Thursday, October 9, 2008

2008 Official Kona Race Strategy

This post is designed for those who want to A) follow the race online at ironmanlive.com (race #1688) and see if I'm on pace; B) learn how to properly fuel the body and pace for Ironman according to nutrition and physiology science.

There will be some distinct nutrition and pacing strategy changes from the 2007 Ironman Hawaii strategy. I try not to post this *too* close to the race because I don't want everybody stealing my ideas and then spanking me on the race course. ;)

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Official Ironman race start is at 7am. Body marking begins at 4:45.

Breakfast 2 hours prior to race start (5am): 2 sweet potatoes (~400 calories) + 6 Enerprime + 2 Hammer Gel Race Caps + 3 CREO2. The Race Caps and CREO2 would be a bit more effective it taken closer to 45 minutes prior to race start, but I don't want to worry about taking them while in transition. Just one more thing to remember, and I'll be scatter-brained as it is.

Extensive IT band stretching and 20 minutes of full body Yoga in my hotel room prior to the race. I've found that this drastically reduces my knee pain, and while increased muscle elasticity can inhibit force production, I'd rather be pain-free than get that tiny extra bit of wattage.

Be at race by 5:20-5:30am for body marking. Sip 18-20oz of water per hour leading up to race, with 1 dissolved Nuun electrolyte tab in each bottle. Very short 5 minute run for warm-up. Consume 2 Enerprime powder packets at 6:15. Be in water at 6:45. Bring one GU Plain Gel out to water to be consumed 5 minutes prior to race start.

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THE SWIM

Swim heads south in a clockwise direction with buoys on right. I'll start in front of the giant floating Ford sign, which will shield me from a bit of the madness. Rather than sighting off a strip of land jutting out into the water from the Kona Royal Resort for the out portion, like I did last year, I'm really not planning on doing much sighting at all. Just draft, draft, draft. I worked on drafting in IM Canada and I really feel I can put together a solid swim by staying on the faster swimmer's feet. In the past few days, the current tend to be much harder swimming back in, so I'd like to be around 25 mintues or so at the turnaround.

I'd like to come out of the water sometime around 7:55pm. I realize this is 5-6 minutes faster than last year, but my swimming has been very solid leading up to this race. I'll be wearing a velcro strap around my left IT band, just above the knee, to keep me from kicking at the knee. The last thing I want is an inflammed knee before I even get on the bike.

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T1, SWIM-TO-BIKE BAG & BIKE NUTRITION

In swim to bike bag: 2 Hammer Gel Endurolyte caps and 1 GU Plain Gel, 12oz clear water.

On my bike in transition: 5 plain GU's and 4 GU Roctane on my down tube (hacked off Profile Design water bottle, click here for details).1 28oz aero bottle full of clear water. 1 tube with 20 endurolyte caps (for 4/hour). 3 Clif Blok packets in my swim to bike bag, in flavors Black Cherry, Pina Colada, and Margarita. These are my tasty "treats" that I get at the end of each hour, and I literally just stuff them up the legs of my bike shorts. Also, I'll be wearing a special IT band strap above my left leg.

Also in swim to bike bag is my heart rate monitor, which I'm not going to wear during the swim. I'll have it pre-programmed for my bike aerobic threshold. This is 141, so the monitor will be set to beep when I drop below 141, or go above 151.

Coming out onto the bike, I'll be using the old Peter Reid trick and holding back until I've eating a Powerbar, which will be taped to my top tube. Not that this is the "ideal" food, but it will be chewy and keep me from going too hard, too soon.

Every 30 minutes: 2 Endurolytes.
Every 20 minutes: 1 Plain GU or 1 Roctane (alternate between the 2).
Every hour: 100 cal of Clif Bloks.
Every aid station: 3/4 water bottle for about 1.5 water bottles per hour (around 30oz).

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BIKE PACING STRATEGY/SPECIAL NEEDS BAG

Split bike section into 7 sections:

1) Out of pier and T1, through town, to Highway 19 (~9 miles). Resist urge to push and show off to crowd. Enjoy and smile.

2) Highway 19 to airport (heavy crosswinds, ~6 miles). Stay out of draft packs.

3) Airport to Kawaihae (some headwind, primarily crosswind, ride conservatively, ~28 miles). Hold back, this will be when the legs start to warm-up and I'll want to push a bit, but shouldn't. Watch HR monitor.

4) Kawaihae turnoff to Highway 270, up to Hawi turnaround (ride a bit harder, tailwind will be coming up soon and my legs will get a rest, ~17 miles)

5) Turnaround, tailwind back to Kawaihae (spin out tailwind, continue solid pace, 17 miles). Pick up special needs bag with 2 more Clif Blok packs and another bottle of Endurolytes just in case I need more.

6) Kawaihae to airport (crosswinds, let legs dictate pace, ~28 miles). Pay attention to nutrition, don't make any mistakes.

7) Airport to T2 (~6 miles, spin out legs, start to go easy, don't try for any impressive splits, prepare for run).

I'd like to be off the bike sometime around 1:15. My bike split last year was a 5:15, and I'd be fine with this, as I think it'd be best for my knee. I could be faster, and wouldn't be surprised with a 5:05-ish, but we'll see.


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T2, BIKE TO RUN BAG, RUN

Bike to run bag will have another HR monitor pre-programmed with 151 for low HR and 161 for high HR. Also, another bottle of clear water, and more Delta-E if I need a B12 megabooster pick-me-up. 1 more canister with 20 e-caps, to be consumed at 2 every 30 minutes. I'll hold these in my free hand.

No bottle of GU or Roctane on the run. I'll be using aid station Powerbar gels and bananas. As much as I'd like to take a flask of GU with me, I find that I can focus on my run cadence and protecting me knee when I have as little distraction as possible. I will be focusing on 300 calories/hr for the run, with about 1 gel at every 2 aid stations. You never are able to squeeze all the gel out, so this will come out close to 300 calories.

Lots of ice down the shorts and the back at every aid station! 3-4oz sips of water at each aid station based on *thirst* for the run. Research has shown that thirst is a decent indicator of hydration, and I will pay attention to get at least 20oz of water/hr on the run, but if I'm thirsty, I'll drink more than that.

At run special needs, I will have more Endurolytes if I need them, as well as an Ace bandage if I need to wrap my knee at that point.

Last year, I split the run into the following portions.

1) T2 to Alii Drive - let legs settle from bike, 8m pace (~4 miles)

2) Reverse course back to Palani Road - speed up slightly, 7:00-7:30 pace (~4 miles)

3) Queen K Highway to Energy lab - maintain pace, stay mentally tough (~10K)

4) Energy lab - possibly slow down just a bit, run conservatively (~4 miles)

5) Energy lab to Palani turn - kick it up a notch if legs feel good 6:45-7:15 pace (10K)

6) Final mile - ENJOY LIFE!!!

This year, I am instead going to run through TWO aid stations at about an 7:45-8:00 minute mile pace, then stop at the THIRD aid station to stretch for 60 seconds. Basically, I'll just be doing this EIGHT times. Very simple, but that's how I'm going to have to string the knee along. If successful, this will result right around a 3:40 marathon.

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You do the math. If I pace this correctly, I'll be finishing right around 5pm. If I have a fantastic race, I could be done at 4:30. I'm going to approximate that I'll finish right at the 10 hour mark if the knee holds. If not, and I have to walk, it could be later, but that's OK! I'll still cross the finish line. I'm not going to destroy my body in the process.

OK. That's it. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. A huge shout out to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who will be praying every hour for my health and strength.

Sorry in a hurry, gotta go, more to come on Friday!

Ben
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