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Prescient Ironman Execution (PIE)

Posted By: KP
Date: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, at 11:52 a.m.

An athlete asks himself "what's left" in his preps before IM and the answer is "the run". The answer is often the run. Past experience tells many athletes that trouble starts on the run. It is not our first inclination to blame past swim and bike efforts for run or stomach troubles. However, there is more to running an IM well than run fitness.

Run performance is closely linked to run fitness but is not independent of swim/bike fitness and swim/bike execution. Many IM athletes don't know how well they can run an IM marathon because they have never stepped off the bike after having given themselves the opportunity to run well. There are four pieces of the PIE that should be completed well before you can have the chance to run near potential on race day.

Prescient Ironman Execution (PIE):

Piece # 1 -- you will benefit from swimming within yourself. Swim 10 heart beats too high and your ability to fuel on the bike will likely be compromised. At some point on the run you will wish you had those beats back because they only saved you 2min and you'd give anything to take another 10min out of the last 20k and your competition.

Piece # 2 -- you will need to ride smartly. For all but those at the very front, cycling smartly in an IM is independent of what others choose to do. Riding intelligently is effort based. By the time your IM is at hand we hope that athletes are well versed in the use of your power meter (if available). They should know how to back Power up with PE and HR or use PE and HR alone. They should be familiar with the 'variables' one might see in data on race day. They have seen it all in training.

Piece # 3 is built on the back of Part 2 -- you will need to fuel well over an IM bike to run well.
You can only fuel well if you bike with controlled efforts relative to your fitness.

Piece # 4 -- the first 25-30min of your run is as important as your bike efforts. The whole day can be spectacular up to that first 25-30min of running and if you lose focus for even 30min, you can create untold havoc on your system. The first 5k of the run should be the slowest of the day. Take the pace you hope to hold from mile 4 to mile 20 and drop 15-30sec from it to arrive at your pace for the first 5k. The majority of the field will do the opposite. They will shoot out of T2 running 7:30 mile pace when they hope to run a 3:30 marathon (8min pace). Instead, I recommend they leave T2 at an 8:30 pace, lifting efforts to an 8min pace for miles 4 through 20. At mile 20, things become mental for all of us. Let's remember, 95% of the field would love to be within 10k of their IM goals and have the chance to dig into the recesses of the mind and find what it takes to bring it home. But much fewer will have left themselves that combination of circumstances.

coach KP

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