The Final Tweaks before Game Day

These past few weeks after the half Ironman Triathlon, I have been making some final tweaks to my training. I addressed the issues that came up during the half Ironman triathlon a few weeks ago.

To boost my swim confidence, I swam 3,000m at Ironman pace for 1:15 hrs. It felt long and a bit tedious, but I made it. It was my longest swim ever. And this is about 3/4 of the distance of the Ironman swim. If I can do 3/4, I can do the last 1/4.

To reinforce my confidence on long bike rides, I finished a group century 100 mile ride, two weeks after the triathlon. We went faster than I would while solo and took longer breaks. But this gave me confidence that my body can handle 100+ miles.

To address my gastrointestinal issues on the bike, I fed myself on a long ride by eating first and drinking my performance mix later. I think drinking the performance mix first gave me those issues during the triathlon. I got my body used to eating solid foods on the ride before drinking that energy mix. And ultimately I felt better by ordering the nutrition in this way. I’m sure there’s a science to this, but I’m going off of my own experience and what works best for me.

On that same solo ride and other longer rides, I forced myself to sit without standing in the saddle. That put a lot of pressure onto my butt bones. This seat discomfort was another big issue from my previous race. I began seeking out more pain in the saddle. Hopefully I have raised my pain tolerance as a result. For a long 112 mile ride, I’ll need to stand up to rest my seat muscles and take longer breaks. But now I’ll be able to stay locked in position for longer as a baseline.

To increase my leg strength, I incorporated hill workouts into my runs. I even did hill repeats as the singular focus of that run.

I also added some mile-long pick-ups in other runs to jolt the legs. During those, I would keep my heartrate at threshold or tempo pace, which means I’m not overexerting myself. Then for the last repetition, I would go all-out since I’m competitive and like to go fast. Doing this helped me adapt to the higher active heart rate during the Ironman triathlon, because my heart will be tired from the swim and bike before.

Lastly, I have visualized every step of race day. I see myself waking up, preparing well, swimming, transitioning, biking, and running. I see myself grinding across the finish line, no matter how late I arrive, and hearing my name over the loudspeaker.

All in all, I’m ready. I know what gear I need and how to use it. I have a better race day nutrition plan. I know my body can finish each individual discipline. On race day, I’ll have all the support from family, friends, aid stations, and fellow competitors.

I know that I’m ready because if you told me that the Ironman was suddenly scheduled for tomorrow morning, I would be excited, not scared.