226 - what an awesome event to test your Ironman preparation, nutrition and gear! We used to have training days like this in the old days (with a brick run after the 180km ride) to test ourselves 5-6 weeks from Ironman. To do this in an organised event is fantastic!
These are my tips for the 3 days.
Use what you will use on race day; goggles, wetsuit and whatever you will swim with under your wetsuit.
If the goggles are nice after this swim then go and buy another set of the same ones and keep them until the week before the big race. Then break them in.
If not, go searching for the right pair. They really can make or break your race!
Test yourself - not to see how fast you can go - but by trying to get as close as possible to your IM race pace time.
Practice on swimming on someones feet.
Start steady, and build to a positive finish.
Imagine yourself swimming in PE and feeling great while you are swimming.
Afterwards, have a high-carb drink within 15 minutes of finishing and a high-protein drink within an hour of finishing. You want to load and recover as soon as possible for the next day's 180km. Have a balanced meal that evening consisting of proteins, carbs and some green veggies like broccoli. It will be festive at the dam, so keep it in check and stick to two beers or two glasses of wine (yep, I know - boring!)
Next day bike session:
Test your IM breakfast with exactly the same times that you would on race day. You'll have to play around to see what works for you but a good plan to start off with would be:
- 3 hours before the start: Balanced brekkie. Include proteins like a boiled egg, or add some protein powder over oats. Some fats are good too, like butter, nuts or olive oil.
- 2 hours before: a liquid meal replacement like PVM Fusion or your preferred alternative.
- 1 hour before: half an energy bar.
- 30 min before: half an energy bar.
For the ride have your race day nutrition planned exactly like it would be for race day. There will be a pit zone, so set yourself up so that you can test your nutrition to the tee. Remember, there are 4 disciplines at IM. Swimming, Biking, Running and eating!
Focus on getting in a rhythm and tempo that you would like to keep on race day.
Test all your gear, from helmet to wheels. (I would even go so far as to say jog 15-20 mins of the bike). Recover the same way after the ride as you did for the swim.
Run on the final day:
Hopefully your legs will be a bit tired after Saturday! Have that same brekkie as yesterday.
Start the run easy as if you are running in PE. Check your heartrate, strides/min and min/km
Try to run the race you would like to in PE, so use the same gells etc that you would use on race day. Pace it well so that you finish positive over the last 5km.
See the time in your head that you want to see when you finish on the red carpet and hear the words 'You are an Ironman'!!
For the guys out there that want to win the 3 day event...just go balls to the wall. There's enough time to recover after each event.
Just hurt the guy enough next to you so that he won't be looking forward to tomorrow! (Kidding - don't do that!)
This is your time to:
Face your fears
Beat your limits
And live your dreams!
Above all. Smile and have fun!