May 24, 2017

Dialing It in

There is no substitute for experience. All of the reading and conversation will only take you so far. So is the lesson I learned at the Ironman World Championships (IMWC).

I had done three full Ironman races prior to the IMWC and numerous 70.3s. Since my performance has been improving over recent years I’ve tried to push it a bit harder each time.

Going into the IMWC my goal on the bike was to push 190 watts average over the 112 miles. That was my goal. When I started racing I felt great and was pushing closer to 215 – an effort I knew I could not maintain. So I backed off to 200 watts. Still far more than the 190 I planned for.Ron performance

Now 5% may not seem like much difference but it truly is. My logic was that I’d push harder on the bike but knew I’d suffer on the run but I didn’t know by how much. Turns out, quite a bit.

The question I still have is how much faster would my run have been if I’d backed down to 190 watts on the bike? We’ll never know. Therefore, we chalk that one up to experience.

Since we can only simulate race conditions we’ll never truly know until we race. The more we race, the more we understand how much we can push it. We call that “dialing it in.”

With the information I gained in Kona I now have more to work with at my next Ironman which is Ironman Arizona. This time I will back off the watts, but probably only to 195, and see what that does for me on the run. Since the course is much easier there than Kona, and hopefully the conditions will be kinder, I expect a much faster time. We’ll see . . .

Ron Saetermoe

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