Bucket Challenge, Bucket List ….. Really Just Bucket Strategy

[caption id="attachment_5829" align="alignright" width="360"]ironman_triathlon_race_strategy Formulate A Plan And Stick To It[/caption] Bucket Challenge was all over the interwebs for a few weeks and seems to have become extinct but for me it is still holding steady but not because I want to pour ice over my head but as a strategy for racing Ironman Chattanooga. There is the simple comparison between the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the marathon at the end of an Ironman and that would be:  It is going to hurt but I just have to do it.  For me, the bucket challenge became a racing strategy. I am not sure how this strategy came about and maybe it is because of all the Ice Bucket Challenge videos I was watching and had been tagged in but I have come up with a strategy to help me run the marathon at a pace that will allow me to achieve my goal of sub-4 hours. The strategy is simple in that I will visualize three buckets and as each mile passes I will be ‘pouring’ that time into the respective bucket.  All the buckets are on a pulley system and tied to each other so as one bucket fills the others are affected. The three buckets will have the paces of 8:45 per mile, 9:00 per mile and 9:15 per mile.  Why these paces?  I broke down my run from Ironman Texas in 2013 and for me to achieve my goal I will need to run 9 miles at 8:45/mile, 9 miles at 9:00/mile and 8.2 miles at 9:15/mile.  This breakdown is the result of how my paces changed as I ran the three loops at IMTX. Ironman Chattanooga does not have three loops but instead it has two.  For me, to say I need to run 1:55 and 1:55 to get to 3:50 for the marathon is not something I can comprehend.  I need smaller goals that I can visualize and process as the race goes on.  Also, since I do not have any idea of what the course will look like I cannot say that I will run the first 9 miles at x:xx/mi and then the next 9 at x:xx/mi. The bucket system allows me to now worry about a set of 9 miles all at one time.  Instead I can focus on the mile that I am running at that moment.  I tried this system out on the last long run of 23 miles and it worked perfectly.  I have used it for shorter runs as well and it works great for me. I start out the run by saying 9-9-8 and as each mile passes by I can remove a number from that list.  For example, if the first mile is 9:15 then I am now at 9-9-7.  When the second mile passes at 8:35 I am now at 8-9-7.  This keeps me engaged with my splits while not worrying about how fast I need to run the first group.  I can focus purely on the here and now.  The beauty is that as the first bucket fills up it allows that last bucket to move from 9:15/mi to 9:20/mi and slower.  Being a competitive person this works terrifically because as I move along I will want to fill up that first bucket with the fastest, well paced, miles possible. The marathon at the end of an Ironman can be a wild card in terms of the days performance.  Did you ride too hard and are now suffering?  Has the temperature or humidity risen to unbearable levels?  Did you fail your nutrition strategy?  Anything can happen over the course of those 26.2 miles and by having a strategy that is simple to follow and easy to understand can help make that run just a bit more easy to tolerate.  

What Type Of Ironman Marathon Strategy Have You Used?

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.