Friday, November 10, 2006

After action report

In the manner of Tri-Daddy, these are my notes on "What I would do differently, knowing what I know now".
  1. More total training volume. Yeah. But not hugely more, if I want to keep my life in balance.
  2. 3 to 6 more long swims of ~2 hours steady.
  3. Some ocean swim practice, especially navigating during swells and choosing the easiest course with a current present. Perhaps arrive earlier on site for more swim practice.
  4. 3 to 6 more long bike rides of 80-120 miles.
  5. If asphalt starts getting badly lumpy, try riding on the white line first instead of riding on the biggest part of the bumps (caused by road traffic) for 10 miles.
  6. 3 or 4 runs at night in the pitch black with a headlamp, just to be ready for it.
  7. Approach the run leg on race day more like a standalone marathon, than just the last few miles of a long day to be survived. Have a concrete nutrition plan going in, e.g., gels at 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 miles. (I had thought since the aid stations were so well-stocked I would be able to just take what I needed when I needed it, but that strategy didn't work so well.)
  8. Have a concrete strategy in place before the race for the run to deal with the psychologically difficult (for me) halfway point turnaround - like expect it to be very rough to see the finish line area, walk to Mile 14 with your special needs supplies, then run again.
  9. Have pre-determined personal cutoff times in writing. Like, "If you're walking, unless you're going straight to the med tent, keep going unless you hit the halfway point of the run after 8:15 PM." I always thought I would finish (unless a race official took my chip at their cutoffs) and never truly thought through how to deal with feeling like I was absolutely too exhausted to go on.
  10. Have a cheap windproof jacket and gloves in both the T2 bag and the special needs bag so you won't have to carry it around until it's truly needed.
  11. Pack along a headlamp for the run.
  12. Have a better understanding of my heart rate drift on very long (6-10 hour) efforts and selecting a heart rate range that I can maintain on both the run and the bike. Even though it was too dark to see my watch or heart rate monitor on the run.
What I would do the same:
  1. My training week-to-week was more consistent for a longer period of time than it's ever been. I'd stick with the strategy of tallying weekly totals and targeting minimum numbers in each discipline each week.
  2. Keep targeting body weight throughout the entire year before the race. Every pound lost is free speed.
  3. My nutritional and hydration strategy through the swim and bike leg worked pretty well for me.
  4. My pace on the bike was comfortable and sustainable under the wind conditions.
  5. A gel halfway through the 2-loop swim helped a lot.
  6. A quiet place to stay and unwind with friends away from Race Central helped keep me on an even keel.
  7. Complete clothing changes made me feel a lot better on the bike and run and didn't slow down my transitions too much.
  8. TriBikeTransport worked great for me, although my local bike shop screwed up big time by not doing the pre-shipment tuneup. At all.
  9. I still wouldn't buy any Ironman gear until after the race was done and the title earned.


runr53 said...

This and the last posts are quite the lists, hurts my head just to think about what you must be thinking, hehe! Run Good!

mcewen said...

I'm with you run53. I'm exhausted having just read it.
Best wishes

Bridget said...

Thanks for these lists. I think I can learn a lot from them in my attempt for my first IM. I appreciate you sharing.

TJ said...

Thanks for sharing what you've learned. I'll keep your lists in mind for IMFL next year.

Spokane Al said...


Thanks for the great list. I think it is worth reading by anyone considering a IM distance event.

Charles said...

Great posts! I am prepping for Canada next year and will keep your lessons in mind! Thanks!