General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM Rss Feed  
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2013-08-27 1:28 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM

Originally posted by brucemorgan
Originally posted by mikerunkle Sorry for another "what they said" post, but all advice has been spot on. Three goals are a good way to plan: Goal 1: Just finish. The one you tell everyone. Goal 2: Target time based on your training. The one you tell other Triathletes. Goal 3: Secret, planets have aligned, goal.
I'm going to disagree with the three goals philosophy. I've done 9 IMs, some with a lot of training, some with not really enough, and something like 8 half-IMs and six or seven marathons so I'll claim a bit of experience in goal setting. The problem with three goals is that it is very difficult to feel anything other than disappointment with yourself unless you achieve goal #3 your secret goal. You get to the finish line, you're supposed to be elated, your spouse and family and friends are happy, amazed, and proud of you, and you're smiling too, but you know that you didn't achieve goal #3. And you won't achieve #3 if it's one of those unrealistic perfect day tailwind all the way types of goal. Why put yourself through that? Be honest with yourself, and set a realistic time goal based on your training and be done with it. Don't go into the race with a "just finish" attitude unless 16:59 is actually a realistic goal based on your training and fitness. Tell people what your goal is, don't sandbag with a "happy to just finish" unless that's actually your goal. Be realistic, and recognize there are no miracles on race day, not in IM. If you say blast the bike leg far faster than your training said you should ride, then you will certainly be among the many walking the run talking about how fast your bike was, or telling people after the race you overcooked the bike and your run suffered. Me, I try to not set time goals. I set execution goals: "draft well on the swim, don't take breaks to sight", and "150 watts on the bike on the flats, don't exceed 250 on the hills, stay aero stay aero stay aero!" and "minimize walking the aid stations on the run, stay at consistent 9 min pace". If I hit the execution goals, then I'm happy with my race and what the clock says at the end. But I'm still human, and I do try to calculate what the resulting time is going to be based on what I think is realistic. My most memorial moment in triathlon is finishing IMC in 12:59:47 when I was hoping for 13 hours and thought I'd missed it. Long race report if you're interested: http://brucemorgan.blogs.com/afc/2009/09/ironman-canada-2009-race-r...

 

I like this.

 

I just signed up for my first, IM CDA next June. My goal is to train well and then to race smart and execute well. Time doesn't matter so much to me. I want to feel like I ran a good smart race, executed everything smart and well, the time chips can fall where they may. 

I am not a real competitive person usually, but something in my brain switches when I get on a bike. Doesn't happen in the swim or run but does on the bike. So my goal is to not do the usual and kill myself on the bike so that I have to walk 22 miles. If I can finish with minimal walking I will be happy regardless of time. 

Like Bruce said the time is just too subjective, especially in CDA. One year it can be gorgeous, warm and no wind. Another year it can be brutally cold, windy and rainy, just Idaho in June. I don't want to be out there mentally beating myself up every time I look at my watch because I am not meeting some time goal. 



2013-08-27 1:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
Originally posted by TriMyBest

I'd encourage you to set three goals: The first is just to finish. The second is the most likely based on your training and allowing for a few mistakes and some unexpected issues. The last is your stretch goal - the time you could achieve if the planets align and everything goes perfectly. Go into the race with all three in mind.


This, but mentally I think of them in reverse order:

1) If "the planets align" I want to push myself to achieve XX time....
2) If I can't hit my "110% performance" metric, I should still comfortably finish in YY time based on my training...
3) No F'ing way I can mentally accept DNF...

Then I will mentally prepare myself to accept a 16:59 finish, and regroup to understand why I missed goal 2, and plan for how I can correct for next time to HIT goal 2, and realistically pursue goal 1.

The above literally describes my mental strategy going into my first 140.6 next year.

EDIT: Just read Aarond4b's post above mine. Absolutely agree with his sentiment about feeling remise if I don't achieve my 'planets align' goal.

That takes a lot of mental preparation in and of itself. As I mentioned, I'm training to mentally prepare myself for accepting a 16:59 finish. If I DNF, then obviously I missed the entire F'ing boat on my training program, or my mental strength didn't deserve a finish (or quite possibly, I drowned). Even for my first full IM, I won't mentally accept a DNF (barring uncontrollable events, bike flats, injury, bike crash, drowning...), but for my first, JUST FINISHING is good, even if my expected time based on training might be 13-14hrs, and my "hopeful" time is sub-12.

Of course, those times vary course to course. As a flatlander, I struggle to find hill courses to train, so 17hrs might be my "training time goal" on a hill course (he11, might even expect 20hrs!), while I'd expect sub-14 on a flat. Which is why I'm not signing up for a hilly course for my first 140.6!!!

