>> Wednesday, September 26, 2012
If you've been reading my blog for a year, you might remember Justin. Here are 2 photos of him from the second part of my Lake Marion 2011 race report as he was finishing his FIRST TRIATHLON!!
Heading to the finish!
Finishing his first triathlon!!
So I recently got an e-mail from Justin mentioning that he signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2013! I knew he had fun last year in his first tri, but I didn't know he had THAT much fun! I'm super pumped for him!
Part of his message said this:
My question initially this summer was going to be "Is there a BMI/body fat % cutoff for running around the neighborhood shirtless in tri shorts/spandex?" Since then I've dropped 20 lbs. so I think I'm ok, or maybe it's never ok to do that if you are a sweaty, sweaty, hairy man.
But I do have a question - I'm doing IM Wisconsin in 2013 - I'll be starting it anyway, don't know about finishing - what tips/suggestions do you have for training - books, coaches, websites, training plans, fuel, gear, etc. Also, any tips for the spectators going to watch?
First of all Justin, I'm a sweaty, sweaty, hairy man, and I'm ALWAYS running topless. But maybe the rules are different out in the suburbs than they are here in St. Paul. I dunno.
Secondly, about your Ironman questions, I'll give you my 2 cents, but I'd like to ask all of you for your input too! I've only done one Ironman, and it was in my 2nd year of triathlons, so I DO. NOT. KNOW. IT. ALL. But I'd love to help if I can. Please comment if you have any thoughts for Justin! Justin, here are my thoughts for you:
1. Books: Pharmie's favorite book is "Triathlon Training" by Michael Finch. She thinks it gets overlooked and people don't seem to talk about it much. Many people seem to love "The Triathlete's Training Bible" by Joe Friel (which we have, but we just don't love as much). We've also liked "Going Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons" by Joe Friel, and "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes" by Gale Bernhardt.
2. Coaches: I don't know that you need a coach. Just knowing that you're a busy Doctor / Dad, coaching might be too much. I LOVED my time with Coach Jen, but she'll kick your ass. Locally, I know a lot of people like the coaches at Optum. Tell them Steve sent you. That will get you nowhere, but you can still say it. (Even though I just said I don't think you need a coach, the RIGHT coach will really be able to work with you and your busy schedule, and they'll take ALL the thinking out of it for you, so really, it might be a good idea.)
3. Websites / Training Plans: When Pharmie and I trained for IM WI, we used a free training plan from BeginnerTriathlete.com. Now I think you have to pay for them (it's not much). It got us there, which was our only goal. I finished in 13:53, and now I keep thinking about hour many hours (yes, HOURS) I'd like to take off that finishing time the next time I'm insane enough to sign up for an Ironman. BT also has some good forums where you can search for questions or ask your own. It's a good community.
4. Fuel / Gear: Use what works for you! That's what it all comes down to. We loved "Carbo-Pro" powder during long-distance training and racing. It's a flavorless powder you can add to anything to get more calories. (Read more about Carbo-Pro in my blog post about my first 100 mile ride back in 2006, and there are more details Carbo-Pro in this mini-review I did of it.) Pharmie and I both did our first Ironman Triathlons on relatively cheap road bikes with aero bars clamped on. It was nothing fancy, but (as I said above with our training plan) it got us there. Check out THIS BIG BLOG POST from about a year ago where I talk about my race-day nutrition - that post is geared slightly more toward shorter races, but much of it can be translated to longer distance racing. Obviously, this is the stuff I TRAIN with as well as RACE with. IM requires you to NAIL your nutrition on race day, so practice, practice, practice with the same nutrition in training.
5. Spectator Advice: There's a shuttle that goes out to the middle of the bike course so your family can go out there if they want to (but that might get a little hectic with 3 kids). When we've cheered, we've just stayed in town because it's easy to get around and see a lot there (just not a lot of the bike). The run loops around, so it's easy to have your family move about 4 blocks and see you 5 times on the run! And check out this recent post (and the comments of that post) where a friend asked for cheering advice at an Ironman. Some of the commenters pointed out something I missed: bring a fold-up camp chair!
One final bit of advice is to sign up for a half-ironman before your full Ironman. The Liberty Triathlon is in June, and the Chisago Lakes Triathlon is in July (many locals use Chisago as a "tune-up" for IM WI). It's a BIG difference going from a half to a full (think of the difference between a half marathon and a full marathon), but I still think it's good to feel a 70.3 before jumping to a 140.6.
Good luck over this next year, Justin! Start getting those miles in! And if you need any more inspiration, read my 5-year old Ironman WI race report or my post of more race photos. I always like to look back on that race report when I need a good kick in the pants. :)
Do you guys have any thoughts for Justin on training for his first Ironman? Thanks everyone!
p.s. If you have a question you'd like me and / or my readers to answer, please let me know! I'd be glad to help! Thanks!
There are a LOT of great comments rolling in! Thanks for your help everyone! Keep them coming! I want to note that I REALLY agree with riding the course once (or twice) ahead of time. Pharmie and I might be going out to a free organized WI group ride next summer called WIBA. (Commenters have mentioned this - it's put on by Pharmie's team. We've been out to it every year except the last 2. Here's my first WIBA write-up. Try to get out to WIBA this next summer!) And if you can find a friend (or training group) for those long rides, that will make things more bearable. Actually, I REALLY agree with everything Jason said. So check out the comments, Justin. Thanks everyone!!!