The Next Level Newsletter - February 2005


Greetings and welcome once again to The Next Level Newsletter, Volume II, Issue IV.  Putting the iron(y) in IronMan™!


It was another big month for OSB athletes!  Straight to Athlete News:


·         Kathleen Larkin drops 13 minutes off her Athens YMCA Triathlon 2004 time while Amy Bonnet-Eymard runs a PR at the Winter Park 10k on March 12th

·         Matt Thibodeau takes 2nd OA at the 1st O’Hartford 5k the same day

·         Tim Gensler PRs at the Runnin' of the Green 7k - faster than 5k PR pace! on March 13th

·         Paul Menegazzi takes 4th AG at the World Famous Crazy Dick’s Triathlon on March 20th

·         Mark Snead takes 2nd Clydesdale at the Tri-America Clermont Olympic distance triathlon on April 3

·         Steven Medieros captures hardware with a 2nd AG at the Tri-America Sprint

·         John Rife does his first triathlon – Olympic distance at Tri-America Clermont!

·         Amy Bonnet-Eymard takes 2nd overall female at the Winona Classic Triathlon on April 3

·         Robert Alfert takes 2nd Cat 5 at the Jacksonville Road Club Road Race, pocketing 25 smackaroos.  Next stop, Paris-Roubaix!

·         Brianne Gaal takes 2nd elite female, Paul Duckett 5th elite male, and Amy Bonnet-Eymard 2nd AG at the Escape from Ft Desoto Triathlon on April 16th!


Not a bad month, and the season is just getting started.  Remember, consistency, patience, and planning do pay off.  So let’s all keep on keepin’ on.


Ironman Arizona:

I had a very good day at Ironman Arizona, running 9:52.35 for 43rd overall and 10th in the men’s 30-34 division.  That was good enough to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona on October 15.  You can read my full race report here.  My wife, Bri, and I are very excited about going to Hawaii for the first time!  I am going to embarrass my buddy Robert and give him a public thank you for sponsoring my entry fee into this event.  I will do my best to make you proud!


Ironman tips for race day:

A number of you are preparing for IM races of your own.  First and foremost, you must ready your mind and body for the race through extensive preparation.  I can help with that part.  But race day execution is all up to you.  Here a few tips that will help make things smoother when race day arrives:


Arrive at the site 2-3 days before hand in order to check in appropriately and without a rush.  Stay relaxed.


Make sure your bike is assembled correctly; all the brakes are tight, cabling is good, headset/steerer tube tight, seat at the right height, handlebars spaced appropriately, etc.  They have mechanics on site to help with any issues that might arise.  Ride the bike a short amount the day before (my preference) to make sure everything is working.  Deflate the tires when you check it in to avoid blowouts caused my solar radiation and thermal expansion (Sun make tire hot, tire go boom!  Grarrr! (That’s my caveman voice.))


Apply a layer of sunscreen the night before and then again after getting bodymarked on race day morning.


You will have 5 different bags for race day (you should check in your T1 and T2 bags the day before):


·         T1 bag – for bike jersey, helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes, socks, arm warmers, race number, leg warmers, and anything you want to carry in your jersey pockets (gus, gels, etc if not taped to your bike and can be put in on race morning)

·         T2 bag – for running shoes, hat, shorts (if changing), anything you plan to carry (fuelbelt)

·         Bike special needs – for your particular fueling needs, and a spare tube is a good idea

·         Run special needs – for your run needs, if it’s a hot/humid site a 2nd pair of running shoes might be a good idea (in case first set are wet from sweat/etc)

·         Dry needs bag – for clothes you plan to wear until last minute before the swim start


You will drop off the special needs bags on race morning.  Make sure you put the correct bags in the correct location!


You must have a sensible nutrition strategy in place for an Ironman.  I prefer to use liquid calories in the form of CarboPro and Gatorade on the bike.  I also like Hammergel for additional calories on the bike and run.  I grab additional bottles of water and Gatorade on the bike, then water, Coca-Cola, or Gatorade on the run depending on what I’m thirsting for at that moment.  Bring at least 2 bottles on the bike from the start.  I start with 2 bottles Gatorade/CarboPro and 1 water.


Your calorie needs and preferences will vary.  Small athletes should be taking in at least 200+ per hour on the bike.  Larger folks may take in more than double that amount.  The bike is where you can absorb the most calories.  Miss out on the bike and I guarantee you will struggle on the marathon.  Don’t wait until the last minute to finalize your nutrition plan! You should be practicing and finalizing your plan now, even if your race is six months away.  For comparison, I weigh 152 and took in just about 400 calories per hour on the bike.


You may also want to consider electrolyte supplements.  Again, this is an individual factor that must be practiced during training.  Individual electrolyte and fluid loss rates vary widely.  Some folks require a large amount of salt supplements while others require none.  Please read this article for a few more details.  I have been using Endorolytes from Hammergel Nutrition.


Don’t forget to re-inflate your tires on race morning. J


If you are a good swimmer, enter the water early and line up near the front of the pack.  If you’re more of a MOP/BOP swimmer, line up off to one side near mid-pack.  Things are thinner on the edges and you will have clearer water.  But make sure you do find some feet to draft. 


Make sure you have a snug-but-comfortable fitting wetsuit months in advance.  Quintana Roo makes good suits.  I used the 2005 Hydrofull at IMAZ.


Have the volunteers spray you liberally with sunscreen in both transitions.


Use a pacing technique on the bike – be it heart-rate, power feedback, or perceived exertion.  Your bike pace should not exceed a moderate effort (for advanced athletes) at any time (except challenging hills).  Athletes with less cycling experience should keep their effort limited to “all day pace,” or easy-moderate, or low Z2, or AeT, or 70% of max HR, or 75-80% of CP 60, depending on what chart you’re looking at. 


You should get off the bike ready to run a marathon, not fall off the bike ready to stagger a marathon, in other words.


On the marathon, start easy and build into the pace you’ve prepared for.  Drink and eat at the water stations as appropriate.  Stay tough.  You can find your reservoirs of strength.


The rest, as they say, is up to you!


Other IM racing considerations:

Reduce your responsibilities during the week of your race.  Leave the office.  Take a vacation.  If you’re married with children, ask your loving, wonderful spouse to deal with the daily joys of child-rearing for a few days. Then buy them something nice afterwards.  Stay calm.  Stay cool.  Have some fun. 


Summer Splash Triathlon Camp:

One Step Beyond is teaming up with BodyZen Multi Sport for another camp!  On July 8-10 we will host a swim-focused training camp in Clermont, FL, based out of the great facilities at the National Training Center.  Athletes will have the option of racing in either the Cool Summer Morning 5k on July 9th or the Central Florida Triathlon Series Sprint #2 on July 10th.  Click here for full details and itinerary.  Tell your friends!  Tell your co-workers!  Tell everyone!


YMCA Swimming:

YMCA swimming is still going strong.  Want to get back in the pool and need a little motivation to do so?  Come join Coach Marty on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-7AM at the Downtown Orlando YMCA.  We work on stroke technique and specific endurance swim training for all levels of athletes. More details here.


That’s all for now.  Have a great spring and see you at the races!


Enjoy your sport,

Marty Gaal

One Step Beyond Multisport Coaching



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