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How often are you really happy with your race performance?
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I’m curious about how folks here evaluate their races. I’m guessing that many of us are type A and have relatively high expectations for ourselves. Personally, over the past 11 years I’ve had three open running races and two triathlons where I looked back after the race and felt I hit my top goals. This covers around 45 triathlons and 60 or so running races. I have had decent results, and I often set a high goal that I feel is achievable based on training going into a race - only a handful of times (~5%) of the time have I really hit my high goal.

I’m wondering what others feel in regards to successful races.


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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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I'm probably the same as you and I rarely feel I've totally executed well. A ton of bike races (lots of TTs; they are popular here), tris and open runs. Of all of these I'd say I am most happy with my runs performances, which is ironic because I am a strong cyclist/swimmer and running is still progressing. I've swam so much throughout my life that I've never really cared one way or another on my swims. I am always critical of bike performance with a few rare exceptions where I've just throttled it. Running has been a later to me in life sport and is interesting. I have my marathon time to a fast clip (for me) and any time I run I am pleasantly surprised, mostly due to not having high expectations.

However as someone now sidelined with illness for a prolonged period, I can't help but to look at my performances longingly wondering how hard it is going to be to regain all of that fitness. I should appreciate all of this more. Lesson to future self: enjoy the process and appreciate good health no matter what the end result is.
Last edited by: turdburgler: Apr 15, 19 13:18
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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5 letters. The moment you are happy, and not looking to get better, performance goes backwards.

NEVER
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Never.

Even if I achieve my goals, there is always room for improvement. That's just how I'm wired. When I was a kid, and got a 99% on a test, my dad's response was "That's great son, but what happened to the other 1%?"

I look at what I did well, and make a note to repeat it. Then I look at everything that could have gone better and pick 2-3 things to fix for next race. The list of things to fix seems to be getting longer faster than the list of things fixed.

Even if I were an IM AG World Champ, I'd likely look at that race and ask myself why I didn't set a course record. Or if I did, why it wasn't faster.

Hopefully I don't screw up my son as much as my dad screwed me up. It think it would kind of be nice to find satisfaction in some things, sometimes. I just never learned how.
Last edited by: wintershade: Apr 15, 19 13:29
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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I am happy if I am toeing the line of passing out near the finish. If I have something in the tank when I cross that line. Not happy. If I cross the line and kinda do a swervy walk for a few steps and someone asks me if I am ok - then I know I emptied it and that results is the best I could do, on that day, in those conditions.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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I think about this a lot.

I enjoy the process. I can see if I’m getting fitter while training.

I race maybe 5 or 6 times per year so that it makes sense that I am training all the time.

I don’t like the taper. I hate the stress of not being able to control the weather, etc...

I was happy with my first marathon, as I had no expectations other than to attempt a BQ. My time was my time and I was pretty pumped. This is a huge exception for me.

Generally, I have a time / 100 meters, power targets and avg. run paces I want to hit. Rarely do I outperform on all three. An AG placing is nice, but even that doesn’t get me too excited.

It’s probably as Dev says...

I am thinking about doing things like run R2R at the Grand Canyon where it’s more experience driven. I am not sure I have a good answer, but you aren’t alone amongst us Type A types.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah, but what if you nearly pass out when you cross the finish line, but what if it's just because you blew up your pacing? What if you went all out, but swam and extra 200 yards in the swim because your sighting sucked, and then had a crappy T1 because you didn't regain focus quickly enough.

Personally, I find how I feel when I finish to be a pretty poor indicator of my overall performance on any given day unless it's something pretty simple like a flat, windless road 5K.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [Twinkie] [ In reply to ]
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Ha. Yeah I saw a woman that I was running a half marathon throw up at the finish line. I was like, “damn, I wish that was me”.

Today I had a half dozen people ask me if I was okay and someone took my shoes off for me and put pants on me. I guess today was a good day :)
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Often. And it doesn't mean I quit striving (been racing since 2004, not as long as others but longer than most). I often set ambitious goals, and I am often just outside them. Rarely am I so far off absent a mechanical or other serious unforeseen issue.

