Certainly tough but incredibly fulfilling, Ironman Triathlon will make you revisit your strength and endurance as an athlete. From answers to advice, here are insights on what you need to know as a striving Ironman.
Everything You Need to Know About Your First Ironman Triathlon
About the Episode
Finishing your Ironman Triathlon journey is an enormous achievement. After months of training, this will be the perfect opportunity for you to celebrate and recognize all your hard work.
However, as you get closer to the race day, you might get anxious and worried about the whole experience. You might have a lot of questions when it comes to being a beginner at this sport.
In this episode, TriDot coaches and Ironman finishers answer host Andrew Harley’s queries about his first Ironman race. Jeff Raines, John Mayfield, and Elizabeth James share their perceptions on and preparations, among others, for the Ironman Triathlon.
Does It Take More Support Than Just a Solo Sherpa?
The more sherpa help you can get, the better. With Ironman Triathlon being an all-day event, it could be a disadvantage if you don’t have adequate support going into the race.
Before signing up for an Ironman, the guests recommend that you get the commitment of your whole family. It’d be better if they’re there to help you not only during the race but throughout your journey.
The fact that you know you have an actual support crew, even back home, can boost your morale.
Apart from the number of sherpas, you should also consider their assumptions. Set their expectations, and make them understand their role.
Yes, they may have fun, but remind them that their priority needs to be you – the athlete. They can carry your bags, help you save energy, run errands for you, and buy food and drinks for you. They can also get your gear, wake you up, and take photos of you.
What Are Your Last-Minute Tips for Gaining the Most Restful Night Before Racing?
With Ironman Triathlon being an all-day event, you’d want to sleep well the night before your race. However, coaches and Ironman finishers don’t recommend using sleeping aids. You don’t want any lingering effects of those medications in your body the next day.
Their tip: Don’t plan to sleep well the night before the race.
There would be a lot of things running through your mind. Whether it’s your first or hundredth time, most probably, you won’t be able to sleep well before the race. And that’s okay.
There had been several races and Ironman finishes the day after a night of bad sleep. You can sleep bad and still have a great race.
What Are the Considerations That Athletes Should Make to Officially Start the Race?
To start off, get there early, fall in line, and do some stretching or warm-up exercises. However, don’t stay on your feet the whole time. You can get some snacks and some boost of morale as well.
Additionally, be ready to find yourself swimming among slower athletes, and be prepared to get bumped by those faster than you.
How Can Athletes Best Handle Swim Course Adversity in Such a Crowded Field?
With a 2.4-mile swim, things can go wrong such as goggles getting foggy or muscles cramping. There would also be a large group of people headed in the same direction.
You can practice your sessions in areas that have close proximity to other swimmers. This can increase your confidence and comfort in those kinds of situations.
During the event, one strategy that you can do is to move over to the side of the swim course. Then, wait for your heart rate to get back to normal before you rejoin the group. Swim course support will also be there to help you.
What Is the Best Way to Apply Sunscreen or Cream in Transition?
Test and incorporate this in your training so you’d know exactly what you’ll need and what will work for you. Race rehearsals are the perfect opportunity for you to determine your pacing, hydration, nutrition, and gear. This way, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success.
Do two race rehearsals prior to the event. If something doesn’t work well, you can fix and validate it on your second practice.
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Is It Beneficial to Take the Time to Stop and Reload Your Special Needs?
The bike and run courses have a special needs station available where athletes can place their things ahead of time. This is also where they do their extra nutrition and fix their flat tires, among others.
However, it’s up to you if you prefer to carry your things instead and just use the station for emergency purposes.
You can also base your decision on your race-day nutrition plan. Think about the extra weight of the bars and bottles that you’d want to put on both your jersey and your bike.
Should you wish to place your bag in the station, make sure that you can easily identify it. Keep in mind that there’ll be thousands of other bags there that look exactly the same.
What’s the Best Scenario in Terms of Using the Portable Restroom?
In Ironman Triathlon, you should have the urge to pee at least two to three times on the bike segment. When you see a station, take that chance. Remember that peeing multiple times means you’re hydrating yourself well enough.
You might think that if you do this, there’d be a significant number of minutes that’d add up to your time. This is crucial especially if you’re fighting for a podium spot.
However, keep in mind that the race has already been going for several hours at this point. The playing field is already spread out, so it might be easier for you to use the toilet.
How Can You Recalibrate Mentally the Pace That You Should Hold for the Rest of the Race?
First, evaluate why your pace started to slip away. Most likely, your body needs something. Maybe it needs calories or salt, or maybe you’re going too hard on your pace before.
Afterward, determine if you could do something to remedy the situation. Remember to be alert, and stay present at the moment. Reevaluate your goals, and maybe you have to set more realistic ones.
How Do You Navigate Through Dark Moments and Rally to Press on Toward the Finish?
During Ironman Triathlon, there would be thrilling and entertaining moments. However, you might also find yourself in a bad place at times. When this happens during the race, remind yourself that you can get through this.
Elizabeth James’ race-day mantra is “I am stronger”. You’re stronger than the freezing cold water, the heavy winds, and the blisters on your feet.
You can come up with your personal mantra or phrase to bring you guidance and motivation to push forward. Some athletes carry family pictures or wear something that has sentimental value.
What Are the Post-Race Tips That You Want to Leave Athletes With?
Thank the volunteers and your sherpa. You can sit down and write some thank you notes. Reflect on the whole process, and identify the people who also invested their time, energy, and support from start to finish.
Take in the whole experience. Slow down during the last hundred yards, and soak in the magical finish line experience, because that’s already celebration time.
Listen for your name and hometown to be called. Listen for you to be declared as an Ironman.
About the Podcast
The TriDot Podcast aims to teach, motivate, and fascinate you about all things triathlon. You can listen to other episodes on their website. These are also available on Spotify, SoundCloud, Player FM, and iHeartRadio.
There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing the finish line of an Ironman Triathlon. This completion will determine your accomplishment, but remember that your hard work and dedication are what will make you special.
What do you think about this ironman triathlon podcast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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