Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ironman FEVER! Just kidding...only advice...

Is it sick that I can’t wait to do another Ironman race?  Since I started doing long distance I've been asked to share my tips – especially for the long distance races and now that I am taking a weekend break from my PhD I have some time to pull some tidbits together.  However, I have A LOT of tips, so I thought I’d share them in a printable form unless you really want to listen to me ramble on…  Here's what my plan was:

-I think I ate about 300-500 calories before I left the house.
-No warmup necessary unless you just want to do a little swim before if the weather is nice.
-I don't use cooking spray on my wetsuit because it just seemed to slime my suit, but if it works for you that's great.
-The swim is probably the least important so don’t worry if you’re not a strong swimmer. Just try to find someone's feet and kick hard unless you're a really fast swimmer and if that's the case can you help me? :) My goal is always to negative split so I went out steady, sighting every 10 strokes, ate a GU and sipped water 1/2 way on the swim then picked up the pace a little (IM FL is a 2 loop swim). You should really use sport slick, body glide, or something for your neck because the wesuit WILL rub and it doesn't feel good. Underarms too if it's a sleeveless.
-I knew exactly how much I was going to eat and drink every minute of the race based on how much I sweat at the typical race temperatures (3 gulps every 10 minutes and 1 GU every 45 minutes). This gave me something to focus on instead of how long the race is, pb&j and Doritos with Coke 1/2 way (stored in my race top once I started eating as in the photo)+ homemade chocolate chip cookies + ibuprofen since my back would tighten up at the end of the bike--I would try to bring this with you if you plan to fly through the pickup area rather than leaving anything in the bike special needs bag just in case they miss you. You can tuck it into your jersey after you get out of the swim). Only eat amounts you are used to eating in training. I think some people eat too much on race day and never did in training and then have stomach problems.
-I put a 2nd pair of socks and shoes in my run special needs bag (bagged 2x since one year they put them over sprinkler systems which went off). I never used them, but I knew they were there if my shoes were wet.
-The extra padding in the running shoes is nice. The first year, my feet hurt bad and the next year I wore heavier shoes that were padded, but I felt GREAT! and ran a lot faster.
-I stop for 10 seconds every 4 miles on the run to stretch quick (don't stretch your quads because your hamstrings will probably cramp when you lift your leg up). This kept me only thinking 4 miles at a time instead of 26.
-I remember the first one I got tired of GU by the end and did eat a few pretzels just for something different.
-Do NOT do anything new the day before or on race day. Stay off your feet the day before.
-Drink lots of water the week leading up to the race.
-Stay positive! Have fun!
-Bring or wear sweats if it is cool after the race because you will probably feel cold even if it's not that cool.
T1 bag -
sunglasses (my eyes get dry on this long of a ride without glasses)
dry jersey (with humber pinned on back since it was required at IMFL) pre-packed with food/drink for mid-way through bike (I ate the pb&j, chocolate chip cookies, and/or Doritos+Red Bull or Coke mid-way every long training ride and at the race)...if the race you're doing is not known to have really good volunteer support, I suggest bringing what you can just in case.

Bike special needs - The first 2 years I didn't put anything in the bag except a bottle of water and ibuprofen since I brought what I needed and the water was just in case I missed an aid station and/or dropped my pain killer (my lower back gets tight at the end).

T2 bag -
extra socks in case your bike socks are wet,
gel for run,
run race# on race belt,
I carried an electrolyte drink mix (very concentrated e-load) and would carry it the entire run - taking a few sips every few miles at aid stations so I could follow it with water,
visor/hat if you want,

Run special needs bag –
extra shoes,
extra socks,
pretzels or some "safe" snack in case you get hungry again,
maybe something for your stomach if you have digestion problems on a regular basis, but only in case of emergency unless you're used to taking it,

Post-race bag -
warm-ups/parka to keep warm

Hope this helps!  If you have any special requests for advice blogs please let me know!



  1. Your hot, smart and fast! Signed, your biggest fan!!!

  2. one point of contention...I agree with the "don't do anything on race day that you don't do in training" bit EXCEPT: DRINK the chicken broth! it's amazing!!!