4 Keys to Ironman Execution

Mental preparation is crucial.

Improving your next race can be significantly cheaper than those new wheels you are considering, or easier than that new whizzbang training method you've read about. Master these four keys, focus on what matters, and race to your potential!

We have a lot of experience with what works, what does not work, and we've honed this message through the results of our athletes, our observations while being ON the course during the race, and the feedback we've received from pre-race talk attendees. Over the years, thousands have used these four keys to set massive PRs, earn Kona slots, place themselves on the podium, and win age groups.

This is the official Endurance Nation Ironman Kool-Aid, we hope you enjoy it. Help us help you!

Execution, not Fitness

All you've done for 9 months is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. The majority of athletes on race day are fitness-focused (look at my T-shirt, look at my abs/veins/etc, look at how fast I can go in the first hour of the bike, etc.)

It's easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.

The Line

Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you. Additional Kool-Aid flavored thoughts we'd like to put in your head regarding this point are:

  • A successful race = a good run. There is no such thing as a good bike followed by bad run, period. In our world, if you showed up with solid run fitness, had a "good" bike and a poor run, we will ALWAYS assume you messed up your bike pacing, until proven otherwise.
  • If you think you can ride faster than we're telling you, prove it by running well off the bike.
  • Ride your "should" bike split versus your "could" bike split. Your Could split is what you tell your friends you could ride on a good day, when you're out together for your Saturday ride. If you say you "could ride a 5:50," your Should split is likely 6:00 and is defined as the bike split that yields a good run (see above bullets).
  • In our experience, 80-90 percent of the Ironman field doesn't know how to race. If you find yourself doing the opposite of everyone else, you're doing the right thing. If Jimmy is "king of this random hill" at mile 46 of the bike...don't join him! Lots of people passing you in the first 40 miles? That's good, don't join in. Going backwards through the field on a hill? Great!
  • Think you made the mistake of riding too easy? You now have 26 miles to fix that mistake. Make the mistake of riding too hard? That mistake now has 26 miles to express itself, to the tune of X miles at 17-18' walking pace vs X miles at 8-12' running pace. Do the math or use a pace calculator. How great is that bike split going to look as you are walking/shuffling the last 10 miles of the run? The Ironman run course is littered with fit dudes walking and talking about what a great bike split they had. Don't join them.
  • Every time you feel yourself about to roll the dice and race, look at where you are. Are you at The Line / Mile 18? If not, please stick to the plan!

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