Looking back to look forward

15 02 2016

 

People often say don’t look back because it anchors you in the past. But sometimes it’s important to reflect on things that have been. Because it’s one key way to learn.

And that’s especially true when it comes to triathlon.

My Taupo 70.3 match report recaps the events of the day. What happened in the race. But as I look ahead to the rest of the year, and future half ironmans, what can I learn by looking back at my race plan and comparing it to the event itself?

The first thing is, I’m so glad I did a race plan. I perform better with lists. They help take the stress out of things because it makes sure you don’t forget that all-important thing like Body Glide. Or charging your Garmin.

It also takes uncertainty out of the race itself. You know what you want to do. There are no decisions to make while you’re out there, unless you have to. And that usually only happens when something hasn’t gone to plan.

A race plan also focuses you on what you can control. You can’t do anything about the weather. So if the lake’s choppy, you have to deal with it. If there’s a headwind on the bike, there’s nothing you can do. So it gets you in the mindset to focus on you. And you alone.

In comparison, following Taupo I went on holiday for three weeks. I did do some training but not tri specific, and then I went and ran a “quarter ironman distance” race in the 100th Scorching Bay triathlon series.

Because I hadn’t trained specifically for this event, I didn’t do a plan. My goal was simply to finish. I wasn’t expecting a lightening quick time as it was a hilly course. And I wasn’t properly trained for it.

But a plan might have helped a little. I didn’t feel that I suffered terribly for not having it, but I really just kept things basic. Like swim steady. Bike steady. Run steady.

OK. It was a little more sophisticated than that. But not by much! I did (just about) execute on plan. And I felt good at the end. But it might have helped to have a little more planning in the bank.

Hubby, on the other hand, didn’t plan anything and he felt flustered and disorganised on the morning of the race. This affected his headspace and he didn’t feel good about it.

He raced again a week later in the Sovereign event and planned meticulously. It definitely got things off on a better foot for him. He raced better and felt more relaxed throughout.

Learning: Always do a race plan.

I could get down into the weeds to dissect the specifics of my Taupo 70.3 plan, but rather than overthink it, I just found I wanted to ask myself one question.

Would I have done anything differently? Maybe I wouldn’t have messed with my eggy rice cake recipe. But other than that, there is absolutely nothing I would have done differently.

Even the fact that I had to adapt my plan when my nutrition wasn’t working also comes into that equation. I wouldn’t do that differently either. Because I’d planned for contingencies, I had a back-up plan. A Plan B. I also didn’t panic. And I’d hope I would do the same thing again under other circumstances.

So, looking back, for my first race, I think I did pretty good. And, looking forward, it sets me up nicely for the future.

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