After a thorough review of Ironman Lubbock 70.3 with Johnny, I came away with an epiphany.

Race execution trumps race finish time.

I’ve always been focused on how quickly I am able to finish. How I actually “do” the race has been the second priority.

We discussed the race for about 90 minutes. All of his questions were about what I did vs what I could or had planned to do.

I began by sharing my mental meltdown during the swim. He asked detailed questions about my routine prior to and during the swim. What did I eat? What was I thinking about? Had I been practicing with a wetsuit? What did I do when I felt the panic? Did I roll to my back, if so, how soon? Was I sighting, how often? How frequently was I breathing and was it on one side or bilateral?

After breaking down the swim debacle and discussing strategies for dealing with those feelings in the future, we moved to the bike section. Again, he asked, how did you feel once you got out of the water? Did I fuel or hydrate in transition? How often did I hydrate? Take salt? Consume calories? What was my carb intake per hour? Did I hold the aero position for the majority of the ride? What was my cadence? Did I stay within my power range? Did I look forward the whole time (as opposed to letting my head drop due to neck fatigue)?

The execution of the bike leg went according to plan. We were both pleased.

I told him that I wore a new shoe and he let me have it. Never try anything new on race day! Nothing new on race day! Then he discussed how the mechanics of my stride can be altered in a way that is unfamiliar with a completely different shoe. With a long run (half-marathon) the fatigue accumulates and further negatively impacts my ability to hold good form and increases my risks of an injury.

Finally, we discussed the finish and how I felt post-race. What was my recovery routine? Was I dehydrated? What we will do in preparation for Ironman Waco 70.3 in October and then Ironman Florida 140.6 in November.

Not once during the discussion did he ask about or bring up my finish time, he was clearly more interested in how I raced, not how quickly I finished the race. After some thought, I realized the obvious. Better execution ultimately results in stronger performances with faster race times.

The goal is execution.

The result is a quicker finish without injury.