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.
Focus on Weaknesses
Unfortunately, there is no single training schedule that is going to fit everyone’s needs. Many athletes are going to start at a different level of fitness while others may have an awkward schedule to work around. They key here is consistency, especially when it comes to the areas of the race that the individual feels weakest at. Those that are phenomenal runners may enjoy hitting the pavement for mile after mile, but it is their swimming and biking that they should focus on to see the best gains.
Nutrition Takes Precedence
Outside of overtraining, failing to adequately fuel one’s body is often the most common mistake made when preparing for this race. It can be difficult for anyone to train day after day, only to head home and not put the nutrients in their body that they need to make the most out of their hard work. Racers should speak with their primary healthcare provider or training coach about their baseline caloric needs, and then scale this up slowly as training increases in frequency and intensity. Those burning a high amount of calories may believe that they can enjoy a relatively lax diet, but this can come back to haunt them.
Late-Stage Training and Tips
Months of hard work and a strict diet can all be for nothing when racers don’t have a very specific plan about their 10 days leading into the race and the eve of the race. Both circuit and strength training should be scaled back, generally with the peak of training between 10 days and 2 weeks before the race. Racers should be balancing out their diet and water intake with consistently clear urine a few times a day. The final meal should be a large and early dinner with the rest of the day being devoted to rest, relaxation, and mentally preparing for the challenge ahead.