IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships

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Pre-Race Meetup with Matt Dixon for IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships

  • Where: SpringHill Suites: 495 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
  • When: Friday, 09/08/17, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • What: In-depth course overview, including last minute analysis on how to take on the upstream swim and how to maximize power on this bike course
  • RSVP: click HERE

purplepatch Pro Tip: Sam Appleton

  • It will be a hot race, and it’s probably going to be humid as we are in the deep south. Take that into account when fueling and hydrating (increase sodium intake - but try this in training first to ensure you are not putting too much strain on the gut).
  • It’s the World Championship, but treat it the same as any other race - don't change training or preparation outside of the norm. Many make the mistake (including me) of increasing training load in the weeks leading in or changing diet too drastically. What has worked in the past? DO THAT!
  • Enjoy the occasion! You made it to the World Champs! However, and this is important, I think your biggest lesson here is to not change your approach and mindset, despite it having the title of the World Champs. Know what works for you and repeat it.

purplepatch Pro Tip: Sarah Piampiano

  • Don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! When you are racing in the South, even in September, it’s always possible you might be dealing with serious heat and humidity. If so, really pay attention to your hydration and nutrition and concentrate on keeping your core temperature cool.
  • Don’t be fooled on the bike. The breeze from riding might help you feel cooler, but you still have to hydrate, take in electrolytes and even added salt. And don’t forget to manage your core temperature. Core temperature management is going to be even more key when you are on the run.
  • If you have hot weather, it’s certainly going to have an impact. If it’s really hot and humid your sweat rate is going to be higher and you’re really going to sweat much more than if it’s really dry and cooler.
  • Doing things like taking ice on the run and having it down your shirt become important. 
Weather

Average high temperatures on race day are in the mid 70's Fahrenheit; however, factoring in Tennessee humidity real feel is actually very, very hot!

Course Cut-Off Times

(Women's Race - 9/9/17)

SWIM

  • 1 hour after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start (approximately 10:04 AM). 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 1 hour to complete the swim will receive a DNF. 
  • Additionally, all athletes must have fully exited T1 and crossed the bike mount line by 10:14 am (1 hour and 10 minutes after the last athlete enters the water) or they will receive a DNF. 

BIKE

  • 5 hours and 10 minutes after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start (approximately 2:14 PM). 
  • There is an additional Bike Cut-Off @ Aid Station at the 32.5 mile/52.3 km (at 3 hours and 36 minutes after the last athlete enters the water - approximately 12:40 PM). 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 5 hours and 10 minutes to complete the swim, T1 and bike course will receive a DNF. All athletes must have fully exited T2 and began the run by 2:24 PM (5 hours and 20 minutes after the last athlete enters the water) or they will receive a DNF. 

RUN

  • 8 hours after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start. 
  • Additional Run Cut-Off @ Start of Second Lap at 6.5 mile/10.6 km (6 hours and 46 minutes after the last athlete enters the water - approximately 3:50 PM). 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 8 hours to complete the entire course will receive a DNF. 

FINISH LINE CUT-OFF

  • Each athlete will have 8 hours after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start, (approximately 5:04 pm). 

(Men's Race - 9/10/17)

SWIM

  • 1 hour after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start (approximately 10:32 AM). 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 1 hour to complete the swim will receive a DNF. 
  • Additionally, all athletes must have fully exited T1 and crossed the bike mount line by 10:42 AM (1 hour and 10 minutes after the last athlete enters the water) or they will receive a DNF. 

BIKE

  • 5 hours and 10 minutes after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start (approximately 2:42 PM). 
  • There is an additional Bike Cut-Off @ Aid Station at the 32.5 mile/52.3 km (3 hours and 36 minutes after the last athlete enters the water - approximately 1:05 PM. 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 5 hours and 10 minutes to complete the swim, T1, and bike course will receive a DNF. All athletes must have fully exited T2 and began the run by 2:52 PM (5 hours and 20 minutes after the last athlete enters the water) or they will receive a DNF. 

