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IRONMAN Florida 2019 is HERE.

IRONMAN Florida 2019 is just around the corner.  You’ve trained, you’ve prepared, don’t blow it by not being ready for the course!

With any event, I always recommend you READ THE ATHLETE GUIDE.  IM FLORIDA 2019 ATHLETE GUIDE

I have raced this event twice and have been racing and coaching since 2004, therefore I do have some insight to add I think.  😉

 

WEATHER

High 70’s and minimal rain chances.  Low winds… it’s looking like a PERFECT race day for 2019!

Here’s my advice.

  • Keep an eye on humidity.  The temps may not get that high, but if it gets humid like Florida does, you will lose fluids and salt.  Stick to your pacing, nutrition and hydration plan even if the weather is great.
  • Sunscreen people.  Unless you live in the south, more than likely a lot of training has moved indoors or the sun is jut not as intense.  This race that sun will get you on the bike if you don’t watch out.

 

SWIM

It’s in the ocean.  There will be surf, waves and sea life.  Hope you trained with that in mind.

Key points:

  •  I have not heard of anyone having issues with sea life aside from jellyfish.  But, as long as it’s wetsuit legal and you have a full sleeve suit, you’re golden.  Just be prepared if you run into a jelly and get a few stings. Should not be horrible unless you have issues with animal stings.  Check with the med tent if you think you have had a run in.
  • Typical this is a wetsuit legal swim, or at least optional.  Bring what you got.
  • You get a run on the beach for a check in to have a respite from swimming.  2 loops means you run out, run through an arch and run back in.  Hopefully you figured out getting past the surf, because you will get a second chance to try it again.
  • BE READY for salt water.  It tastes bad.  Try to get in before race day if you are not used to salt water.  I found that a pepto tab before the swim helped ease the stomach and offset the salt ingestion.
  • Know what color the buoys are for turns.  They have orange, yellow, red…. just LOOK at the map before you jump in race day.
  • Look at the course BEFORE you start.  It helps cut down anxiety when you have something for your brain to work on.  Look at the start chute.  Know target 1, 2, etc and where turns are.  Locate land markers for sighting.  When you’re in the water, it’s too late to figure that out.
  • RELAX.  Take the first few 100 yards easy.  Find your rhythm.  Swim your race.  Don’t do anaerobic and freak out looking for air.  You are not going to be able to shoot out at your sprint pace and hold it despite that HUGE shot of adrenaline that you will get when you jump in.

 

THE BIKE

1500 feet of elevation gain.  Hope you trained to pedal 100% of the time.  The course is modified from years past, but still relatively flat.  Fast all depend on if you have trained to find your sweet spot and pedal pedal pedal.

TIPS

  • Get sunscreened up in T1.  If that sun is out, you will bake on the bike regardless of the air temp.  You don’t want to mess with a sunburn on the run.
  • The roads are ok for the most part. There’s some chip seal and rougher parts to add to rolling resistance, but the roads should be in pretty good shape.
  • Think steady and efficient.  Now’s the time to find your zone, eat and drink.
  • Use aero bars to your advantage.  Stay in aero as much as you can to maximize that high priced TT bike you paid for.  They course can be fast, but the price you pay can be minimized by maximizing your toys.
  • Coming out of T1, don’t gun it no matter how great you feel.  Give yourself 20 minutes to calm down and find your targets.  Your HR should settle and it will be easier to listen to your body.
  • Resist the urge to fly with a tailwind and hammer it.  If you have it at the start and come back on the loop with a headwind, it will be morally defeating to not be able to hold consistent speed or power since you burned it up with the tailwind.  Trust me.
  • FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on nutrition and hydration.  I always preach the goal is to be 2 to 3% dehydrated off the bike.  You cannot avoid losing no matter how much you think you can take in, so don’t play that game, but make sure you plan your fluids and nutrition how you trained.  You trained like that, right?  It’s going to get sunny out there and maybe humid, and if you are not on top of your water intake, then the run is going to get ugly!
  • The bike is an energy management equation.  If you go through too much, you cannot get it back for the run.  Better to pull back and give up 10 minutes on the bike so you don’t give up 2 minutes per mile or more walking on the run.  Even if the weather is great and you feel great, race your plan!

 

THE RUN

Where the race really starts.  Did you manage the bike power/effort?  Did you hydrate and eat right?  You’re going to find out now!
 
Pancake flat…. 150ish feet of elevation gain.  Hope you have solid technical form, because you will be tested here!  NOWHERE TO HIDE!
 
TIPS
  • Pretty much the entire course is pavement or sidewalk.  There might be a few spots on sand or dirt, but more like a transition than anything.  BE AWARE on the turn around in the state park.  In 2017 this pavement was rough and could be an issue when it gets dark tripping on a crack in the road.  Be mindful if you need a head lamp.
  • Two loops to test the mental fortitude, but 150 feet of gain… not going to get much more flat than this.
  • Do not hammer the first loop.  Get a feel and know where you can be aggressive on the second loop if you have something left.
  • Be aware this is TWO LOOPS.  Like the bike, don’t get wrapped around the axle about doing the course twice.  Take it mile by mile and know on the second loop where you want to add, subtract or divide your energy application.
  • If you didn’t hydrate well on the bike, this is where it’s going to catch you.  You will be exposed on sections with no cover.  Be ready.  Be sunscreened up!  That sun can zap you.
  • Don’t think you will get a chance to catch up on fluids on the run.  It’s a pretty good test of fortitude.  Stock up early at the aid stations with fluids.
  • DO NOT head out of T2 like a locomotive.  Take it easy the first half because you will need it for the second half.

 

TRANSITIONS

Special section to familiarize yourself with the layout and flow.

Transition is in the parking lot of the host hotel.  This is where you will drop bikes, gear bags and do anything for the race.

Swim start is on the beach directly behind the hotel.  You will arrive race day with access to transition, bikes and bags and then you can take a morning clothes bag to the swim beach with you to drop off right before the start.  They will take it back to transition for you.

T1 as you come out of the water you will have a shower area set up to hose off real quick, in the open, no nudity!  They might or might not have wetsuit strippers.  Be ready to peel yourself if needed.  You run from the swim exit along side of the hotel, grab your T1 bag and head INTO the hotel in a conference room area walled off for full change if needed.

Out of the indoors and straight to the bike.  You have to get your own, so remember where you parked!

When coming back into T2, same place.  Hand your bike to a catcher, run through and get your T2 bag and then back into the conference room area to change.  Highly recommend a sock change and lubricant for the feet to address any sand still in your toes from the beach.  Sand for 26.2 miles in the shoes sucks.

Then… finish line right in front of the hotel.  Easy peasy.

 

 

ANY QUESTIONS?  WHAT DID I MISS?

And as a bonus to those that read ALL THE WAY THROUGH, here’s a link to my packing list I use to travel to races.  Enjoy.

If you found this useful, head over to my virtual training groups to see if your event next year is on the list and YOU get the red carpet for 2020 if you got lucky.

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