Ironman 70.3 St Polten, Austria.

This was about to be the worst experience of my racing life, and I knew it…

A beautiful morning dawned over transition…, a perfect day for a half Iron man, my warm up race for this season.

At 5:30am we were let into transition, a pump wielding group of Adrenaline fueled, endurance sport addicts. Bike & bag prep went off without a problem, and before long I was standing with the other Neoprene clad, green caps at the start.

Today’s two key goals were – “race the numbers” I had done in training plus practice a couple of psychological techniques I had been reading about.

The first technique – Overcome fear by convincing yourself that what you were about to do was going to be the worst, most painful experience ever. For me this was about the swim start…. As a result, I shuffled to the start line sure that I was about to have a near death experience, being swum over and knocked senseless in the water. I am a strong swimmer; however, the start can always be a challenge… not really in my control.

Across the timing mat, a quick dive and the sprint for the first boy. In the end no one come close to me and I managed to get a great line, making the first buoy holding pace with the group. 32 minutes later I exited the swim, happy with my pace (1:27/100) however slower than expected because I added a few hundred meters with terrible sighting. (Must practice sighting more!!) Convincing myself that I was about to have a nightmare start, meant that when it went off smooth I could easily find my rhythm & relax. It looks like this technique worked.

The bike course was amazing, with the first 25km or so on autobahn, speeding along at 45-49kph.. the middle section included a strip beside the Danube, which had some cross winds, this caused me to lose concentration on my power… As a result, I undercooked the bike at 191W average versus a 220W target and started the run probably 15-25 minutes …I needed a good run.

The second technique was to be used in the run… – Overcome losing pace by focusing on the present, gratitude and belief. 10km into the run, I was running fine, bouncing between 4:15 & 4:30/km… however I could feel the heat of the day building and was aware that the last 11km could hurt. I looked at my watch – 5:15/km…. sure it must be a GPS glitch…. Glanced again…. 5:30/km…. my brain started to head towards the rabbit hole of “maybe I should back off… would not be good to blow up here… “

Instead of letting myself keep on thinking in that loop, I looked up and around… repeating the mantra.. “I am a lucky man to be able to do this” a few times…. I then hit my second mantra … “You have done this is training… you can do this now”…. Finally, I made a deal with myself to keep the gas on for another km before repeating the thought loop… (Gratitude > Self Belief > run in the moment) I then got distracted dodging traffic and racing some other competitors… only looking at my watch a couple of km later, I noticed I was running at 4:15… So, the second technique also seemed to work…and I rolled in with a 1:30 half marathon, 4:57 overall time.

This was only a small experiment. Without paying attention to the mental training I am convinced that I would have a 15 to 30minute slower time. I am not sure that the same techniques will work every time. I am sure to do a few races to figure that out, and maybe test another couple of mind hacks. More importantly the feeling of control from realizing I could overcome these moments has left me feeling much more upbeat about my next race.

I really enjoyed the race, particularly as I had put in place some goals to achieve during the event, meaning I could focus on the moment rather than the outcome.

Read more about the metal techniques in – Matt Fitzgeralds book – How bad do you want it. Link

#mindhacks #racereport #goodbooks #insight

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