I love being a coach and supporting athletes on race days and getting to hear their race day debriefs…the good the bad and the ugly. This is how we learn and this is how we improve. While chatting with a friend about his Ironman Canada race yesterday I was reminded of how important it is to always have process goals.
A process goal is not time specific. Rather, it’s a goal that relates to how you will execute something. For example, a swim process goal could be to not hold your breath while swimming and staying calm. A process goal on the bike could be maintaining an average cadence of 80-85rpm and on the run, it could be to only walk the aid stations. Although there is often focus on achieving a certain time, the fact of the matter is that sometimes things don’t go as planned and we can still have very successful races even if a time goal is not achieved. This is why I strongly encourage all of my athletes to include process goals in their race plans in addition to time targets.
When I congratulated my friend Rob S on another Ironman under his belt, he shared with me a bit about his day.
This is Rob. Great time, looks happy…
Here is Rob’s race report (shared with permission):
Well – it was a heck of a day. I had 3 flats on the bike!! About 20k into the bike I had a major blowout. I changed the tire only to have it go again. I inspected the tire and was very careful remounting…but 20k later got a slow leak and spotted a hole in the sidewall. I macguyvered a tire boot from a patch and a gel wrapper. It held together for the remaining 140km but I was very nervous riding on it and out of tubes and CO2. I did have a mini pump and patch kit though.
Otherwise the swim was smooth. Slightly faster than last year. Came face to face with a bear on the run maybe 8 feet away that ran out of the bush. 3 of us yelled at it and scared it away.
Actually I’m more proud of this race despite the slower time than last year(12:36) I was ready to quit at 40km after 3 flats! But endured to finish. I was aiming for a sub 12 this race and was on pace to do so – but things don’t always go according to plan. Adapt and carry-on!!
What a day that was for Rob! He had even taken precautions for this ahead of time. He was riding on new tires with only a few rides on them. He had packed a spare tire and extra tube in his special needs bag. He mentioned that he did see a bike tech but not until 100km into the ride.
This is a lesson in perseverance and focusing on things other than time objectives. Rob did not give up and can still call this a very successful race even though he spent a year improving his fitness with the intent of going sub 12 hours this year. Those of you I coach might get tired of me constantly asking “what are your process” goals, but, this right here is why.
Great job Rob and now that Ironman Canada will be in Whistler thorough 2020 you can try again next year!