During his recent visit to the UK, tri legend Dave Scott put a group of 220 readers through a swim and strength training session. We took some time out to ask him about goal-setting in long-distance racing and to get his advice for if you’re planning to go long this summer…
“Yes, the length of Ironman is intimidating, but if you break it down into pieces then it goes pretty fast. People always ask me if it’s a long day and I say ‘no, if you break it down into pieces it goes pretty quickly’. Even for someone who’s doing it for 15 hours, have a visual roadmap of what the course looks like and go over it in your head.
“Even if there’s a hard section, well then it’s hard for everyone. People will say to me ‘it’s really windy, Dave Scott likes windy…’ – I don’t like windy at all! But mentally I’ll just relax.
Set specific goals
“Your readers should have goals. I think its really important to have a main one that is realistic, that says ‘I did a good job, I was on it today.’ Have two, write them down. If you’re capable of riding 28K an hour and that's a goal, then great.
“I get people asking me ‘what should I do if I feel good?’ and I say ‘if you feel good then go!’ They say ‘if I feel good should I put my brakes on?’ and I look at them like, are you deranged? What are you talking about? For first-timers, when they get into that flow… Just go!
Tune into how you feel
“Sometimes I think you have to break it down and do a physical inventory – relax your face, your head, your neck. Concentrate on a body part. Look at your legs, think ‘yes, I’ve got muscles in my legs, they’re working, I feel really fluid’. Break the race down into segments – into smaller pieces, into each turn of the legs. That helps us establish tangible goals and goals you can attain too.
“When people say they want to do a long-distance triathlon ‘just to finish’ I understand that. Yes, you want that finishers’ medal – it is a lofty goal just to get through with this. But break it down into pieces, because if not then you’re going to be consumed with the length of it and that’s a real mistake.”
Listen to Dave Scott as he talks you through his quick training tips to improve your form in swim, bike and run:
The August issue of 220 Triathlon, on sale 21st July, includes the full feature on Dave Scott. Inside he shares his swim technique tips, advice on long-distance racing and an easy strength and conditioning plan designed especially for triathletes. For more, you can also visit Dave Scott's website: www.davescottinc.com.
Find Dave Scott's advice on how to build a training plan for long-distance racing here.