RUN

  • 8 hours after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start. 
  • Additional Run Cut-Off @ Start of Second Lap at 6.5 mile/10.6 km (6 hours and 46 minutes after the last athlete enters the water @ approximately 4:18 PM). 
  • NOTE: Athletes who take longer than 8 hours to complete the entire course will receive a DNF. 

FINISH LINE CUT-OFF

  • Each athlete will have 8 hours after the last athlete enters the water via the rolling wave start (approximately 5:32 PM). 
Pre-Race Check-In and Race Day Info

Beach open for Official Swim Training @ South Shore (Tennessee River) 

  • Wednesday, 09/06/17, 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM
  • Thursday, 09/07/17, 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM
  • Friday, 09/08/17, 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM 

All Athlete Check-In @ IRONMAN Village (NO ATHLETE CHECK-IN ON RACE DAYS!)

  • Wednesday, 09/06/17, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday, 09/07/17, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday, 09/08/17, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM 

(Men Only) Athlete Check-In @ IRONMAN Village

  • Friday, 09/08/17, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Mandatory (In English) Athlete Briefing @ Convention Center 

  • Thursday, 09/07/17, 8:00 PM & 8:45 PM

  • NOTE: Please consult the Event Schedule or Athlete Guide for a full listing of Athlete Briefings being conducted at the Aquarium Theatre in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. 

(Women Only) Mandatory Bike & Run Gear Check-In @ Ross’s Landing

  • Friday, 09/08/17, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM 

(Men Only) Mandatory Bike & Run Gear Check-In @ Ross’s Landing

  • Saturday, 09/09/17, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

purplepatch Fitness IM 70.3 World Championship Pre-Race Meet-Up with Coach, Matt Dixon

  • Where: SpringHill Suites: 495 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
  • When: Friday, 09/08/17, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

RACE DAY: SATURDAY, 09/09/17 (Women) & SUNDAY, 09/10/17 (Men)

  • Transition Open - Body Marking - Gear Set-Up @ Ross’s Landing
    • 5:30 AM - 7:30 AM:
  •  Official Race Start @ South Side Tennessee River
    •  7:30 AM (Pros) - 7:33 AM (Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition & Handcycle Division) - 7:38 AM (Age Group)
  • NOTE: Please see athlete guide for more detailed swim wave schedule as they are different for the women's race and men's race (and cut-off times are affected).

purplepatch Pre Race Tip: Don't Forget To Warm Up

One of the biggest mistakes I see is a lack of a warm-up prior to the swim. At any distance, a lack of warm-up is a performance inhibitor (pros and all the way down). 

  1. Set up transition: arrive with lots of time to spare
  2. Running warm up 10-15 minutes of very easy jogging
  • When you return, have a little fuel + hydration. 
  1. Head to your transition area & put on your wetsuit
  • Lastly, kiss your family, friends, dog, and teammates.
  1. Swim warm up
  • Check the course buoys one more time.
  • 3-5 minutes of easy swimming, then:
    • 30 sec moderate
    • 30 sec smooth
    • 20 sec strong
    • 30 sec smooth
    • 10 sec V strong
    • 30 sec smooth
    • 20 sec strong
    • 30 sec smooth
    • 30 sec moderate

Can go through twice if you wish.

Ready to race!

Swim
Length: 
1.2 miles/1.93 km (single loop clockwise)
Conditions/Terrain
Water Type: 
River
Water Temperature: 
The average water temperature on race day is low to mid 70's Fahrenheit. NOTE: Be ready for either scenario (wetsuit or non-wetsuit swim). It can go either way.
Start Info

SELF-SEEDED ROLLING START: The 70.3 World Championship swim will now feature a Self-Seeded Rolling Start (based on your estimated individual swim time by age group). 

