The most important session you can do as an Ironman athlete is a 112/4 Race Rehearsal Brick. This is your opportunity to formulate and rehearse a plan. I recommend 2 rehearsals at about 4 and 8 weeks out from the race. If the total session will take you about 6.5hrs, then consider shortening the bike to 100m.
I usually schedule these at the end of a light week, to ensure the athlete is rested. The rehearsal is usually on Saturday, I like to see a 3800m RR swim on Friday, and I usually schedule Sunday off-with the guidance to sleep in, treat the family to brunch, etc. However, stronger athletes will likely not rest too much at all before the RR and ride 2-3+ hrs the next day.
If done correctly, the RR is usually no more stressful than a regular training ride, and that is probably the point. I've certainly been much more shelled after a 80-100 mile ride, where I have myself permission to hammer as much as I wanted to, than I have after a 112/4 RR session. However, you may experience the different fatigue of riding in the aerobars the entire time and of constant mental focus.
RR PlanWrite up a plan for you RR, beginning with dinner the night before, and submit it to a knowledgeable crew for peer review. Post it on BT.com and ping me. I'll hop over and give you my thoughts. DO THIS EXERCISE!! After the RR take notes on what worked, what didn't, and a plan to fix it.
The following is from an internal email to my coached athletes and purchasers of a CF training plan:
Howdy from CF HQ, home to one ornery, hungry, sleepy tri coach who is deep into IM training, as many of you are J.
A few of our local athletes are doing their first 112/4 race rehearsal brick for CDA this weekend. If you’re doing CDA but are not doing an RR this weekend, don’t worry about it. I see these cats every day and they’re on a different schedule from you guys.
Pre-Ride: weigh yourself before the ride. Then during the ride keep an accurate count of how fluids/cals consumed, including the run. Weigh yourself after the session. Net loss is fluid you need to replace. You may also want to consider increasing your fluid intake for the next RR. (sorry, can't make the bold go away :)
· I’ve done it two ways: either 2 x 750cal feed bottles (Spiz) on rear cages or 1 x 1800-2k feed bottle (Infinit) on downtube. I bought a 30oz “Magnum” bottle at Velo Monrovia last week. Friggin huge and it fits in my cage. 1 x bottle of water. I will probably use an aerobottle so I can lose the cages and bottles on the back of my bike. For a race rehearsal I would carry an extra water bottle in my jersey to mimic an aid station. So, to clarify, Rich in Race Rehearsal = 1800-2kcal of Inifinit on downtube, aero bottle of water, 1 x water bottle in jersey. Rich in Race = lose the jersey bottle.
· 0-30’: water only.
· 30’ to end minus 30’: Sip feed bottle every 15’ or so, chase with a few swallows of water. Goal is 300-400 cals per hour, 1.5-2 bottles of water per hour. Note that this cal/hr is individual and one of the reasons why you’re doing this rehearsal is so you can see what works for you. See additional note below on feed bottle.
· Last 30’: sip water only. Personally, I like to feel that my stomach is relatively empty when I start the run.
RunTransition quickly to the run. Run 30’ on an out-and-back course as:
Feed BottleIM nutrition at the elite level has evolved towards a liquid, high calorie feed bottle that also contains “other stuff:” sodium, protein (maybe), anti-oxidants, sometimes caffeine. This set up is now filtering its way down to the age grouper ranks. There are 3-4 ways I know of mixing this stuff. Forgive me, but I’m not the go-to guy on what to buy, etc. I find something that works and stick with it, so I’m not familiar with a lot of the other products out there:
The two products I’m familiar with are:
Rich’s Feed Bottle:These are the numbers I’m trying to create, based on a projected 5-5:15 bike split at IMCDA.
Rich StraussHead Coach, Crucible FitnessA Joe Friel Ultrafit Associatewww.cruciblefitness.com
Rich Strauss is the founder and head coach of Crucible Fitness. He is a Joe Friel Ultrafit Associate, USAT Level I certified, a former Marine officer and the founder of the Pasadena Triathlon Club. Since 2001 Rich has specialized in training, coaching and racing the Ironman distance, having coached over 140 Ironman finishers and delivered pre-race talks to over 400 athletes at IMNA races. For 2005 Rich is expanding his services to include all abilities and race distances. Please visit www.cruciblefitness.com for more details and a complete list of coaching services.