When should I start carbo loading?Eat normally.Carbo loading doesn’t work for all.It certainly didn’t work for me.Plus too many carbs will get you gasey & a bloated/sluggish feeling—and your insulin levels will rise.Just eat normally but back off ofdairy, and spicy foods 2 or 3 days out from the race as they may upset your tummy.
Is it true that I can’t bring co2 cartridges on the plane?True.They will tear your bike case apart & not repack it good to get to them.When you arrive you will likely have something broken in your box—including your bike.Go buy a couple CO2s at the race expo, it’s only a few bucks.IM FLA has a “Rebel Expo” each year near the race, and it is NOT part of Ironman.They have vendors that do not want to pay silly Ironman Expo table spots ($2500 up to $10,000 depending on the size of the booth).So some shops, vendors & such made their own expo.Keep an eye out for flyers or ask around about it—it is usually 2 blocks away from transition—can’t think of the building but you’ll see banners outside of the building.
Is the food save at the hotel? Yes, but stay away from fish and shell fish on race week.Should I only drink bottled water?The water is fine in the hotel room, but depending if you’re used to a water softener or not, you may choose to use bottled water (I did).
Do you know if the Boardwalk Beach Resort has refrigerators in the room? That should be on the resort’s website.My room did.
Do they serve breakfast on race day at 4AM or 5AM?Should I plan to eat in my room that morning? You should plan your meal so that you have at LEAST 2.5 hrs to digest it.You don’t want a really big race morning meal—just enough to top off what you burned while sleeping.Be “poop free” when you toe the line & have no chunk of food sitting in your gut.
When should I cut the fiber out of the diet?Reduce veggies & other fiber foods 2-3 days out from race day.
On the swim, should I take the inside position or outside?Should I be in front, middle or back of pack?I suggest watching where the current is coming from on race morning.Warm up & see if it will push you to the right or left.If it is strong, and coming from the left—and say the buoys are on the right, then start FAR LEFT so the current pushes TOWARDS the buoys.Otherwise, you will fight to swim in a straight line and will likely be pushed to an “illegal position” swimming into the returning swimmers—or worse—far off course.When the gun goes off, just keep out of trouble.Start out easy, it is a long day…stay away from being in the middle of the pack, you’ll get clobbered by legs/fists/arms.Try to draft off the outer edge of a swim pack that is about your speed (you’ll naturally settle into a pace & be swimming the entire swim with the same folks).Remember, you have 137+ miles left after the swim, don’t spend it all in one place.
Should I participate in the practice swim on Friday?If this refers to just heading out for 10 minutes to sight/get used to the suit again, then yes.An organized swim workout the day before the race I’d say no.Just stay near other swimmers & keep your eyes open for shark—they ARE there.
When is the swim course setup? Usually race morning or the day before they put the buoys out. I’d like to practice some sighting?Just find where the swim exit/entrance is, swim out for 5 minutes or so, and head back using a tall building near the exit as your sight.
What goggles should I bring?Clear or shaded?I’m not sure if it will be sunny to start or not?Bring them all on race morning, but when you set up your bike/fill the tires in the morning, just take whatever one will be best suited to the conditions.I find that gray/smoke lenses are pretty much fine for nearly all conditions.
Will there water be rough? Big waves, choppy, swell, etc.?If so, any tips I should be aware of? Yes, it is the ocean, there will be chop. Tip#1: don’t drift too far from the race pack, you could be lunch for a big fish!
The day of the race, should I do some practice swimming to loosen-up or should I just start off easy in the race?Yes, definitely warm up in the water.Try to get down there about 20 minutes before the start, fully zipped up.Pee in your wetsuit if you have to—then pull the neck to let water in & the pee will be flushed out of your suit & down through the ankle area.Make sure the wetsuit is not tight around the shoulders—pull all the loose rubber up the waist, so that any excess material is around the shoulders.Make it so you don’t fight the suit while swimming!