Overview
  • The swim will start and finish at Ross’s Landing.
  • Instead of the traditional Chattanooga 70.3 downstream swim, the longest portion of the World Champs swim leg will now be directly against the current.
  • Athletes enter from the Tennessee Riverwalk across from AT&T Field and swim 300 meters across the river before swimming 860 meters against the strong current on the river's north bank.
  • After making a right turn at the first buoy, athletes will swim up river 860 meters before ferrying across and back down to Ross’s Landing.
  • Racers will then turn and swim back across the river past Walnut Street Bridge before swimming downstream for the final 470 meters.

Drafting Tip

For most amateurs, drafting is over-rated, as the person you are following is likely as poor as you at sighting. Focus on your output, swimming straight, then tuck into a nice draft IF there is an opportunity. 

purplepatch Pro Tip: Sam Appleton Swim Tips

  • Chattanooga 70.3 has an up-stream swim: This serves to be swimfit going in, as a knock on effect into the bike and run. You must keep stroke your rate up going INTO the current.
  • Do remember to sight as the river meanders a bit. 

purplepatch Swim Tips

  • The change to the swim course will have a dramatic swing in favor toward the stronger swimmer here, relative to the normal downcurrent swim. Weaker swimmers - or less swim-fit athletes - will get penalized by the 800 meters of upcurrent swimming - making the swim course more interesting. It remains to be seen if the pros manage to make splits in this environment, but strong age group swimmers should take advantage of the up-current section.
  • When swimming into the current, similar to riding a bike uphill, any loss of tension on the water will mean you are moving backward or losing momentum. This means that slow stroke rate with long glides is not favorable. Instead, keep the tempo up and find a strong and sustainable rhythm when heading upstream.
  • I haven’t been to the location yet, so it will be worth checking in the lead up as to whether there is any advantage to swimming closer to shore when heading upstream - to avoid the strongest current - or if it makes little difference. I will need to check at the race site. The opposite is true coming downstream, with stronger current in the middle of the river, it is going to be worth swimming in the deeper water heading back to T2.
  • Come to the pre-race purplepatch fitness meeting on Friday to hear my last-minute swim tips and strategy after viewing the course and testing the currents.
Bike
Length: 
56 miles (Single Loop)
Conditions/Terrain
Starting Elevation: 
664 ft
Finishing Elevation: 
664 ft
Total Elevation Gain: 
3442 ft
Start Info

Elevation With Meters

  • Start: 664 feet/202 meters
  • Finish:  664 feet/ 202 meters
  • Total: 3442 feet/1049 meters
Overview
  • The bike course takes riders 5 miles south of town before beginning the 3.5-mile climb up Lookout Mountain on Ochs Highway.
  • The bike leg winds through Lookout Mountain on Red Riding Hood Trail through Fairyland and descends on Highway 136 before turning north and heading back to Ross's Landing.
  • As athletes near the end of the loop, they will get the opportunity to ride through historic Chickamauga before making the final stretch back into downtown Chattanooga.
  • Click here for a digital tour of the course 
Nutrition Info: 
Orange Gatorade Endurance Formula, Water, Bananas, Clif Bar Minis, Clif Shot Energy Gels, Clif Bloks Energy Chews, Red Bull.

purplepatch Bike Tips

  • All the talk will be on the initial longer climb that occurs early in the ride. It is obviously a feature, but the best approach for most age groupers is to vary the load and cadence, include a little standing with good form, and find a strong but sustainable pace. With the mental focus drawn to this climb, many will forget to fuel and hydrate, which can create problems later, so don’t forget!
  • The nice thing about the climb is that it is manageable and accessible, without many very steep sections. This means you are able to manage and ride the best way that suits your characteristics.
  • The real key is your riding following the main climb, with the variable terrain providing a chance to truly manage terrain and maximize wheel speed. Your mindset should be to have your best riding and form occur in the rolling terrain post main climb, don’t get distracted by a few miles of riding (uphill, but still) over the course of a 56-mile bike leg.
  • I mentioned fueling already, but it promises to be a hot run, so bear that in mind with your fueling and hydration, as well as exertion in the bike leg. How you execute your ride will have an effect on how you run. 

