2. Ironman 70.3 or Full Ironman: Do one session three weeks before and a second session two weeks before your key race: After a good warm up, do three to four repetitions of 12 to 20 minutes at slightly above race pace on a bike trainer, followed immediately by an 8 to 12 minute run slightly above race pace. In between each repetition, spin for a minute or two on the trainer to get your legs ready for the next set.
These routines build triathlon-specific fitness along with the mental fortitude.
More: 3 Mental Exercises to Improve Your Training
Be a Pace-Keeper
All of us overestimate our abilities at one time or another. If it happens in training it’s not a big deal but on race day that can spell big trouble. The reason is simple: no matter who you are you can’t out race your training. That’s why it’s vitally important to manage your pace throughout the day, particularly on the bike and the first half of the run, so you build momentum to a fast, strong run finish. Here’s how to do it:
1. Back off on the bike: One of the best ways to avoid a death march on the run is to go one gear easier than you think you can comfortably handle for the bike leg, especially the first half of it. This is particularly important in Ironman 70.3 and Ironman-distance races. Remember, when you’re passing all those folks during the second half of the run leg (you know, the ones that were killing it on the bike) it’s not because you’re running faster; it’s because you saved your legs and don’t have to slow down as much.
2. Monitor your breathing: Build the habit of using your breathing to keep you in touch with your body. During training rides and runs practice taking a few deep breaths to get you present and then take mental inventory on how you’re feeling: Stay aware! That way you can adjust your pace up or down as needed all the way to the finish line.
More: How to Control Your Breathing in Training and Competition
Keep Playing Those Mind Games
The bike-to-run transition crushes more people than any other part of the race. That’s because they burn tons of mental energy fretting about how far they have to go instead of staying in the moment and focusing on getting themselves quickly into their running rhythm.
One strategy here is to practice counting from one to four, or repeat the word “quick” over and over as you start off on a run to get your mind focused on leg turnover and form. Good form combined with a quick cadence will win out every time.
And finally, one of my favorites is lying to myself. These days when I head out for a transition run I tell myself it’s a reward (instead of punishment) and smile. It sounds crazy but it works and it builds mental confidence like you wouldn’t believe.
More: How to Get Excited About Transition Runs
Build these tactics into your training program before your next event and they will pay huge dividends come race day.
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