You just finished your big, key race rehearsal workout before your IM race. You can use the workout to get you physically or mentally strong. But if you really want to make sure you are 100% ready to race, ask yourself these 20 questions immediately after the workout:
1. Did you fade during the second half of the swim? (Yes? Swim slower next time.)
2. Could you have kept up the same swim pace for another 15 minutes? (No? Swim slower next time.)
3. Did you feel tired already when you were starting the bike ride or did you have to take time to recover from the swim? (Yes? Swim slower next time!)
4. Was it very hard to get your heart rate to go down after the swim? (Yes? Swim slower next time.)
5. Did you have trouble biking at your normal wattage from the beginning? (Yes? Swim slower.)
6. Did the bike feel comfortable for the first half? (No? Bike slower next time.)
7. Did you fade on the second half of the bike ride? (Yes? Bike slower next time.)
8. Did it take a BIG effort to hold your wattage at the end of the bike? (Yes? You are on the upper borderline of your proper effort, ASSUMING that you can run well. Chances are you should bike slower and put the extra energy into your run.)
9. Did you have to raise your heart rate greatly to maintain your pacing plan? (Yes? This is a danger sign that you might have to dial back your effort).
10. Did you bonk? (Yes? You are going to have to swim or ride easier or take in more calories and/or water)
11. Did your stomach get upset? (You might have to: ride easier, consume more water, less solids, more malto based carbs and less simple carbs, or keep trying different combinations.)
12. How often did you have to pee? (Only once or twice? Maybe you didn’t drink enough water. Check the results of your post race weigh in.)
13. Were you able to run at your planned pace, or close to it? (No? Then you biked too hard, OR your run pace was unrealistic.)
14. How hard did it feel to run at that pace? (After a mile, it should feel very comfortable- steady at most.)
15. HONESTLY- Could you have continued at that pace for a full marathon? (Yes! Then you are on the right track! No? You are going to have ease off your pacing in the swim and bike or change your nutrition in order to have a successful Ironman. Maybe? Well…)
16. Was your heart rate at a sustainable level on the run? (No? You’ll need to run easier or ease off on the bike. Yes? Good! Maybe? Well…)
17. Were you able to take in all the nutrition easily on the run? (No? Then you need to change your nutrition strategy on the bike or run or run or bike easier in order to make sure that you are able to fuel well on the run. Yes? Then you are on the right track.)
18. How much weight did you lose during the workout? (Take your body weight before exercise * .6 (how much water is in your body); then take the # of pounds you lost while exercising and divide it by that number to find out what % of your water that you’ve lost. You should be well below 5%- the level at which performance declines by 25%) If not, then drink more!
19. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
20. How did Stella get her groove back?
Most athletes don’t think about many of these things until AFTER they race. Figure this stuff out up front to race to your potential!