Watching Graeme Stewart race Challenge Barcelona 2011
I have just returned from Challenge Barcelona. I was not racing but was there in my role as a coach to give support the athletes I had racing and to be reminded what the end of the road for all the training looks like.
To get a top result you must have a long process where you are training, improving your chances for getting the outcome you dream about on race day.
It requires passion to stay on track, to keep believing in your dreams and keep following them. It is powerful to be reminded time and time again just what magic takes place when we put our dreams, abilities and grit to the test.
One of the athletes I was supporting was Graeme Stewart who I have the pleasure to work with.
Graeme is not your typical professional in that he does many more things than just training during the week. However his big talent and his grit helps him a lot.
The Barcelona was his return to international racing and despite a bit of a tough day he managed to finish 11th overall making his return one that shows he can be a treat in for the race if he decides to return. I know especially the men who were competing almost inside out and the winner Alonso Clemente did what he had to go secure the win. He and the others that made the greatest personal results in the race were those that paced correctly.
How to pace.
Even if we appear to be very different and each person is unique there are some general rules that apply to all of us. One being that the level of intensity we can sustain is somewhat the same – the output we can produce at the intensity is however very different.
When pacing an ironman it is very important that you know the intensity you will be racing from training. A race like an ironman is for the most part doing what you do in training – keeping it simple.
As you gain more experience you will be able to race more and more on feel and your gut feeling – when to go hard, when you are strong, when the tactics of the races demand it etc. However this part is best left for when you have plenty of experience.
Until you get that experience you should pace yourself like you know from training and remember that even if you do ride a bit too slow on the bike you still have 42 km of running to make up for it.