Triathlon gear for your first Ironman

Making a decision to do your first Ironman must be taken seriously. It requires 12-6 months of training, through 3-4 different seasons. One of the first choices to make, before you start training, is what Triathlon gear you choose to use.
Be ready to be shocked, as there is more than you might first imagine. The ideal is to have good quality Triathlon gear, which will last you 12 months of training. If you choose to continue racing Ironman you can upgrade. There is a noticeable difference in performance, comfort and longevity of more expensive Triathlon gear.
What do you need? In summary, you need triathlon gear for the Swim, Bike and Run. The most expensive items will be your Triathlon bike and Triathlon wetsuit. You will need additional gear for colder climates for each sport. There is also nutritional supplementation, transitional and race day kit e.g race belt, transition box, and bike box.
There are several websites which can provide Triathlon Gear at better prices ( and These are useful if buying simple items like bike computer, googles etc. For items which require correct fitting e.g. wetsuits, bike, and bike shoes, it is best to go to a reputable Triathlon Store.
Most athletes who take on Ironman have trained in one or more of the triathlon sports. In this case there will be less Triathlon gear to buy. If you are starting from scratch, you could spend the following amounts in each area of triathlon (estimates for good quality Triathlon Gear for 12 months of training) Swim £500 including wetsuit, Bike £2500 including bike and bike computer, Run £200, nutritional supplementation £200, Race day £300 including bike box. Additional expenses would be flights and accommodation costs on race day, entry fee for the race (£500) and coaching.
Physical Edge (  hopes this information is useful. We specialising in helping athletes race Ironman for the first time. If you want to know more about coaching costs and training,  do get in touch with us and we look forward to talking Ironman with you.

Preparation for West Cornwall Middle Distance Triathlon: equipment to pack

I am glad I left this weekend to prepare for the WCMD triathlon. I have received emails with details of the venue, my responsibilities on the day and safety issues. I have receied two emails from my Coach Fran and my swim coach Emile with useful information in preparing for the race and also the day before and race day tips. Fran has done it before so he has first hand experience of the venue.

I am confused with all the directions I have been given to learn for the bike course. I will check it on the day but will rely on road wardens to direct me on the day. The swim has a 200m run to the transition onto the bike. It is on grass so easy on the feet but got to watch pot holes. The distances for this race are 1.9km swim, 83 km bike and 20 km run.

I am writing the list of things I must take on the day. The list is as follows:

Googles x2 (light and dark pair for different weather conditions)
Racing shorts and top
Race number and pins
Liquid food and power bars
Extra swim cap (to put on under goggles and race cap to help goggles to stay on better in the race)
wet suit
glide cream
Sea sickness bands
Maps and registration details, course details
Race belt for number
Arm wamers
Nutritional drink and power bars/gels
bike shoes and socks and vaseline
Chaffing cream
sun cream
shoes with orthotics
Friction free socks
chaffing cream thighs and feet/ vaseline
Know the course
Read Emiles notes
Read Frans notes
Alkalising and ionising booster
Udos oil capsules
Breakfast foods/ honey and raisens and nuts
On the day I plan to follow my coaches advice. These will be on the next blog.
I am getting a nervous excitement doing this list. I am excited because I want to race. I am nervous because of the unknown. The mental preparation my coach has got me to do will help get me in the right state of mind and I am doing this for a whole week before the race.

Preparations heating up.

Went to see Fran this morning and look at my bike, look at the list of equipment I have and look at a gym program. It was a brilliant session and a shame my camera had a flat battery as you would all like to see him talk. I will get him next time.

The bike I have must be comfortable as I will be in Aero position for at least 3 hours in one stretch. He thinks the frame is good and the bike will be fine for the ironman. I will drop the pump and get CO2 cannisters, get an aero bottle and may change my aero bars. The key is to look at the position on the bike today with Dave at SwimBikeRub and decide if it is right. Fran explained the bike has to be sorted now as he does not want me to change later in the training. I could spend more money on wheels but we are weighing up the value of that to me. We are focussing on good training and technique.

