Plan It Then Forget It
by Nicolas Theopold
When I talk to others about big goals I’m often surprised that people don’t necessarily know what they are up against. What does it take to qualify? Where are you relative to that qualification standard? What do you need to do to get to the standard it takes? These are all important questions you should ask yourself early on when you are formulating your plan for how to reach that coveted goal.
For example, when I raced Ironman Frankfurt this July I knew that qualification in my age group would take a finish in under 9:20 (in the end the slowest qualifier had done 9:13). The next question was how it might be possible to reach such a time. I more or less know my swim time, plus or minus 3 minutes, so that was pretty easy to figure out. On the bike, I used the net elevation, past wattage data from myself, and some wattage files from Garmin Connect to figure out what a realistic time would be. For the run I looked at my past performances, the course and the climate to set a goal.
Based on the goal my coach and I developed a race plan that gave me cues for key points of the race, which were at the beginning of each leg. On the day I found myself pretty calm aside from the usual race nervousness and had a blast, crossing the line smiling. Did I qualify? No. Was I unhappy? Not at all, even though I missed qualification by just a few minutes.
This was the big lesson for me -- don’t let the goal weigh you down. Big goals are great. They offer big challenges and make us grow. But the real growth happens when you work towards the goal. Reaching the goal is just the final confirmation of the hard work you put in.
So my advice is: Go out and do your research. Be smart about how you prepare and give yourself the best shot at making it. And once you have done that, let go of the pressure and embrace the process. It’s all about the journey.
At 2 meters, Nicolas is one of the "big units" at Endurance Corner. A dabbler in all sorts of sports he is now working with Alan Couzens to become faster and see where the athletic journey leads. You can read his blog at bibivslagrande.blogspot.com and learn more about Semper Barbatus at SemberBarbatus.com.