How to train for Ironman 70.3

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Allan 'Coach A' Choachuy (The Freeman) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

It is exactly 29 days to go before the biggest triathlon race in the country. On August 11, the Queen City of the South plays host to the 8th Ironman 70.3 race in Cebu. If you have not started to train, then it is the time to hit the panic button and prepare for the punishing 1.8km swim, 90km bike and 21km run. The swim stage in Cebu is known to be a brutal. Aside from the tough current, you have to fight your way with fellow participants. Cebu has the biggest number of entries as we speak - 1,255 in the individual category and close to 300 teams in the relay event.  Imagine swimming with 1, 600 others? With this, expect a bunch of kicking, pulling, pushing or even tickling the swimmers feet in front of you.

If ever you really need to rest, hold on to the buoy but don’t pull yourself forward. Avoid doing the rosary. The marshals are strict and fast to act on it compared to other local races. When worse comes to worst wherein you really need to be a rosary warrior,  just try to act that you are swimming. Making the stroke motion but catching each stroke with a rope, pull and be courteous to others.

SWIM.. Add mileage to your swim at least two times a week at 30 to 60 minutes non-stop. To make the swim more efficient, I have devised a formula wherein you can improve your swim in just 3 to 4 days. Record your swim distance for 30 minutes, swim non-stop with a normal pace and relax pace. This is what I refer to as your relax rhythm pace. Try to catch as much water every time you pull and glide through every stroke. Engage your core, hips and legs but avoid clenching the muscles and wasting a lot of energy. Try to push your head down and look underwater. When you put your head up, your legs will automatically dip and it will act like an anchor and would slow your swim immensely. When you are tired, don’t stop. Try to practice other swim strokes, like breast stroke or even dog paddle. As long as you move forward, you are good. When you stop, you break your momentum and glide, then you have to start over again. In the pool try to swim continuously and don’t stop at the end of the pool. Hold your breath turn and breathe on your next stroke back. This is to simulate continuous swimming in the open water. Record the distance accomplished in 30 minutes and try to beat the distance every time you swim. It could be increments of 1 or 5 meters or maybe the whole length of the pool, but you need to increase gradually as the each week progresses.

Add some dry land training, and elastic resistance workout and lactate threshold training. In dry land, you can activate your muscle group in just a few minutes and train on how to increase the endurance of your muscles. Here are some workout you can do to improve your swim. Do 5 x 20 push-ups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 dive bombers, 20 inch worms and 20 burpees (no push up, no jump). Repeat until you finished 5 sets or 15 minutes ends. The target is to finish 5 sets in 20 minutes. When you get stronger, try to add reps to 25 or 30 reps each and finish the same amount of time.

In the open water swim, expected to be stung or feel the itchy but don’t try to scratch it. Ignore it as much as possible. The more you scratch, the more it spreads over your body. You can put some cream or ointment before the race to avoid the sting.        

Remember if you are having a hard time in the swim portion, you are not alone. Around 20 to 30 percent of the participants are first timers, or are not accomplished swimmers.

Hire a swim coach. Here are two of the top swim coaches I highly recommend, Ryan Galo and Emmanuel Hermoso Jr. They can be easily reached at Cebu City Sports Center pool. They are proven coaches that could help you accomplish the tough swim course.

Next week, I will take up the transition from swim to the bike and run legs. For comments, you can e-mail me at alanchoachuy@gmail.com

SIDELINE: Thanks to Reza of VGN and TONIQ for the nutritional food delivery meal. I am on my 6th week plan and nutrition plays a big part on my preparations for the Regent Aguila 70.3 Ironman in Cebu next month.

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