Is It Time For a 70.3?
Do you have a half ironman on your bucket list? Are you wondering what it takes to be ready to do one? There is no magic answer, or set requirements, but there are ways to know you are ready. Here are just five recommendations to consider if you are asking “am I ready for a half ironman?
Do at least one triathlon before
In a perfect world, you would actually have a full year of triathlon training and racing under your belt before attempting the 70.3. If you have a year or more under your belt, then that is perfect. If you don’t, then it would be very beneficial to participate in at least one triathlon before doing a 70.3. An Olympic distance would be ideal, but a sprint can help too. Just getting yourself into the environment of racing a triathlon is going to help. For instance, you may swim just fine in a pool, but the open water with hundreds of other people is a different story. Getting some of the kinks out, as well as the experience, is incredibly important before taking on the longer distance.
Make sure you have a good base
It is really important to have a good base going into the half ironman training. This means you should know how to swim, bike and run already. The half ironman training plan should be no less than 20 weeks long, ideally. By the start of the 20 week plan, you should already have a strong base. You should be able to swim at least 1200 yards without rest. Be comfortable biking at least 30 miles in a stretch. This means you can bike 30 miles and not feel like you need to nap the rest of the day. And then you should be able to run/jog/walk 8 miles comfortably as well. Speed or time does not matter at this point. If you aren’t even close to these goals, then it may be good to take a little more time to build the base.
Get the right gear
As you step up in distance, gear starts to become more important. The shorts and t shirt you wore during your bike first sprint triathlon might not cut it on a long 56 mile ride. Comfort is key to make it through the longer distance. Through trial and error, you will find what you will need to invest in more. But, plan to spend a little more on gear than you did for your sprint or olympic tri. You will want a good pair of bike shorts and top to prevent chaffing during the bike. Investing the money and time into getting clip-less pedals and shoes for the bike will go a long way as well. Be sure to get a new pair of running shoes at some point during your training as well.
Make sure you have the time
Participating in a 70.3 is going to take up a lot more of your time than a sprint or olympic triathlon will. Before committing to the distance, make sure you have the time for it. If you are looking at weeks on end of travel for work, or a wedding to plan etc, you may want to rethink when you shoot for the longer distance. The training leading up to race day is a part of the journey, and you should enjoy it. At least most of the time. If you are constantly stressed about fitting in the training, and find you are skipping workouts frequently, not only will you suffer on race day, it will make for a not so fun experience. So make sure you are ready for the time you have to commit to it.
Have a support team
As mentioned above, training for, and participating in a 70.3 is a huge time commitment. Make sure you have people in your life that support you through this journey. Communicate with them what you will be facing for the few months leading up to the race, and make sure they are on board. It is important for some people in your life to know the extent of what you are possibly getting into. That you will need to devote a few hours a weekend to training, and it may conflict with other commitments. When it comes down to it, there is always compromise and will be things that are more important than training. But, communicating with your loved ones before jumping into the long distance plan, will make life on everyone a lot easier!