You've put in the miles
and done the training. Now it's time to focus
on the race. These tips will help you get through
an Ironman, whether it's your first or your tenth.
a race plan.
Write out a timeline to understand what will happen
when. Be ready with a "plan B" also.
On a big piece of paper draw out
a time line representing the entire event. I make
mine like the profile of the course, just like
they do for the racers in the Tour de France.
On the time line make notes at the appropriate
locations about what you will eat when, where
it will come from, projected times, etc. It is
critical to race with a plan. Going into the race
not knowing what to expect is a major source of
anxiety and waste of valuable energy especially
for new athletes. Plan your work and work your
plan. At the same time it is important to be flexible.
If your plan doesn't work out perfectly it is
important to be adaptable and have a plan "B"
or "C". What will you do if you miss
your special needs bag pick-up on the bike?
your nutrition plan.
Know what you will eat and when you will eat it
Be sure you rehearse
your nutrition plan with the exact foods and drinks
you plan to use in the race. Practice using the
things provided by the race at the aid stations.
Can't stand Powerade? Too bad, you better use
it in training if that is what they are using
at the aid stations. The aid stations become your
"Plan B" if you miss your special needs
bag. You may miss a bag pick-up or your special
bottle and have to rely on the aid stations more
than you thought.
using Enervit Enervitene.
The secret of Tour de France cyclist: Enervitene
makes gels obsolete.
Perhaps the most revolutionary
nutritional product for endurance athletes since
water. This stuff is incredible. It has made energy
gels obsolete overnight. Enervitene is a highly
concentrated liquid calorie source that packs
480 calories of primarily simple carbohydrates
in a calorie dense 2 ounces of fluid in an easily
carried (an opened) package. You would have to
carry over 5 oz. of thick, gooey, harder to digest
gel to get the same calories. Try Enervitene (from
Enervit in Italy) before race day. Becasue Enervitene
is a liquid (not a thick gel) is digests much
faster and has longer lasting effect. It is likely
you will never buy another energy gel. Enervitene
can also be used mixed in a bottle of water to
make a powerful energy drink, enhancing its versatility.
When you hit an aid station on the bike simply
dump a "cheer pack" of Enervitene into
a bike bottle of plain water and you have a 480
calorie, 16-20 oz. sports drink.
lists and be organized.
Write everything down. Develop a checklist mentality.
Leave nothing to chance.
Prepare an equipment
checklist. Sew the little reflective thingys on
your race clothing well before race day. Be sure
you have adequate spares for your bike. Buy extra
swim goggles. Get all your energy food before
hand- it will be sold out the week of the race.
Pack ahead of time. Using a checklist and developing
the checklist mentality will ease your mind on
race day. It helps to transfer concern and anxiety,
getting rid of the "Did I forget something?"
feeling that drives athletes nuts.
try anything new on race day.
Practice with your race belt at least two weeks
before race day. Get used to using new equipment
well before race day.
If you haven't done
it in race preparation, don't do it for the first
time on race day. Practice everything you'll do
in the race prior to race day. Try on what you
will wear. Be sure your food fits in the pocket.
Be sure the energy belt you use will not rub you
raw while you run. Race day is not the time for
trying anything new.
how to change a flat and assemble your bike.
Be responsible for basic maintenance. Know how
to assemble yur bike and spot problems.
Nothing is more tragic
than wasting months of training over a flat tire.
For the price of an inner tube and a couple CO2s
you could save your race if you've practiced changing
flats. Bikesport offers classes in changing flats.
Take one if you are unfamiliar or unpracticed
at it. You should be able to change a flat tire
in well under 8 minutes.
Learn how to do basic
assembly of your bike out of the flight case.
Don't rely on mechanics at race locations. They
are often over-worked and unskilled at servicing
race specific bikes. They also may not share your
enthusiasm for the event or understand how important
it is your bike works perfectly. It is best to
be your own mechanic.
your bike tuned up- really tuned up.
