Want to tackle Iron­man in 2019 but wor­ried about money, kit and rarely see­ing your friends again? Tim Heming asks a se­lec­tion of top British coaches, elites and age-groupers for their prob­lem-solv­ing 226km ad­vice

220 Triathlon Magazine - - PREP FOR IRONMAN -

Q How much money will it cost me? A “With good shop­ping skills you could buy all your kit for around £1,000. En­try fee, travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion at a UK event might cost an­other £1,000. I’d add in a bike fit for £150-200. If you’re on a tight bud­get, there’s enough free in­for­ma­tion avail­able to fig­ure out the rest, but if your swim­ming sucks, pay­ing for coach­ing will help. Also, physio bills are £50-75/ hour. So stay healthy!” Si­mon Ward, 220 Tri Coach of the Year Q Will I ever see my friends again? A “It’s def­i­nitely pos­si­ble to make triathlon a so­cial af­fair and I’ve made many new friends by join­ing a tri club – com­bin­ing train­ing with a so­cial life is great! It does de­pend on your per­for­mance goals and pri­or­i­ties, though, es­pe­cially if you’ve fam­ily com­mit­ments, too.” Ruth Pur­brook, fastest fe­male British age-grouper at 2018 Iron­man Worlds Q How do I choose where to race? A “With so many op­tions, it can be over­whelm­ing. What drives you? A race with lots of sup­port? A flat­ter, be­gin­ner-friendly course? Some­thing close to home? A des­ti­na­tion race so you can hol­i­day af­ter­wards? An ocean, lake or river swim? Are you bet­ter in hot, hu­mid weather? An­swer­ing these ques­tions [turn over­leaf for more] will help guide you.” Laura Sid­dall, 2018 ETU Long Course Cham­pion Q Do I need a tri bike and aero gear? A “No. When I started in the sport, we were all on stan­dard road bikes and wore blocks of poly­styrene on our heads. When start­ing out, com­fort is more im­por­tant, and a stan­dard road bike may even al­low you to go faster on des­cents or around cor­ners. Also, un­less you can hold an aero po­si­tion for most of the 180km, most of the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a tri bike are lost.” Dr Andy Kirk­land, sports coach at the Univer­sity of Stir­ling Q How much do I need to train per week? A “There are no hard-and-fast rules. A bet­ter ques­tion is: ‘What time can I com­mit to train­ing?’ Ac­count for fam­ily, friends, food prepa­ra­tion and other life ‘stuff’ in your cal­cu­la­tions. If your aim is sim­ply to com­plete the dis­tance, min­i­mal train­ing will get you to the fin­ish­ing line, but en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and go­ing fast re­quires greater com­mit­ment. I’d rarely con­sider coach­ing an ath­lete for Iron­man who couldn’t com­mit to an av­er­age of three ses­sions per

“Win­ter is a great time to plan your nu­tri­tion for Iron­man so you’ll be con­fi­dent come race day”

dis­ci­pline per week. This would be around 8-15 hours per week. I would also in­clude sev­eral prepa­ra­tion races in the train­ing pro­gramme, in­clud­ing a range of dis­tances.” AK

Q How do I cre­ate a nu­tri­tion strat­egy? A “We all have dif­fer­ent needs and tastes, but win­ter is a great time to think about nu­tri­tion plan­ning for Iron­man and test­ing prod­ucts so you’ll be con­fi­dent come race day. Check what nu­tri­tion will be avail­able on the course. If it doesn’t agree with you, think about how you’ll carry your pre­ferred nu­tri­tion.” Rob­bie McNab, coach at RnR Tri Camps

Q Do I need to have done short­dis­tance triathlons and a 70.3? A “No. A lot of peo­ple do shorter dis­tances first, but many also jump straight in. I’d rec­om­mend do­ing a tri to ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like be­fore an Iron­man, but it’s not a re­quire­ment. Some­times not know­ing what’s in store helps!” RP

Q When do I need to start my train­ing plan? A “It de­pends how fit you are to start with and what your goals are. As­sum­ing a rea­son­ably fit start­ing point and a goal of com­ple­tion, then six months of con­sis­tent train­ing will get you into good shape. I wouldn’t rec­om­mend any­thing less for first timers. If you’re a weak swim­mer, have a low start­ing base, or if you want sub 10hrs then you’ll need longer.” SW

Q Should I swim 3.8km, ride 180km and run 42km be­fore it? A “No. You’ll likely hit the dis­tance in the pool and per­haps on the bike as you build up your en­durance, but it’s rare to run a full marathon in train­ing – or a stand­alone event – lead­ing into the full race. Run­ning is where we need the most re­cov­ery, which can im­pact other key ses­sions. Yet some want the con­fi­dence of go­ing into their race hav­ing run marathon dis­tance and it can be achieved on a dou­ble-run day, where the run­ning is split be­tween a morn­ing and af­ter­noon/evening ses­sion with a break in be­tween.” LS

Q How can I pace my race prop­erly? A “Cau­tion, months of train­ing can be ru­ined once ‘race mode’ kicks in. Re­mem­ber, it’s your race and most of the time you won’t know who is along­side you, nor their ath­letic back­ground, so don’t pace off them. Dur­ing train­ing, in­clude ‘race pace’ ses­sions, so that you learn how your body feels at a given in­ten­sity. If you have an event in mind, check the course pro­file – or recce the course in ad­vance – as this can in­flu­ence how you plan to pace each leg.” RM



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