Hello triathletes! The first ever full-distance Ironman in the Philippines is less than a month away. How’s your training going? Joining this epic event or not, here are some tips for those preparing for their big event.
— Press Release —
Your Guide to Getting Ironman Fit
Seasoned coaches break down the essentials of preparing for a full-distance Ironman
June 3rd will mark the first time a full-distance Ironman race will take place in the country. Century Tuna, a title sponsor for previous Ironman 70.3 events is all set to bring the toughest triathlon distance—3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike, and run 42.2 km—to Subic Bay.
Since the event was announced last year, triathletes from all over the country have signed up and are currently in the thick of training, knowing the serious work it takes to finish the race. Being the grueling sport that it is, how then do you prepare for a full Ironman race?
Coach Andy Leuterio of Alpha Training Systems and Ironman-certified coach Don Velasco took a break from training triathletes to share what it takes to get Ironman fit.
Train Smart, Not Hard
Withstanding the physical challenges that race day presents begins from the day you start training. Workouts need to planned and paced so that you won’t bog down come the big day.
Train with discipline but know your limits. Aspiring triathletes should train at least six days a week, says Coach Andy. Training gets tougher as the weeks go by but it doesn’t mean pushing your limits until you drop. He adds that there is room to be flexible with training based on your capacity to recover. Over-training is a common mistake even among seasoned triathletes and it will hurt you come race day if you overdo it.
Adjust workouts according to your needs. Your training plan should be adjusted around your lifestyle. From the number of workouts down to when and where you do it, it’s important that it seamlessly fits your daily schedule. Taking training up a notch, scientific methods such as blood and metabolic testing can help coaches make specific changes to your routine to suit your needs, adds Coach Don.
Observe a balanced diet. Proper nutrition could spell the difference between running out of fuel mid-race and going steady as you cross the finish line. Meal preparation should be paired with workout planning to ensure that energy spent in training is efficiently replaced through meals.
Know Yourself and Your Equipment
The race requires you to swim for three hours, be on a bike for eight, and run for another six. This much activity exposes you to a higher risk of injuries. Investing in the right equipment helps keep your focus on the race which requires a lot of mental fortitude to deal with the terrain, heat, frustration, and fatigue.
Develop a strong mindset. “Mid-race, you’ll ask yourself why you’re doing this, why are you paying to suffer? But it’s not just about winning, it’s about your own personal goals. Don’t get caught up in the emotional banter,” shares Coach Don. Always remember why you started, it will help you power through during rough parts of training and the race.
Get the best bike fit. Get a bike that’s properly fitted to you to ensure that you’re comfortable as you ride for hours. Note also that it should not hinder your form—aerodynamics does help save energy as you glide at certain points.
Pick the right shoes. Wearing the wrong bike and running shoes can lead to injuries that also lead to long-term muscle pain. Getting the right shoe for your gait and wearing them in well before race day ensures you remain comfy as you notch the kilometers towards the finish line.
Anticipate the Race, But Don’t Overthink
Do all the workouts and keep your focus on the goal. Remember to pace yourself and to allot time for recovery. Terrain and heat have brought down a lot of athletes, so always assess yourself and how you feel.
Simulate the race in training. “Simulation workouts usually happen once or twice during the build-up. Use these as milestones to keep you in check,” says Coach Don. “If you fail in the first one, learn from it and do better on the second one.” How you do in both workouts helps you gauge your race-readiness.
Aim for balance. “Spend the first part of your training on your weaker sport, like if you want to improve your running, focus most of your efforts on that while still doing workouts for the other two,” says Coach Andy. He notes that balance is key—better to be balanced than to be over-trained as your body might break down due to all the strain.
It’s all about you. During the race itself, take the time to do it your way—the race is about your personal progress as an athlete. “It’s a remarkable achievement to finish an Ironman considering all the things you have to juggle while training,” says Coach Andy.
In the end, finishing a full Ironman is all about you. It’s the culmination of all your efforts in training, the discipline in your meals, and your determination to get to the finish line. Enjoy the journey, savor the experience and take the time to be mentally and physically ready to hit the Ironman grind.