Have you ever been to an Ironman Triathlon? An Ironman event is something that most of us see on TV once a year broadcast from Kona, Hawaii. As it turns out, Ironman events are held all year long and all over the world. The event in Kona is the World Championship – only elite athletes, a few celebrities, and very few lottery selections get to race Kona.
On November 16th, my wife, Debbie, and I volunteered to help with Ironman Arizona. My assignments were bicycle handler, run aid station helper, and finish line catcher (more on that later). We were two of about 3,500 volunteers taking care of the athletes and helping make the event successful.
An Ironman event is 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles cycling, and 26.2 miles running (a marathon), which must be completed in 17 hours to count as an official “finisher.” Some people have a lifetime goal of finishing an Ironman.
To have a prayer at completing the course in the 17 hour window, a plan must be put in place over a year in advance.
I had the opportunity to review some of the Ironman training programs and I'm amazed at the amount of detail and discipline that is involved in the plan for each athlete and each activity – Swim, Bike, Run. Each day for a year is planned out with specific goals for each activity that build upon one another. If the athlete misses workouts or gets injured, there are marked setbacks in performance at race time...or worse, he or she does not finish and the work seems to be wasted.
As a volunteer Ironman finish line catcher, I got to come out to the athlete when he or she crossed the finish line and grab an arm to keep them from falling down. After such a grueling event, these people where absolutely ecstatic to reach their Ironman goals. They had trained and sacrificed for so long, the plan had worked, and they had made it. These athletes had survived the course, the weather, training, and injury, and had adjusted and corrected for a fantastic finish.
I could not help but equate the finishing of an Ironman with business planning for 2015. Business owners and managers are virtually guaranteed that their plans will not go exactly as written; however, if there is a great detailed plan with contingency and monitoring for correction, a Fantastic Finish can still be had!
Get Started Planning For A Great 2015!