Edited by Chokebait 2013-08-27 2:16 PM
2013-08-27 1:53 PM
in reply to: Aarondb4

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM

I guess it's just how your mind works.

I'm FOR three goals.  If the stars align and I have a killer day, I would be elated.  But it's "pipe dream" goal so if it doesn't happen, I'm not going to beat myself up for even a second about it.

Then I have my time goal.  There is a little disappointment that goes with that if I don't make it.  It's what I trained for and if it doesn't happen?  Sure, I didn't have a good day or execute as well as I could.  Even if I see the time slipping away on the course, I may set new goals just to get through it.

But all in all?  Months after the race, I sort of forget what my goal WAS and just remember finishing and my approximate time.

Trust me.  When you cross that finish line, you are HAPPY - especially if it's your first.  I was probably an hour or more past my goal time in my last one (see, I forget what my goal even was), but when they say your name at the finish and put that medal around your neck?  The last think on your mind is your time.  You can dwell on that after.

What I like to say to myself is that I have done 4 of them.  That's it.  I don't look back on times much.  I can probably recall if pressed, but times, especially years later, don't matter.  Missing time goals is a little disappointing, but to me, finishing is so huge, that time goals fade.  I would only be crushed if I didn't finish.

Not to say I'm not competitive.  I always try to race my best race.  But when you get to those bleak moments on the course and realize maybe your time goal is slipping by 15-30 minutes?  I think, regardless of whatever my time is, the feeling of finishing is so amazing that it makes me smile even when the legs are cramping, the sun has set, and I'm freezing out there...

Sorry so long winded.

 

2013-08-27 2:26 PM
in reply to: Kido

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
For me, it was bad to set a time goal. There are so many variables in the race that putting yourself behind schedule is going to burn your candle, and cause even more time loss. If I get out of the swim or mid portion of the bike 15 minutes behind my expected schedule, speeding up to meet time is not going to be counterproductive. I IM's are more about energy management than anything, and the better you can do that the fast you will be.
2013-08-27 2:32 PM
in reply to: furiousferret

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM

Originally posted by furiousferret For me, it was bad to set a time goal. There are so many variables in the race that putting yourself behind schedule is going to burn your candle, and cause even more time loss. If I get out of the swim or mid portion of the bike 15 minutes behind my expected schedule, speeding up to meet time is not going to be counterproductive. I IM's are more about energy management than anything, and the better you can do that the fast you will be.

I tend to pace my swim and bike.  Don't want to lose it there.  I only start evaluating time goals once I start the run.  I calculate if I'm going to meet my time or not and what run pace I need to get there.

I figure if I over do it on the first half of the run to meet a time goal, I could at least limp home for the finish.  That's when I set on course goals.  Maybe it's not 12 hours, but 12:30...  Overcook the swim or bike and your day could most likely be over.

2013-08-27 7:52 PM
in reply to: Kido

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM

It may seem cool, party vibe to finish at 16:59 or last hour but not something I would strive for.

If you plan to do an IM, invest the time in training, prepare the best you can and execute.

Having time goals can be good for some of us or not for others. My goal is to execute the best I can with the fitness I have (not wished for) come race day.

For many of us the challenge of the day is to the best we can. What that is for each of us is different.

Trust me if are a 16+ hour finisher, the finish line is amazing but the hours before the finish are quite different. The finish line is like a blink of a moment where the journey to starting line and race day is much bigger.

I've finished 4 IMs and 3 were in the 16 hour range. My last I was 3rd from last finisher at 16:53....cool video...sure, but not what I hoped for.

 



2013-08-28 11:49 AM
in reply to: KathyG

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
Originally posted by KathyG
My last I was 3rd from last finisher at 16:53....cool video...sure, but not what I hoped for.

 




Kathy, just out of curiosity I went and read your RR from this race. JEEEEEEZ!!!!!! Great job. Was a great read. Congrats on that finish.
2013-08-28 11:58 AM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
I DNF'd IMTX this year because i went in with a lofty time goal, got sick, dehydrated, malnourished, and didnt slow down. I got pulled off the run course by EMS. It has haunted me ever since. Don't do what i did, be smart and adjust according to what you have in you that day. you don't know what you're doing (or atleast i didnt). I would take a 16:59 over my DNF in route to an 11:00 any day of the week.
2013-08-29 7:28 AM
in reply to: spiderjunior

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
Originally posted by spiderjunior
Originally posted by KathyG My last I was 3rd from last finisher at 16:53....cool video...sure, but not what I hoped for.

