How to Best Prepare Yourself for an Iron Man Race
An Iron Man race is without doubt one of the toughest sporting events to compete in. Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle ride and finishing with a marathon of 26.2 miles, only the brave and super fit will even attempt it. Training for an Iron man race is no small task in itself, and requires a great deal of time and dedication in order to achieve the best results.
As with anything, the more training time that can be devoted to the sport, the better the results will be. Top flight athletes will train full time, allowing their bodies rest periods in order for it to recover. Even so, it is not unusual for people training for an Iron Man race to swim 17 miles a week, cycle 350 miles a week and run 50 miles a week. This, combined with periods spent in the gym, represents a considerable commitment that only a focused few are prepared to commit. The very minimum that anyone preparing for an Iron Man competition should train is one swim, run and bike ride a week.
Keeping motivated when training can be a hard thing to do, and one suggestion, is to join a triathlon club. Failing this, separate cycling and running clubs will provide the company of like-minded people and a competitive edge that can be used as a way of monitoring progress. This social aspect also helps to relieve the loneliness that can often be experienced by those training for long hours by themselves.
Another helpful hint for anyone training for an Iron Man race is to do as much open water swimming as possible. Swimming in the ocean or a river is completely different than swimming in a pool, and the coldness of the water (unless swimming somewhere nice and warm!) can often be a shock to people. Additionally, navigation in open water can be quite difficult, and so learning how to keep track of direction will help enormously. The one thing that is difficult to get ready for, though, is the chaotic start, where everyone rushes into the water together.
Nutrition is another important factor when preparing for an Iron Man competition. Keeping the body fueled during weeks’ of intensive training can be hard work, but is nevertheless vital. Good quality food, which is more carb heavy is the diet favored by most, as is keeping adequately hydrated. The use of electrolytes added to water will become a regular feature of an athlete’s life in the run up to the race itself.
Finally, getting plenty of sleep during the training weeks is extremely important. The body needs time to heal and repair itself from the workout sessions, and getting 6 to 8 hours sleep a night is the absolute minimum. Some athletes even favor a power naps in the middle of the day after a training session. With a positive mental attitude and disciplined approach, training for an Iron Man race will soon become part of the daily routine, and will lead to great results in the competition itself.