My brother is a leading sports podiatrist in New Zealand and his client is Cameron Brown, a leading world and NZ triathlete. He is going to get me in touch with him to ask him for some advice. I hopefully will get a video for you all to see. Tips from one of the worlds best.

Fran then looked at what I own and need to buy. The bike is the biggie but other key points were wear tight fitting clothes to stop wind from coming between the body and the clothing. This will prevent the cold in winter. He said he runs in tight tri- shorts and not normal running shorts because it helps keep his Testicles supported (funny). He explained it is more comfortable and reasearch has suggested this can help reduce infection. Fran is serious so this is the reality of the event. He also advised getiting  a cycle specific winter jacket. This is different to a normal windproof jacket and requires less layers to keep me warm. It appears each sport has specific clothing and it does matter.

In the gym I am focussing on strength training. This is 6 rep max and supersets with a tempo of 2 second up and 2 seconds down. I will be combingin Sumo Squats with lunges, Chin ups with dips and Deadlifts by itself. I do this 2 x week and for the other sessions I will focus on my swimming.

Really looking forward to meeting my Physiologist and nutritionist Dr Justin Roberts next week in London. Fran wants to come to get his advice as well. The more team I have around me and the better they understand what I do seems to make all the effort more rewarding and less effort. Even my orthdontist is interested in my progress.

The power in letting people know what I want to do seems to create more opportunities for me. I will tell more people and let the flow of people come to me even more. I will start keeping a database of my supporters and my team. I big thank you at the end will be needed.

Fran said training starts next week and I am looking forward to it.

Getting myself prepared.

I went away on holiday and bought the Triatlete’s World magazine to read. There are some great tips in the magazine to use during the event and also for buying equipment and looking after my equipment.

An article by Sean Kelly, GB swm coach and Speedo ambassador described some swim drills to save energy before the bike and run.  Some drills I take away are to practice taking as few strokes as I can and kick as little as possible each length, relax and imagine the forces hitting me from the front. Stretch out with my arms and stay streamlined to make the hole in front of me small. Practice sighting a target in front every 8-10 strokes. Use a buoy between the legs to simulate  the buoancy of a wet suit. To keep fresh legs aim for a two beat kick for every two arm cycles.

Another article highlighted the importance of nutrition. If transition is the fourth discipline then nutrition is the fifth. It seems getting the balance right for the event is key to a good race and this has to be tested for each individual. Finding out what works best for me is important before race day.

Tips for nutrition I will take away are to hydrate days up to the event and only sip water 30 minutes before the race to stop dry mouth. After the swim wait for 10 minutes before eating because the body may struggle with the transition and diverting blood flow to the stomach might cause problems.

Richard McChesney, an ironman veteran, sets his watch every 15 minutes during the race. Every 15 minutes he takes a sip of Gel and water. He eats sandwiches as his stomach does not tolerate commercial food.

On race day only eat and drink what I know. Avoid high concentration drinks so mix Gel and water in bottles. I will definitely use Power bars as I like these as a solid energy source. I will practice drinking on the run.

I am tossing up whether to purchase a new bike. Having lighter wheels and  better aerodynamic bike appears to help. Some ironman athletes I know have a bike for training and another bike for racing. The Zipp wheels get great reviews. Learnt the difference between Clincher and Tubular tyres. Think the Tubulars are the way to go and faster to change. Also learnt to reverse the front and back tyres every few months as they wear differently and also how to adjust the pressure in the types for  less resistance or a smoother ride.

Equipment I must buy are Cyclone Chain Scrubber (£27.99, Finish Liquid Degreaser (£12.49, Finish Line Speed Degreaser (£10.99, to keep my chain in good condition.

There is a lot of information available to read and it can get daunting reading so much and knowing what is best. I am looking forward to seeing Dr Justin Roberts at the end of the month to give me nutritional and physiological training advice. I think I need to get a decent training program first and then as I get more experienced I will know what equipment I want.