 

Kathy, just out of curiosity I went and read your RR from this race. JEEEEEEZ!!!!!! Great job. Was a great read. Congrats on that finish.

Thanks...it was a challenging day for sure.

Looking back I now know what medical stuff I had going on that effected my joints and my overall health that I didn't fully know when I raced.

2013-08-29 9:28 AM
in reply to: r3dey3

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
My goal for my first was to "finish with a smile on my face wanting to do another one." And that's exactly what happened. I think the first one should be about learning and then the rest can be about time goals. Having no pressure on myself, I had a blast out there and finished in 12:30. Half hour of that was changing/chatting w/ volunteers about how much fun I was having in transition. Now that I'm signed up for #2 (I'm doing IMLP, too), I have my time goals. And there will be 3 of them, just like everyone else suggested.

Finish with a smile
Realistic goal
Stretch goal

2013-08-30 12:00 PM
in reply to: DCT76

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
I think the first one there is so much unknown that you really do need several plans to get through your day. Once you experience it you can plan better for number two.
My first race I just wanted to enjoy the spectacle, not kill it and take time in transitions. I even took a 10min break halfway through the bike to make sure I wasn't taxing myself. I guess that laid back attitude and low stress allowed stars to align and finished in 12:18.
Second race I would say I trained a bit less and was less excited going in. I didn't have a real goal (problem 1). Had a crappy rough swim, a tough hot hilly bike and my mind wasn't in it. When I started the run I aggravated an old calf strain and couldn't run (mile 1). The option was to quit or walk the entire marathon (most would be in dark). I'm not a DNF er. No shame in it, I just don't do it, unless carted off or in medical danger. Luckily a friend was getting out of the medical tent in t2, and we walked together. Still finished in 14:50, but a few more punches to deal with for sure.


2013-08-30 3:20 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Time Goal vs. Just Finish first IM
Originally posted by brucemorgan
Originally posted by mikerunkleSorry for another "what they said" post, but all advice has been spot on. Three goals are a good way to plan:Goal 1: Just finish. The one you tell everyone.Goal 2: Target time based on your training. The one you tell other Triathletes.Goal 3: Secret, planets have aligned, goal.
I'm going to disagree with the three goals philosophy. I've done 9 IMs, some with a lot of training, some with not really enough, and something like 8 half-IMs and six or seven marathons so I'll claim a bit of experience in goal setting.The problem with three goals is that it is very difficult to feel anything other than disappointment with yourself unless you achieve goal #3 your secret goal. You get to the finish line, you're supposed to be elated, your spouse and family and friends are happy, amazed, and proud of you, and you're smiling too, but you know that you didn't achieve goal #3. And you won't achieve #3 if it's one of those unrealistic perfect diay tailwind all the way types of goal.Why put yourself through that? Be honest with yourself, and set a realistic time goal based on your training and be done with it. Don't go into the race with a "just finish" attitude unless 16:59 is actually a realistic goal based on your training and fitness. Tell people what your goal is, don't sandbag with a "happy to just finish" unless that's actually your goal. Be realistic, and recognize there are no miracles on race day, not in IM. If you say blast the bike leg far faster than your training said you should ride, then you will certainly be among the many walking the run talking about how fast your bike was, or telling people after the race you overcooked the bike and your run suffered. Me, I try to not set time goals. I set execution goals: "draft well on the swim, don't take breaks to sight", and "150 watts on the bike on the flats, don't exceed 250 on the hills, stay aero stay aero stay aero!" and "minimize walking the aid stations on the run, stay at consistent 9 min pace". If I hit the execution goals, then I'm happy with my race and what the clock says at the end. But I'm still human, and I do try to calculate what the resulting time is going to be based on what I think is realistic. My most memorial moment in triathlon is finishing IMC in 12:59:47 when I was hoping for 13 hours and thought I'd missed it. Long race report if you're interested: http://brucemorgan.blogs.com/afc/2009/09/ironman-canada-2009-race-r...
. Bruce, I'd agree with you if the it weren't the OP's first IM, and they had multiple under their belt like you do. For most first timers at long course racing, this approach seems to work well. For someone as experienced as you are, it doesn't make as much sense, because "just finishing" is less likely to be satisfying, and more likely to disappoint. Whenever someone I coach is doing their first race at any distance, we discuss anticipated paces and times based on planned intensities and the expected race conditions, but I still remind them that they will only ever get to do their first HIM or IM one time, so their first priority should be to enjoy the experience, because after that, they'll always be racing for time. (I say this with a smile and chuckle to alleviate concerns and remind them they're doing this for fun.)
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