Hi folks, welcome to my cogitations! Got to love triathlon!
I guess I’ve completed a bunch of triathlons now, including six Ironman distance races, and every time I meet those (can I say middle-aged?) guys struggling to finish their first Ironman, I think, “If only they hadn’t done (or had done) such and such, and they’d be feeling a whole lot better,” so I thought I’d hand out a little gratuitous advice in the form of 11 (I love prime numbers) Ironman training tips for the 50+ guys, whether they want it or not.
Here is my advice to aspiring 50+ Ironman triathletes (guys!), in order of my perceived importance today, including a link to a relevant blog post for each.
#1 To quote my son, Nigel, “Dad, a full Ironman is as hard as three (3) half-ironman distance races in one day,” – beware! I strongly recommend that you complete the Joe Friel Styrofoam Cup exercise before you start training. Blog Link.
#2 Nutrition, hydration and electrolyte balance are more important than physical conditioning, even though physical conditioning is critical, but these variables interact. Blog link.
#3 Find a skilled coach appropriate to your age and experience, and remember that you’ll need more recovery time than a younger athlete – be sure your coach understands this. Blog link.
#4 When racing, set your ego aside and remember that a DNF (did not finish) is better than ending up in the hospital, or worse. Blog link.
#5 It’s your dream, so live your dream, in spite of 1-4 above, but live it wisely by thinking it through. Blog link.
#6 Train as you intend to race, including bike wheels and nutrition. Blog link.
#7 If it is going to be hot, carry plenty of electrolytes (I use Endurolytes), and take them before problems (quad cramps, nausea) raise their ugly heads. Blog link.
#8 Running off of a 112-mile bike ride is not the same as just running, so practice this during training. As you come out of transition try to actually run, because plodding will beat you up, and remember to say, “Shut up legs!” Blog link.
#9 Your level of comfort in the swim will depend upon your level of conditioning. Don’t waste too much time with technique when you are poorly conditioned. Put in the yardage, then focus on skill. You will also benefit from practicing swimming in busy traffic, including head up drills, and never ever panic. Ever!!!!! Oh! Yes! And check out Mr. Smooth. Blog link.
#10 Make sure your bike really fits, or the run will be hell and the bike ride won’t be much fun, either. Blog link.
#11 Reward yourself AND your family and friends (or other supporters) for a job well done. You can do this by, (a) training as much as possible at times that do not disrupt family life, (b) being completely present when with the family (thank you Lao-tzu), and (c) racing in places that are fun for them. Blog link.
That’s what turned up in my mind as I thought about it. There are plenty of others, and I’m working on that.
Enjoy! It is a great feeling when Mike says, “You are an Ironman!” Wouldn’t have missed it for the World.