Tips for the Ironman first-timers

Of the 2,000+ participants in this Sunday’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 race, hundreds will be new. Here are lessons from your fellow triathletes….

CHRIS ALDEGUER. 1. Race Week = Get enough rest this week. Avoid long training sessions. Keep it short with a nice pace to stay sharp. Eat and Hydrate well. Prepare and check all gear and equipment to be sure they are ready for race day.

2. Swim= If you are a good swimmer, position well in the front. The swim start is crowded. Positioning well will get you in a good group that can result in an overall fast pace. For the majority, it is best to take the swim easy since it is a long race. The swim can be a warmup for the bike. For the first timers, expect the swim to be chaotic given the number of participants. It’s important to be prepared mentally to avoid panic.

3. Bike= Since it is a long race, ride comfortably the early stage of the Bike leg. It is better to be feeling good in the later part of the Bike rather than suffer especially that there is a 21k Run to follow. Also be reminded at all times to drink and eat.

4. Run= Same with the Bike, it is best to start at a comfortable pace. A big percentage of the participants end up surviving the run rather than running the run. This often is a result of wrong pacing. It is always good to finish strong.

JACS JACALAN. Pacing is absolutely critical in Triathlon Racing. Going out too fast in one of the disciplines will have a consequential effect on the other two. Settle into your goal pace; you should have put in many miles in the past several months at your goal pace, so it should feel natural.

Swimming with hundreds of triathletes is chaotic. Losing your goggles is a nightmare, so put-on your goggles underneath your swim cap to keep it from getting off your head. Going out hard in the swim is a huge mistake. Many triathletes push hard in the swim thinking they won’t use their shoulders during the bike and run anyway. But hard swimming causes the body to burn more carbohydrates and this effect will last until the bike and run legs of the race.

Ease up slightly on the last km. of the bike leg by increasing cadence and using easy gear. The transition from Bike to Run is the most difficult part of the race. Reducing lactic acid levels and getting your breathing under control will enable a smoother transition. Giving up just a couple of minutes here will improve your run split more than it costs your bike split.

You’ve trained hard and with discipline. You have missed late-night partying. You have not been to the newly-opened bars in the city. You have sacrificed family time. Most even have troubles with their wives (hehehe). Race Day is the payoff. It’s over. Enjoy the race.

ANNIE NERIC. Make sure you are really prepared for this event. Don’t worry about losing the registration fee or not participating. You are better alive than sorry. Think of yourself and family. Remember this is not an ordinary sports event.

Consult your doctor, have a check up and ensure you are fit (heart, no high blood, sugar levels etc). Avoid work stress; worries that may affect your condition, psyche, focus. Try to relax and try to get a good sleep the night before (this doesn’t always happen). Don’t try anything new on race day like new rubbershoes, new tri suit. Make sure you have tried and tested these before the big day.

Relax. Don’t tense your body and muscles. Think of good things; think of going thru the course and succeeding. This is Physical, Mental and even Spiritual. So PRAY, too! Go thru with your guardian angel. Have fun, enjoy the scenery, think of the Finish Line and look forward to a Cebu lechon!

JANE JANE ONG. 1. Taper in the final week. Make sure to eat and rest well and get plenty of sleep. Try to sleep early every night. If you can’t sleep, just lie down in bed. 2. During race day, it’s important to pace oneself. Although the adrenaline rush might push us to swim/bike/run faster than we are used to, it’s better to stick by the pace we’ve practiced during training to avoid getting cramps. 3. Enjoy the race!

BOYING RODRIGUEZ: 1) After all the excitement, we are down to the last week before the biggest day of our triathlon lives! If you had been religious in your training, you should have tapered down. Your body should be allowed to recover and heal these last two weeks. 2) When I was asked last year what date the next 70.3 would be, I said Aug. 4, 2013 — because it’s high tide in Mactan. You should have swam this course around the same time it would have started and at the same tide level to get a feel of the waves, current, etc. 3) I know there will be thousands of cameras clicking away because this will again be Cebu’s biggest sporting event and there is no way everyone will not want to look good on camera. But again, never use something new on this day. Never use a brand-new bike, tri-suit, goggles, shoes. Use something that you have been familiar with. 4) Take a ride on your car with a buddy with the windows open and survey the bike and run route. Feel the crosswind along the SRP and look for cracks on the road. Try to plan where you will take your power gel while biking at 35 – 40kph. 5) Listen to your body! Unless you are trying to gain a personal best time, relax and take it easy.

AYA GARCIA SHLACHTER: 1. Taper. Do not cram your workouts. Rest is part of training. 2. If you feel doubtful that you can finish the race, break down the distances in your mind. I have difficulty running 21k therefore I break down the run as four 5k races in my mind. This way, I am not that intimidated by the distance. Same goes for the bike and the swim course. 3. Smile and finish strong!

TYRONE TAN: 1. DIET- For me diet is very important. As a triathlete, improving the nutritional intake is a big factor in improving the performance almost instantly. That means no junk food, sodas, doughnuts; my mantra: if it is processed, it is not good for you. 2. REST- It is common to overtrain, thinking that more is better. In order to perform and train to the fullest, you must first take RECOVERY seriously. Practice the little things that can help bounce back faster like post-nutrition, massage, ice bath and compression socks. 3. TECHNOLOGY – invest in a bike fitting, right equipment, aero bikes, and as much as possible lighter bike parts. A 2 cm difference in body positioning can mean a back ache halfway through your first half ironman. 4. STRENGTH TRAINING – it is important to increase commitment to strength training. As much as possible 2 times a week. I recommend Pio Solon of Epic.

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