The In-season is here!

To all my readers, not to worry, I have not dropped out of the Ironman. Time is very precious as I have come to know over the last few months where training is the main priority. That being said I’ll catch everyone up on my journey to Ironman Mt-Tremblant 2017.

I’ll begin by going into more detail about my first ˝ ironman: Muskoka 70.3 September 9th 2014. The summer of 2014 was coming to an end and I had just finished the Cornwall Olympic distance triathlon which was 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run. I new I would now be doubling pretty much all three distances to 2km swim, 90km bike and 21km run for the upcoming and final race of the season.

Race day was fast approaching and I would be reviewing my list over and over making sure I was not forgetting anything. I kept repeating to myself “bike, wetsuit, shoes....”. I felt like a broken record.

I was nervous and excited but I knew I was ready for Muskoka 70.3. Unlike previous races, I had to be there one day ahead for: check in , bike drop off and attend a mandatory athlete meeting. Because the race location was in a pretty remote location at Deerhurst Resort in Hunstville parking was at an old airport about 5min drive away. Athletes were expected to ride their bikes to the race site while family and friends would hop on a yellow bus and meet me there. I remember thinking “ I don't know exactly where I am going so I'll follow other

triathletes hoping they knew the way”.

Tip: Read your athlete guide prior to race weekend to find out the these details.

When I arrived on site I could feel the energy from all the athletes, volunteers, family, friends and race organizers. I was excited to be part of this event and would be 1 of over just 2000 athletes. This was exciting as I had never been a part of something so well organized and exciting in my athletic career.

Once I arrived, I signed my life away on lengthy waivers and collected my swag bag and stickers. Stickers were something new to me. In all of my previous races that year I only received a race chip, my race number and a t-shirt with some odds and ends but no stickers. Ironman 70.3 Muskoka had multiple stickers with my number on it: one for my helmet, bike and dry bag.

After checking in it was time to set up my bike in transition. On that note, I figured I would talk about your transition set up and how to approach it. In the shorter races this could mean the difference between a top finish, your personal best and your overall ranking. So here are a few tips on how to set up your transition area from doing a tri-a-tri to a 70.3 Ironman.

Setting up your transition area

  1. Have a small bright towel beside your bike to mark your space and help you spot bike.
    1. Another suggestion is to bring a small basket to carry all of your gear to transition to set up.
  2. Layout all of the gear you need for each leg of the race in sections.
    1. The more organized you are here will result in much faster transition times. Here's how to set up your transition area for each component
    2. Swim to bike
      1. Place helmet on bike. This will make sure you don’t forget to put it on prior to taking your bike of the rack.
      2. Place your shades in your helmet.
      3. Have a small towel readily available to dry your wet feet. Could be the one you placed on ground to mark your spot if it's long enough. If not have s second small towel to dry off.
      4. Loosen your bike shoes to speed up putting them on.
        1. If you wish to wear socks in your bike shoes an easier way to slide them on could be by putting baby powder in your socks and roll them down for an easy on.
      5. Set up your hydration and fuel on your bike during your designated transition set up time. THis is most often the morning of race day and sometimes the day before for long course triathlons.
      6. Cover your bike if dew or bad weather is in the forecast. You can use a bike cover or simply smaller bags to cover your seat, gears and your chain.
      7. Let some air out of your tires if you drop off your bike the day before so tubes don’t pop. However, remember to fill them back up race morning.
    3. Bike to run
      1. Loosen your running shoe laces and place your running hat on top followed by your race belt (with race bib number). This way you make sure to put on our race bib first.

How to run through transitions on race day.

Setting up for swim:

There is no actual set up for your swim, so i’ll discuss your actual race day.

  1. Have 2 pairs of goggles with you. Just in case a pair breaks or leaks in warmup p.
  2. Wear sandals to keep your feet dry while walking to the swim start. Keep in mind, you might have to give your sandals to a loved one or place them in a dry bag that race organizers will return to you post race.
  1. Apply you chamois cream of choice to reduce friction and chafing around areas your wetsuit rubs such as neck and around your ankle racechip prior to swim.
  2. Take a gel 10-15min before race start for energy
  3. How to put on your wetsuit? (if permitted by race official based on water temperature):
    1. Wear a pair of socks or plastic bag on your feet to put on your wetsuit. While skidding it on, try not to grab the wetsuit with your fingernails on the outside of your wetsuit. Try to pull it up on the inside.
  4. Finally, have someone zip you in and get in the water for a proper warm up lasting approx 10min. The goal of a warm up is to increase your heart rate and increase blood flow to the muscles you will use in the swim portion.
    1. Note: Sometimes the water can be a shock if it's super cold. If so, don't warm up in the water but make sure to do a dry land warm up. i.e. Jog

Transition 1 (T1): Swim to bike

The official time will start once you get out of the water. You have the option of using “Strippers” to help you strip your wetsuit off or run to transition and take it off there.

  1. Remove wetsuit
  2. Slide on socks
  3. Slide on already loosened bike shoes
  4. Place any fuel you want in your tri suit/shirt.
  5. Apply spray on sunscreen
  6. Put shades on
  7. Strap on helmet
  8. Take a gel for Olympic distances or greater (remember you haven't had any fuel since 15min before the race started)
  9. Take bike off rack and walk to “bike mount”. Make sure to mount your bike before this line as you can be disqualified.

Transition 2 (T2): Bike to run

This time starts you enter transition from your bike until you leave the “run out” entrance into the run course.

  1. Dismount your bike carefully
  2. Walk bike to designated bike rack spot
  3. Take off helmet
  4. Take off shoes
  5. Put on running shoes
  6. Put on running hat/ visor/ headband…
  7. Apply more sunscreen (if longer race)
  8. Take a gel/fuel before heading out on the run.
  9. Throw on your race belt/gels in your shirt if you wish to carry your own fuel
  10. Strap on your race bib and head out running.

Practice, practice, practice!! Rehearsing your transition after some of your training swims or rides as you get closer to your A race will guarantee you will be prepared and be quick without forgetting anything.

This is what I had done during the 70.3 Muskoka ironman in 2014. This was my “A” race of the year. All of my summer races led allowed me to practice transition and to the completion of the my longest triathlon thus far. I had a personal best for my swim in Fair Lake, then completed a very challenging hilly 94km course around the Lake of Bays and finally attacked the run portion of the race. I walked once at 17km and finished the race in 7h03min.

It was a very proud moment when I ran down the finisher shoot with all the spectators and volunteers cheering me on. What an amazing feeling to accomplish a goal I set for myself in the winter. This was a race which st first didn't think I could accomplish but now realized what I was capable of if I just commuted to it. This was the beginning of many more triathlons to come as I became a “triathlete”.

As for my Ironman training, many people would ask me what I have to do in training and I replied by saying the following. My goal is to complete 2 training sessions minimum for each component. I have been doing 1 long ride, swim and run every week and a second training session either speed/hill work on the run/bike and intervals in the pool for the swim. I explained I want to enjoy the process so I listen to my body in terms of how much work I can physically and mentally handle and how much recovery I need. This has allowed me to enjoy training, put in some long days (4-7hrs+) and keep injuries at bay.

As I get closer to race day, I will discuss some more race specific points.

Stay tuned for another post later this week.

Coach Julie