Coach Talks to First Time IronMan Racer

“Keep moving and stay calm. Relax the whole way through. Cruise through the swim. Don’t try very hard. Treat it as the warm-up for the day. Relax your stroke. Remember to take nice long strokes, and breathe.”

“Aim for a heart rate between 140-145 on the bike. Expect that your heart rate will be elevated with adrenaline as you come off the swim. Err on the side of caution. Be especially cautious, aiming for low 140s to Osoyoos. IronMan doesn’t start until the base of Richter. Expect the unexpected. Enjoy Yellow Lake. Expect your HR to elevate to 155 for climbs. Be careful of your positioning. Cover your bases and always be constantly moving. For Richter, carry only what you need. Don’t weigh yourself down. Eat 1 gel/every 30 min. Carry arm warmers with you.”

“Relax in the first km. Be careful about adrenaline. Don’t get caught up. Stay controlled. Don’t think too far ahead – revel in the moment. Main street is a false flat – at the library it gets easier. Stay in your rhythm. Take a fuel belt – you could always drop it. Use your “Go forever” mantra. Expect your heart rate to be in the range of 145-155.”

I took these notes in the pre-race chat that I had with my coach before IMC Canada – August 2007. It’s interesting to look back at this sage advice six+ months after the event. Now that I’ve done it, I can see that experience gives you an edge in an IronMan. Treating the swim as a warm-up served me well. Riding the bike course conservatively and knowing the route well was an advantage. I can see from my notes that Drew warned me about that terrible stretch on main street in the marathon. I guess he knew it would be hard, because that’s exactly where he was standing. The only thing that surprised me about IronMan was how much the run hurt. I wasn’t expecting so much pain. It wasn’t an injury kind of pain – it was an everywhere kind of pain. It made the run very very hard physically and it was my mental “go forever” mantra that got me through.

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