There is NO way to train for an Ironman or a 70.3 Ironman the “easy” approach; you have to do the work. Plain and simple. BUT there has to be a way to train a little bit easier and smarter.
I started thinking about other ways of helping athletes out who are getting ready for their first 70.3 Ironman Triathlon or their tenth 70.3 Ironman Triathlon. Today, I give you:
Three Tips/Tricks for your 70.3 Ironman Triathlon:
1. Swim Start – Athletes often ask me where they should seed themselves for the swim. That is SUCH a tough question, but my suggestion is, “Where you feel comfortable.” Huh? For example, A LOT of athletes will place themselves in a better position than they are capable of. It depends on the race for sure, as I have seen a rolling start and a mass start based on your age group. I have seen athletes seed themselves to close to the front, which may cause a panic. I have seen athletes seed themselves in the 30-minute swim group for a 70.3, and their best time is 35 minutes. Swimming in the faster group will create anxiety when people are swimming over you in the water. So, my suggestion would be to figure out your goal time and add 1-2 minutes to that. Why? In the open water, you have to account for factors like sighting and waves. If you are getting in the water with people at the same pace as you, you will have a better chance of getting on someone’s feet.
2. Be Realistic on Your Cycling/Running Pace – If you want to “clock” a (Fill in the Blank) for your 13.1 Marathon in your 70.3 Ironman, make sure you can run that (Fill in the Blank) Pace during your training. For example, I have heard athletes talk about wanting to clock a 1:40 half marathon in their 70.3, but they have NEVER run a 7:37/mile pace for 13.1 miles on a standalone training program. The same thing goes for the bike: If you can’t bike 20 mph for 40 miles for a training ride, you probably can’t do that for the 56 miles.
3. Start Training Yourself for Mental Preparation NOW – We swim, bike, run, and lift, BUT I genuinely feel that we don’t take the time to start working on “Mental Imagery” or “Positive Self-Talk” until we are actually out on the racecourse. For example, think about crossing that finish line 45 days out from the actual race, versus 45 miles into the bike on race day. Start using positive self-talk on your long swims, bikes, and runs. Why? You are going to need that during the race itself. We need to practice the mental aspect just like we do with the physical; we go through SO MANY emotions during racing, so it is time to practice it during training.
PLUS 5 Bonus Tips for Triathlon Racing:
#1: Count the racks from swim exit to bike and bike drop off to run. Look for trees or a garbage can for your transition set up. You will be much more relaxed during the race.
#2: If you want to get better in the swim, join a Masters Program!
#3: Get a Power Meter for your bike. Yes, it’s expensive, but if you want to save yourself for the run and have a decent run. DO IT!
#4: If you are going to wear a watch for the run, make sure that it is for “pacing information” versus heart rate and overthinking! It’s a race, and I want you to RACE not hanging out with 2,000 people! At least that is how I use my watch for a run!
#5: Chase those dreams. Dream Big. That success will be WORTH IT in the end.