Thinking about doing an Ironman triathlon? Check out some tips I got from a 40-time IronWoman.
The idea of racing for 10 hours was something I couldn't quite wrap my head around until I was actually doing it. Leading up to my first Ironman, was I confident in my training, but there was so much unknown: the distance was daunting, managing nutrition was scary, and questions about the logistics of the day were endless. I turned to veteran ironwoman and one of my NYC training partners, Anne Thilges, (she's done 40 of these things!) for advice on how to figure this all out. I picked (and picked and picked) her brain during training rides about every last detail of the race. By the time I got to the starting line, I felt like less of an iron-rookie and more like an iron-pro.
Anne recently qualified for the 2015 Kona World Championships by finishing second in her age group in Ironman Maryland. She's now in Hawaii preparing to compete in this year's Championships as a guide to Tina Ament, the first blind woman to compete at the Ironman World Championships. Before Anne left for Kona, I asked her to share her favorite Ironman survival tips and she immediately emailed me a long list...while on bike trainer.
Whether you have an Ironman on your schedule, hope to participate in one of these crazy-long races one day or have absolutely no desire to subject yourself to this sport, here's an insider look at how it's done.
5 Tips from a 40-Time IronWoman
Ignore sports marketers; eat what you want to eat. This may mean you have a package of Nutty Buddy cookies taped to you bike's handle bars. If eating your favorite guilty pleasure during the bike ride is going to get you through it, do it.
Chicken Broth is haute cuisine. It's liquid gold. Experiment with it in training first and then try drinking 4-8 oz. small bottle of it in the bike-to-run transition. Try to have broth or a cup of ramen noodles as soon as possible after the race. It is like a saline drip! Races often have broth, but they don't bring it out until after dark. If you finish before dark, just ask for it, it's there.
Extra Strength Desetin (baby diaper rash cream) works wonders for for blister prevention AND healing.
When things get tough in training and racing (because they will) be grateful you are getting to do what you want to do. Have fun out there!
Be a problem solver. Be physically and mentally resilient. Ultra-endurance races make for a long day full of highs and lows. Enjoy the highs and work through the lows.