Committing yourself to an IRONMAN year is a big call to make and then after this – there is the next dilemma … which race to do?????
With the increased popularity of IRONMAN – there are more and more races in the calendar – here are some key factors to think about before clicking on that purchase button !!
- Course Difficulty :
Ok there is no such thing as an “easy” IRONMAN – you still will have to swim the 3.8km, cycle the 180km and run the 42km to reach the famous red carpet and hear those magic words. However, there are some courses reknowned as being more “challenging” than others be it for a rough sea swim, hilly bike or “lumpy” run. My advice to a newbie at Iron distance is avoid these and allow yourself an easier induction into the world of IRONMAN.
More challenging courses – IRONMAN UK, IRONMAN NICE, IRONMAN LANZAROTE, IRONMAN BOULDER
Less challenging courses – IRONMAN BARCELONA, IRONMAN FLORIDA, IRONMAN ITALY
Most people expect that there is going to be a significant amount of time involved preparing yourself for an IRONMAN and typically you are looking at between 6 – 9 months of heavy progressive training to be ready to toe the start line.
But here is the thing – the timing of your race date will dictate when your base and build periods will fall – so you should choose your race date due to your own particular circumstances.
At at the simplest level you should expect your initial few months to be “light” training wise for the first few months and the really heavy part of the training to be from around 2 months from your race date in.
So use this rough rule of thumb to figure out how that maps to the plans (and the weather!) for your year.
i.e. for those northern hemisphere folks following a 9 month plan with an Oct race date will find they are doing a lot of their long bikes in the summer months – definitely worth considering if you don’t train well in the wet/cold
Avoid winter training blues – IRONMAN BARCELONA, IRONMAN ITALY, IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA
Want the summer free – IRONMAN BOULDER, IRONMAN CORK, IRONMAN SANTA ROSA
- Weather considerations
At this stage of your triathlon career, you should have a rough idea of what conditions suit you best i.e. do you melt in the heat or fall to pieces in the rain.
Check out the local weather conditions for your chosen race and see how it might work for you or against you on the day!
Worth noting that there is no guarantee previous weather patterns will be the same for you on race day but you can at least make an educated call
HOT, HOT, HOT – IRONMAN NICE, IRONMAN LANZAROTE, IRONMAN ARIZONA
WET, WET, WET (or can be) – IRONMAN CORK, IRONMAN BOLTON
An IRONMAN race is stressful enough so worth selecting a race that minimises the required logistics to firstly get there and get set up for the big day.
Things that impact this are
- How close you are from the race venue – Planes, trains or Automobiles?
- If flying only option whether direct flights to the race venue or not?
- Do either shipmytribike.com or www.tribiketransport.com service the venue/race as gives option of not worrying about bike transport
- Whether it is a split transition as means lot of additional complexity if so
- Other things to consider
- Potential for non wet suits
- Cost/availability of accommodation
- Potential for a much needed holiday location post race
- Whether there is a group of your training buddies aiming for same race – as provides insta support for the long cycles in the base/build period and option to split up logistical activities etc
Choosing your first IRONMAN is never easy and nor should it be – it is a huge commitment. But by at least considering the amount five key points above – you are putting yourself in a better position to select a race that is the best fit for you.
A further piece of advice is once you have made your decision and registered – do not second guess yourself – embrace it and tailor your training, work/life balance accordingly – you are in for one hell of a journey!!
Bio and how to get in touch
Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 15 years of endurance racing including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications
Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Ironman University, Triathlon Ireland and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year.
Browse his pre-built training plans for Strength, 70.3 and IRONMAN or if you have queries on personal coaching/training plans you can contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org
And remember to like/follow his facebook page for coaching/training plan offers/key hints & tips https://www.facebook.com/smartendurancesolutions/