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Freeman Cebu Sports

How to train for Ironman 70.3 (Second of three parts)

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

Upon reaching the final turn around buoy, you still have 300+/- meters to go and for me this is the hardest part wherein you need to push yourself. You may have 10 to 20 minutes left before the cut-off time. Don’t panic, focus on your stroke, pull and glide, and as soon as you step out of the swim, let loose a big shoutout as well-wishers will be there to greet you. Don’t forget to smile because photographers are always ready to shoot.

In the transition, don’t take too long to change for the bike. Make sure you get everything you need from hydration, nutrition and most of all, your spare tubes, water and tools. The bike leg is the longest of the three disciplines. Covering a distance of 90km, it will be mentally challenging most especially now that the bike route will go back to the dreaded roads of SRP, which we all know has a strong headwind as you exit the tunnel. But don’t worry, every headwind has a tail wind. What you need to remember in the bike leg is to maintain a good bike speed, not too fast, as you might get burnt out and hit the wall. Don’t get too excited and go all-out for the sprint in the first 20km.

With two weeks more to go, you still have time to improve your cycling fitness. The quickest way to get strong and fast in the bike is to ride uphill. The uphill ride simulates the headwind. It helps in improving your lactate threshold on the bike. In Cebu, the most popular route is from JY Square to Willy’s Place in Busay, which is approximately 5.7km with over 300 meters of elevation gain. Use this first segment as your warm-up round. Upon reaching Willy’s store, ride back downhill to Maria Luisa Busay gate, which is around 2km, then turn around go back up to Willy’s store. If this is your first time, do at least 2 to 3 sets of hill repeats. On your way back up, try to maintain a speed between 8 to 12kph and cadence of not less than 60 rpm. Then as you reach Willy’s store, carefully make another U- turn back to Busay gate on your way down. Try to continue to pedal. Don’t cruise, down hill using the gravity. Pedal and maintain a cadence of 85 to 95rpm using your biggest gear on your bike. Be careful of other motorized vehicle, fellow cyclists, runners and pedestrians. Do a minimum of 3 to 4 rides uphill on the next 2 weeks. Increase it to 4 or 5 rounds as you get stronger, then add 2 flat and long rides not less than 60km. If you opt to do a spin on your trainer at home, you can follow some awesome workout by GCN Cycling in YouTUBE. But you would need a cadence meter and heart rate monitor to check your intensity level. If you have unlimited budget, get the power meter which is said to be a more efficient way of monitoring your bike fitness and intensity in every pedal stroke.

Aside from saddle time, you need to squeeze in strength training. But with only two weeks to go, the best recommended workout are doing short high intense interval training between 5 to 15 minutes of body weight exercises. Here are some workouts you can do to improve your bike fitness. 5-10 minute workout: Squats, push-up, alternate lunges, jumping jack. Do 20 reps of each exercise and repeat until time ends.

Do this 3 to 4  times throughout the two-week spread. Start with 5 minutes then increase time at increments of 2 minutes after each ession. Do it as fast as you can.

Add core and flexibility workout in between such as yoga and Pilates but always listen to your body. Try doing plank for 30 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, then switch to crunches for 30 seconds. Repeat for 4 sets and increase as needed.

Going back to cycling, as you start the bike leg, don’t sprint the first 20km. Try to recover from the tough swim and feel your legs. Remember that when you average 30kph in 90km, you would finish the bike in 3hrs, and 25 to 26kph average speed, you finish in 3 hours and a half. You need to save your legs for the final 21km run. So going too fast will leave your legs dead empty for the run but going too slow will put you at risk of not making the bike cut-off time of 5 hours and a half. As soon as you exit the tunnel of SRP, you will be greeted with an uphill climb then, “bang!”, the wind will hit you hard. On the headwind, try not to get pressured on pushing your gears hard to achieve your target average speed. On your way back the tail wind will help you recover lost time but don’t be tempted to push too hard as well because you still need to go back one more time to complete the distance.There are a number of hyrdration stations at the turning point and at the Parkmall area but avoid spending too much time off the bike. If possible, try to grab a water bottle and go. Relax and enjoy the rest of the ride. Avoid drafting as marshals are all over the place, although they are not as strict as the pro, elite or age-group leaders. Be aware of the distance between bikes. On your way back to Shangri-La, reserve energy for the bridge. Don’t go hard, take it easy because you are not alone. Next week, we transition from bike to run. You can e-mail me at [email protected] for comments.

IRONMAN 70.3

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