Ironman: what I have learnt:

70,3 2013: note mtb shoes and std road helmet
70,3 2013: note std road helmet and mtb shoes

This is my favorite time of year for training. Work stress disappears for a few weeks and you can put in a solid block. Perfect if you are preparing for IMSA on the 6th April 2014

I loved my prep a year ago and thought I would share some insights from my journey. NOW is the time to start planning in earnest!

In no particular order:

* It is ok to give your bike a name. We all do it. And yes “machine” is as good a name as any.

* Get a pro bike set up for your tt bike/bars. It is perfectly good to ride on a road bike with tt bars. A correct set up will be hugely different from a road bike set up. Spend the money on this and do it early so that you can get used to the position and discomfort. I used Ian Waddel of Personal Best

* Discomfort can not be avoided but needs to be managed.

* I have mtb shoes and cleats on my road bike. This means I only need one pair of biking shoes for road and mtb. I get out of the water and put my shoes on and run to my bike in transition. And I don’t look like a complete dork standing around in my cycling shoes 😉

* Work out your nutrition and work out a plan. Then train that plan. On race day be flexible. My plan did not work out as I ate too much concentrated sugar too early on. Even a few gels too early on the bike mess things up. I learnt a hard lesson on the run.

* Going to swim squad once a week is a huge help. I did at least one other session of technique drills and one long swim, preferably open water. (I could not swim three year’s ago. I did a course with Georgie Thomas of Total Immersion. read about that here. I still stand by what I wrote. This is the best way for a non-swimmer to learn. HOWEVER you just don’t get fast continually doing drills and ultimately IM is a race). Viv Williams continues to be a super star.

* Think transitions through and how you are going to manage each of them. Work out what is going to work for you and not what everybody else does. Pack the least amount of stuff into your transition bag! I chose to ride in cycling bibs and changed into running shorts. The added comfort was well worth the few minutes extra changing.

* Ride your bike alone. It is an individual race and should be trained accordingly. I see far too many pelotons of tt bikes out. Really! What is the point?

* Ride with the nutrition that you will have on race day. Ride with your water bottles full – even for shorter rides. You want to know what the bike is really going to feel like with an extra 1,5 kg on board.

* Ride the downhills. Don’t just freewheel. This is where you get free speed. Use it.

* Most important enjoy the training. If you don’t then you won’t do the necessary yards.

I am not doing Ironman in 2014. I want to build my biking base. This is going to be even more important with the route changes in mind. Good luck to all who are getting ready for next year!

Full Disclosure: I continue to use and pay for Ian and Viv’s services. I did not receive any benefit for writing this post.

Published by leorust

Trail runner and outdoor enthusiast. Inspiring others to explore their environment and pushing their limits.

3 thoughts on “Ironman: what I have learnt:

  1. OK so that is where I went wrong with my 2 IRONMANs…
    Could hardly ether swim, so I did most of my training at home in the pool, then borrowed a friends wetsuit. (he’s as tall as you!!!)
    did all my riding on my Mnt bike, and only cycled flat as hills are slow and down hills are no work and with 6 hours of cycling I needed to make my couple of training rides count. Oh I borrowed another tall friends bike and only rode it once before the 180km!!!

    good luck

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