My updated post for Massanutten Success
Four Keys of Ironman Execution
I listen to this podcast put out by the coaches of Endurance Nation. They tend to interview their athletes after their Ironman events, which is always interesting to me (I Love Race Reports!). They produced a segment called “Four Keys of Ironman Execution” and this is their four keys to a success Ironman.
Most of this could also pertain to a 100 mile event.
Execution, not Fitness. All you’ve done is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.
What shape I am in on race day is not relevant now. I’ve driven the vehicle to the starting line. I now need to steer that vehicle around on the rocks, in the best time possible, while feeding it and watering it, to its (my) best ability.
The Line. Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you.
The Line, in the EN talk, is mile 18 of the marathon. There are many smaller lines of MMT.
My first goal of MMT, is to finish. ALWAYS the goal. But I have many smaller side goals. Built to support my goal of a sub 30 hour MMT finish.
Get to Edinburg before 7am.
Get to Elizabeth Furnace before lunchtime.
Get to Habron Gap before 6pm.
Get OFF Bird Knob before daylight.
Get to Picnic Area before daylight.
I’ve also got carrots in this run.
I get to see Wayne Mongold at Edinburg and do a quick bottle exchange with him.
I get to see my crew at Elizabeth Furnace for the first time.
Habron is almost the “half way point” for MMT.
I pick up Wonderboy as a pacer at Camp Roo.
I pick up Mongold as a pacer at Visitor Center. So I have many little things to look forward to, all day long.
The Box: All day long you are going to race inside a box defined by what you can control. Ask yourself “What do I need to do right NOW to create the conditions for success at The Line? Is what I’m doing right now counter to this goal?
- Keep the box as big as you can for as long as you can.
- Keep in the box only the things you can control. Let go of the rest.
- Exercise this decision-making process inside your box: Observe the situation, Orient yourself to a possible course of action, Decide on a course of action, Act (OODA Loop).
The Box mentality has become pretty important as I sit and fret this week. The weather is something I cannot control. I’ve also not had any opportunity to have ANY sort of heat acclimatization this last week (or really, at all.)
So I will only control the things within The Box. I can make sure the crew has ice for me. I can make sure I utilize the crew and ice as much as possible.
The One Thing. If you swallowed the Kool-Aid we’re serving you here, you will show up at the Line, in your Box, ready to git’erdun and simply not slow down. But we’re not done yet. There is still some psychological stuff you need to address. During the course of your race day, expect your body to have a conversation with your mind:
“Look, Mind, you’ve had me out here slogging away for 132 miles. This is really starting to get old and very painful. You need to give me a good reason to keep going forward. If you don’t have one, I’m gonna slow down and you can’t stop me!”
Another point I got from the podcast, not one of their 4 points, but very worthwhile: Your racing self owes it to the training self.
Racing self needs to respect all that the training self did, to set up the racing self. Racing self needs to suck it up and embrace the hurt to honor the training self.
Training self put itself out there always-ran in cold weather, cold downpours of rain, icy windy ass days, sloppy slow mud days, early early morning runs; cold clothes changes in parking lots; runs endured on treadmills. You owe it to training self to get out there and endure on racing day, racing self.
So that’s my 4 Keys to MMT.