Last month at Ironman Maryland, I raced in the most humid conditions I’ve ever been in. It was 99% humidity at the race start, and dropped off to 90% at the end of the day. It was warm, muggy, and all together pretty painful, with the conditions wreaking havoc on the field of the almost 300 athletes in my division. In the end, I was 5th in my division, but I was only a few minutes off second place, 83 seconds off 3rd place and 9 seconds off 4th! 9 measly seconds over the course of an almost 10 hour race!
Over several weeks, I’ve thought back many times to that race, assessing where I could have made up those seconds. Had I done a few things differently, I could have been second in my division on the day (the first place guy in my division won the entire race outright- an example of how competitive it is in my group).
Over the course of almost 10 hours, there are dozens of choices to make, and any number of details that can contribute to either success or failure.
With the world slowly opening back up, many of us have the chance to start doing things we haven’t done for a while. With the availability of the vaccine and more restrictions being lifted, you may be heading back to the pool, the gym, or the office again. For triathletes, races are starting to happen after an 18 month hiatus, and it’s safe to say some of us are a bit rusty when it comes to racing triathlons (or many other things for that matter). As such, I’ve put together a race timeline and checklist for triathletes and runners to help us dust off the cobwebs and avoid rolling up to the race start without a critical piece of equipment.
A few weeks ago, an “Elite only” version of the London Marathon was held. On a typical British day, some of the best runners in the world battled the cold, the wind, the rain, and each other to see who would be crowned champion. Kenyan superstar Eluid Kipchoge was the heavy favorite. The Olympic champion, world record holder, and the only human to ever run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours, had not been beaten at the marathon in 7 years.
He placed 8th.
Over the past several weeks, the heat index in the DC area has topped 105 numerous times. Two weeks ago, I found myself on training ride where I had to simply pull over and find the nearest 7-Eleven and down a Slurpee and a bottle of Gatorade as possible to keep my core temperature in check. Prior to that day, I can’t remember the last time I had a slurpee…
Spring signals the arrival of three things: warm weather, the Easter bunny, and triathlon season. And as such, we’ve already seen several TFE athletes dawning swimskin, lacing up the Nikes, and dialing in that aero position in hopes of fast times this race season. There is so much that goes in to racing- and April is usually the first month where we get to dust off the cobwebs of Winter and see the results of all of that off-season training.
As athletes, we spend months dialing in our FTP on the bike, refining our swim technique in the pool, and hammering out tempo runs on the street. Yet many times triathletes neglect one very important element of our race: the transition.
It’s the start of race season, and we’ve already seen some amazing performances by some of our TFE athletes, and we’ve got at least 6 more months of racing to go! So, as many of you are heading into upcoming races, I thought it a great time to brush up on some pre-race tips- in particular how to taper correctly.
July the middle of the race season, as you’d expect, I’ve recently had numerous conversations with clients about race nutrition. Everyone wants to know, “What should I eat before and during a race.” Many times, that question is followed up with a personal experience involving cramping, GI issues, bonking, or other nutrition-related breakdowns. Nutrition is a critical element in endurance events- if you’ve ever got it wrong, you certainly know what it means to have your nutrition off. When nutrition and hydration is on point, athletes enjoy sustained energy throughout their event, with limited if any stomach issues. Yet so many fail to get this critical piece right.
So, what SHOULD you eat when undertaking an endurance event? There is no perfect solution- with multiple factors to consider, what works for one may not work for another. Yet there are a few basic tips that can be extremely helpful to ensuring a positive race experience. Here are 6 things you can do to master your race nutrition and crush your next race:
During our last phone call prior to her first Ironman, I asked Marnie, my client to share with me her biggest take-away in her Ironman journey. She restated to me something I’d told her when she first decided to race Ironman; that all the training, the nutrition, the recovery, the strength training, was all part of the process of becoming an Ironman. Marnie had realized that becoming Ironman isn’t an outcome, it’s a process.
Well, it’s Ironman training season again! Whether you’re doing the 70.3 distance or the full 140.6, (or know someone who is) it’s a pretty daunting undertaking and will require an enormous amount of time, energy, and mental stamina. Earlier in the month, I was speaking with one of my soon-to-be first time Iron-distance triathletes about some challenges to expect and obstacles to face during her journey toward becoming an Ironman.
So, I thought I’d share them with you - and whether you’re training for your first Ironman, or your 10th, here are a few tips to remember along the way to get the most out of your long-course race experience: