How to Qualify - How Fast Feels
by Gordo Byrn
Over the last three weeks, I’ve been hitting you over the head with how little you know about pacing. My goal was to instill humility, rather than beat you down!
While you might not know Kona-specific race pace, I’m going to share how fast feels. Cultivate these feelings during the Core Block workouts.
The four traits that follow are present in all my personal bests -- these tips apply across a wide range of sports and durations.
Some athletes race from fear and anger, I’ve found my greatest performances flow from serenity.
Open Breathing - Ironman is a sub-maximal event, our breathing should be even and full. Two tips that have helped me with cycling and running:
With my swim breathing, my main focus is a relaxed breath and a reminder that I don’t need to breathe every stroke cycle to meet my goals. My out phase is much quicker in the water than on land.
When it gets tough, I remind myself that nothing is more motivating than hearing your competitor panting. By keeping my breathing open, I avoid motivating those around me.
Tall Spine - A tall spine started as a running cue. Once I built this posture into my marathon, I realized that it also applied to my TT position and freestyle. When I am “tall” my scapulae are down, my rib cage is pulled in slightly and my gaze is more down than forward. When I combine this with open breathing, I know that my movement economy is reasonable.
Smooth - Smooth has two components:
The faster I go, the greater the forces and the larger the benefit I receive from being smooth -- in cadence, in movement pattern and in the application of force. Smooth, smooth, smooth.
Quiet - Be quiet internally, as well as externally. When the race starts to get “loud” -- either in your head or around you -- back off a little, have something to eat or drink and cycle through your breathing, spine and smoothness. Noise is a cue that economy has been lost.
The little things make a difference and over 140.6 miles extra economy makes a big difference.
Use the words above as cues that you build into your Core Block. When you need them, they will return and help you out.
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.