The longer the race the more your emotions will have an effect in your endurance. It took me awhile to understand that, and I am still learning in every race. The reason I say that is because usually on a race is when you face all your demons and fears(Remember training is 90% physical and 10%mental and race is 10% physical and 90% mental). I started to realize this in one Ironman that I did, when I saw a lot of people passing me, and I started to catch them on the 2 loop of the bike, and on the run.
For example, in an Ironman about only 6% of the athletes run the marathon below 4 hours, why? It’s simple, Ironman is almost a chest game and controlling your effort is KEY! That been said, most of the time you have to kill your ego, specially in the bike. Most likely you will be passed in the bike and you have to control your emotions and keep your effort, and this sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.
The other day we were talking at the track workout, and one athlete that did an ironman and ran bellow 4 hours and he said that he pass 350 people on the run!!! That is basically everyone that pass him in the bike and a little bit more. Also there is nothing better than doing a good race, by that means running the entire time and feeling good!
For that there is a few things you can do:
-Breath: O2 is our primary source of energy so keeping the right aerobic (depends on the distance of the race) zone is key.
- Concentrate your on breathing: I did a post on my personal blog once, focusing on your breath will help you control your emotions (http://therawveganironmanproathlete.blogspot.com/2012/04/breath.html)
-Meditate: sit down before the race and meditate, that will help you increase focus and calm you down.
-Listen to calm music: This is key, listen to calm music will help you relax and stay focus.
-Follow your plan: This is one of the most important part, stay within your plan, that been said follow your intensities and focus on your race.
-Be flexible: at the same time your are following your plan, sometimes weather conditions could be worst (such as heat, wind, etc) and that might force you to slow down.
-If you are not sure of what intensities to follow or any guide lines, get a coach!
So go have fun, and face your fears and demons, nothing better than crossing the finish line strong, and feeling good!!