Friday, June 19, 2009

Ironman Race plan

One week before a challenging A-priority race such as an Ironman Triathlon I ask the athlete to prepare a written plan. This is based on what we have learned in training and shoud include such things as goals, keys to success, race-day nutrition, pacing in each sport, key thoughts before and during the race, and anything else the athlete believes is important. The following is a race plan from one of the athletes I coach who is doing Ironman Couer d'Alene this Sunday.


Ironman Couer D’Alene 2009

1) 9:14:59 (59/4:56/3:15)
*Dream day 9:05 (:56/4:52/3:12)
2) Top 3 Age Group
3) Qualify for Kona

Keys for Success:
· Bike pacing (no power spikes, aero)
· Nutrition especially on bike
· Run pacing (first 10 miles)
· Any changes are gradual changes (pacing, nutrition, focus)
· The race starts at mile 16 of the run

Race Week:
· In bed by 9pm
· 1 hour of personal quiet time daily to gather mental energy and visualize race
· Decaf coffee only
· Minimize stress and avoid “freaking out” triathletes
· Focus on healthy foods and lots of fruits and veggies
· Very low fiber consumption after noon on Saturday
· Arrive Thursday am, register and spend 60 minutes at expo
· Revisit key sections of course in training: swim @7am, bike rolling section, run along lake

Race Morning:
5am Wake up “Boy do I feel light and strong!”
5:05 Big glass H2O and energy bar
5:15 Good stretch, active warm up
5:30 Bathroom
5:45 Sunscreen, race kit, HRM
6:00 Leave House
6:10 Race site: Drop Special needs, Body marked
6:20 Bike ready: bottles, computer, tires, Vaseline, shoes, towel
6:35 Wetsuit on, body glide, gel, goggles and cap
6:45 Swim warm up: swim 3minutes, drills 5min, 3x pickups
6:55 Ready to go
7:00 “Be strong at the finish!”

SWIM: Goal 57 minutes (1:30/100m)
*55:45 (1:28)

Keys for Success:
· Fast first 300m then find fast feet
· Accelerate around turns
· Increase kick last 500m

Head down and grab water
Settle and focus on technique
Long and narrow
Whip forward

T1: wetsuit/ goggles off, get bag, bar and gel in pocket, glasses and helmet on the way to bike, mount line, on bike, shoes done up, Ride to run!

Bike: Goal “Ride to run strong” 4:59

Keys for Success:
· 210-230 watts on flats
· First hour ridiculously easy
· Aero on the flats
· 1250 calories as follows
o Carbo pro (CHO) 700
o Bar 250
o Gel optional 200
o Gatorade 300

“Ride to run”
“First lap is a warm up”
“Head tucked in, eyes rolled up”
“Narrow and aero”

0-20k out and back: Let stomach settle 15min then sip of Carbo Pro(CHO)
20-30 leaving town: Stay aero, half of bar
30-60 first rollers: Limit effort, focus on aero and smooth. Half of CHO done
60-75 finish rollers: Stay smooth
75-90 back to town: Aero, finish bar, special needs if I need it (CHO and gel)
90-110 out and back: Stay focused on Aero and smooth shifting
110-120 leave town: Finish CHO
120-150 rollers: Execute plan, stay focused and smooth
150-165 finish rollers: Gel, stay smooth and aero
165-180 Leave town: Stretch and stay aero

T2: handoff bike, helmet off, socks on, shoes on, glasses on, visor on, race belt, “Be Strong at the End!”

Run: Goal 3:15

Keys for Success:
· Ease into first 3 miles
· Focus on form (cadence and footstrike)
· Pace the first 10 miles then lift effort
· Gel every 30-45 minutes
· Start coke at mile 13

“Do what you can do right now”
“Smooth turnover”
“The race starts at mile 16”

0-3miles: Ease into pace. Breathing
3-10 miles: Focus on form and efficiency
10-16 miles: Keep focus and lift effort
16-20 miles: The race begins. DIG!!!
20-26 miles: Be strong at the finish. Do what you can do right now!!



