Hi folks I'm a new guy to the sport [completed 2 sprints] but signed up to try TRY to complete the CA Ironman. Is any one out there signed up for this event. If so - I'm looking to compare cyber notes on training, support, and preparation. Also if anyone has already completed the CA Ironman would like to here your story / advice on this tri.
Looking forward to hearing from the active community.
What area do you live in? We will have a full training program for the 70.3 in San Diego - should have 10-15 athletes in the group to compare notes with.
Let me know if you have any specific questions. Good luck!
Rehab United Physical Therapy
RU Sports Performance Center
"Where Athletes Become Champions" (TM)
San Diego, CA
It's a well run triathlon and you'll have fun. On the swim, the water of course is very cold and the two years I did it, it was 53 and 56 degrees F. If you can, use a full length (with arms) wet suit. You get use to the cold as you're swimming, but after 1.2 miles of swimming, it's awfully nice to get out of it. My first year my feet were numb, so running out of the water was a bit of an adventure in its self. The only other issue with swimming is that on your way back, you swim into the sunrise (the glare) which makes it a little difficult to see the markers... but if you just keep swimming with the other fish you'll be fine.
The bike was straight forward, a good deal of the course goes through the Marine Base and in the past years they would not let you pre-ride it, due to security issues. There are a couple of long climbs, but nothing major league difficult. The wind in a few, certain areas, can also be a bit of a problem, but otherwise not bad.
The run is also very straight forward, two loops, going through an area they call "the Strand" and the crowds and volunteers are great, incredibly supportive!
Have fun and enjoy!
I have coached Adult Fitness Swimming/ Masters for many years. Most of my swimmers happen to be Triathletes.
The most interesting thing about training for triathlons is the Swimming portion.
Having a swimming back ground is by far the best advantage one has on a Race.
Swimming is the first part and most people say "well i can just give it my all and make up on the second two"
Easier said than done!
If your swimming is poor, I would devote most of the training to swimming. Not only will swimming help your time but
help you still have the energy to continue with the other two parts of the race.
I have had a lot of people who say well I am physically in shape, Run everyday and bike every day.
Once you jump in the pool it is a different ball game. Swimming is unlike any other sport or activity out there.
2% of the things you can do outside of the pool will help your swimming. Leaves you with 98% of no training for
The great thing about swimming:
-Great Lung Capacity which will carry over to your running and biking
-Tone and shape your muscles which will carry over to your running and biking
-Self Discipline by swimming up and down a pool (boring after a whie) will carry over by having a strong mind set and determination
-Kicking in a pool will help strengthen your muscles which will carry over in the running and biking.
With that a lone you should concentrate in the whole swimming aspect to help better your performance and endurance.
Hope the best of luck,
Pool Manager/Stroke Coach
Huntington Beach California
I have completed this and several other Ironman events. My comments are as follows: 1) you can fake your way through any race up to and including a half-Ironman, there is no faking an Ironman, they are all tough and there are several components to tough - a) Physical, b) Mental, c) Nutrition and you have to train yourself for all of these elements. 2) Train to go long early as once you've done long (no matter how slowly, you will have trained your body to go long -- after that it is fitness that makes it go faster but going long early (when you are not prepared) gives you a sense of the mental effort required to complete the Ironman. However, you have to go slow enough not to injure yourself as your body will not be fully trained). 3) Nutrition is the hardest thing to master as it always kicks in -- in my first Ironman I threw up at mile 32 and again at mile 86 on the bike (which creates two problems -- dehydration which is hard to recover from and your systems remain shut down and so you are running on less fuel and this is mentally stressful). 4) Mental, "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever!" is a good motto 5) Your body has to reset its chemistry every approximately 3 hours during this event and during those 10 - 20 min that your body chemistry changes you will want to Quit@&^!! mentally and you have to work through those periods knowing it will then be much easier again for another several hours! 6) Nutrition - train on what you will race on; bring enough of the goodies you want on your bike and in your run belt to be self-sufficient but know what is on the course and train with it if you can as a backup. Finally, have fun! Enjoy the journey while focusing on the destination!
The article and first-hand reply posted are both excellent; I can add a few things:
- If the water temp is below 58F you can legally wear neoprene socks; keeping feet warm helps with the run up out of the water to T1 and can save you some fumble-time in T1. I'd definitely plan to have a neoprene cap under your race swim cap. Also have your shoes already clipped in the pedals (held upright w/rubber bands) 'cause the distance from the bike racks to the mounting line can be considerable (depending on your age group) and it goes faster barefoot.
