Sunday, August 19, 2007

IMKY: Putting Me Through My Paces

Ok, I’d love to go sub-11 at IMKY…not happenin’, that is not unless someone slips me some manner of potent performance enhancing drug(s).

I would be thrilled with a sub-13, totally unlikely and I won’t include that range in my pace estimates.

Something between 13 and 14 hours, doable and here is how.

Swim – looking at swimming easy, starting slow and then building slightly to the half-way point then pick it up to my half IM pace. I am hoping this will result in an overall pace no slower than 2:00 per 100 meters.

Predicted time – 1 hour 17 minutes 14 seconds.

T1 – check HR and allow it to drop into my biking zone 1 heart rate, about 102 to 117 bpm. I hope this takes me no more than 8 minutes to clear but the governing principle will be to move calmly, efficiently and do not leave without haven fallen back to biking zone 1. I know from past experience that when my HR is higher than it should be I feel more excited, less focused and am more likely to depart from my plan.

Bike – I am also looking at taking it easy on the bike, easy enough that is to maintain a constant pace from beginning to end. I plan on starting the ride at a pace of 16 to 16.5 mph and maintaining that for 30 miles and then reevaluate. I should be maintaining a zone 1 HR then I will pick up the pace until I am in zone 2, about 117 – 133 bpm, and maintain that for the next 60 miles only going into zone 3 on climbs. My zone 3 is about 133 to 148 bpm. For miles 61 to 90 I will be shooting for an upper zone 2 average HR and then miles 91 through 112 I’ll be looking at upper zone 2 to mid zone 3.

Predicted time – between 7 hours and 6 hours 47 minutes 16 seconds. This may be modified based on my speed at given heart rates. If the winds are super high like they have been in EVERY ultra distance race I have EVER done then I will probably be more like the 7 hour mark. If the weather cooperates I know that I am able to maintain an 18 mph pace at my planned HRs so that would be a bike of more like 6:13:20.

T2 – again move calmly and efficiently and allow my HR to drop to my running zone 1 heart rate, about 105 – 121. By the time you hit T2 your HR is usually a little more resistant to dropping because of cardiac drift. For those who may not already know cardiac drift is when your HR gradually climbs simply because of the prolonged stress (exercise) and not because you are excreting a higher degree of effort. The drift tends to be minimal when you are in better shape, are not ill and have been working at lower heart rates from the beginning, another reason it is important to maintain low heart rates during long races. Drift tends to be greater when all the opposite is true. Again, hoped for time is 8 minutes.

Run – It’s all about the run…ok, it’s all about EVERYTHING in an IM but when you are seriously looking at limiting time losses, at least this is the stance I’m taking today…for this race…sacrifice a bit of speed on the bike for a lot of “speed” on the run. I know I can maintain a high zone 3 average heart rate for distances of 20 miles and still have gas left in the tank so it will be my goal to move quickly into low running zone 2, between 121 and 138, and then try and maintain mid to high zone 2 for the first half of the run. During the second half of the run I plan on shooting for high zone 2 to mid zone 3, which is about 146 bpm (Z3 = 138 – 154 for me). It is my sincerest hope that these zones will have me running a 12 minute to 12: 30 per mile pace.

Predicted time – 5 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds to 5:27:30.

Total predicted time – 13 hours 34 minutes 54 seconds to 14 hours 44 seconds. Either of these would be a new PR for the Ironman.

No all this talk of paces begs the question, “What will you do if your heart rates don’t match your hoped for paces?” In theory I will stick to my heart rate plan and bag my pace predictions, this is after all my IM reset race. In practice…who knows, I can be a bit prideful and a bit stubborn and that causes me to push when I shouldn’t. I will really try and stay on top of this because, of course, the main goal, the prime directive, is to finish the race and have a good time.

Oh, one final word. My theme word for this race, the word that I will keep in mind as an easy way of summarizing my approach to the race, the word I center myself on…Spock, yes the Star Trek Spock.


  1. Mr Spock...hmmmm...
    Vulcans never bluff?
    Highly Illogical?
    Live long and prosper?

  2. Sounds like a solid race plan. I do think it is all about the run and not smacking yourself on bike. Then you get to pass all those people while they are walking..

    Good luck at IMKY.

  3. Hope you can stick to the plan. Have fun out there!!

  4. WOW, down to the seconds.


    Have a great race.

  5. Your zone one "run" is me walking, there Spockaroonie - looks like a great plan. Your all over low 13's - I have no doubt I'll see a picture of Sweetness with his... arms raised, in a V... (you can sing that, BTW...) under the digital clock reading 13:something. Huah!!!!

  6. That sounds like a great race strategy to me. I think the part about staying in the transition area untilyou are back in your zone is a good idea.

  7. Awesome race plan. Mother Nature owes me a favor and I'm calling it in for you. I think by going with a heart rate based plan you will succeed and will probably be in mid 13's. I agree about it being about sacrifice on the bike to be able to run.

  8. SB -- your One Thing is both fascinating and logical!

    I'll be trackin' like a madwoman you and your wonderful bride as well! Best of luck!

  9. Good luck! I will be there as a volunteer. Hope to see you. And yes, it really does come down to the run. With the added factor of high heat, which you might be used to, and humidity, which you might not be used to, taking it easy will more likely guarantee a good finish.

  10. Good plan.

    To me, having HR drop to zone 1 in T2 may be excessive. I'd settle for low zone - esp. given cardiac drift. That would match with your early run target, just as your T1 HR matches your early bike target.

    Rock the course!

  11. Great plan! lots of numbers!!!

    Echoes the best advice I've heard.

    I'm not sure if I will put together a plan like this....I was thinking more along the lines of "Stay conscious. Move forward." ;-)

  12. I'd leave the HR monitor home and enjoy yourself..Ha-easy for me to say! Seriously, you may not be able to get your HR down that low after the bike but you are Spock and Spock has special powers!
    Good luck brian-I am rooting for you from afar next weekend..Have fun!

  13. Spock, huh? Whatever gets you through the day.

    Good luck to ya and have a great time!