Ironman Austria - Coaches Corner 73


Show Notes:
Recording Date: 07/15/2019

Ironman Austria - Coaches Corner 73

In this episode, our topics include:

  1. Race details

  2. Observations

  3. Limit time on the legs and time in the athlete frenzy you will only tire yourself out and raise anxiety and nervous system overdrive.

  4. Supporters get acquainted with the course and spots for seeing your athlete.

  5. Standing around is HARD on your legs; combine walking with staying put in one place.

  6. Arrange on course spots or post-race meeting points in advance; be prepared to wait a lot. Athletes often don’t come straight out of the finish. Race course routes are available on most race websites. Speaking to someone who has done the race before can be helpful when planning logistics.

  7. Not all race venues have a lot of options for food and drinks or going to the toilet so think of yourself as well as your athlete.

  8. Tip from coach Lucie Zelenkova: wear very bright colours so that you athlete can easily spot you.

  9. It is very easy to get lost from your fellow supporters; make a plan for rendez-vous points; especially if you don’t have a phone connection.

  10. Bring a battery pack and cords/ plugs for recharging your phone. Using ironman tracker app on your phone will drain your battery; never mind the constant whatsapp and messaging between various people supporting the race. If you are supporting a race internationally and don’t have free roaming aim to get to wi-fi spots like restaurants, hotels or cafes from time to time for tracker updates or ask nicely to tether from someone with free roaming.

  11. Write a permanent checklist on your phone and after every event add tweaks.

  12. For example, in addition to the essentials, don’t forget the following: scissors, nail clippers, baby bum cream, body glide or physio tape for neck rash from swimming, feed bag, race licence or triathlon membership card, race belt, bottles, nutrition, electrolytes, sun visor, sunglasses, small sunscreen bottle for transition bags, passport, driving license, rain or wind jacket, arm sleeves, etc.

  13. run through checklist with athletes before the packing is zipped up as their anxiety may cause things to be forgotten. Do you need to download maps or print off / save to phone car hire agreements etc.

  14. Traveling

  15. can be exhausting; for athlete and supporter.

  16. Early mornings, long drives, travel anxiety, lots of people etc. be prepared for this. Tempers can run short also; remove your athlete from the frenzy if need be;

  17. the job of supporter is to be the voice of calm, reason and positivity.

  18. Bike shipping in advance works very well when available to avoid air travel with bike boxes. If you are flying in and out this is a perfect solution. If you plan on staying longer you may need your bike earlier than possible so consider your options.

  19. Routine foods

  20. Avoid eating too many new foods, anything overly spicy, too many carbohydrate options all in one sitting, or foods too high in fibre, dairy or fat.

  21. Plan your carbohydrate loading into your travel plans and bring foods with you such as home-made bars, healthy bar options, bananas, pitta bread, dried fruit, rice salad, etc for the journey.

  22. If possible travel with your chosen carbs for pre-race dinner and race morning breakfast so that you can have what your system is used to and you don’t you dont arrive at your venue only to realise that they don’t serve breakfast at 330 am. Quick cooking oats, or 3-minute polenta, for example, are good options, banana and dried fruits top up the carbs further. If needed buy provisions on arrival; we purchased a kettle on our last trip.

  23. If you have special dietary needs then you must plan in advance. For example Austrian stores sold a variety of gluten free options but the restaurants and cafes were more challenging which could pose a problem for tapering carbohydrate loading athletes…

  24. Hydrate with electrolytes in the last 24 hours before the race and add a dash of sea salt to meals. Don’t drink “just water”; especially not on race morning. I advise having a sweat test performed a few months before your race, especially if it is in conditions that you are not used to so that you know your sweat electrolyte loss numbers and can more confidently execute a plan.

  25. Bring water+electrolytes with you to registration, racking and for the expo; many athletes get dehydrated on the day before the race with all the hanging about; supporters too!

  26. If you are used to having coffee; drink it as normal. As one athlete pointed out if coffee is not available in your room then make/ buy a black coffee the night before and drink cold in the morning. We actually purchased a kettle for making coffee and oats. Coffee keeps us regular and so can be helpful for that important pre-race poop. If you are a supporter the pre-race poop is a very anxiety promoting issue so try to be tolerant of your athlete racing about trying to find a port-a-loo urgently. Racing 9-14 hours on an uncomfortable stomach is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

  27. What you eat in taper week and the day before the race and on race day is far more important than the post-race big feed.

  28. PLAN your nutrition and hydration strategy for your race and expected pace, duration and weather conditions; seek advice if unsure. And plan for it not to go to plan with a little leeway. Get sweat tested to make hydration plans easier and more accurate. Practice in training. If using on course nutrition buy some months in advance to practice in training.

  29. Don’t rely on course fuel options if you have a sensitive stomach; bring your own. Seek advice for managing sensitive stomachs; more often than not there are causes and therefore solutions.

  30. While I don’t recommend ever taking pain killers racing for IM, you may want to pack an instant diarrhea or vomiting tab like imodium or motilium for urgent cases; or ginger chews to settle an upset tummy. Get familiar with acupuncture points for treating nausea and vomiting as self-treatment when running will be possible and may prove helpful (this diagram explains the point very clearly

  31. Scheduling downtime

  32. This is important for supporter and athlete.

  33. Use quiet time for visualization, meditation or nervous system calming. Energy management is EVERYTHING in the pre-race 24-48 hours.

  34. If traveling with others, plan to have independence. I also recommend staying a little bit out of the mayhem IF you can: for example hire a car and then it is easy to get around. Some athletes may prefer a very close location so book with your personality in mind. For us personally speaking a calm safe distance suits us, for others close proximity to the race creates calm.

  35. Don’t waste time at the expo/ fun runs/ iron-kids etc or on your legs or in the athlete frenzy; it is VERY fatiguing. Plan to get in, register and back out. Avoid hanging about in the direct sun and don’t get sunburnt before your race. These simple strategies are far better than walking around all day but looking cool in your colorful compression socks.

  36. Ironman Taper week

  37. Iron athletes will be super “body symptom conscious” in taper week

  38. LISTEN and then provide support and a voice of reason.

  39. With less training athletes tend to be body hyper-vigilant.

  40. They will notice any niggle and if you can help keep them calm this tends to mitigate anything worse.

  41. In other words, the scratchy throat disappears and the knee niggle gets forgotten.

  42. If your athlete is very anxious urge them out into the fresh air for some clear head space; remind them of their training journey and urge them to find things to be grateful for. I highly recommend approaching your race feeling aware and grateful for the gift of health, the opportunity to race, and the privileged lives we live to see the world this way. It helps to keep everything in perspective.

  43. Supporters pack food and hydration and electrolytes and clothes for weather options.

  44. Pack some tissues or loo roll.

  45. Bring a light rain jacket, peaked hat, and sunscreen depending on what’s forecast. The weather can change in a flash!

  46. Wear comfortable shoes; the type you would do a long run in!

  47. There can be a large margin of error in expected times to see your athlete at various points in the race; DON’T PANIC.

  48. Don’t ask what went wrong, be positive and supportive and check your athlete for cues as to how they are when you see them.

  49. The race isn’t over when the athlete finishes; expect long waits with bike collection etc.

  50. Athletes often dip in blood glucose when they finish; get some simple food into them like electrolytes and banana or some salty carbohydrates. After stabilizing blood glucose levels then protein is the priority. Avoid caffeine or alcohol until hydration and blood glucose levels are stabilised. I don’t recommend alcohol post-race due to increased edema, dehydration, and inflammation but that is your choice!! Whatever you do eat and hydrate first.

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