D3 Coach Simon Butterworth has had the most incredible athletic prowess of racing the Ironman World Championships fourteen times. He is about to embark on his 15th this October. His knowledge of the course and conditions is unparalleled. He is a strategic athlete, researching and understanding every aspect of the course so that his own race plan is thoroughly dialed in for all variables. And the best part - he is willing to share his top tips with you - all to ensure your own race day success.
1. Don't drink for the first 30 minutes after the swim. I have only seen this advice once, it was in an article by Dave Scott just before my first Ironman in 2001. The idea is that you have almost certainly been drinking during the swim and adding more fluids on top of some nice saltwater (or “clean” lake/river water) and it is not necessarily kind on your stomach. Best to wait until the swim water is digested.
2. Don’t use RPE in the first 30 minutes of the bike. RPE this early in the race is very misleading. When you get going on the bike you most likely will feel like superman/superwoman. You will not have felt this good starting a bike after the swim in months. Don’t let that feeling get you hammering as you hit the hills in Kona. Staying in your targeted power zone is the best way to control those emotions.
3. Be prepared for the unexpected. Spending some time visualizing the race you hope for and thinking about things that can go wrong is essential. And, better than just thinking about it is writing it down. I always write a race report before the race (finalizing it on the long flight to Kona). It does include the possible bad stuff and most importantly, things I can do that will lift me out of a hole. Here are some potential problems:
Some extra points to remember.
D3 Coach Simon Butterworth will be racing his 15th IMWC this October. In the big picture, he sees attitude more than age making the difference in many aspects of this sport. There are times in triathlon that to see improvements you need to slow down and spend some time working on your technique – which requires a great deal of discipline. So does having a coach and following the plan written for you. The best coach in the world can only be of help if you’re ready and willing to do the work.