However more recently I've been judging my race performance more on how it makes me feel versus whether I was 45th or 50th in my AG at a large WTC type race. Did I pace correctly and hold back smartly where needed? Did I push appropriately? Did I give in to the voices in my head telling me to stop? This started a couple years ago when my Garmin flooded just before Oceanside so I raced it blind. 6th time I'd done the course, and TBH was super happy with my execution, didn't even look at my time until several days later. Now I race in a similar fashion, no running time although I do have the Garmin for data

I've had faster years and I've had slower years but if I execute to the very best of my ability at the time of the race, that's a success. Whether that result meets my "time goals" is not really relevant to me, and really just tells me there are things I have to work on if I didn't meet that goal.

Friend of mine writes the back page piece in the USAT Tri mag. Best line he wrote: "Ultimately, it's not about the time it took you to get from the start to the finish, but the time you had in between"
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [SBRinSD] [ In reply to ]
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SBRinSD wrote:
I am thinking about doing things like run R2R at the Grand Canyon where it’s more experience driven. I am not sure I have a good answer, but you aren’t alone amongst us Type A types.

I've been thinking more about doing stuff like this too. Stuff where every event is kind of a 1-off experience in and of itself. I got into alpine mountaineering for a while for this reason (until I eventually realized I hate cold and don't like sleeping outside).

But on the other hand there is a different sort of satisfaction that comes from continually improving, bit by bit, race by race, year after year.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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i had a pretty realistic goal for im texas 70.3. i wanted to do no worse than what i did on my swim last year (got that), i wanted an arbitrary 2:30 on the bike, got 2:37, and i wanted 7:45 overall pace on the run but finished (well, almost, i was cut short a mile of the run due to rainout) with a 7:53 pace.

overall time was a calculated 5:15 and change, last year i was 5:40ish.

i smashed my time from last year and overall i still wasnt happy.

2019 Schedule: Ironman 70.3 Texas April 7...
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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devashish_paul wrote:
5 letters. The moment you are happy, and not looking to get better, performance goes backwards.

Those things are not mutually exclusive for me, thankfully. I find it's possible to enjoy performances, and still go-to-work-with-lunchpail on Monday morning.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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When I was focused on running I was able to compartmentalize it away from the rest of the life. Everything went according to plan or better in about 15-20% of races. Our club coach mentioned 25% in his experience.

When I switched to long distance triathlons, it simply became a part of my life. Family, work, commute have as big impact on performance as successful training blocks, weather or mechanical issues. To have a perfect race or, in this case, a perfect life, became practically impossible. A-type personalities tend to mistake ideas for plans and become really upset when plans are not being executed. This is how we lose efficiency - worrying to much about perfection instead of putting a good fight right here and now.

Understanding that made me feel much better and, as a result, perform better. Now I think I put up good fight in about 80% of my races.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Most A races I do I have a pretty good idea of what my capabilities are (due to race sim workouts), and I almost always do what I think I'm gonna do. So yes, in those cases I am happy with the performance. But that doesn't mean that I don't strive to get better for the next one.

Strava I Instagram I Team Every Man Jack I PM me for 25% off discount code at everymanjack.com
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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ALWAYS. I'm old, and was as fast as I'll ever be, over 20 years ago. I still give each race, what I have to give that day. And for as long as I can still race, my performance will never be as good, as it's been before. My only goal these days, is to make it to the starting line. Once there, I'm happy with whatever the outcome of the race is.

Athlinks / Strava
Last edited by: Dean T: Apr 15, 19 18:14
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe I should have differentiated between happy and wanting to improve. I guess I can be happy that the race went well and still look at areas where it can improve for next time. But I am never not looking for how it could be improved (no matter how slow I am).
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Guess it depends on how you define performance. I've been satisfied a number of times, from a win to getting beaten into second to barely making it to finish line. To me satisfaction is less about the outcome--though I'll happily take a win--and much more about the effort.