How much time should I allow for body marking and getting ready the day of the race?Set up your bike first when you get there, and if you can wait until after that, the lines should diminish.Florida is one of the biggest races if not the biggest on the Ironman circuit, expect 2200-2500 racers.Since you are there at the sight, the main thing is that you don’t rush. I would leave the room around 5:30, go put your bottles on the bike/nutrition, then drop off your special needs bags, take a dump or five, short jog (about a ½ mile or so to wake up), sit down & relax until about ½ hour before the gun goes off—then suit up & get your butt down to the start line & warm up on the swim.Most importantly, stay calm, you CAN do this.
Will everything be in the race bags the night before? Yes, you drop them off the day before, but have access to add stuff on race morning before the gun goes off. And do I just put my water bottles on the bike before the race?Of course, you need to drink don’t you?
How do I prevent getting trampled on the swim given that it’s a beach start? Don’t start in the middle of the long line of racers—start far left or far right—everyone will swim into an arrowhead formation a few hundred yards from the start. If you find yourself in trouble, keep freestyle swimming to the open water & get away from folks until you can calmly re-join them.
What should I put in bike bag at ½ point?Whatever you think you’ll need. Some put a spare CO2 + their “special drink mix” and some food. Some put in extra clothes…keep in mind you may not get back anything after the race that was in your special needs bags, so don’t put anything valuable in them.Should I have Infinite powder or a mixed bottle?See previous answer.
Does the hotel have a freezer for the water bottles?Depends on the hotel, but I doubt it—you may have to just use ice from the ice machine in the hallway to keep things cold.How full should they be prior to freezing?Leave about an inch from the top for expansion.
How many spare tires should I bring? How much off road riding are you going to do?You may only need one.If clinchers you may need two.I’ve only used 1 spare in 20 years of racing—and it was an accident in T1 not from riding. I’d take 2 tubes, and 2 CO2s. Make sure you know how to use the CO2s without screwing them up.You saw how Chrissy Wellington jacked up all her CO2s at IM Hawaii this year. Fortunately, she was strong enough to overcome this after getting another from a fellow pro.
Do I need to make an appointment be I arrive to have someone inspect my bike?This depends on the host bike shop. You should be fine dropping it off & having them give it an once-over. Should I pack a multipurpose tool kit with spare tire?Not really needed. If it is more than a flat tire, you’ll have to wait for the Race Support vehicle.Not sure if I want the extra weight.
Should I drive the bike course?You may want to do this.I did, as it is always good to eliminate any surprises.If anything, mentally you’ll know where you are on the course.
Do I go get my bike or will someone bring it to me? You get your bike. If they’re going to get it for me, where do I pick it up?When you are done with the bike portion, you just dismount and somebody (a volunteer) takes if from you as soon as you dismount.There will be plenty of people for this.
On the bike, can I pee on the side of the road? There are porta-johns on course, you can wait, or pull over and hope nobody sees you! Is there a penalty? Not sure on this one, but you may get arrested for indecent exposure…or pick up a date—who knows! Check the current race rules or ask an official. Or do I need to find a blue booth? I often use the booth, peeing in your shorts will ruin expensive equipment (been there & done that). Pee’ing on the bike can be dangerous if not practiced or skilled at it.This may be dangerous especially when fatigue of an Ironman sets in. What about the run?There is a porta at each mile, not to worry here!
When should I put my bike into the transition area? I believe the day before it is required. Should I keep it in my room until the day before? You will have it with you in your room likely up until the time you drop it off the day before at the bike check in.
I’m just about out of body glide, can I get this at the race?Yes.
Should I pack my floor pump, so I don’t have to wait in line at the race? I wouldn’t bother, just borrow one from someone.If you want to ride before the race, and see another racer at the hotel, ask if you can borrow theirs. The entire hotel is likely ALL Ironman racers, so your next door neighbor should have one, or you can fill it up at the Expo bike shop that will give your bike a once-over.
What should I inflate my tires to? Florida is usually 70-75 F, so check the PSI rating on the side of the tire, and go with the low end—usually 115 to 120 will be sufficient.Do I do this in the morning or the night before?Race morning.I also heard that if it’s hot, the air could expand and pop my tires?True, that is why you go with the low end of the tire rating.
When I come off the bike into transition, what do I do with my bike shoes?Remember the parking lot dismount practice we did a year and a half ago at the church?Leave them on the pedals after you slip your feet out the last block or two of the bike (riding with feet on top of the shoes), swing your leg over the top bar until you slow enough to hop off.
