I’ve been spending some time today catching up on the latest news for Ironman Boulder and it made me think of all of the non-racing logistics that go into the race. Unlike a lot of other races you have done or plan to do, this one involves a lot more planning outside of just showing up and racing. Here are few tips that I think might be helpful to any first timers.
Plan a long weekend around the race
When I do a sprint, Olympic, or half distance race, particularly a local one, I can pretty much just plan on preparing at home and then showing up race day. I’m not saying you can’t sleep in your own bed the night before the race, but if the venue is much more than an hour’s drive away, I’d recommend booking a nearby hotel for a number of reasons:
1. Being nearby affords you more sleep and reduces the risk of car trouble, traffic or any number of other undpredicatbles impacting you making it to your transition area in time.
2. You’ll get more sleep which is always a good thing.
3. Ironman races typically require packet pick-up two days before and bike check in the day before the race. That means that you’ll be going back and forth a lot. I did this last year but not this year. I’m going to be in Boulder starting on Friday afternoon.
I also won’t tell you that you can’t go back to work the day after the race, but if possible, I’d avoid it. Due to my DNF, I can’t speak personally on this but two sources I trust, my coach and my brother, both told me that sleep on the night after the race was very poor and they found themselves very tired the following day.
Begin your logistics planning as soon as possible
Plans change multiple times before they are set so I would recommend that you think about the details of pre and post-race now. Some things to consider:
1. Transportation to the start or staging area (in Boulder you are required to take a bus from the T2 area to the start at the reservoir. If you are driving yourself, where will you park? How long will it take to get there?
2. Where will you eat the night before? Everyone loves to eat a Pasta Jay’s in downtown Boulder but waiting until 9:00 for a table is a distinct possibility and probably not a good idea.
3. What are your plans for coordinating with friends and family? Each race has its good and not-so-good places for spectators and it’s worth knowing where those are.
Stay updated on changes to your race
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I was catching up on the news and learned that there will be changes to the bike course at Boulder this year. That was unexpected but it pays to expect the unexpected. Check you event’s website and I would also recommend staying current on the forums. I got my news from a post the race director put on Slowtwitch, not from the race site.
As it happens, my race is four months from today. I’ll try and start posting regular advice updates and perhaps even put it all together in a single mega-post in July.
Until then, thanks for reading and happy training!