Although the IRONMAN World Championships are over, for those wanting redemption or just looking to secure a spot at the 2018 edition, training for the big dance started yesterday. To be an IRONMAN requires thousands of hours of training, impeccable nutrition, race day preparations and lead up events to strengthen the mind and body for a huge aerobic undertaking.
After our trip to the Kona earlier this month, we wanted to share some of the tricks of the trade we’ve picked up from our athletes. During a true test of endurance there are many obstacles that can arise to derail an attempt at a successful race, but with those challenges come opportunities to learn and fine tune skills and habits necessary to succeed.
Professional triathlete and coach Jim Lubinski knows the feelings of success and failure in an IRONMAN. His race day reminders come from years of racing knowledge and can help you find the edge you’re looking for at your next race, whether it be in your hunt to become an IRONMAN or just complete your first triathlon.
DIALING IN NUTRITION
Don’t let all of your hard work and dedication in training go to waste by not dialing in your nutrition on race day. You would not believe how many athletes come to Jim “ready” to race, but have no idea how they’ll execute their nutrition plan. If you are not fueling correctly during the race, you will fall apart.
Jim suggest aiming for 300-400 calories per hour when racing. Yes, this seems like a lot but you need to preemptively get the calories in your system before you body runs low. If you run too low on calories, your performance will fizzle and burn out. Take easily digestible calories before the swim, on the bike and during the run look at your watch and plan to take in calories every 15-20 minutes.
Get the majority of your calories from quick burning carbohydrates like gels, blocks and sports drinks. Energy bars are great to satiate you, but rarely supply the fuel your body quickly needs to fuel your race pace effort and frequently have too much fiber which can lead to stomach issues.
Craig Taylor, the Director of Marketing for Bonk Breaker Nutrition, recently set a personal record by over ten minutes at IRONMAN Louisville and is coached by Jim. Since he’s started focusing on the nutritional component, he finally feels as if he’s scratching the surface of his full potential, avoiding the dreaded meltdown with only an hour to go in the running leg earlier this month in Kentucky.
HYDRATE EARLY AND OFTEN
The easiest way to stay hydrated during an IRONMAN or triathlon is to be constantly drinking liquid throughout the race. This is especially important when the temperature rises. Keep an eye on your watch and plan to take a small sip of your electrolyte beverage of choice every five to ten minutes. Once you start to get thirsty, it’s often too late to bounce back.
Don’t forget your salt either by adding additional salt to drinks and bringing some extra with you on the bike and the run in case of an emergency. The majority of the time cramping is due to lack of sodium in the body, so it’s important to keep it coming in throughout the long day of racing.
USING TOPICAL EDGE
Load Topical Edge 90, 60, and 30 minutes out from your event. Use one packet spread amongst both legs 90 and 60 minutes out and one packet per leg 30 minutes out for a total of four packets pre-race.
Professional triathlete Jenny Fletcher also applies our Performance & Recovery lotion in transition two before the run and finds that she is able to push through the final few miles of the marathon without the heavy leg feeling.
When training for three different events and with races that often include back-to-back days of competition, seven-time World Champion from duathlon to triathlon, Kirsten Sass, leans on Topical Edge as much before her races as after. Aiding in the recovery process and enabling her to race just as hard the next day or following week has been a game changer for her. She uses one packet per leg as soon as she’s cleaned up from her race while enjoying her recovery meal to not only fuel her body for the what’s to come, but prepare her legs for what's to come.
The most important thing about racing an Ironman or triathlon is to find what works best for you. Experiment during training and smaller lead up races to your big event. Knowing your nutrition and hydration strategy before the race is vital. One specific product or plan does not work for every individual, so practice your nutrition in training. Before the big day, write down how you will execute your plans during the race and stick to it to increase your chances for success!