Last year I suffered more in a race than at any time I can remember. When the physical end failed it became a psychological challenge. Sucking it up and grinding to finish line is probably the performance I'm most happy with.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Most races I’m happy with but always look to improve. I always evaluate my race after to figure out what parts I didn’t execute as well as possible. But this sport is a hobby for me and I’m not qualifying for kona so I try to focus on staying positive. I usually have set a few race day goals as far as time. One is the stars align outcome where I execute most everything way beyond expectations. Two is pretty realistic where I hit very close to my goal times for each leg with no major faults. Three is maybe slightly outside of what I was expecting but not crazy far off. After that, sure, I might be disappointed for a moment but there’s always another race. And I’ll look at things I did well and think about areas to improve.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Once, lol.

Last year in Galveston. It was my first race after hunkering down with a coach and training seriously. I had no idea what to expect, because before i was only training sporadically on my own, and finished my first 70.3 in 5:56.

Galveston I beat my swim time by a mile. I went faster than I thought i was going to on the bike, I ran out of transition and my legs felt great, and I set a half marathon PR. I broke 5hr and was almost an hour faster than my previous best time. It was the first time I did a race and felt like I executed everything, and it felt like I was racing from start to finish.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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Sometimes I am happy - like in Boston in 2017 when I had a good race on a few weeks of 40 mpw type of training... but most of the time once I sit down and sift thru the data I find something I don't like. So - mostly never, but every now and then I feel satisfied.

Next races on the schedule: Phil's Cookie Fondo 2019, IMAZ 2019
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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If I am racing a running road race, it hitting the time goal. If I run faster it’s successful if not the it’s not. I don’t lose much sleep over it but the clock doesn’t lie.
If i am doing an ironman it’s did I qualify for kona. If so then it’s successful, if not then it’s not. I do not put much stock into digging deep, working through pain or singling out a specific leg of the SBR to make myself feel better about a failed attempt.
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [alex_korr] [ In reply to ]
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I think it is a really good question! Most people are disappointed with their race results, and so am I.
I am really happy when I manage to race at 100% of my potential. This has been very rare for me, probably 20% of the triathlon races I have started over the past 5 years.

I try to put things into perspective, and so I feel like the comment that is sometimes made on ST is relevant and I try to keep it in mind: “crossing the finish line a 70.3 or full IM distance race is an incredible achievement and should remain one for anyone”. I race triathlon for fun, because I enjoy it. Not to blame myself because I am slow.

https://mymsracesironman.home.blog/

My Multiple Sclerosis races Ironman (at least for now...)
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [turdburgler] [ In reply to ]
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turdburgler wrote:
However as someone now sidelined with illness for a prolonged period, I can't help but to look at my performances longingly wondering how hard it is going to be to regain all of that fitness.



If Tim Don can get back to fitness, you can too - right? You're golden. You already have the muscle memory.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/...n-neck-keep-running/
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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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I think there's a separation between being happy with a performance, and being satisfied with one. The day you reach the latter is the day when you hang it up.

I've had good days -- one's where I've been happy -- but I'm not satisfied yet.

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Re: How often are you really happy with your race performance? [natethomas] [ In reply to ]
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I'm happy around 75% of the time. I generally execute pretty well, have never had nutrition issues and rarely have pacing issues. After most races I can genuinely put my hand on my heart and say that was very close (within a few %) to the best that I was capable of on that day. That's my bar for happiness. I tend to avoid setting fixed time goals as conditions can have such a big impact.

The races where I'm not happy are the ones where I either messed something up on the day (pacing, swim pack positioning, equipment choices, etc) or something happened in the ~week before the race that meant I didn't do justice to the training I'd put in. E.g. going into the race tired or stressed through bad tapering, too much travel, work, insufficient sleep, etc.

If my longer term training and fitness isn't where I would like it to be (often the case!) I can still be very happy if I do the best with what I've got.
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