Wagner: Preparation is key to race-day successBEMIDJI, Minn. — In the early morning desert air, thousands of spectators line the Mill Avenue bridges, high above the athletes in the water below.
By: Steve Wagner, The Dickinson Press
BEMIDJI, Minn. — In the early morning desert air, thousands of spectators line the Mill Avenue bridges, high above the athletes in the water below.
A helicopter circles above as a race official encourages both participants and fans alike. On this day, more than 930 first-time Iron-distance athletes are among the nearly 2,500 people signed up for the event.
I am not accustomed to sitting on the sidelines, but there was a greater purpose Sunday to watching Ironman Arizona.
First, my goal was to learn how experienced triathletes approach the mass swim start and maneuver the transition area from the water to their bikes.
Second, it proved to be the perfect place to find some inspiration — a sense of the atmosphere that awaits me when I take on the same distance later in 2013. That inspiration, the vivid memories from Sunday in Tempe, Ariz., will serve as motivation during the upcoming winter months when most of my training time will be spent indoors on a bicycle trainer, in the lanes of a swimming pool and running track, and the weight room.
As an experienced marathoner, I realize the foundation for successful racing begins with proper preparation, training and planning many, many months ahead of race day.
Breakthrough performances don’t just happen. A good performance isn’t a fluke.
Instead, the cumulative effect of training, preparation and smart racing — all working in unison — are the formula for success. On race day, we add the final ingredient: attitude.
At Ironman Arizona, as the athletes waited for the start of their race, the announcer attempted to give them some encouragement. “The only thing you control is your attitude,” he said.
While not exactly true — there are a lot of little decisions to make out on the course — attitude does make a difference, and it’s often overlooked as a performance factor.
Wagner is the editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. Reach him at email@example.com and read his blog at runningspud.areavoices.com.