Ironman Triathlon Beginner Mistakes

7 Ironman mistakes to avoid

Training – No open water swimming practise.
This is underestimated even in a wetsuit. No turns to recover like in a swimming pool. Non-stop swimming and sighting plus all that nervous energy will soon wear you down.
If you do not experience this vital part in training you will be lacking everything in the first hour on the bike.

Racing –
Double strength drink or a freebie drink from expo used before the start of the Ironman swim causes sickness in the swim because it was NEVER tried before in training.
Went anaerobic for first 500m of the Ironman swim never to recover again. This will almost certainly ruin your whole Ironman triathlon!

Training –
Not enough Ironman pace training on the triathlon bars, a very common mistake is to hammer shorter rides and go too slow on the longer sessions. With no training at actual Ironman pace no wonder you find it hard to automatically lock into one pace for the duration of the bike.
Group training does not build up mental strength and passes the time much quicker.

Decided to have double strength sports drink during Ironman bike and get water from the feed stations in the hope that you got the mix right.
Tried too hard for the first 25-30 miles on the bike due to feeling fresh and strong, while failing to stick to your nutritional plan only to slow down at the end of the bike.

3. RUN
Failing to practise a run walk strategy in training. Even the elite walk thru feed stations (although they may have fast IM marathon splits) they are able to get straight back into Ironman pace without seizing up.

Not knowing how many calories are in the sponsored nutrition gels and bars.
It is not uncommon for an athlete to spend thousands of pounds on a bike and equipment but assume there are 200 calories in a gel when there is ONLY 92! No wonder first timers underperform in their first Ironman.
Drinking more plain water than a camel in the 5 days before the Ironman.
Not having a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein sports drink during training and racing helps is another mistake made by first time Ironmen/women.

Practise your race breakfast by eating as much as is comfortable. Aim for mostly low to moderate glycemic carbohydrates that you will digest slowly and include some low fat protein. This could be porridge made with semi-skimmed milk & low fat yoghurt with apple. Cottage cheese (low fat) on wholegrain high fibre. Pure fruit juice. Most fresh fruits are low GI. Make sure you avoid fat & fibre.
Avoid quick fix foods first thing in the morning because you have not eaten the night before like many cereal bars made with processed cereals and high in sugar.

Getting the correct balance of fluids and foods is not difficult to do. There is a plothera of information but we are all different so all you have to do is monitor how much you take on a long ride and how you feel after. Feel good and recover well then your intake is correct and is ready to go to the next phase of training. Many Triathletes performed sub optimally all because they the most important part, nutrition was not practised to a fine art. It is very easy to feel slightly below par or have early signs of stomach sickness and to avoid food and drink making matters worse.

Retail therapy.
Must have gear last minute. Some people eat when they are stressed others go shopping. Triathletes are no different, the big problem is buying something new is then not tried and tested in long sessions before the Ironman.
A new helmet, super fast drying clothing may be better but not tried in many longer sessions may have a slight issue magnified in a long event. You need to stay foucsed and cannot be distracted by anything.

Ironmate tip. If you can afford it 5 months before then buy it & tri it.
Trying to squeeze performance in the last few weeks by buying new items of kit takes up too much mental energy and can be more damaging than you think!

All the gear but no idea.
Changing your new bike in last 8 weeks before the Ironman. Sure you MAY get use to it and it will feel great.
It’s not the time aspect but most of your long rides will have been done by then.

Race week
No taper plan written down. No amount of training will now help in the Ironman only what you do NOT do will improve your chances.
If you just cut back without thinking this will result in a medium week of training volume, plus the Ironman it will almost probably be your longest training week ever!

“I am doing an Ironman so I need to be invincible” so anything goes, any session I hear about I must do it. Wrong-Wrong-WrongYou need to train smarter than ever before.
220 magazine is packed each month with information so there is no need to make mistakes that have been made by others.
Racing everything because “I am doing an Ironman” rather than being focused. To do well in the Ironman you need to be selective with your racing, short races do not mimic IM race pace and too many long races result in being unable to push yourself on Ironman day.

Ignore what the full time triathletes do. Most Elite full time athletes do not need a rest day because they get lots of recovery between each session and far more sleep a day.
Each of us is individual with our own unique athletic ability and recovery rates. Consider every person who has crossed the finish line in just one Ironman triathlon. Each one trained differently and had different outside work and family lifestyles.

Failing to train at your predicted heart rate will not use the correct ratio of fats to carbohydrates; fail to stress your body, feet and mental energy. For many it is far easier to go hard for shorter training sessions than holding an even pace that will mimic the effort your own individual Ironman movement. to properly stress all systems, including intestines, muscles, feet, skin and psyche.

Triathletes who do not learn from past mistakes is because of a combination of not listening to their bodies regarding even nutrition so fail to keep good overall even pace within sight. Many try and are ahead of schedule so if they slow down they will still achieve a particular time. Wrong if you keep the faith and stay close to pace zones you will achieve your goal time.

Tapering is not carried out. Which type of triathlete are you?The over did’s still continue to train every spare moment, the under did’s suddenly increase volume in the last few weeks. Two weeks taper is NOT enough for your body to absorb the last 20 weeks of preparation. Fitting in all those last minute jobs before the Ironman.

Consider how long it can take to unwind when you arrive on a normal holiday, (The holiday does not start when we set our PC with the out of office reply!) packing travelling etc are all more demanding than we know!

Mental training in the many months before the Ironman has to be rehearsed, as you get closer to the triathlon join all parts together just like an actor learn their words. Being able to concentrate for up to 17 hours has to be practised time and time again. Understanding all your fears and aspirations is crucial to maximize potential for a successful day.

Time Target.
So much can change on race day, the weather, mechanical problem, missing a drink at a feed station. Putting a time target is adding extra pressure. Estimating your time by doubling your half distance and adding an hour to predict your Ironman time is only a guide.

You can avoid the learning curve by speaking to past Ironman finishers.

If you train at over 90% for more than 24 weeks from your Ironman you will be over trained.