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New Here - Ironman Advice
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Hi All,

I'm new here and hoping you might be able to help with a couple of questions.

As some background, a year ago I set my sights on Ironman Italy 2019, having never completed a triathlon, swum outdoors or completed any form of long distance exercise over a casual half marathon. Though, as a keen squash player I at least had good fitness.

After a committed 12 months of training and a couple of half Ironmans as practice (both circa. 4:50 mark), I was pleased to complete Ironman Italy in 10:34, raise a decent amount of money for charity and generally have a great time learning something new, meeting new people and trying to improve in the three disciplines.

I'm now quite keen to do another to try and improve the time (likely aiming under 10), though my partner is infinitely less keen and its entirely possible life will get in the way. In any case, the two questions I'm hoping to get some advice on are:

1. Retaining Ironman Fitness - is there a level of training you'd recommend for someone trying to maintain Triathlon related fitness whilst also taking part in other sport (i.e. squash). For example, is two runs (1 interval, 1 medium length), a interval bike and two swims (1 interval, 1 long) sufficient to prevent losing too much Triathlon fitness for a few months before selecting and building up to an event? I don't want to go back to square one if I decide to get stuck in.

2. The value of a Triathlon Specific Bike - I completed my training and Ironman on a Canyon Aeroad with clip on aerobars. I've read a lot about the benefits of a triathlon bike (opening hips, specific muscle use, retaining strength for run, aerodynamics), do you think I'd be likely to see significant benefits moving from a Canyon Aeroad CF SLX with clip ons to a Canyon Speedmax CF? I'm trying to get a feel for the real benefits. (In case relevant I cycled circa 5.13 in Italy and would cycle somewhere in the 4.50s as a stand alone)

Appreciate any advice you can offer - cheers!
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Re: New Here - Ironman Advice [PJH] [ In reply to ]
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If you plan on doing tris and specifically IM's year after year, taking significant time off or time with a minimal organized training schedule is probably a good idea anyway. You can easily get away with a full month off and another month of light training building back in some organization to the 3 sports, then a month of easy base building (which can include long hikes with a significant other, not just swim/bike/run). You lose a lot, keep some, but gain it back faster each year. It's a patience game, but often the longer breaks can be rewarded with plenty of fitness to hit the training hard and fresh when it counts. Save big training for the last 15 weeks or so before an IM, other than that family first, and being as consistent as you can in the background during lower volume training months will be the key to success.

As far as the bike thing goes, you can live on a road with clips and do quite well, but when you get the aero bike you wont go back once you're used to the geometry. But, food for thought: maybe see how the next season goes? You don't want family and significant others not wanting to invest after you've invested in a nice bike ;). Invest in family buy-in strategy first using creative scheduling, making it fun for them, and talking about things other than training schedules and this goofy hobby that takes all your time away from them. Once they buy-in to the sport, you can really have all the equipment you could possibly afford and not worry about trying to sell it for half or less of what it set you back a year or two later.

Best of luck

Matt Leu, M.S. Kinesiology
Endurance Athlete and Coach
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Re: New Here - Ironman Advice [PJH] [ In reply to ]
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A dedicated triathlon bike is very beneficial if you are going to stay with the sport. If you aren't, road bikes with clip ons are fine.

Zen and the Art of Triathlon. Strava Workout Log
Interviews with Chris McCormack, Helle Frederikson, Angela Naeth, and many more.
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