You know they must be experiencing the same pain as everyone else. They have to get tired from their effort. But regardless, they look just as fresh at the end of the race as they did when they started!
For many athletes as the race progresses they get tight. Their form breaks down. They look ever bit of the pain, the challenge and the fatigue that they are experiencing. Why do the top folks seem to be mostly immune to this? How does a Patrick Lange or a Mirinda Carfrae look like they are doing strides on the track even at the very end of their marathon in an IRONMAN? Can mere mortals achieve this? The answer is YES!
The reason is that with less fitness than you will have later, fatigue sets in very early in workouts. You form can fall apart even in short sessions. Later in the season when you are much more fit, it can be rare that your form falls off.
Now is a golden opportunity. The first month back training enables you to learn how to maintain good form even when tired. It’s a skill that will serve you well in your races. In every session you do right now keep part of your attention focused on the mechanics of your swimming, cycling and running. Maintain relaxed efficiency even when fatigue starts to cause you to tighten up. Keep the key muscles activated even when they start to tire and the tendency is to have secondary muscles try to compensate.
You will see much less falloff in performance late in the race. That comes from the practice you do now in the first month back training. Then if you are finding that even with focus you can’t hold your form together, it’s likely time to implement Part 3 in this series: Functional Strength. Stay tuned!
I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.