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Novice Triathletes Racing Too Much

Jan 31, 2007 |

Ray Fauteux wrote an article about novice triathletes racing too much.

I believe that without realizing it, many new triathletes put success of their first Ironman at risk by racing far too much in the months prior.

Here’s a good example:

I had an inquiry from one of my site visitors who asked if competing in half Ironman races within a week of each other, 6 weeks before his Ironman was too much?

His reasoning was that he was planning to do those distances in training anyway, so what would it hurt? At first glance, it might seem to be sound reasoning. However, when you think about it, this is really not a good idea.

First of all, anyone who has what it takes to attempt their first Ironman, is certain to have plenty of competitive spirit…

It will be very difficult to be in the event and compete at your training level. Once that gun goes off, anything can happen. There’s a very good chance you will over extend yourself far beyond what you would have done on a regular training day.

The period 5 or 6 weeks away from the Ironman are extrememly important to your training. These are the weeks that you put in some good quality distance training. With 4 weeks left, you should be going into your taper.

Think about this:

If you plan a half Ironman in that time frame, you should really rest up and taper the week before the race. You should also take a week after for recovery. So in order to do that one race, you will lose valuable training days tapering and recovering. And the person mentioned above is planning two of them in one week.

There is a chance you could injure yourself by just trying to do to much and there is also a chance that come Ironman day, your energy level just won’t be there.

Racing leading up to your Ironman certainly has its place, but the trick is to time those efforts properly.

I would suggest doing a half Ironman 9 or 10 weeks before your Ironman race. That way you can take a week to recover by training lightly and still have 4 or 5 weeks to ramp your distance back up before you begin your 4 week taper.

My second suggestion would be to do a sprint tri exactly 2 weeks away from your Ironman race. You will be in taper mode and decreasing your training during this period and the sprint tri will keep you sharp for race day without over-taxing you. It will also give you one last chance to work on your transitions.

As far as I’m concerned, its not even necessary to enter a race. Just do your own. Do all the right distances–keep the transitions close together–and do these individual races at just over your normal training pace.(all out isn’t necessary, but push yourself a bit).

If you have access to a facility that has a pool and stationery bikes, that would be perfect for a sprint tri two weeks before your Ironman. Do your 1500 meter swim, change, get on the bike for 40 km. change into running shoes and out the door for your 10 km run. Try and go into each event within 5 minutes of each other. It works like a charm and is the perfect way to head into the final two week Ironman countdown without stressing yourself physically.

About the Author: My name is Ray and I’ve been an endurance athlete for over 25 years. I’ve competed in over 30 marathons, 2 — 50 mile races, 14 Ironman triathlons and countless shorter races. I’ve created a website called “Ironstruck.” The main purpose is to provide training and racing tips for the beginner triathlete and novice Ironman. Come for a visit here. “Ironstruck” the book, has been published online and can be viewed here. It is available in paperback or download and may well be the most valuable Ironman Triathlon guide you might ever purchase.

What do you think?

Posted in: Triathlon Training

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