The best training and sports nutrition tips for an Ironman.
The Ironman 5150 and 70.3 are fairly similar in terms of training. Although a ?quarter? seems like an entry-level race, it is still a 2-hour race or longer. For the fastest triathletes just under two hours, but the average finisher will certainly pass this mark. The 70.3 on the other hand takes a lot longer, where a pro aims to break the 4 hour barrier, this will be around 6 hours for most. Triathletes are the ultimate example of an endurance sport. A sprint triathlon, also known as 1/8, takes between 50 and 60 minutes, so we call that a sprint where other sports have a race of less than a minute.
All of this, of course, has implications for your preparation for a triathlon! What are your goals? Do you want to break your PR from last year, or the year before? Did you lose a bet, or are you just consciously working on your health and exercise? All 3 ideal reasons to venture into the amazing event in southern Maastricht. South Limburg, known for its beautiful hills, will certainly be served up in this event as well. Therefore, it is important that you not only train on hard pounding against the wind, but also put your climbing skills to the test in your preparation.
A triathlon doesn't come easy to you. More than that, it takes hard work. A focused build-up is the key to success here!
Building up is what you do when the word says it. You build-up. Based on putting a targeted load on your body, you allow it to recover in order to come out stronger. At least, that's the idea. The rest is just as important as the stimulus, this is too often not balanced. Consistency is important. As is the periodization in which you apply what training. Periodization means that you create blocks consisting of a number of weeks each with a specific purpose such as building up basic fitness or working specifically on efforts at higher powers.
In your body you have several so-called energy systems, the most important for triathlon is the aerobic system. This is a combustion engine where your body can use fuel in the form of both fats (at low intensity) and carbohydrates (at higher intensity) to release energy for your muscles. A good base ensures a few things: a larger share of energy is released from fats (enough of it), faster recovery between efforts at higher intensities (think of climbs that follow each other quickly or tempo changes in a race) and you are more economical with the carbohydrates in your body that you desperately need.
You have a limited number of carbohydrates available in your body. During low aerobic exercise , your body uses about 50% fat for fuel. In addition, carbohydrates are mainly used as fuel and this increases as the heart rate increases (see diagram 1). It is therefore important to add carbohydrates in addition to the fats you already have in your body. If you eat well before the training/competition you will have a supply of carbohydrates for 60 to 90 minutes (note: carbohydrates are also needed for recovery). Therefore, it is important to consume carbohydrates during training and the Ironman. By using sports nutrition you add carbohydrates to your body in an easy and fast way.
A few months before your triathlon, you start to build on your ?base? This is a block of 8 to 12 weeks with the emphasis on endurance training at low intensity. In general, the training sessions are quiet, but if you train at high intensity do it short and powerful.
Pro Tip: During these workouts, take 50 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This is easy to do with our following products; Isotonic sports drink, Endurance booster,Endurance Bars Or look at the page:?products during sports?
For the shorter distances, which often involve more tempo changes during races, the anaerobic (=without oxygen) capacity is also a system which plays an important role. Why? During shorter distance races you have to defend your place more often or there are more often attempts to shake off other athletes during the running part, also final sprints sometimes occur at the shorter distances. In all these situations, the intensity increases rapidly, so your body uses a system that can provide a lot of energy and can do this immediately and here the anaerobic capacity plays a crucial role. The better this is the better you can handle the tempo changes. When you make an effort in the anaerobic system , you only use carbohydrates as fuel (see diagram 1 above). In an anaerobic exercise you do not use fats or proteins.
Build-up: Gentle beginnings for a good foundation
In these quiet weeks, you can supplement your endurance training with strength training, 2 ? 3 times a week. Specific strength training is sufficient not only to make your muscles stronger, but also to prevent injuries. Strength training has the additional advantage that the first months the effect is mainly neurological, so your nervous system learns better how it effectively controls your muscles. This will make you stronger but your muscles will hardly gain any weight. It is best to get advice on this from your recognized sports-oriented physiotherapist or physiotherapist. Don't forget to work on your technique, both in the water and on the bike.
