Ironman Challenge Roth on Sunday!July 15, 2010
My first big goal of the season is coming up - Ironman Roth this Sunday July 18. Roth is one of the fastest courses in the world and I'm looking forward to compete. See more at: http://www.challenge-roth.com/en/index.html.
I started my tapering in this the race week. I trained relatively much this weekend; four hours both Saturday and Sunday (1 hour in ironmanpace on the bike on Sunday followed by a brick run.) Tuesday I had 3,5 hours of training and the same Wednesday before I left for Roth in the afternoon.
Even though I still trained a lot it is part of the tapering as I train much less and at lower intensity than the week before. The most important thing is to focus on recovery so you will get the energy you don't neccesarily have when you are in heavy training.
The last three days in Roth, Germany
I arrived Wednesday afternoon. Thursday I have a little bike and run - 15 mins in ironman pace. It is important that the body doesn't forget how to perform.
Thursday is also press conference and briefing day, and that is all the official duties I have so I can focus entirely on the race. Friday I have a bit of swimming and running and Saturday a bit of swimming and biking, but in an easy tempo these last days before the race.
Rest, rest, sleep and rest
Rest is very important the last days to be able to have the most optimal recovery on the last weeks of heavy training. I always try to get into a rythm and go to bed earlier when you need to get up in the middle of the night on race day. (We start at 6 o'clock, which seems a bit early and means that I need to get up at 3 in the night.) I generally try to get as much sleep as I can the last days leading up to the race. But it is a balance, because it is no use getting up at 4 in the morning the last days if you are not well rested. For me it is more important to get my rest before the last night and then accept that you don't get to sleep much the last night.
Personally I never sleep that good on the last night before a big race. I stil believe that it is better just to stay in bed and relax, than it is to try all sorts of methods to sleep. The tension in the body is at such a high level that it can be difficult to calm completely down. And then when you are almost asleep some thought pops up in your head and you need to start over again calming down. I'm betting that most athletes feel this way on the last night and it is something I have learned to accept.
Some nap in the middle of the day and still fall quickly asleep at night. I usually don't nap, but rather just relax or read, so I am able to have a solid sleep at night.
Carbs are important
I make sure to carboload a lot in the week before the race. I then cut back on protein a copule of days befora and my last meal the nigt before the race consist of carh rich products such as pasta, rice, bread, vegetables and fruit. Maybe a little fish but no meat other than that. And it is really important to make sure that I get enough fluid and salt.
The focus is on me
The time leading up to a competition professional athletes try to shut out everything that has not to do with the race. Everything else in our lives can wait if it is not really important. What the surroundings must understand is that this competition is the most important thing in our life at the moment. You need to stay focused and make sure you get your rest, energy and fluids.
It may be difficult for the nearest family and friends to understand that everything is about me these important days. Everything in my life is optimized so I don't waste time, rest and energy on things that aren't important to me. Personally I step inside me own little space and shut everything else out. This is what I seek and what has helped me perform and peak at the competitions I have performed well in an won. You must accept that you can get on the nerves of the people close to you because you can get a littte demanding and expect a lot from the surroundings. You can only hope that they accept this short time of you being demanding as it is a neccesary part of being one of the best in the world. It may be difficult for my surroundings but it works for me and helps me perform my very best.
For those age groupers that competes in an ironman for the first time, e.g. in Copenhagen on August 15: This situation can be difficult to handle so make sure that you let your family and friends know, that they can expect a person that the last week has full focus on themselves and their race. Everything you do that last week is about yourself and the competition. Maybe it can help prevent frustrations etc.
Eneko Llanos, Spain, bib 5. He has beaten the Danes this year: Me at Abu Dhabi and Martin Jensen at the European LD champs in June. He also won Ironman Lanzarote with a marathon finish of 2:50 on a difficult course. He was 2nd in Hawaii in 2008 and is one of the most complete ironman athletes in the world.
Normann Stadler, Germany, bib 4. Ironman Hawaii winner in 2004 and 2006. Will be fast on the bike.
Pete Jacobs, Australia, bib 2. Has a profile that is similar to me. He will be in front efter the swim and I think I will see a lot of him out on the course. He was second in Roth the past two years and third in 2007.
Rutger Beke, Belgium, bib 7. Has two second place finishes in Ironman Hawaii. Also young German Sebastian Kienle, who has shown good results on the half ironman will be someone to look out for.
Last year German Michael Göhner won in a super time of 7:55:53 and with an impressive marathon of 2:41:17.
I myself have bib number 6.
That is all for now before Challenge Roth on Sunday. Be sure to check out my fan page on Facebook 'Rasmus Henning' as well as my website which will be updated throughout the weekend.
All the best,