After months of long training rides your bikes
needs a lot of TLC. Get a real tune-up and replace
ALL wear components before race day.
People bring bikes
to us before Ironman and say "It just needs
to be looked at quickly, it seems to be fine
These bikes frequently need replacement of wear
components such as tires and chains, cables, brake
pads, etc. We frequently find cracked stems, rims
and frames. You need to allow for enough time
for these items to be serviced, repaired or replaced.
Don't wait until the last minute. You should have
a major tune-up two weeks prior to the race and
another check-up before you leave for the race.
With all the time,
effort and money you put into preparing for your
race losing the entire day over a $4 cable or
a $35 chain is a waste. Get your bike checked
out thoroughly by someone who understands how
to prepare a bike for an important event.
Set aside time to visualize how your race will
develop in a quiet environment
. Mental preparation always pays dividends.
Athletes often say
the worst time are the few days and hours before
the race itself. The training is done and you
just want to get going. This time can be nerve-wracking.
Stack the odds in your favor by mentally rehearsing
your event in your event. When uncertainty or
concern over how the race will go begins to surface
go to your race plan on paper and in your mind.
Remember your plan, memorize it. If you spend
enough time concentrating on visualization and
do it effectively the race will seem as though
you've already done it on race day.
It is important to
set aside time specifically to do this mental
preparation. Find a quiet place with no distractions.
Practice concentrating on your entire race plan
from start to finish. Almost all athletes ignore
it and pay a price without even knowing it.
to your body and don't panic.
1500 athletes and only 15 of them aren't worried.
No one feels 100% ready on race day.
If you talk to 1500 athletes the
morning of Ironman 1485 will tell you they don't
feel like they've done enough training. Remember,
it is better to be under trained than over trained.
Don't change your training at the last minute,
even if you don't feel it was adequate. It takes
the body a long time to recover from a long workout,
but even longer to assimilate that training and
experience the adaptation that makes you stronger.
Remember, you are not looking for just recovery-
you are looking for improvement. If you are super
hungry the week before Ironman, eat. Don't put
on eight pounds (unless you need to), but eat
what you need to so your energy is adequate and
your body can adapt.
what works for you.
You came here for a reason: What is it? Getting
in touch with why you put yourself through this
can get you through the tough times.
On the day of a huge
event like Ironman it pays to go back to the reasons
you became an endurance athlete. Everybody who
has completed an Ironman before you has advice
(like this!) and words of wisdom, but doing a
race (or ten) does not qualify them as a coach.
Ultimately, you have to do the race on your own.
Your motivation needs to be clear. Why are you
doing this? What attracts you to it? In the eleventh
hour when everything hurts you better be pretty
clear about your motivation. You'll need it. Return
to your roots as an endurance athlete to get you
In the 24 hours before
your race be sure your environment is the way
you need it to be. I don't like to be near anyone,
especially other competitors. I don't like to
talk to anyone, I don't even want anyone touching
me. I just want to think about what I have to
do on race day, check my equipment, walk the transition
area, rehearse my race plan in my head and on
paper and stay focused for the event. Some people
need the support of others before race day- be
sure the right people are with you if possible.
Make your surroundings and environment the way
you need them in the important 24 hours before
Sometimes the race deals you tough blows.
It's what you do with them that determines your
quality as an athlete.
Endurance sports are a microcosm
of life. Tough times don't last, but tough people
do. Learn a lesson from Lance Armstrong, Mark
Allen, Bernard Hinault (5 time Tour de France
winner) and Paula Newby-Fraser. All these athletes
have faced adversity in endurance competition.
All of them have risen above adversity through
their inner resolve and strength. The biggest
reason finishing Ironman feels so good is you
know at some level you did it on your own. It
all came from inside you. When things are bad
during the race remember they will get better.
They always do, it's the law of nature. You're
never beaten until you quit. If medical reasons
dictate abandoning the race, well, they have the
same thing next year. Come back and kick its ass.