When I’m racing, there have been a few times when my mind has wandered and my head comes out of the game. It then becomes tougher to get the legs going hard again. When it comes to mind over matter, which is very much the case in this instance, I deal with it by being extremely practical. That means breaking the bike into small segments and trying to focus on the here and now.
STAY IN THE MOMENT
At the start of the bike, I try to stay in the moment and go over the practicality of the first 10-20km – get my shoes on; settle down into my position; take on some fluids; check my nutrition is all sorted; check my kit and sleeves are all nice and straight (aero is everything!); get into my bike power zones… While I’m focusing on these things that are very much in my control, 20km will have passed. Then an aid station will be the next focus.
KNOW THE COURSE
Knowing the course and how it flows is imperative so that you know what to expect and how best to deal with it. Before the race, check out the terrain, the hills, any technical sections, find out if the wind is going to be pumping at a certain stage, where you need to put the power down, and where to let it off and stretch out.Triathlon race-day: How to do a course recce
DRAW ON YOUR TRAINING
Sure, there are times when I’m like, ‘Wow, I still have 75km to go!’ But I mentally go back to the training I’ve done and draw on the confidence from hitting the sessions, even when I’ve been in a whole world of hurt but coming out on top. It’s this that I turn back to over and over throughout the bike section to keep my legs turning over. In training, aim to think of all the possible problems you might encounter and go through how you’ll overcome each of them.The Ironman bike leg: how to stay focussed for 180km
FOCUS ON THE REASON
I’m more a practical racer, so I won’t really be thinking about my wife and children. Of course, that might work for you. Similarly, if you’re raising money for charity and are thinking of the reason behind why you’re doing the event, this might just be what you need to help you finish. Whatever, have a reason.
TALK TO OTHERS
Have a coach or friends who have raced Ironman? Then talk to them. As much as we learn from our own mistakes, we can also learn from others. Find out what techniques they used to help them keep their mind in the game and focused on the task at hand.
DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
The last 40km or so can be really tough as you’re in that mindset of ‘Only 40km to go… oh wait, I still have to run a marathon.’ I know I get a little excited towards the end of the bike, but do as I do and draw on this energy, stick to your pace and use it to keep focused