The longest run of my life before Ironman Wisconsin was 14 miles. Now that I’ve signed up for Louisville, I have to decide if that was a solid plan.
When I got off the bike at Wisconsin the Finisher’s medal was 26.2 miles away and step one would be just as painful as the last. That run was 90% mental and my real goal is to bring that percentage down to 50.
I have to be confident
Having never run a marathon, I was skeptical and concerned about going that far. But now I believe I can run an Ironman marathon at a 10 minute pace and that confidence is critical.
I made the decision not to run the distance while training because I thought it would hurt more than help, but in the back of my mind I was pretty sure I “could” do it when faced with the ultimate challenge. Especially with the energy of the race and I’m putting a lot of stock in the crowd again (although the people that talked me into this are moving now).
I have to be patient
A guy I know absolutely crushed Ironman Louisville (tenth overall) last year and ran the marathon in 3:21 with an average pace of 7:40. But what stood out was his first split. Off the bike he averaged 9:17 for the first 2.5 miles. That’s all confidence . . . and patience.
I think a lot of people get caught up in the “race” part of Ironman. Sure, it’s timed and you’re racing, but I don’t want to confuse that with shooting out of the gate like a loose cannon. The excitement can sweep you away and most of us should really ease into each event.
Our bodies are amazing, but we have to be patient with their design. We are using different muscles for each discipline and it takes a while for our system to figure things out. For me that means at least 500 yards in the swim, 15 or so miles on the bike, and at, oh, let’s say 2.5 miles on the run.
I must have faith
I know a lot of really good runners who’ve been obliterated on the Ironman marathon. I don’t care how good of a runner I am, if I don’t navigate the bike course at my desired time with a lot left in the tank, my run is “screwed.”
How much more can it hurt? At some point the body just says, “Okay, as long as you keep it right here I’m good for unbelievable lengths.”
My gut is telling me to go crazy on the bike and skates for the next couple months and take my chances with the run. When you’re training for Ironman there are a million questions, sometimes you just have to believe.