This is me back in 2010 or thereabouts competing in Ironman 70.3 in Buffalo City. Photo courtesy of my youngest, Jess.

That is how I roll, training wheels and nothing fancy, except for the helmet but it only looks fancy and didn’t last long because it really hurt my ears.

So for me Summer is Triathlon season and Winter is Trail Running season. That way I get to cover mountains, forests, and the sea. One day when I semi-retire from Triathlon I would like to do canoe and surf ski paddling and more mountain biking. It’s not so much about the event or getting a medal as it is about what you learn about yourself when you push yourself, what you see and find being outside, and about feeling your heartbeat.

As far as events go I love Ironman. It is more than a big brand that costs quite a bit, it is a community of athletes who have shown courage and commitment. I will race my fifth 70.3 next Sunday, and hopefully my 8th full distance in April (come she will!!). To everyone that has entered, this is a special event that you have trained for and all that you need to do now is to go out and reap the reward. Go out and enjoy the day. What you put in is what you’ll get out.

I had the privilege of training my son to a successful 70.3 and after watching his race I was back in the competitor mix when he did it again the following year. It is easier on the nerves to race than to spectate if you are supporting a family member or loved one, so show lots of appreciation to your supporters!

 If you are racing (or not racing but you have entered and your only goal is to finish) the 10th edition of Ironman 70.3 South Africa next Sunday, then hopefully you are well into your taper with the race a mere ten days away.

Tapering in the last two weeks before Ironman 70.3 and three weeks before Ironman is important because you want to stand on that beach on race morning feeling energetic and ready to go.

You have done the Base and high volume training (hopefully with recovery weeks worked in as well) and now it is time to shed the fatigue and get you cocked and ready for action.

Getting the taper right can help your performance, just as not tapering, or getting it wrong, can seriously hamper your performance. The basic principal is to decrease volume while maintaining fitness and muscle readiness. To do this you must shorten the distance or time that you train while introducing short high intensity intervals. This will give you a lot more rest and help your muscles to recover while still keeping you sharp.

Between now and next Sunday I will have three rest days, Friday (tomorrow), Monday, and next Friday. On the other days I will follow my normal training schedule but only at two thirds of the training volume with a few short intervals in the middle of those sessions for good measure.

On the Saturday before the race I will do the official swim training, but only 15 minutes, just to settle the nerves, followed by 20 to 40 minutes on the bike, to give the legs a spin and check that the bike is all good, and finally I will transition into a 10 or 15 minute run to make sure that that’s all working too. 

After all of that fine tuning before the race it’s a good idea to put the feet up until bike check-in, and again thereafter.

A few more tips for race week:

Get plenty of rest. You can load up on sleep just like you should load up on good carbs.

Eat clean to race lean (or at least to feel as light as possible)

Stay hydrated but don’t over do it. 

Don’t try new stuff that you haven’t practiced in training. This applies to gear and nutrition. 

Minimise stress. Check all gear well in advance for peace of mind.

Pack your transition bags yourself and check them twice.

Race tips:

The swim

Seed yourself according to your capabilities in the water to avoid getting swum over or having to swim around people.

Stay calm when entering the water, measure your breathing and don’t be anxious. Once you settle into a rythm you can push the power.

Consider one another.

Remember if you don’t swim straight you’ll swim far, so keep sighting. 

The bike

The longest part of any Triathlon, but this race really gets decided on the run. Don’t kill your legs on the bike. Ride within yourself. If your quads are burning and you are close to maximum watts then select an easier gear and increase cadence. This takes discipline but could make or break your run.

The run

Hang in there. Take off at a comfortable cadence and try to get into an easy rythm. The crowd support will carry you on the run so remember to smile. Avoid going out too fast, if you’re still feeling very energetic with 5ks to go you can treat it as a time trial. I once had to do that to avoid losing my sub six hour record and finished in 5:59:56, it was then that I decided that I am more suited to the longer version.
Enjoy the red carpet and a well deserved finish, provided you adhered to the race rules.

Any questions and comments are most welcome!

Grant Edwards
Founder/Adventurer at Soul Navigation Adventures
Grant Edwards is the founder of Soul Navigation Adventures. As a part time blogger and full time soul navigator his life purpose is to experience, and help others to experience, what a wonderful life this can be, and to espouse the need to make small changes in our lives so that we can become better, happier, more environmentally friendly, and ultimately more successful humans, who, through making positive change, will enable future generations to experience the adventure too. What will your legacy be? Your time starts now!