you might just think you better do some stretching yourself.
If you don’t usually stretch, race morning is a really bad time to start.
First of all, you could easily injure yourself by doing stretches your body is unaccustomed to, and secondly, the person you see stretching is most likely just trying to expel nervous energy and there is no value to the actual stretching itself.
THE SWIM/BIKE TRANSITION
This is critically important and could have a big impact on how your entire race unfolds.
When you exit the water I would bet a $1000 wetsuit that there will be people all around you who are going to be running the minute they can stand up.
They will run out of the water, run to the wetsuit strippers, run to the change tent, and run to their bikes.
They are so full of adrenaline and feel so great because they made it out of the swim alive and feel awesome because they have been resting for weeks that they just can’t harness all that energy….so they run.
It’s crucial to recover from the swim and to get control of your heart-rate.
If you keep it elevated all through the swim, all the way through transition, and go as fast as you can on the bike, you will eventually hit the wall somewhere on the bike course…..and yet still have a 26.2-mile marathon course to navigate.
Welcome to the Ironman Death March.
Your natural instinct will be to run yourself during that first transition because everyone else around you is.
In the big scheme of things, the few minutes you gain by running as soon as you exit the water is simply not worth all the suffering it will cause hours later on the run course because you wasted valuable energy needlessly.
Let your body recover and ease yourself onto the bike course and allow yourself plenty of time to adjust from being horizontal to vertical.
When you get out of the water after a long swim that dizziness you feel is part of your body adjusting as the blood flow is changed the minute you stand up and your body needs time to adjust to those changes.
Take control of your Ironman Triathlon the minute you arrive at the race venue.
You have worked so hard to get where you are. Don’t be seduced by those bright neon running shoes at the expo that look so cool that you just have to race in them.
Save that new electrolyte replacement drink you were talked into buying for the next training season.
Using it in a race without training with it for an extended length of time is a recipe for disaster.
For the best possible result on race day take control of your Ironman Triathlon from the very beginning and stay focused on the finish line and don’t let anything sway you from your mission.