Why Strength Is Important As An Ironman Competitor

MarathonThe Ironman triathlon is a challenging test of an athlete’s mental, emotional and physical stamina. To make sure that you survive the rigorous demands of an Ironman competition, it is important to strength train for all three sports portions: swimming, bike riding and running to finish successfully.

Training for the Ironman competition normally takes 20 to 36 weeks, depending on how physically in shape you are. The first month of your training (seen as a warm up period) prepares your body for the strenuous activity you will be engaging in during the triathalon. Muscle groups that include the abdominal muscles, the lower back (lumbar region), and the thoracic and cervical region of the spine all make up your “core muscles,” which serve to provide stability, support, and a solid foundation for the rest of the body to function efficiently. After focusing on strengthening your core, you can build strength with your other muscle groups for each portion of the Ironman competition.

How To Train For An Ironman Competition

Running (2)With the popularity of Ironman races on the rise information can be found everywhere, but many enthusiasts find it difficult to weed out the good from the bad. With hundreds of miles of running, biking, and swimming, there is not a lot of room for error, and that is why it is so important to take a methodical approach to these races. For those that are gearing up for their next race, here are some simple tips and tricks for the training process.

Training for an Ironman Is A Lifestyle
An Ironman race can be a grueling event, and this means that racers should begin to get into the mindset that their training is going to be a major component of their life in the coming months. The minimum that an individual is going to want to devote to their training is 13 hours per week. This is going to include everything from warm-ups and stretching to circuit training and potential injuries. With upwards of 20 percent of Ironman racers requiring medical attention at some point, it is important to mentally prepare for any and all eventualities.

Incorporating Kayaking Into Ironman Training Routines

Training for an Ironman, or any triathlon for that matter, is a daunting and grueling task. While traditional triathlons incorporate running, swimming, and biking, there’s going to be a lot of other workouts you’ll want to incorporate to prepare yourself. Kayaking is a great way to change up your cardio and upper body workouts while training, and it’s a highly useful training tool for triathletes.

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While biking and running are predominantly lower body and leg-based sports, swimming is usually the element of a triathlon that makes or breaks a competitor. Swimming, like kayaking, is a truly full body sport. The upper body strength workout you’ll get while paddling will build muscles not only in your arms, but also in your shoulders, upper back, and core. In order to really get a kayak moving – even on still waters like a lake – it takes timing and coordination, again, similar to that which you’ll utilize while stroking along on the swimming leg of your Ironman. By using a tandem kayak and a workout buddy, you’ll be able to get even more coordination training, as you’ll have to work out the timing with your partner as well as the water and currents, to successfully navigate the route you’re paddling.

Kayaking also includes a large amount of balance. It’s very easy to tip a kayak over if you’re not completely focused on what you’re doing. Even if you are focused on what you’re doing, a strong current or sudden rapid can come up and take you on an unexpected twisty, turning path. These elements are great practice for the biking portion of a triathlon. Bicycling requires not only stamina and leg strength, but a great deal of balance. Depending on the course your Ironman or triathlon is taking, as well as factors such as weather, there may come a point on the biking section where you’re met with unexpected obstacles like gravel, wet surfaces, or unexpected turns in the path. Learning to keep your balance on a kayak when sudden changes come up on your course is great mental and physical training for when you’re on that bike path!

Competitive (and leisure) kayaking is also just a really great endurance exercise. Within a few minutes you’ll start to feel a sweat, a burn, and your heart will be pumping. Although you’ll be giving your legs a rest, this is a great training tool to incorporate once in awhile to build the lung capacity, stamina, and mental strength to push through pain and weariness that you’ll need on your run. The running portion of an Ironman or triathlon is almost always the final segment of the race. By this point you’ve already worn yourself out with swimming and biking, and it’s all about mental strength, agility, and stamina. Learning to build endurance with a kayak is a great training tool that you can utilize in this last section of your race when you’re exhausted and ready to quit.

Kayaking, whether in a river kayak or a fishing kayak, is a great way to train for a triathlon. It’ll give you a full body workout that trains your body, spirit, and brain with everything you need for your Ironman or triathlon to be a big success!

Coaching Competitively: Ironman Training & Other Sports

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen an individual participates in a solo activity like Ironman competitions or team activities, there is often a coach who actively mentors and guides individuals to develop in certain key areas. The act of coaching involves helping the individual to develop personal skills as well as skills specific to the activity or sport, and because of this, the coach can have a major impact on a person’s life. While many people think about coaching for activities like football, baseball or soccer, the fact is that coaching swimming can be like coaching any other sport.

Individual Safety:

With every type of sport that you participate in, there is an element of risk for injury. For example, with swimming, you can be injured due to overuse or poor body mechanics. If you are a skeet shooting coach, you will need to make sure that your pupil locks away their firearms in the gun safe that best fits their guns (like the examples at gunsafecritic.com) to prevent bodily injury to themselves and to others.  Individual safety is important, but coaching can be help individuals to learn more about the safe way to participate in a sport they are interested in or passionate about.

Individual Sports Skills:

In order to be successful in any sport and for the individual to participate at the highest level that is feasible for him or her, improving individual skills relevant to the sport is important. Each sport will require the individual to refine specific skills. For example, with swimming, endurance and improved body mechanics may be refined for the best results.

Personal Skills:

While coaching techniques and insight can help a player or participant develop sports-specific skills, coaching can also help an individual with personal development. In some cases, personal development from a sport can relay into personal development in the real-world. For example, team sports can help an individual to function more effectively in a group setting at work or to be a leader in specific situations. All sports may teach an individual how to work hard to achieve goals, how to focus on a task and how to identify weaknesses that may need to be refined. Perseverance, focus, integrity and leadership are just a few of the personal skills that may be developed by a coach, and these can have an impact on the person’s ability to participate in the sport and on the person’s life outside of the sport.

Whether you are coaching swimming, football, volleyball or even or competitive long range shooting, the fact is that your ability to develop the player or participant can have important effects on the person’s ability to participate in the sport and on other aspects of their lives. Regardless of which sport you are coaching, you will have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of your players or participants.