In preparing for today’s Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – I had a planning meeting with the athletes I coach and the family members who would be spectating. We have this meeting, because even spectating an Ironman is no small task! The athletes are out and gone for (in most cases) over 12 hours, across a course spanning some 226 kms. Knowing where to be and when is a massive task!
I start with using the data I know that the athlete (and in this case, me as well) has shown they can do in training. We extrapolate a swim time for the 3.8 kms, then a bike time for the 180 kms. Next, we guess a marathon time. This of course is all speculative, as things change in an Ironman moment to moment. In the swim, you get your goggles knocked off (happened to me today), kicked, swam over, you could swim wide or just have a rough swim with 1,000 people in the water at once. Then we move on to the bike (stay with me here, there is a good point coming, I swear). The bike is the longest event for most people, and lots could happen! Hills, traffic, flat tire, wind, heat, fatigue, a crash, stomach distress etc. Even potty breaks can change your time. Then we get to the marathon, which could be all sorts of things, depending on the previous 2 events. You could get cramps, stomach upset, sore knees, sore feet, vomiting, and just be plain old tired. Regardless, we put a time plan in place.
One of my athletes said: “Oh I could never do that. I can’t make that time.” Well, yes, that is probably true, in a practical sense, but technically, if all goes smoothly, and your energy and fueling hold, it _is_ possible. We need it as a goal, a target, and to help the spectators know the times when they should be where to see their athlete.
This is where it applies to you. Have you ever gone to a place where there is target shooting? Using a gun, bow and arrow, axe, pellet gun, paintball etc. What is on the wall? A bullseye. Why is that? I mean, you have never done this before, the odds are you will not hit the bullseye, so why even have it?
Easy, it gives you something to aim for. Yes, the first few times you might miss horribly as you learn the required skill. But that whole time, instead of just randomly shooting at the floor, ceiling, or randomly anywhere, you tried to hit that bullseye. Like playing darts, you may never hit that little red dot and get 50 points, but if you keep trying, you just might!
And therein is the reality of it. When you expect the best, you very often get it. When you set a target, and focus on that target, at least you have a chance of hitting it. Also, along the way, you will learn more and more about getting closer to that goal.
So, today’s Ironman unfolded as it did. Some of the athletes were right on their swim time, some a little off, some close to their bike goal, some way off. None of the marathon times were even close, but we knew that would happen. What DID work though, is that our spectators knew when to be where and they got to see us all day, even if they did have to wait a little as we blew past our goal.
In your fitness journey, what is your bullseye? A pant size? Dress size? A weigh scale weight? A BodyFat percentage? A 10k run time? What would be your optimal result? If you write that down and focus on it, even if you miss… you will be closer than if it wasn’t in place.