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How To Prepare & Plan For An Ironman Triathlon | Triathlon Training Explained

(relaxed, chillhop music) – Welcome back to the Triathlon
Training Explained show, powered by TrainingPeaks. This week, I’m going to be looking at what can make or break
your race performance. And then, more importantly,
addressing how best to prepare to make sure you get a successful performance
in your next race. The adrenaline of race day can easily make you a
little overambitious. And this is where it could
go disastrously wrong. Admittedly, if you’ve trained hard and you’ve had a successful taper, you’re gonna feel great
at the start of your race, and then, it’s tough
not to go off too hard. But try and stick to your numbers now, ’cause you can always
increase your pace later on, and that will definitely
beat having to walk home. Talking of numbers, use them. Admittedly, it’s gonna
be hard for the swim. But even if you’ve got something
as basic as a wristwatch, it’s still at least gonna help you when it comes the the bike and the run for knowing roughly how
long you’ve been going. But if you’ve got something more advanced such as power on your bike, then give yourself a cap
for your maximum power, and also, obviously, have an average your time is in for the 112 miles. Heart rate isn’t quite so accurate, but it can still be really useful, especially on the run where
you’re unlikely to have power. Just make sure that
you’ve used it in training so that you know how your
heart rate should correlate to your race pace efforts. And consider the fact that
adrenaline from race day as well as maybe extra
caffeine will affect it, but it’s still a very useful guide. There’s only so much you can train and prepare for when it comes to a race, and one of these things
that you can’t control is the weather. Obviously, you’re gonna
have a fairly good idea of what the normal conditions are for the race that you’ve entered, and then hopefully, you’ve managed to prepare
for those conditions. But just make sure you always
pack kit for all eventualities and do a last minute
check of the forecast. If, for example, you’re racing
somewhere like here in Kona, then you’re pretty sure
it’s gonna be hot, humid, and as you can see, pretty windy. So make sure that you try to
prepare as best you can at home for the environment that
you’re going to be racing in. Again, have the right kit. And also check the
forecast a few days prior, ’cause you’ll see if any
fronts are coming through. And just remember, you
could be racing anything from eight to 17 hours, and within a day, conditions
can change dramatically. And one of those being the
sun, and the angle of it. So have a think about your goggles and which direction you’re
gonna be swimming in to make sure you’ve got the right tint, so you can spot the swim buoys. And when it comes on to the bike, whether you want to have tinted, or clear-lens glasses, or a visor. And also for the run, just think about what type
of protection you might want. Take conditions into consideration as well when you’re making your pacing plan, ’cause if, for example, you’re
racing somewhere really hot, or, on the other end of
the spectrum, cold and wet, it is going to affect your effort levels for different reasons. So make sure you’re prepared
to adjust your pace. Listen to your effort. Listen to your heart rate and your body. And remember, everyone else
is in the same boat as you, and you’ve gotta think
about the bigger picture of actually being successful
in the race overall, rather than just sticking
exactly to your watch. And going back to daylight
hours and sunshine, it’s worth noting the actual time it gets dark while you’re racing, as you might even want lights
for the finish and the run. And it’s a good idea to
always pack a head torch, just in case, for transition. The wind can play a significant
part in your race as well, especially if you’re
racing somewhere like here that’s got large, exposed areas that really give the chance
for the wind to build up. So consider this, especially if you’re
riding to pace or speed, and you’re not using power. Say, for example, you’re
riding out into a headwind, and you’re trying to stick to that average pace you’ve planned, you’re actually gonna
be working much harder than your predicted race
pace effort, and vice versa. So consider that. And also, if you’re gonna have crosswinds, just think about what rim width you’re using on your bike as well. This links both of the previous points, unless you’re racing
somewhere that’s pan flat like IRONMAN Florida, hills
are going to affect your race. There’s actually an app
called The Pacing Project that takes this into
consideration for you. You put in your target time,
and then it will tell you at what pace you need
to be running or riding at different sections of the course to meet that overall target time. But admittedly, it’s only for
a few races at the moment. So if you’re lucky enough to use power, that can be really helpful. But if you are racing
somewhere that’s really hilly, consider this when you’re looking
at your overall goal time. And final point, look at the surface when it comes to the cycle, ’cause this will affect what tyre pressure you’ll want to run in your tyres. (energetic surfer rock music) Again, it’s all about the planning. And it’s not just for race day, but pre-race day nutrition
is just as important. So stick to what you know. If you’re travelling, then
try and take some food that you’re familiar with with you. And the day before the race, reduce your fibre intake,
up your carbohydrates. The same goes for your race day breakfast. And just make sure you don’t
try anything new on race day. And then on to the actual race. Have a plan of what you want
to eat and drink, and when. Some people even set
an alarm on their watch to remind them when to take
on fluids or take on fuel, or even have a little plan
stuck on their top tube. And a good benchmark is to try and take something on every 20 minutes. And if your race is a long time after you’ve actually had your breakfast, it’s worth considering topping
off your carbohydrate levels with a gel or carbohydrate
drink before you start as well. Do bear in mind the conditions, because if you’re racing somewhere hot, then you’re going to need
to take on more hydration, but you’ll also be losing
more salt and electrolytes, so bear that in mind. And you might even want to
consider getting a sweat test, which will measure the
amount of sweat you lose, so you can have an even
more structured plan. And then on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re racing somewhere cold, you’re not gonna need
quite as much hydration, so you don’t wanna be forcing it in, and then needing to stop to have a pee ’cause your bladder’s really full. But also bear in mind that the cold can suppress your thirst too much, so make sure you consider that
and you’ve got a good plan. It’s also worth noting that
some long distance races actually allow you to
have a special needs bag for the bike and sometimes even the run, and you can put spares in this. But more importantly, you can
also put your own nutrition. So if you don’t like the course nutrition, or you’ve not had chance
to practise with it, you’ve got that as a great backup. I feel like I can’t reiterate
enough the importance of not trying something new on race day, unless, obviously, it’s
out of your control. And that might seem obvious for nutrition, but the same goes for equipment. Trainers, for example, need to be worn in so you don’t run the
risk of getting blisters. So an ideal situation
would be to buy two pairs, one that you’re going to train in, and another pair you’re
gonna keep for racing that you just wear in a few times so that they’re comfortable, and then you put them away,
and bring them out on race day. It is tempting to go shopping at the race expo the day before when there’s so many
great things on offer. But not only will this tyre your legs out if you’re spending hours wandering around, you also don’t wanna be
tempted to buy something brand new to use on race day, unless it’s something
that’s not so personal, like a water bottle, for example. Talking of preparation, we can’t ignore those final
few hours before your race. Make sure you do a thorough warmup. Obviously, the amount you need will depend on the conditions. But do something that you’ve
practised in training, you know what you’re doing, rather than copying what you
see a fellow competitor trying. I think by now you’ve probably gathered that preparation is key
to a good performance, so have a think about all of these factors when you’re planning and preparing for your next long distance race. Now if you wanna make
sure that you get all of our videos at GTN, just
hit the globe to subscribe. And that video that I
spoke about that Mark did looking specifically at
pacing of an IRONMAN, you can find that just here. And if you wanna find out what the pros do the night before they race, we’ve got an ask the pros video just here.

