Mostly unwritten, there are a couple of things not to do while participating, voulenteering, or supporting a triathlon/triathlete.
We have all seen it, something that makes you say “did I just see that?” Having been competeing for two seasons now, I have come across a couple of situations that made me take a second look. I may be alone with my thoughts on the subject, but here are some of the ‘faux-pas’ I have seen at some of my races.
Make sure that the gear you have matches the race distance and your ability. I participated in a Sprint Triathlon last year and passed a fellow competitor riding on Zipp wheels; I am all for aero-dynamics, but the benefit of aero wheels is lost on me for a 20km bike leg. I believe that you physical and mental conditioning will enable you to win a race, not the gear you are riding on or running with. More on that in a future post.
Are you an Ironman? Be proud of it, I would be if I was, but please leave the ‘Ironman Couer d’Alene Finisher’ jacket at home. This goes for everyone, but more especially if you are a spectator, and more especially at a Kids of Steel race. Even if you won the whole thing, which I doubt you did, the focus is on the current athletes and not your previous finishes.
Get a generic, logo-less tri suit. Unless you are sponsored by Cervelo (man I wish) your bike should be your only large brand identifier. I made the assumption that a young kid was sponsored by Felt at one race, got a little intimidated, then passed him on the first lap of the bike leg.
Most races, if not all, will distribute t-shirts with your race package. Don’t show up on race morning or worse, race with that t-shirt.
Respect for everyone involved in the race including competitors, voulenteers, and the communities you are racing through. I can’t count on two hands the number of times I have seen guys pass a competitor without a warning. Just a quick ‘on your left’ would do. If you see another competitor stuggling, give them some words of encouragement. You don’t need to pull them along, but a kind word when you pass could be all they need to make it to the top of the hill.
Most race organizers have to work hard with the communities to get permission, licenses, and the ability to come back the following year. To quote the Ironman 70.3 commitie, ‘don’t be a tosser’. If you are using gels, chomps, or anything that requires packaging, stick the empy warpper in your jersey or hit the garbage at the next aid station.
So don’t be that guy at your next race.
Question: Have you been ‘that guy’? What else have you seen that qualifies to make the list?
Physically maybe, but what about mentally?
Flipping through a couple of magazines over the past month, I stumbled upon a reoccurring theme, metal toughness. The best I can guess, there is something I need to learn something surrounding this subject.
Fairly new to the world of endurance sports, in my first year (2011) I was concentrated on crossing the finish line. Preferably upright. Preferably with a smile on my face. I figured this goal would be reached if I was physically prepared. In other words, I put in the right amount of training, had the right equipment, and properly planned for race day. It worked out pretty well, I completed my first race and finished second in my age group in my second race. I had some challenges in the second race and figured more training would fix that.
So in 2012 I increased my training volume.
Reflecting on my 2012 race season, I was prepared physically for each race. I executed my training plans, maintained my gear, and had the right nutrition plan. Unfotrunately, I was not mentally prepared for each race. I did not prepare my mind in training, visualize each portion of the race, or take 5 minutes race morning to get ready mentally.
There was a couple times I was mentally strong. Hey, I did come back from a broken collar bone to finish my last 2 planned races. I targeted a negative split for the 10km run at the Lake Chaparral Olympic and ran pretty much even for both laps; my legs were telling me to slow down at about 8.5km.
There was also a couple of times when I could have been better. During the half marathon of Ironman 70.3 Calgary, I had a real challenge continuing at the pace I had planned, ending 1:00/km below my target. Sure, I was tired, but I think that I had the energy to continue pushing.
So the question, is it all in my mind?
I believe that your physical training can only take you so far. There will be a point in evey training session and race where challenges will arise, call them ‘demons’, ‘that little voice’ or just ‘doubt’.
How you deal with these will shape your outlook at the end of the season, they did for me.
So through this winter training session, not only will I prepare physically by working on my weaknesses, I will train mentally to come back stronger next year.
Question: How do you deal with mental aspect of triathlon? What steps you you take during training to prepare mentally?
I Am Not Scared of You, or am I?
I had a t-shirt as a kid that said ‘you can’t strike out if you don’t step up to the plate’. At the time, it was just cool to wear, but as I went through my twenties I realized that I have an obsession about not completing a task. Wow, I am done my twenties, for real?
It is an outcome that no one foresees at the beginning of a race, Did Not Finish. I think every triathlete, it is no secret that we are a competitive bunch, fear these three little words. Is it perception, ego, or pure competitiveness that causes it? I reckon a little of each, but perception gets my vote.
You want to leave everything you have on the course and give it your best effort. If your goal is too qualify for the World Championships or just cross, the finish line is a definate ending. So not crossing the finish line would be devastating right? I am not sure it would be.
There are numerous benefits to training for a Triathlon, whether it is a Sprint or Ironman, in addition to race day. Don’t get me wrong, race day is what it is all about for me, but my life is sure better now than it was just a couple of years ago. I have met many influential individuals , I am in the best shape of my life, I am eating better, and my daughter has taken up an interest in triathlon as well.
So back up to Ironman 70.3 Calgary. Coming off a broken collar-bone 9 weeks priors, my first 70.3 attempt, and my first experience in a point-to-point race, where was the little voice whispering DNF, DNF? No where to be found. Instead, it was whispering keep going, keep going. Trust in your training, it has not only prepared you body, but your mind as well.
Don’t be scared of a DNF. I believe that everyone standing on the beach recognizes the effort it took for you to get there, it took them just as much effort to do so, and salutes.
Question: How do you perceive a DNF?