Race preparation and cycling x IRONMAN 70.3
The IRONMAN triathlon consists of three stages: swimming, cycling and running. Passing the entire triathlon individually, the training period must begin already 6-12 months before the competition. For shorter distances or passing one or two stages in the team standings, the training period may take 3-6 months. Of course, pre-triathlon shape and experience play an important role, because some might start their journey from the very beginning.
MyFitness trainers work hard for their chosen races. Already in a month we will see if their efforts will be fruitful. Let’s talk more about how the training of our brave athletes has changed, and also delve into the most important aspects of the cycling race.
Training, training, and more training
In accordance with the stage chosen, the volumes of the certain sport included in the regular training plans were increased in order to be ready for more effort for a longer time and over a longer distance. However, our trainers say they make sure to continue strength training to maintain stamina and strength. Although they themselves are personal and group trainers, this does not exclude their desire and need to seek the help of specialized coaches.
The training process must be approached calmly in order to avoid injuries caused by overload, which are quite preventable. Among amateurs and sports enthusiasts, there is a great risk of starting training too intensely due to the shorter preparation period. The body is strained, the recovery time is increased, and the risk of interrupting the race is greater. “For me, this is primarily a psychological challenge, because I have two team triathlons ahead, but I would still like to show a better time in Tallinn than at the Ironman in Lahti,” admits Kaisa.
If you look at individual competitions, the structure of training is much broader, because you have to run, swim and ride a bike. Laura-Liza notes that she started working with a trainer from the Tripassion triathlon club to better prepare for the Ironman. Compared to last year, her workouts are more structured as they are based on a weekly plan that is tailored to her goals and needs. “The whole preparation, of course, is a lot more conscious and thought out. Thanks to the coach, I am more motivated, because someone constantly keeps an eye on me. Last year I did it myself, but believe me, the whole process is much more interesting and safer if you use a competent trainer,” admits Laura-Lisa. The help of a trainer is exactly what Laura-Lisa recommends to a beginner triathlon enthusiast, because the trainer sets the appropriate workout volumes and manages the entire training period.
“Currently, there is a lot of focus on cycling and low heart rate aerobic training for endurance and volume. Transitional workouts with cycling and running are also planned, so that the body gets used to the additional loads. I also upgraded my gear and bought a better bike a few months ago to make training even more enjoyable – because not all bikes are created equal,” says Laura-Liza. She knows from experience that you don’t need to buy an incredibly expensive bike for your first season, a second-tier bike will do. It is only important that it be in working condition, serviced and suitable for the rider in size. “I went through my first season with a second-tier bike; it served me well. Now I feel that for the new season I need a more powerful model; if the world of triathlon fascinates you, it is worth investing in a decent bike.”
As you might guess, the most expensive stage in the IRONMAN triathlon is undoubtedly the cycling race. The unique 90-kilometer race between the city and the smaller towns requires each participant to have the most comfortable position in order to get to the transition point. Attention should also be paid to a comfortable posture, because a position that at first seems suitable may turn out to be unfavourable in competition conditions after 2-5 hours. Here you can seek the help of experts who will help determine the best possible position according to the physique of each cyclist.
When it comes to gear, the bike, cycling shoes and helmet are the most important. When choosing a bike, you must be guided by the terms of the competition, which may vary from time to time. However, the rules of triathlon are generally the same, so the use of a time trial bike, or triathlon bike, is allowed. Its most notable difference is the handlebars, which provide support for an aerodynamic position. In this case, a mechanical check of the bike must be carried out in advance of the race, so that everything goes smoothly on the day of the race.
In the case of cycling shoes, in addition to traditional models, you can give preference to a special model for triathlon. The latter is especially useful when competing in all three stages of a triathlon. Traditional cycling shoes have the advantage of traction on the pedal, which helps to use more power when pedalling. As an important precaution, the rider is required to wear a helmet during the entire bike ride, which must meet the requirements of the organizer. Time trial (triathlon) helmets are also designed for faster and more aerodynamic riding. However, it should be noted that the aerodynamic effect begins to work in favour of the rider only starting from a certain speed.
Of course, the wheel repair kit deserves a special mention, because you are also the main mechanic if a tire blows on the track. The repair kit could include, for example, a chamber, a pump and rubber patches. With regard to the technical condition of the bike, we recommend that you hand it over for maintenance in advance. One option is to have it done at Sportland, where a technician in a simple service will check the gears, brakes, chain, tires and cones. In the case of a full service, they will also adjust the steering column, lubricate the hubs and add or change mineral oil. By the way, there is now a lot of equipment for training and running with a 20% discount, so you can find fresh training motivation in the nearest Sportland store!
If you are not ready to test yourself in IRONMAN race yet, but the world of triathlon is calling you, find out more about the Sportland Kõrvemaa triathlon. Challenge yourself on shorter distances and experience something new – who knows, you might be the next IRONMAN?