IRONWOMAN - My Top tips

I did it. Canada Ironman 2018. My goal was to finish and I actually managed to finish before dinner time. In the 13 hours and 35 seconds I managed to swim 2.6 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. 

My journey was a long one starting back in November 2017. I scheduled in training whenever I could. I first began strength training building a base to work with, from here the training just became more and more until that final week when I began to taper. I did not get a coach and did not intend to, the way I trained was week by week and listening a lot to my body. Obviously some days you don't want to train but that's not your body that's your mind, being able to tell the difference is very important! 


Have outcomes for worst possible scenarios

Think of everything that could possibly go wrong and find solutions before race day. For me one of my biggest worries was that my inner tube would pop and I would get a flatty. It's really not that big of a deal for most people but I am useless with changing tires. I aimed to practice this before the race but did end up leaving a bit too close. Two nights prior I tried my best to change my back and front tire. This resulted in a very stressed out me and my boyfriend Paddy changing the tire. It didn't go too well and I ended up with a flat tire for the morning as my pump wouldn't work on the valve. Luckily our landlords had a spare pump and we managed to fix it up before my ride out. All in all I did feel better about changing the tire and more confident for race day, I knew I would be able to muddle through if I had to after my practice round. 


Get comfortable in the open water

I am a swimmer. I have grown up swimming and competing so I thought the swimming section should be easy breezy. I actually swam all through winter in a 25m swimming pool and was confident about my pacing and stroke. In April I went in the lake for the first time and it was definitely a shock to the system. It was freezing, I don't do well with cold at the best of times. I was double breathing due to the cold and totally didn't even think about the fact that you had to lift your head every few strokes to sight. That first swimming session freaked me out and made me double guess myself. I soon bought myself back down to earth, I had grown up playing in lakes and streams, of course I could swim across one, it was only the fact that I was overthinking it that I was scaring myself. The next long swim I did was pulling my boyfriends dad across the lake in an inflatable boat. The idea was that he would row near to me in case I needed anything but because it was so windy and he was in an explorer I had to keep treading water and waiting. In the end I tied the rope around my arms like a backpack and pulled him across. Getting comfortable in the lakes definitely helped for race day, I kept my head down and kept in my rhythm. 


Use your gears

Road biking was a totally new thing for me. I had once cycled from Tokyo to Osaka in Japan but that was not racing or any aero positioning it was just a chill ride to see the surroundings. I was very unaware that to go up hills you should be in your easiest gear. I was so unaware that I actually did not know this until about a month before the event. During training I would be in a tough gear powering up the hills killing my legs off. I spoke to a guy called Ian from the TAG spin studio and told him I just was not getting this bike thing, I said I feel incredibly slow and I don't know what to do about it. He agreed to come out for a ride with me one Sunday and from this it was a game changer! He cycled behind me and watched how I rode. Once we got to Callaghan he said for me to follow him and copy his gearing, it was so different, my legs had a new life of energy! That day I cycled 100 miles and then went home drank half a can of coke and went for a 30 minute run. It was the best run I had ever done after biking. I was stoked!


Over plan your Nutrition

You can never be too organized when it comes to nutrition. This is your fuel to keep you going and you have a long way to go! I practiced with all different kinds of gels and endurance drinks when I began training to find ones that worked well and most importantly that I liked. You will realize quickly liquid food is not the nicest. I actually found the perfect drink for me called Hammer Perpetuem Endurance chocolate flavour. This was my main fuel for the bike. Luckily I had practiced with both solid and liquid foods, it was a scorcher race day so liquid fuel was the way to go. During the bike leg nearing the end I missed some aid, this threw me off slightly and I would definitely recommend making sure you stop if this was to happen to you. Make sure you have everything you need to keep going, like a car without fuel you wont be able to keep going.


Just do you for race day! 

Whatever works for you may not work for the next person. It's a long journey up to Ironman and you quickly get to know your body very well. Do whatever you need to do to get to the end. Try not to get caught up in other peoples race plans and timings. Keep to what you did in training and everything will fall into place. I was going to run in my trisuit because everyone else was. Every time I ran during training I would run in shorts and a tank. The day before the race I put some shorts into my gear bag just in case I wanted to change. I definitely did and got into them shorts pretty fast in transition 2. It didn't make much of a difference to my transition time and I felt so much better for the marathon than what I would have in my suit.

If you would like to read about my journey to Ironwoman follow the link here.


Please feel free to contact me Personal Trainer Jodie Hands if you are training for an upcoming Ironman and need any advice or have any questions. I would love to share my new knowledge and experience! 

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