On November 18th, I will be competing in Ironman Arizona. This will be my second Ironman this year, and I hope to end my season with a great performance. Even though I had my best race ever at Ironman Mont-Tremblant this August, there are still a few things that I plan to work on before Arizona.
The swim is my strength, and I’ve always worked hard to improve my stroke to be more efficient. When I watch the race video of Tremblant and I compare my style to Lauren Brandon’s, it’s evident that I can lengthen my stroke and glide more in the water. I’ve also noticed that I lift my head frequently to see the buoys, and then I keep my head elevated. That means that the rest of my body, especially my legs, tend to be pushed down underwater and I need to work harder to keep my body horizontal.
When you have a few technical points to improve, you should ask a coach to watch your technique or film yourself. Then you should find a few drills that can help you. For instance, swimming with a snorkel will help me to keep my head more underwater. Swimming with a band (an elastic around your ankle) is a great drill to improve your stroke efficiency.
On the bike, with a limited amount of time, I can’t improve my power by a whole lot. However, I can adjust my position to be faster with the same power. I’m currently doing some testing with Argon 18 and Notio Konect to improve my position and test a few triathlon bars and helmets. At this time of year, I don’t recommend drastic bike fit changes, but a few small changes, such as your elbow and hand position can have a significant impact on air friction. I also need to work on making sure that my head stays low while I’m riding. I’ve noticed that by having a wider elbow position I was able to have a more stable back and a lower head position. Therefore, I could be more comfortable, powerful and at the same time more aerodynamic.
The run is where I can (and need to) improve the most. A sub-three-hour marathon is not enough to perform at a competitive Ironman like Arizona. A 2:50 or even sub 2:50 is required to be truly competitive and have a chance to win. With the new qualification system, you can’t do a lot of Ironman hopping to grab a few points at each race and hopefully qualify for Kona. You need to have a strong race and win an Ironman (or podium at a championship race). That means that sub 2:50 is the goal for next year and I’m looking to get as close as possible at Ironman Arizona. To achieve this goal, patience and consistency are key. I would much rather have many weeks of good run training than only a few weeks of great training.
I prefer to focus on frequency instead of duration. In other words, instead of doing one run of 15-20K per day, I prefer to do a few double runs during the week. That means less stress on my body and less chance of getting injured. I also need to focus on prehab instead of rehab – preventing injuries instead of trying to treat injuries. The tiny details make a huge difference in the long run.