purplepatch Bike Coach: Paul Buick's Tips

  • Remember on the uphill there is no prize for the most even pace to the top and no reward for riding at someone else's rhythm. If a constant rhythm is not working, vary the technique to manage the physical stress.
  • Be mindful of minimizing the distance it takes to transition from steeper to softer gradient speeds by using gearing and/or standing.
  • In the softer middle part of the climb conserve muscle tension for the 2nd ramp by carrying speed with cadence when you can.
  • Keep pedaling and maintain some tension on the down hill to prevent the legs "loading up" - there is plenty of work still to be done on the flatter part of the course.

purplepatch Pro: Sam Appleton Bike Tip

  • Ride strong, but controlled on that initial climb. There’s lots of riding following and you will need to be full of resources coming off of it.
  • Select appropriate gearing for climbing and descending. You may need to put on a 28 tooth at the rear for the 3.5-mile climb.
  • Slow down at aid stations to ensure you don’t miss bottles on the bike course.
  • It’s going to be a hot run, so don’t forget to hydrate early on the bike when it’s not quite so hot. (You’ll thank me for this one).
Run
Length: 
13.1 Miles; 21.1 km (Two Loops)
Conditions/Terrain
Starting Elevation: 
713 ft
Finishing Elevation: 
674 ft
Total Elevation Gain: 
975 ft
Overview
  • The Chattanooga 70.3 run course is widely considered to be the hardest part of this race.
  • The two loops run athletes through the Scenic City, showing off its bridges, downtown, and North Shore area.
  • The final stretch will bring athletes back down Riverfront Parkway to Ross’s Landing.
  • Total elevation gain for the 2 loop run is 975 feet/297 meters. 
Nutrition Info: 
Lemon-Lime Gatorade Endurance Formula, Water, Cola, Clif Bar Minis, Clif Shot Energy Gels, Clif Bloks Energy Chews, Pretzels, Fruit, Red Bull.

purplepatch Run Tips

  • Hot. While there are plenty of shaded sections, the run promises to be more challenging than many assume, with some short and nasty up and downhill sections - all completed in high heat and humidity.
  • Look for a lot of unfolding in the middle to back end of the run in this race. Your best approach is self-management, a keen eye on terrain management and ensuring that whenever you are truly running, it is running with great form. Dependent upon your level of running, you may be well served to truly manage the steeper uphills, including purposeful walking, which will keep your heart rate controlled and core temperature down. Off set this with running well on the flats and the downhill sections. 
  • Of course, cooling and hydration will play a role, but so much of your success will already be determined by how sensible and well you execute your ride.

purplepatch Pro: Sam Appleton Run Tips

  • While this run course has a lot of shade, it will still be hot from the humidity.
  • Slow down at aid stations to ensure you don’t miss hydration or calories on the run.
  • Run is VERY rolling with steep pitches - manage the UPS to avoid blowing HR up and over-heating.
  • Run the downs fast and take advantage. 

Final Thoughts

Focus on the process and don't think about the outcome.

  1. Triathlons can elicit monkey brain. You may start asking yourself a lot of questions during the race, and lose focus on the immediate task at hand. Controlling that attention and focus is part of the challenge and the fun.
  2. Don't evaluate too early. Many athletes start evaluating their performances before they finish the race, and leave some potential strewn across the course.
  3. Triathlons require you to remain focused on execution and process, without a thought of the outcome during the race. Save your race evaluation for the recovery tent.
  4. Fueling: Check in with yourself throughout the race and continually assess your calories and hydration intake. It may be hot this year so think about that when you are planning your hydration and remember calories every 10-15 min. If your mood starts to drop it is likely calories.
  5. Pacing: Managing your effort, gearing, and pacing in each part of the race.
  6. Form: Staying supple on the bike, good tension on the chain, running tall on the run with good foot-speed. Basically, all the things we have talked about so far!

This course promises to be a wonderful setting and challenge, with great support. Embrace it. It is the World Champs,  so have a super day. Best of luck, we will see you on the course.