First of all, as mentioned above, triathlon is of course an endurance sport. Therefore, we mainly focus on endurance training. The stronger your foundation, the more efficient your body will be and the better it will be able to handle the harder stimuli. And ultimately, it will be able to maintain the hard tempo for longer. A common mistake is training too hard, or training at the pace you want to run at in a race. The basic rule that I always follow is to do 75% of your training really quietly. So quietly that you can still have a comfortable conversation with your training buddy. If you want to give your body a harder push, you can choose to finish your endurance run with a few accelerations on technique, do some sprints on the bike, or finish your swim training with some sprints. These maximal sprints stimulate the control from the brain to the muscles.
Once your "base" is well formed, you can build on it towards the competition; 2 to 3 blocks of 3 weeks of specific preparation, in which the intensity and load increases.
Higher intensity training before the competition
Race specific training can be done in different areas, but for a half triathlon it is especially important to train at a higher intensity; efficient swimming at race pace, (longer) blocks at race pace on the bike and running at your predetermined pace. Tests can serve as a good parameter here, it is best to include this in your program earlier in the build-up. To measure is to know! During these trainings you consume more carbohydrates so it is important that you pay attention to this and take enough sports food. The recovery also requires more from your body, so again, supplementing your carbohydrates plays an important role.
Pro Tip: We recommend you to take between 60 and 80 grams of carbohydrates per hour during this workout. You can choose products from our pages: products during exercise and recovery products.
In addition, technical aspects such as open water training (with wetsuit), training in race position (TT bike) and running n? a bike training to get used to the specific transition you have to do in a triathlon. Especially the latter variant is a form of training that is valuable for both long- and short-distance, after all, running in a triathlon is different from a running race. In these training sessions you can also test out when you take which form of sports nutrition. In this way you will know exactly what to do during the Ironman.
Pro Tip: Do some training in which you take in more carbohydrates/hour than you will do in the race. This way you train your stomach/intestine to process the energy and reduce the chance of any complaints during the race.
Later in your preparation, you can initially add ?tempo hour? blocks to your program. And in the last 3 weeks of your preparation you can do real interval training at your desired race pace. You build this up again so that eventually, the week before your race, you can do about 60% of your time or distance of the race in your training, with of course rest in between. This could mean for the run 6x1km at the desired pace with 1 to 2 minutes break. On the bike, for example, 4×8 minutes at race "intensity". I say intensity because you are always dependent on terrain, surface and wind. Swimming 8 to 10x 100m at your race pace with 20sec pause would be a very good final measurement. 5 to 8 days before your race, start tapering. You bring the size down, and do some more short body tightening for the feel of it, such as a few 30-60sec repetitions at race pace with plenty of breaks. The advice is always to heed the advice of a coach or trainer, but if you can't or don't want to afford one, the guidelines above are a very good start to getting to the finish line feeling good!
Important here is to listen carefully to the body and to take sufficient rest between blocks (week of ?taper? or resting). Especially in the last week of your race, you've done the hard work and now everything is about recovery! So that you are fresh and full of energy to reap the benefits of your hard work the past weeks/months.
|Basic + strength||Several months||Aerobic threshold & load capacity +||Long Slow Distance / short & hard
|Intensive Endurance & Anaerobic Capacity +||75/25 split, hard 25% focus specifically on competition|
|Structure 2||3-4 weeks||Latest Specific Incentives||Mimic match intensity in training with adequate rest|
|Taper||5-8 days before competition||Letting the body recover & stay sharp for competition||Lots of rest, low volume and short high intensity|
This building process is best supported for targeted nutrition. After all, you are what you eat.
Which nutrition is best to take in depends on a few determining factors; duration of the workout, intensity and how much rest you have until your next stimulus. The weather does play a role as well.