Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Key Words (or, The Soundtrack to My IM Run, as Programmed by the '80s)

I mentioned in my last post that I used key words throughout my ironman marathon. I don't remember where I first heard of using them (Assault on Lake Casitas probably), but we definitely used them throughout my rowing days.

I'm not a sports psychologist, so don't hold me to this definition, but basically key words as I use them are triggers for focusing on something specific or making a change in race pace/effort. I trained with them for the last four months, so when I say them, I know what to do.

I used six key words throughout my IM run. For me, that's a manageable number. With the exception of two, they're based on songs -- none of which are particularly intense -- and that's for a reason. For whatever reason, three of the songs are from the '80s. Clearly I try to keep things a little light, even when I'm focused on a goal. I left my glowering intensity behind with collegiate rowing races (where we lost more than we won) -- it was in a more relaxed atmosphere that we usually came through big.

So here they are:

Light, Quick
I used both of these throughout the run, but specifically in the first two hours. Neither relate to speed for me, they're reminders throughout the run to try for an effortless feel and to keep my leg turnover high.

Man in Motion
I said this phrase at the one hour mark. It's intent is to focus on keeping things rolling -- not pushing the pace, just reaffirm my constant profess. Ignoring the movie (which I've never seen), this is an awesome song, especially if you know the real reason it was written.

I said this at two hours down. The song came up on my ipod in the middle of a tough training run when things weren't going so well. For whatever reason it relaxed me then. Saying it at about the halfway point of the race gets me to relax and keep things steady.

I save this for the 10k-to-go mark. Basically, it means it's time to go. It's cheesy, but it comes from my favorite movie from when I was a kid. And it's a good song! (...if you like transforming robots...) Truthfully, while its purpose is to get me to change gears, it's also to remind me that I do these things for fun... and you can't get more fun than giant, transforming robots. (Skip ahead to about the 1:00 mark if you don't want the exciting build-up from the movie).

Big Casino
The only non-'80s song that I use as a key word. Where "Dare" means start leaning on it, "Big Casino" means drop the hammer. In CdA I saved it for the last two miles, although in training I practiced dropping it in anywhere in the last 10k. Granted, "dropping the hammer" for me didn't set any land speed records in this race, but effort was at close to max.

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