Through conversations with some athletes I was speaking to about coaching, a question that’s pretty common came up, that I hadn’t really thought about until now.
What do you wish you knew when you started out?
I framed that around the crossover from short course to 70.3 and 140.6 distance races.
Ahhh what do I wish I knew…. loaded question. For starters I wish I would have thought out picking IM Lake Tahoe with 8500 feet of climbing a little better. That was a tough introduction to the full, but on the flip side, you can’t really get much worse than that on the bike course.
Rain, snow and freezing temps anyone?
But, in seriousness, here’s my top 3.
- Nutrition matters. Hydration gets lumped in there, but as you go to longer events, what you eat and drink early in the day will have a HUGE affect on the end of your day. I also wish I would have been more particular in training and every day eating instead of viewing training as a license to eat whatever I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I indulge more than I should, but less than I used to.
- Adaptation and improvement comes over time and consistency. For those of us with day jobs trying to fit IM races in, it’s tough to have a long off season that’s not structured to ramping up to like 20 or more hours on peak weeks. I train more consistently year round so my high volume weeks aren’t as crazy and I don’t burn out before getting to race day. That’s how I feel motivated to do an IM a year and have a zest for the sport after 14 years.
- Plan plan plan. Make sure you have all your gear you need, travel planned, race day logistics, EVERYTHING as much as you can think of taken care of well before race day. The last thing everyone needs is stress the couple days before and day of the race. Planning it makes it a fun day even though most people don’t care for planning. It creates time to discover that flat tire and fix it before the race. It creates time to find that busted spoke to swap out at bike tech support before your first IM and avoid DNF due to mechanical or crash due to said spoke issue.
This is just scratching the surface of what I have learned thus far.