Thursday, 21 August 2014

Race strategy for Challenge Vichy

So with my main 'A' race in less than a week it is time to review my goals and overall strategy for the big day.

My main race goals, in order of importance for Challenge Vichy are as follows:

1. Finish the race with a smile on my face after enjoying the whole experience
2. Getting a personal best at the ironman distance of 12:23 or less
3. Obtaining a sub 12 - hour finish
4. Running the full marathon distance (only walking through the aid stations), with a sub 4:15 time

My race strategy starts on the Saturday after our car journey down to Vichy. Once I have registered for the race and racked my bike I intend to top of my energy reserves with some decent nutrition. Not too much walking around the expo and an early night to get as much sleep as possible.

It will be an early start when I take on the first food of the day, likely to be some granola, nuts, yoghurt etc with some toast or a bagel. Just before the swim start I will take an energy gel.

I will start the swim easy, attempting to stay out of harm's way even if that costs me a bit of time. Once I have found some space I will get into a steady rhythm and make every effort to draft off of stronger swimmers.  My target swim time is 1:15 with a 15min transition window. So the plan is to be on the bike after 1:30 at the latest. I will take enough time in T1 to put on my cycle socks, gloves, sunglasses and sun tan lotion.

Once on the bike I will start to take on some nutrition,  initially a few sips of my energy drink (likely to be a Hi5 based solution). Thereafter I will feast on 3-4 Zippvit energy bars (cut up into small pieces) and some salted Macadamia nuts. I will also ride with a small water bottle and top up at aid stations with more energy drink / electrolytes. Later in the ride and certainly before the run I will try to get down 1-2 energy gels.
I will ride with a bike computer and aim for an average speed of 30km/h for a 6 hour target bike split. I am happy to sacrifice 15mins of easy spinning to ensure I get off the bike feeling good and ready for the run.

If all goes to plan I will start my run 7.5 hours after the start gun goes off and will target a 4:15 to 4:30 marathon time to get me in just under the 12 hour mark. I aim to go off at around an easy 5:50 min pace trying to keep my foot cadence relatively high (around 90 steps per minute). If I feel OK after 2 laps I will try to increase the pace to something I can maintain to finish. I will be very pleased with one hour laps (4 to complete), each lap being around 10.5km. During the run I will take on more fluids and gels (if my body allows it). There is always the 'magic' flat Coca Cola strategy if all else fails - it did get me round last time. I do hope I can just keep going and my legs will not lock out as they did for IM Austria.  With the exception of the aid stations when a walk strategy to take on nutrition is beneficial I plan to run the full marathon distance.

Sounds good. Of course a lot can happen on the day!

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