The Tip List

Posted by Dylan on 23 June 2015

This isn’t everything. It is simply my chain of thought when I think about an Iron-distance event and can be used for a half-distance also.
I highly recommend adding to it where you can.
Feel free to email me any add-ons.

  • Get a program from a coach/someone you trust and stick to it.
  • Have faith in their ability to have you ready when you need to be. If you think they can’t get you there then they won’t. It starts with you.
  • Get a bike set-up
  • A basic pre-race training guideline would be: 3 weeks out – 80-90% of normal work load, 2 weeks out 60-70%, and race week should be no more than 40% of workload heading into a major race.
  • Separate your training intensities more as you get closer to your race i.e. more very easy training and more specific intensity.
  • Try out your race run shoes prior to the race
  • Check your equipment. Absolutely everything - Bike, tyres, gears, chain, bike shoes, cleats, pedals, running shoes, the socks you plan on wearing, laces or elastic laces, your special needs cold weather gear, wetsuit, body glide or baby oil, sunscreen, spare tubes, tyres, tubulars, co2 canisters, pit stops and the like – everything and anything – start a list and get it done early. Read instructions and/or test things out.
  • Start a race checklist/to do list early and add to it as you go.
  • Create a nutrition plan. Get what you need early if you are not sure the race will have what you need. Carry a little more than you expect to need
  • Dry things are hard to eat in a race so keep that in mind.
  • Know the course nutrition and try it out before.
  • Stick to what you know and like.
  • Avoid processed sugar as much as possible when close to a race and try and limit caffeine intake. You want that stuff to work as best it can when you need it most in the race.
  • If you need sweet stuff prior to race have dried fruit instead!
  • Eat when you are hungry leading in to races – do not starve yourself, but do not eat for the sake of eating either.
  • Hydrate well at night – it will help you big time the next day.
  • It is normal to wake up in the morning leading in to big races and think, “WTF am I doing?” Just go with the flow and enjoy how much it challenges you every day.
  • Get things such as accommodation, rental cars, race entry etc. etc. sorted early – this helps alleviate stress.
  • Nervs are good – they are energy, so hope that you have them before the race and try and funnel that energy during the race.
  • Get to bed early when you can and get a good night’s sleep in where you can – it starts from a couple weeks out – 2 days before you may not sleep much, but it isn’t that important.
  • Read the race guide and have it handy all the time. Add in the important info to your race checklist.
  • The only pressure you are feeling is the pressure you put on yourself.
  • Do things that help you relax.
  • Do the things YOU want to do pre-race. Don’t feel like you have to be ol-serious. Enjoy the whole event.
  • Focus on the processes, not the outcome. There are many pieces to a triathlon puzzle, so make sure they are all put in place as you go through the journey.
  • Your training is done once you hit race week. There is no getting fitter, just getting better prepared.
  • Do things the way you want to do them race week – don’t follow others unless it is what you really want to do.
  • Put your feet up every chance you get.
  • Get your bike out in race set-up for a spin a few days prior to the race and make sure it is all go.
  • Have spare goggles
  • Sort out your race gear bags early – put the items you need in them on your list.
  • Are you running with a fuel-belt or using pockets in your race suit?
  • Arrange all your nutrition a couple days out and have your gel bottles filled and drinks mixed the day before – don’t do it race morning.
  • If you take a lot of gels on your bike consider putting them all in one bottle. I put 20 in a bottle for a full-distance event.
  • Don’t forget about your special needs stuff.
  • Go over your nutrition plan again.
  • Don’t eat anything that is hard to digest the day before you race – nuts and seeds etc. Have a good and big dinner; it does help, but only the night before. Remember you might not be able to eat a lot race morning.
  • From 2 days out you should be hydrating above normal, but not just water. Electrolytes are key and too much water will have a negative effect. 2-3 more bottles a day is plenty.
  • Make sure your support crew know what race suit you wear, what bike you ride, what colour your helmet, hat and shoes are and what race number you are.
  • I recommend a normal breakfast. It may be the only solids you eat until after the race.
  • Eat solids prior to race start – not gels. You will have enough of them during the race.
  • You can eat quite close to the start of an iron-distance event, as the intensity is lower than a shorter race.
  • Warm-up – it’s a long day, start it well with a little warm-up. You will feel a lot better from the gun and settle in earlier.
  • You might feel a bit lethargic etc before the race – this is normal – just believe in the work you have done and that it will come through when the gun goes off.
  • Before you start do a final check of all your gear – run through your checklist in your head. Check tyres, make sure there is nothing in your shoes; paper, stones, gels etc.
