From the Tough Love Department here at TriForce…
The following post contains strong language that might be offensive to people who lack integrity and personal responsibility. Discretion is advised.
Be a Winner – Don’t Be A Cliche
The athlete who bikes too hard (& probably doesn’t eat enough) on race day and who ends up with a lousy run is a cliche. A dime a dozen. Don’t be that person. People will give you polite looks of sympathy as you tell your woeful tale with your lame explanation for why you did what your did, but behind those kind looks they’re thinking “this person is an idiot.” Seriously (people are cruel…) Nobody cares about your excuse or explanation (and nobody cares about your bike split either)– either you had a good day or you didn’t.
Doing well (i.e. racing to your potential under the circumstances) in long course triathlon comes down to this: do the right thing given the information that you have. Start with an intelligent plan but adjust it based on: how your legs feel, how your stomach is feeling, the weather, your heart rate, your power versus perceived exertion and 1000 other things that can come up.
When faced with new information or with feedback from your body, be objective and honest with yourself and do the right thing. If you make a mistake, correct it and forget about it. Making mistakes doesn’t ruin your race. It’s making mistakes then and not quickly correcting them that ruins your race. (See “Hobgoblin” below).
In other words– USE COMMON SENSE and think on your feet:
- If it’s feeling tough to hold your power at mile 12 of a 70.3 bike leg, then ease off a little. Yes, you are now going easier and slower than you expected (maybe you feel so bad you need to go significantly slower than expected). That’s life. That’s why I don’t set targets or time goals in long races– I prefer to focus on doing the right thing. Even if the legs just aren’t there on the bike, you might actually have the run of your life (it happens.)
- If your stomach is not handling your sports bars well, then you’ll need to switch to all liquid calories for awhile. If liquid calories feel bad then switch to water. But keep in mind that you’ll need to resume taking in calories if you don’t want to bonk. Getting your stomach to accept your calories might require you to slow down. Live with it.
- If it’s very hot and you are feeling very thirsty but you only have room for one bottle on the bike, then consider grabbing an extra bottle at the next aid station & stuff it into your back pocket or into your shorts. Yes, your beautiful TriForce Tri Top is no longer perfectly aerodynamic– but you’ll avoid drying out like a prune.
- If you suddenly start slowing on the run you’re probably bonking — chug a few cups of coke at the next 2-3 aid stations and you’ll be back in a rhythm in no time
- Etc., etc…
- If you catch yourself gasping for air at the swim start, then slow down. Immediately. There is no rule saying you need to keep the same pace.
- If you pass someone and realize it was a mistake, let them pass you back. Yes, they’ll think you’re annoying. Oh well.
- If you start the bike averaging too much power, slow down. There is no rule saying you need to hold your power.
- If you start the run too fast, slow down. Immediately.
- If your nutrition plan isn’t working for your stomach, then do something else.
It all sounds easy (and it is), but the challenge is that people seem to be hard wired to lose their mind in crowds under a high pressure situation. So when you’re tempted to exceed your power cap to start chasing after that jerk that just passed you, hear my voice… “Don’t be stupid you moron!”