Reynold King

13 Replies to “How To Prepare & Plan For An Ironman Triathlon | Triathlon Training Explained”

  1. Top tip for me would be in summed up like this – “respect, consistency, belief”.

    Respect – it’s an Ironman! You have to respect the challenge, of course. Know that you’ll need a good amount of training but don’t be scared of it.

    Consistency – keep good quality training and do it week in week out (injury permitting). 12ish hours a week helped me in my two so far and I know I have more to come. Around work though this amount is doable for me. Consistency includes nutrition for me – practise if possible with the nutrition your race will have.

    Belief – with the two above factored in, you just have to believe you can do it. Before I did an Ironman I thought everyone involved would be sinewy athlete machines. But that’s not true. I was amazed by the shapes sizes and ages of people not just completing the Ironman but bossing it! So believing in yourself is absolutely key.

    Then an extra – enjoy it! When you’re there the work should be done and you can bask in the atmosphere.


  2. My first Ironman (and maybe my only Ironman) will be Barcelona in 2021, when I'm 60 🙂 Hopefully that's enough time to prepare

  3. As a cold climate dweller, how do I prepare for a hot weather race? Only have 4 days to adapt when arriving to my next race (december 2).

  4. Got my first ironman in bolton july 2019 🙂 could you do a video more spersifically about training for an ironman?

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