In­spired by Kona? Then now’s the time to plot your path to Iron­man glory in 2018. Here’s all the in­for­ma­tion you need to pick the right 226km race ex­pe­ri­ence for you

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Okay, the rac­ing aches from 2017 may still be lin­ger­ing, but with the long-dis­tance Lakesman al­ready sold out for 2018, now’s the mo­ment to plan your Iron­man race for next sea­son. But be­fore you make such a monumental de­ci­sion, there are one or two fac­tors to con­sider be­fore whip­ping out the credit card. “De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions, de­ci­sions!” says UK rac­ing great and S2 Coach­ing’s Spencer Smith. “With so many Iron­man races on the cal­en­dar, it can be stress­ful to com­mit to the ‘right’ race. Pick­ing the race that ticks at least most of your needs re­quires care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. What are your per­sonal goals for the race? Is it to qual­ify for Kona or ‘just’ to fin­ish? Some iron-dis­tance races are no­to­ri­ously com­pet­i­tive, some are ex­tremely fast or es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing on the swim, bike and/or run. Pick the race that suits your per­sonal ob­jec­tives.”

While the dis­tance of around 226km largely re­mains uni­form in the long-dis­tance events, no sin­gle iron race is the same. Al­ways check the course pro­files, ex­pected wa­ter tem­per­a­ture and swim, bike, run and over­all cut-off times to avoid any nasty sur­prises.

“It seems ob­vi­ous, but what are your strengths?” asks Smith. “Pick a race that’ll bring out the best in you, whether it’s the course, weather con­di­tions or just be­cause you love the thought of rac­ing in a par­tic­u­lar re­gion. Gen­er­ally ath­letes per­form bet­ter at events held in con­di­tions sim­i­lar to where they train. So keep it sim­ple and pick races that feel com­fort­able as the race will be hard enough as it is. The key is to be con­fi­dent in your de­ci­sion way be­fore you get to the start line.”

The tim­ing, lo­gis­tics and cost are also key con­sid­er­a­tions, says Smith. And con­sider warm-up races at the shorter dis­tances – e.g May’s Out­law Half, where you can judge your fit­ness for July’s full Out­law.

So here we’ll look at the UK’s top iron events by dis­ci­pline, rat­ing each on tough­ness. We’ll show you how to plan a Euro­pean race and how to pre­pare for an ex­treme iron. We’ll also speak to vet­er­ans who have con­quered cour­ses around the globe to find out what you should be do­ing now in your bid for glory in 2018.

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