At June 23, 2009 10:27 AM , Anonymous ryan said...

I've been following your blog for well over a year now and despite your very well thought out and clear training methods, I do have one question for you regarding pace and negative splits specifically for a triathlon. Would you subscribe to the notion each individual sport of a race should be negative split or should the entire race be a quasi-neg split (I know this is a little more dynamic than this simple description). Excellent examples would include some of the top men (Crowe in particular) in IM recently who put together good swim and bike splits, but are winning it on the run.
If the entire race is a "neg-split" it would seem key brick workouts should be done with the "first leg" relatively lighter workload compared to the second. Would you concur?

At June 23, 2009 3:32 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Hi Ryan--Thanks for your note and question. The key to an IM performance is the bike. It must be 'raced' at what seems like an easy effort the first half or so. The second half won't necessarily be higher power but the perceived exertion will be higher simply due to fatigue. But even in this latter half the PE should be easily managed. That (hopefully) gives you the legs to run off the bike. But there are no guarantees in an event this long. The run will be done at effort which also feels easily managed at first. This will also get harder as the marathon progresses. So in that regard, yes, both are negative split relative to effort but not necessarily power/pace/time. In other words, the key is to start each at what feels easy.

At June 25, 2009 2:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Joe,
I read through your blog as it was left open by my husband, the future Ironman. He is doing his first full ironman next weekend (5th of July). Do you have any tips for the iron-widow? I think it is great that there are so many tips for the athlete. Unfortunately the family or wives are left out on these great tips. How do we support best? How do we not get upset with all the training? How do we not demand too much when race day will demand everything? How do we make sure the focus is on the ironman and positive energy is continuously flowing? Many thanks! Ironwidow :-)

At June 25, 2009 11:28 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Anon--Those are great questions which I don't believe I've ever addressed before. Rather than give you a general answer let me speak from experience. Joyce, my wife of 43 years, and I have a great relationship in regards to this. The bottom line is that I always support whatever she does and she does the same for me. If she needs help in any form I'm there for her. She has always done the same for me. It's just a mutual understanding we have arrived at without ever discussing it. I hope your husband supports you in the same way you do him. You should be a model for what you would want from him. The best you can do is to ask 'how may I help?' And training for an IM is a huge challenge but realize it won't last forever. There will be breaks from training. I suggest to athletes that during these times they devote their time to their families. I hope he would heed that suggestion.

At July 1, 2009 1:09 PM , Blogger Sara Cox Landolt said...

We were also at Ironman Couer d'Alene, it was my husband's 2nd IM event. It was fun reading your athlete's race plan, thanks for sharing it.

Anon, my husband and I rotate training for bigger events. We have 3 kids & right now, rotating helps us balance better. Iron-distance training is tough on the whole family, you need both spouses' support to make it work. I'm doing a future series on Ironman and the family on my blog. My husband's race report speaks about it as well.

Race Report

At July 20, 2009 12:30 PM , Blogger Aaron said...

Hi Joe,
I notice on his race-day prep list "5:45 Sunscreen" which I am going to use an excuse to ask you a related question I've wanted to ask you for some time: do you have any particular brands of sunscreen that you or the athletes you coach have had good luck with & can recommend for facial use? I have experimented with several different brands of so-called sweatproof and waterproof sunscreens, but it seems like no matter what, it ends up in my eyes (even if I only apply from the nose down). So I end up not wearing it most of the time, and I fear my face will look like leather in the near future! :-)


At July 20, 2009 6:13 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Hi Aaron--Wish I could be of more help but I just use some off the shelf 50 spf facial stuff. Can't even tell you the brand. But haven't had any trouble with it in eyes and I use it liberally every day.

At August 11, 2009 9:59 AM , Blogger Paul said...

That's a step by step I have yet to see elsewhere. nice!




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