- with the early morning chill and cold swim, you might be tempted to dress too warmly for the bike. My experience is that it warms up considerably during the morning, so it's pretty safe to go with your normal weather tri gear (e.g. shorts and singlet) on the bike, maybe arm warmers if the day is forecast to be stay cool, but you'd probably roll those down during the ride.
- watch for some folks who hit that first short steep climb out of the marina area in the wrong gear and end up slowing WAY down. Spin a bit higher RPM in the first mile or two to get your circulation going (from the cold swim). Enjoy the bike ride, you're getting to ride undeveloped southern California terrain with little traffic. Be ready to be aero in the closing twelve miles on the marine base--it's flat and this is where a headwind can pick up. Also where the course marshals are checking everyone for drafting big time.
- by the time you hit the run course, it can be downright hot along the Strand, so be sure to know what your electrolyte needs are (sodium, potassium, etc.) and pack accordingly. There are pretzels at the aid stations for sodium. (I stay away from the gatorade as it is high in potassium and I really only lose sodium on a fast hot run.) It is a fast course with great aid station volunteers, and the out-and-back twice format makes it go quickly. If you are a strong runner, blaze it.
I ran the Oceanside 70.3 in 2006 (my first triathlon after a two-decade hiatus) then again in 2007. Just the one year learning curve improved my time nearly 40 minutes. Since you have experience running sprints, you know to waste no time in transition. It's the same with 70.3, no need for any more time in transition, time saved there comes right off your finishing time and is 'free.'
Good luck to you, and spare no concern for the distance, you'll be fine. The advice that only the full ironman distance is a different animal is correct (in my experience).
All this first hand info/articles are great. Kept them coming, My nerves are really acting up now. The clock is ticking for this old guy.
FOR you folks who have completed a half ironman, you are an inspiration to many of us who will try.
I'm entered for the CA 70.3 in Oceanside and it will be my first 70.3 also. I've done several sprints and an "aquabike 70.3" (swim 1.2m, bike 56m). My training was going fine until I had to stop running with a torn calf muscle - so I'm not in as good a shape as I'd hoped. Still optimistic that I will finish the event - not sure how much run training I'll be able to do yet! I'll walk 13 miles if I have to!
Side note: Back in April 09 I suffered a bad pull to my calf. It did take a few months to heal before I could full get my stride back. Doctor recommended stretches to put some light stress on the muscles to get it activated and medication [anti-inflamitory] for the swelling. Again it took a few frustrating months, about 3 to 4.
Again very open to sharing notes or more first had and vice on the cal tri.
Active folks this weekend I completed a turkey tri where the lake water was about 58 degrees. I was wearing a full wetsuit and the second time I had swam in it [the first was a open water ocean half mile ]. Rights off the, I was immediately exhausted and could not catch my breath, could not get my swim stride, and was gasping for breath. It seemed that I was not going to reach the first 25 meters. The water made me fell like I was clinched and could not stretched my arms/legs. At one point it seemed I forgot how to swim and was half dog peddling/half panicking. I kept looking over and wanted to jump on the boat, but I said hell no. About 400 meters suffered leg cramp for the from the dog peddling. I estimated that it was going to tale me 18 minutes to complete ½ mile the swim, but it took me 35 minutes.
Here the kick- this was my last tri before the ½ Ironman CA in March 2010.
Was it the water temp , I had never swam in a lake before, any suggestions.
What you have experienced is a very common phenomena -- it generated by a combination of forces -- pre-race jitters and inadequate warm-up. When the water temperature is cold you need to spend at least 15 minutes doing a hard warm-up; it may seem crazy to swim that long before you swim but if you don't want that negative reaction at the start of a swim you'll need to get a serious warm-up. In warm water I've learned for me that means 10 min and in cold it means 15 min. When I don't do the warmup I get the same reaction every time with you got so now I always do a warm up. If I can't swim I run in my wetsuit for the same amount of time. Best of luck!
Just bear in mind that there is no swim warmup allowed at Oceanside 70.3. Also, you need to be in your swim duds and lined up in age groups fifteen minutes before your wave goes off, and their isn't really any room in line to do much arm windmilling or anything to warm up. You walk down the boat launch to get in the water a few minutes before the gun goes off, in this time you tread water over at the start line, and this gives a chance to catch your breath and accommodate the water temp (mentally and physically).
In my AG, there was a fellow who was wearing only a speedo, race cap and goggles. Prior to getting in the water, many of shook his hand, wishing him godspeed and survival (the water temp was 53degF). Of course he survived, polar bear club member? and a very strong swimmer, one of the first out of the water from our wave.