Friday, December 29, 2006

Everything I need to know about Triathlon I learned from Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero is a videogame for the Playstation 2 with a controller that looks like an actual guitar; as notes scroll by on the screen, you have to press the corresponding buttons on your guitar. There is an on-screeen meter; when you play correct notes, the meter becomes more green. When you play the wrong notes, the meter becomes red. If you fall too far into the red zone, you get booed off stage and the game is over.

T-Bone came over to play Guitar Hero today. We were playing a difficult song, and he told me "it gets tricky in the middle, so we have to be in the green when we get there." That's been one of my main strategies for the game: rather than learn how to play the difficult parts, I just do really well in the easy parts, and that gives me enough of a buffer to make it through the rough sections.

While we were playing, it occurred to me how much this relates to triathlon. I'm about 15-18 months from trying my first Ironman, but I think about it a lot. And my philosophy has been that all I need to do is be fast enough on the bike to give myself 6 or 7 hours for the marathon. At that point, I could walk the last 5 or 10 miles and still finish in time. But ultimately that's a flawed stratgey: you don't want to limp across the finish line. In Guitar Hero, you can often make it through a song by simply surviving the solos. But that's not the way to get a high score. If you want to get your name on the Top Rockers board, you have to learn the solos. Similarly, if you want to have a good triathlon race day, you have to plan to do well in all 3 disciplines.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some guitar solos to learn.

For more adventures with me, T-Bone, and Guitar Hero, click here: The Story of a Winner


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