  • Lubricate any areas that you know need lubricating and any areas you feel that may need lubricating. Under arms, neck, sitting area etc.
  • Make sure your timing chip is comfortable.
  • Run through your nutrition plan again once more in your head.
  • Limit your caffeine intake race morning – save it for later in the race.
  • If you didn’t sleep, do not stress, so long as you have rested as well as possible over the previous 2 weeks all will be fine.
  • Remember that everyone around you is nervous, not just you.
  • If it is cold, don’t swim warm-up unless you know it is going to actually warm you up.
  • Relax your legs for the majority of the swim – pick up your kick again nearer the end to get the blood flowing to them.
  • A wetsuit is designed to make you float, so let it! All you need to focus on is moving forward.
  • Use body glide or baby oil around your calves to make it easier for your wetsuit to come off after the swim and put glide or oil around your neck to stop the suit from cutting.
  • Pull your wetsuit up nice and high over your shoulders and arms. You’ll have to pull it up around your waist also to allow this, but guys, don’t pull it up too high!
  • Remember to let the wetsuit do what it is designed to do!
  • If you are a bad navigator then try different goggles! Spit in them or use anti-fog. Otherwise follow feet – do not sit on the hip of someone, that will slow you both down.
  • Take your time in transition.
  • Know the bike course as best you can. Conditions, surface, terrain.
  • My best advice for pacing an iron-distance event is to start riding at a ‘comfortable pace’ then back off 2 notches. It should essentially feel easy – this is your pace! Only 1 notch back in a half-distance event.
  • Ride in socks!
  • Use the lower limit of the recommended tyre pressure in your tyres.
  • If you plan on changing tubes or tubular’s while out there then know what you are doing! Practice.
  • If you have to wait for technical support then take the opportunity to drink and eat.
  • You will need to take in a lot of calories on the bike. You want to not only take in enough to cover the bike, but also enough to give you a buffer on the run. Be prepared to force feed yourself – it is easier to do it on the bike than it is on the run.
  • Let your stomach settle when you first get on the bike – drink water only until you feel it has settled. This could be 15-30mins in to the ride.
  • Try to avoid refined sugar on the bike – coke, lollies etc. Once you start that stuff you really cannot stop.
  • Eat what solids you can.
  • Eat to your calorie limit.
  • Do not over drink – you can really only absorb up to 1 litre an hour. The rest will just be extra weight, bloat you, and block out the absorption of critical calories.
  • Carry your gels in a bottle if you go through a lot of them.
  • Know the ins and outs of the nutrition you get out on the bike – what colour bottle is what and what electrolyte is in the bottles etc.
  • Dehydration of some sort is inevitable.
  • If you often cramp in training you will need salt tablets or some other remedy, if you cramp sometime in training you will also need some form of remedy, and even if you never cramp in training you may want to think about some form of remedy. Keep up your electrolyte intake over and above all other fluids to help combat cramp.
  • If you follow my nutrition tips on the bike you will probably get off the bike bloated. This is normal and is not a bad thing – let your stomach settle like you did getting on the bike heading out on the run.
  • Expect things to change out there and not to go the way you hope or want. Enjoy the changes and the constant challenges.
  • Find your feet in transition, then your bike rack and then your bag. Think through the processes and remember your land marks for finding your bike rack.
  • Make sure your shoes are on properly and comfortably – a marathon is a long way with something constantly annoying you!
  • I recommend normal laces. Elastic can get tighter and tighter as your foot swells through the run.
  • Try and know the run course. The ins and outs and any technical stuff. Know how often and roughly where aid stations are and try and know what each station holds.
  • If you didn’t put socks on for the bike ride I strongly suggest you put them on for the run, unless you want trolls feet. Up to you.
  • Mix up the flavour of your gels from the ones you had on the bike. Nothing is worse than 30 of the same flavour!
  • Keep as cool as you can. Water on the head is the minimum you should be doing at each aid station and preferably always drinking!
  • If you are prone to cramping then focus on the electrolyte. Otherwise a mix of water and electrolyte is ok.
  • Avoid coke until it is absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk aid stations to make sure you get enough nutrition on board. It will not cost you anytime in the long run.
  • If you are close to tears at some stage or many stages in the run don’t worry, it is normal!
  • Remember that you chose to do this to yourself. If you didn’t you are even crazier than the people that did.
  • Say thanks to the volunteers where ever you can. They are ridiculously important!
  • Celebrate regardless, you’ve earned it, there is no easy way.