Go Faster At Ironman 70.3
Find the Extra Edge and Become A Competitor
The 70.3 distance is the perfect endurance test for newer triathletes. A step up in distance and time from sprint and Olympic races, the 70.3 is often tackled for the first time as a personal challenge, and a way to test your new skills and mental limits. The long distance habit can quickly catch on, and now you’re looking for that extra edge to increase your speed and become a competitor. This could be to set new personal bests or even to qualify for age group World Championships. With only a few changes in your daily preparation you can become the competitor you want to be at the 70.3 distance.
Build a positive mindset and set specific goals.
To become a competitor you must think and act like a 70.3 competitive triathlete. You need to develop your mindset to one that does not only want to COMPLETE a race but one that wants to COMPETE in a race. Set specific and realistic goals for each discipline and your overall performance, whether it is to increase your swim pace, increase bike power, better your stride or to monitor your nutrition.
Increase intensity, volume and consistency, with a progression.
To reach these goals that you have outlined, you need to train like a competitor and this requires you to push yourself during some specific training sessions to increase strength and endurance in all three disciplines. Whether it's swimming, cycling or running, it's crucial that you include intensity and strength sessions during training to build endurance and speed, and also to mimic racing and what you will feel during the race.
Increasing volume is also essential as it provides the body the ability to adapt to the longer distances and is a confidence booster for knowing your mettle. A great way to increase comfort with the 70.3 distance is to try a few standalone half-marathons or individual bike and/or swim races. By gaining confidence in your performance in these areas, you will feel ready to compete in each of the disciplines during your next 70.3.
With both intensity and volume, you need to ensure that this is completed gradually along a progression, so that you can adapt successfully to your new regime. Consistency is also key to being a competitor: be consistent and honest with promoting good habits, day in and day out, with all your workouts and training sessions. Don't cut corners. One step further on the competitor scale: be proactive about all your training, taking care of all details—mechanical, logistical, nutritional and emotional-- before training sessions.
Simply, this is the fuel for your sport, and the better the habits, the closer to your optimal athlete self you will be. Create a common sense and nutritional diet that is conducive to what you are expecting of yourself as a competitive endurance athlete. Good nutrition ensures proper energy for training and optimal recovery calories for the times between, with the added benefit that you feel awesome and have the knowledge and ownership of doing everything properly for your goals. When it comes to nutrition, keep it simple. Try to eat whole, fresh and nutritionally sound foods at all times and ensure that you are eating enough to support the added volume of training.
An easy way to check your choices: always ask yourself if what you’re about to eat will help or hinder your performances. Don't go crazy though: dietary restrictions and eliminating food you love rarely work in the long term, so keep those treats.
Invest in a few helpful training tools.
Measurement devices such as a power meter for bike power output, a heart rate monitor for watching training zones, and a cadence metre for swim, bike, run can be extremely beneficial in your training. These tools are used to measure skill, efficiency, heart rate and power during training sessions and can provide instant feedback and track on going improvement in your path towards your goals. Heart rate and power measurements help immensely in preparing for the specific paces you need to hold to achieve long distance goals.
Get a Coach.
Coaches have always assisted athletes on the path to excellence: coaches have sport specific skills, aptitude and education to help their athletes plan and succeed. It is convenient and reassuring to have someone qualified planning your training. Periodizing three sports composed of various energy systems training, building skills, and addressing individual strengths and weaknesses is a complex puzzle. If you are busy, it is nice to be able to just focus on your sessions, relay your feedback, and see the progress. A good coach is always in your corner, supporting you through the ups and downs of training, and constantly reminding you of your goals.
Know the course.
Before signing up for a race do your research, check out the course, read race forum boards and if possible, train on similar terrain. If the type of course suits your strengths and appeals to you sign up for it early and prepare specifically. Be thorough, and use all your knowledge to your advantage.
I know you’ve probably heard this before but it’s true! To be a competitor you need to love what you’re doing and love pushing yourself while having fun doing it.
By embracing these positive habits you can become the competitor at the 70.3 distance that you want to be. Be consistent with each of these training tips and with a little time and effort you will be crushing your previous personal bests and striving to outdo yourself race after race!
LifeSport coach Lou Therien is an NCCP certified triathlon coach with more than 5 years experienced. Mentored by national team and Olympic Games coaches, many of his athletes have succeeded in marathons at Ironman, 70.3, Triathlon Championships, and have qualified and race the World Championships in Kona. Contact Coach Lou to share your goals, race faster, or master the Ironman distance.