I'm a visual person. I think in pictures, I worry about the presentation as much as the content. I see recipes, songs, equations and conversations as images in my head. So it's not really much of a surprise that visualization helps my training. As we roll into the Ironman race week, I have more time at my disposal (it is taper, after all), and so I tend to spend some of that visualizing the race course, my technique, my future as a triathlete. And it even at this late point, is helping me improve my performance.
My latest journey into visualization started with actually watching a champion of the sport do what she does. I watched Lindsay Corbin's Lucky 13 series made as part of her run up to the 2013 Ironman World Championships. It was a show real of training, recovery, and sponsors. It showed her techniques for training, for course management and nutrition. It showed, fundamentally, her love for the sport. I love Kona. I love seeing Kona. I dream of watching the championships live. I have a goal of racing there one day. I loved watching someone who has done it many times before go through the same preparations I'm just beginning. But most importantly, I loved watching her just swim, bike and run.
You can pick up all sorts of interesting things watching someone who is incredibly good at what she does. There were extended scenes in the series of just Lindsay swimming, biking and running. Watching her hand position in the water as she began her pull gave me a template that I experimented with this morning in the pool. Watching her spin so fluidly, gave me a model to emulate. But probably the most important, was watching her run. The image of her foot plant and body alignment went with me on my run this morning. I used the mental hook of her high cadence turnover on a treadmill as the template for a complete leg extension, and it probably bought me 30-40s/km.
For someone who aspires to Kona, watching a master at work is phenomenal. And not just for the tidbits I can glean on performance. It is also incredibly inspiring. The desire to be where she is, or at least as close as my body will allow, grows every time I see something like Lucky 13. The mental image is as inspiring as it is informative and I hope to keep the visual of a journey to Kona running through my mind for the next two weeks. Someday, it won't just be in my mind.