Sunday, July 11, 2010

Race Strategy: Gotta get stronger on the bike!

“It’s not about the bike” is the title of Lance Armstrong’s book. I wish I could say that. For me, it’s all about the bike! Five months to go before I toe the line. It’s no secret the run is my weakest event. It’s actually pretty funny to say that considering I just started swimming less that a year ago yet I feel confident in the swim. Don’t get me wrong I still have my concerns about the Ironman Swim start! Yet running is my weakness. I think there are a lot of mental blocks there that keep me in my “comfort zone.” Yes, what I am saying is I choose to be slow. Not intentionally though. The mental blocks keep me there. I’m working on them.

Ok, so with less than 5 months to go I have to start working on my race strategy. I told Lance (my coach) I wanted to get stronger on the bike. If you recall that is where I made the least improvements. So, for the next 4 and a half months I will be building a stronger bike. My idea ( and please tell me if you disagree guys please!) is that if I build a stronger bike it will give me more of a cushion on he run. Or should I focus on the run because I know I can get through the bike and the run is the last and hardest event? Dilemma!

I have spent the last couple of days looking at Ironman DNF (did not finish) blog entries. I saw that someone else (I cant recall who) blogged they were looking at DNF stories. I hate to see them and read about them but I want to learn what they wished they could have done differently. Mostly the stories have attributed the DNF to stomach issues. One story I read was a mental issue.

Lance Leo told me early on the pain in the Ironman is real. VERY REAL. There is no escaping it. I know it was just a half ironman but I heard how loud those demons can scream. It is a bit scary to think they will be screaming LOUDER than they were in New Orleans. I wont ask myself if I am ready! I just have to pick what voice I will listen to! (the Voice of Truth). I will admit though…the closer I get to Ironman Cozumel, the more I can hear their whispers slowly, gently, and innocently making their way to my head.


  1. Hassan, you have clearly already made it through SO much already. Ironman is very tough. I would say more mentally challenging than anything else. If I were to work on anything over the next few months it would be my mental strategy for getting through the tough times. Whether you have a great race or a bad race, the tough times will be there. Building strength on the bike is a great idea and will give you much more confidence come race day. You will not DNF. Period. You didn't give up on your self when things were tough before so there's no way you'll give up during your race. It's just not in you and those around you won't let it happen. Make sure your nutrition plan is SOLID and practice a lot with it. You can't control everything on race day, but toeing the line with an unwavering confidence in your ability to execute your pacing and nutrition and to deal with whatever issues may come up, will go a long way for your mental state on race day. My main goal is to feel strong and confident when I jump in the water in Cozumel. If I can get to that state then all my hard work in training will simply come together because my mind will be ready to execute.

  2. I still look for and read DNF stories. It keeps me grounded in the reality and difficulty of the race and keeps me from getting over confident.

    I think focusing on the bike is a smart idea. My understanding is that bike training will help your run more than run training will help your bike.

    But on race day, don't go full speed on the bike in order to build a buffer. Instead - scale it back on the bike to make sure you still have enough juice for the run. There's no point in having a great bike split and then walking the marathon.

    The idea is to get your bike speed up over the next four months so when you scale it back on race day, it's still faster than you could ride today.