With the start of the new year this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on 2015 and to dream big for 2016. My goal race for this year is no secret…I’ll be racing Ironman in Boulder on August 7th this year. With this being my fourth go at 140.6 miles my goals for this race are a bit bigger than to just cross the finish line. I’ve been ruminating on this goal since August, and since then I began to put the pieces together to help me get there.
Looking back on my previous three races each day has been difficult and challenging, but there is no such thing as an easy Ironman.
My goal for Ironman Boulder is to finish before it gets dark. This goal is so big and scary that I have been very hesitant to speak this out loud to very many people. On August 7, 2016 the sun will set at 8:07 pm, giving me somewhere around 13 – 13.5 hours to reach this goal. That is a significant difference from my 2014 race time and that scares me! Focusing on a goal time in an Ironman distance race can be a really difficult thing. If you believe that your goal is slipping away from you it can be really easy to mentally throw in the towel and to not appreciate how hard you may have raced.
I’ve broken my overall big scary goal down into process goals, because I know these will all play a huge part in the success of my day.
#1 Train My Brain
I believe the biggest key on race day will be my mental strength. I will need to stay focused when I get bored, uncomfortable or tired on the bike. I will need to be okay with being uncomfortable on the run and resisting the urge to walk. I have a bigger post in the works to talk about how I’ve been working to build mental toughness over these last few months, so I promise to share more soon!
#2 Make Gains on the Bike
I’ve also been working hard over the last year to really build bike fitness. I invested in a power meter (the Garmin Vector). I’ve been spinning with a group where the workouts are challenging and designed to make you a stronger cyclist. The workouts are based on our FTP (functional threshold power) and power training zones so you know you are working at the right intensity for you. I know that dialing in my nutrition needs on the bike will be a key component so I can be properly fueled and ready to run a marathon. I also need to make a tweak or two to get a bit more comfortable on the bike. I don’t spend a lot of time in aero which means I’m not as efficient as I could be on the bike. I need to make some changes to become more comfortable there.
#3 Fuel My Body
Near the end of 2015 I enlisted the help of a nutritionist. Over the last year I’ve made good strides to improve my overall diet. I finally kicked my usual habit of buying lunch at work. I take the time to meal plan and grocery shop every week. I have found ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet and I have upped my water consumption. The next step was needing a bit of help to figure out where I could fine tune things and to make sure that I was on the right path. The good news was that overall my diet was in pretty good shape! That being said, being a bit more mindful on protein consumption, snacks and meal timing are areas I have for improvement.
#4 Make Time for Core and Strength
One habit I’ve had a difficult time sticking with has been regular core and strength work. In an already packed schedule these are the workouts that seem to get missed the most. The thing is, a strong core is key to preventing common injuries, and for being strong in the water, on the bike and on the run.
#5 Nurture My Relationship with Neil
Training for an Ironman requires a lot of hours spent swimming, biking and running. I absolutely love it and I feel so fortunate that Neil is a very supportive spouse. He wants to see me reach my goals and knowing he will be there at the finish line keeps me moving when things get hard. I want him to be proud of me.
I want to ensure that we are spending quality time together. Making time for date nights, board games, walks with Peat, or cooking dinner at home together is important to me.
So there we go…I’ve shared my big scary goal for 2016 with you and outlined the steps I am taking to help me get there. Wish me luck!! What is your big goal for 2016?