Training Mistakes Ironman Triathlon

Starting slowly with your build up and then increasing too quickly is a mistake that first time Ironman triathletes make. Let your body adapt. The following are other mistakes often made even by experienced athletes.

1. Increasing workload by 20% + leads to fatigue and can suppress the immune system resulting in time missed from training due to illness. Only increase your volume by 10% every 2-3 weeks and NOT every week like some coaches advise, it is much better to be under trained fit and healthy than to be over trained and injured. You have more chance of putting in a solid performance or even a personal best from being rested. So many hard training athletes have been forced to take time off due to sickness injury etc only to come back and produce their best performance ever, proof that recovery is needed for improved race times. Depending on experience and fitness levels train medium to hard for 14- 21 days then decrease your training by 50% to allow your body to adjust for the next 7 days. This should allow for adaptation. It is also suggested to plan in a race try a mini taper.

2. Mixing large volumes and high intensities either in the same session or same week is often asking for injury both are demanding. Injury prevention must be considered before contemplating long or hard efforts. Each type of training has its place in your preparation for the triathlon.

3. Changing to a new bike or position at the same time as increasing your workload in the last 7 weeks before your Ironman triathlon. The full time pro triathletes can do it but they ride their bikes 300 plus miles a week so will cover 2,000 miles before their target Iron Man triathlon. This creates extra stress on your body trying to adept and can result in injury.

4. Losing or gaining weight while in heavy training is often a result of eating too much of the wrong types of food or not eating enough especially in the first 45 minutes after exercise when the body is most efficient at replacing lost energy stores. What to eat? Carbohydrate is often eaten but Protein and fat are also vital to a balanced diet. When to eat? Eat regularly small amounts every 2 hours especially prior to every training session to keep your energy levels high. Why you need to eat? All your body is made of living cells, which require 24/7 supply of food. Ensure that carbohydrate is used in every session lasting longer than 60 minutes. Aim to consume 40-60% of the calories used during a long bike ride either in carbo drinks or energy bars. Use what you plan to eat & drink during your race.

5. Training regularly at 10% or more above predicted race pace fatigues the body but will not help you on race day with pace judgment. This type of training needs to be done mainly in the last 12 weeks before your main target competition.

6. Not planning enough rest and recovery to be ready for the next session. This can lead to injury illness or both ending in not being able to get to the start line.

7. Go back wards to go forwards. Keep a diary and look at what you have done over the last 6 weeks and see
(a) If you have had adequate rest and recovery
(b) Increased your workload to increase your endurance.. Doing the same workouts will not stress the body to improve.
(c) Keep to a plan.
(d) Race pace efforts. Get your body race fit by training at expected race pace.
(e) Practiced open water swimming
(f) Found the best position and set up on your bike at least 12 weeks before your main race now promise not to change it.
(g) Have tried all your clothing and food in our longer sessions at least 6 weeks before your main race.
(h) For experienced Triathletes check back at previous diaries and see what you think worked and what did not and learn from these.
(i) Remember, as you get older more recovery from the harder training sessions are required.

No amount of training will help in last 7 days only hinder, stay injury free, the fresher you are the faster you will go by slowing up later in the Ironman triathlon. Positive mental attitude got you this far so then meeting up with other Ironman training buddies as you finish your session and they are just starting and going along even slow will ruin your race. You could you end up doing twice as much with no food or drink. You should be resting. Positive mental attitude helped you get to race week now is the time to wind down. The people who do well are never seen training all day race week or standing around in the blazing sun chatting about what might be, save your talk for the awards party.
Barefoot - Do not walk around barefoot either on sun baked tarmac swimming pools or the beach. Walking around with shoes on reduce any possibility of cutting your foot or stubbing your toes. This could end in stitches not the end of the world but if infected could force you not to start or cross the finish line.

BREAKFAST. Try out your race breakfast several mornings before. Consider when do you get hungry? If making porridge (Oats) in the microwave gets the measurements right so on race morning this is one thing less to worry about.

EQUIPMENT -Do not be so busy fitting in that last training session only to arrive at your race destination to find all the energy bars inner tubs/tyres or gels are sold out at the local sports and bike store. Triathletes generally have a habit or buying too much. Plan what you are going to eat and take it with you.

NO CHANGE -Try NOTHING new in the 3 days before the Ironman. That food on the restaurant menu could be the last thing that ruins your race even 3 nights from Ironman day.

NUTRITION. Practise what you do in training but think about the triathlon. By this we mean the following. If you use 400 calories in training combined from fluid and food consider how far you travel. If you cover 16 miles an hour on the bike in training remember you may be covering 20 miles per hour which will be 25% further so you need to consider 500 calories per hour in the Iron man triathlon. This needs to be tried and tested during race pace training. If you use one scoop full of your favourite carbohydrate drink in a 500ml bottle then DO NOT use two scoops in a 750ml, the bottle is not twice the volume use one and a half scoops.

QUEUING. Be smart avoid queues this will wear you out more so if in the sun. Get there early. This can be at registration, race morning. Some events do body marking the day before, if the pen does not rub on the sheets do it as early as possible.

THINK - Visualize what you are going to do and feel at certain parts of the Triathlon weeks before the race otherwise do this on the night before the Ironman and you could become more anxious and not be able to drift off to sleep. Please log on for more updates coming shortly.