What does it take to win?
April 15th I will start in this years first race; Ironman South Africa, which also counts as African Championship. IM SA is one out of five prioritized races I plan to participate in during 2018. The others being one European Championship and three World Championships.
I chose these races already last September, and since then they’ve played their role as guides for my daily decisions very well. So far the ambition to reach the podium on some of these races had led to tree major changes in regard of my training:
- I’ve hired a coach. Oscar Olsson at O2Tri is now guiding me in my training programme and I visit his training centre on a regular basis to get inspiration and feedback.
- I’ve increased my participation in the training group FastLane under supervision of head coach Anna-Karin Lundin at Simcoachen.se. Add to that individual coach sessions incl. video analysis and tailored drill programmes.
I’ve become a Wahooligan. Since I got my Wahoo Kickr I’m able to conduct high quality sessions on my TT-bike several times a week, no matter what the weather is outside.
In my power cave it’s always the perfect temperature and a light breeze .
Living in Sweden means that I can’t conduct really race like training sessions for at least another 2 months. It’s too cold for open water swim sessions, long hard rides on a TT-bike or run activities that simulates race circumstances. But thanks to the changes mentioned above, I sense that I’m on the right track; I’ve lowered my swim CSS 4 secs since November, I consider my 120 min Kickr rides ”business as usual” and I run my 1 k FTP-treadmill intervals ”relaxed” @3.25. This would not have been the case had I not decided to challenge the way I plan and execute my training.
So what is it I’m striving for? Honestly it has taken me some time to really understand and grasp what’s really driving me this year.
And then recently on a flight back from a workshop in Munich I took the time to relax and seek inside my self. And in a combination of reflecting on the crucial ability to separate my view of me as a person and the view of my performance in a given situation, and what I want to achieve with my training and racing this year I realised: I want to win.
Now, it might sound obvious and simple, but to me it wasn’t that simple. Partly because I felt a strong need to avoid striving for ”being the best”. Being the best would to me be too close related to me as a person and thus don’t serve as a guide for performance. I don’t want to be the best; I want to execute a great race, fast enough to win. I don’t focus on my competitors, since they can’t guide me to my best performance. I focus on my own race. Of course like to know how I’m doing during the race, but I don’t use my position during the race as a guide for decision-making until the last 10-15 km of the marathon in an Ironman. This helps me to race MY race, and by doing so I feel that I’m more able to deliver a good performance. A performance that defines whether I reach the podium (”I did great!”) but do not define me (”I am great”). Thus, I want to win, not be the best. Some may say it’s semantics, and I won’t argue against that, I just use it to my advantage during training and racing .
This is also one of the most frequent challenges I discuss with younger athletes. How to understand, deeply and truly, that my performance in a race does not define me as a person. Once we honestly believe this, the door to our full potential is opened. Mainly because it allows us to try, to experiment, to fail and to grow. And I still want to grow as an athlete.
Last year my theme was ”Just for fun – with a purpose”. It guided me to a great season with my 8.52.12 in Ironman Sweden as grand final. AG 1st, 5th Swede and 14th overall including male pros was a very inspiring way to round off a Just for fun – season before leaving the 45-49 AG.
Now with only two month left until Ironman South Africa I feel curious to see to what extend I’ve been able to develop. Will the swim sessions with Simcoachen transfer to the open water swim in Mandela Bay? How will my Kickr-sessions do as substitute for outdoor bike rides? And will my strength training and treadmill workouts help me to keep it all together during the long hot marathon in Port Elizabeth? Eight weeks from now I will know.
Now you know what I’m aiming for during this season.
And I’ll get back with updates as IM SA gets closer.
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