Endurance Corner asked elite age groupers: “What do you think you did differently than most of your competitors to help you get to the top of the AG ranks and qualify for Kona (or continue qualifying)?” I enjoyed reading what people had to say and it generally confirms the truth that people who succeed aren’t using any secret methods– they are just training hard and smart. It’s also interesting how many mentioned recovery as a key element of their success. To read all the responses, see part 1, part 2, and part 3 of the series on Endurance Corner. My response is below:
Kevin Coady – 2010 Kona Qualifier; 3rd M35-39 Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2010
I think two things that set my training apart are focused rehearsal sessions on the bike that are tougher than the actual Ironman and a willingness to listen to my body.
- Focused, Tough Rehearsal Bricks: My key rehearsal sessions on the bike are extremely focused and longer and tougher than the race. As a result: I am 100% positive that I can maintain “x” watts on the flats and “x” watts on the hills come race day and be able to run well afterward because I’ve done it under tougher conditions in training; I build mental strength and concentration that makes race day seem easy; I have complete confidence that I’m ready to race; and I know my nutrition strategy works.For example, my toughest session preparing for IMCDA was an eight hour session that was much tougher than the first eight hours of an Ironman. I did a one hour open water swim at IM pace and I was on the Computrainer within 10 minutes to do the IMCDA full video course with no stops except short bathroom breaks. Then I transitioned immediately to a six mile run at IM pace. Anyone who has tried a Computrainer simulation can tell you it’s much harder than real life! (To quantify it, it took me 5:50 and 4200 KJs to ride the Computrainer video course, while the race only required 5:12 and 3500 KJs!) When I finished this session I had tears in my eyes because I knew with certainty that I’d be ready to rock on race day.
- A Willingness to Listen to My Body: I know my body and I understand that once I’ve accumulated a certain level of fatigue I’m just digging myself into a hole instead of stimulating an adaptation response by continuing to train at the same level. Unfortunately this excessive fatigue doesn’t always show up conveniently right before my scheduled unloading block. I’m willing to listen to my body and to cut a workout short or skip or modify workouts if I’m too fatigued. This might result in an eight hour training week that looks ugly on Training Peaks, but I stay focused on getting results, not on winning a training log beauty contest.