Do I need to place my prescription sunglasses on the eyeglasses table? Each race is different, check the material provided in your information packet when you register at the race.
Should I have normal prescription glasses for finishing the run in the special needs bag? You may just pull over after the finish & close your eyes & sleep anyhow, will you really need to see anything then? Really though, I’m not familiar with your eye sight, you will have to make this call. Will the run course be well marked?Ironman Florida has one of the most highly supported run courses on the circuit, and there are more than enough signs and volunteers to keep you from getting lost.It is a 2-loop out & back course.
My heart rate monitor is indicating low battery, but I can’t get it changed because it will void warranty.Should I gamble it will be ok? POLAR often shows up, at least they do in Hawaii and they do replace batteries on site there. Can I get this replaced at the race?Possible.Should I even wear the monitor?As this is your first Ironman, the info may be useful.However I find that too many numbers, and gadgets detract from the goal which is to finish and just ride your bike.This is why I have you do RPE riding often and check your HRM to see if you can detect how accurate your RPE vs. HR is.Athletes focus on watts & number too much on race day Macca didn’t have one race day), the others did—yet he won last year. Personally, I think race day HRM usage is an unneeded distraction—but like I said, you may want to try it this time just to get some base numbers.
Should I bring my Garmin for the run? No, not unless that doubles as your HRM.Don't get distracted with too many numbers.
Should I bring my fuel belt? Not needed.There is so much support out there at the aid stations that you really don’t need it, unless you carry pain killers.Plus, it is extra weight you don’t need to tote around.
What should I put in the run special needs bag? Anything you want.
Is it ok to take pain killer/anti-inflammatory meds on race? Yes, but if you’re not in pain why take them?You may want to take some on the bike or in T1 or T2 if needed.
What should my pacing and or heart rate be on bike and run? You should know this by now, that is what the last year of training has been about.
What clothes should I plan on wearing after the race for the dry clothes bag?Determine this by checking out the local weather, and be prepared by watching the forecast.
Should I plan on any extra clothes for the run bag? Figure out what time you think you’ll finish, check the temperature forecast for those hours you’ll be on the run, and then you should be able to tell if you need extra clothes.
Should I cover the bike seat at night to keep moisture off?What about the aerobars? Unlikely. Unless there is a downpour, you won’t need to.
I was bringing arm warmers to wear for the first half of the bike and put in the bike special needs bag, but they say I might not get this bag back.What are my options? Bring them on the bike, drop them & maybe not ever get them back, or don’t take them at all and gut out the potential chill.
Do you mark all of your personal items with your name or something incase they are lost? It is a good idea. Mark your wetsuit. Your helmet should have your race number sticker on it, so no worries there.Should I bring a pen or Sharpie? You won’t need one.Mark your equipment before you leave. Nobody will want your stinky shoes so no need to mark them. Especially if you pee yourself on the bike or while running.
Should I bring a rain coat for the bike incase it rains?That is your choice.They say it could be 50 and rainy or very hot and humid? It could be.Will I need suntan lotion? Use a SPF of 15 or higher, no point in getting skin cancer.
Do I need a towel for drying off after the swim? Why?Won’t you be sweating on the bike in a few minutes anyhow?How do I get rid of the salt water? You can’t, it is an ocean. But if you mean off your skin, they have fresh water showers to run through, just rinse your mouth and face quickly and get in & out of T1 as fast as you can.
How many water bottles should I bring? I’m not sure of your water bottle setup.Does the race provide water bottles to replace mine if I drop them when their empty or do I need to refill my with bottled water? They provide water and Gatorade in water bottles for you and they are cold.
How do you pack your nutrition? Liquid calories. Mostly all in the water bottle (Infinit), and I get a few gels and banana pieces at aid stations along the way.Do you take gels on the plane?In my carry on, yes, it is cheaper to NOT buy them at the race site.Carry-on or check in?See previous answer.What about my Infinit? I pack it in a large water bottle (dry mix of course), and duct tape the top of the bottle so in case the baggage gorillas toss the bag around it won’t open.Do I take the whole jug? Not needed. Will TSA confiscate it as cocaine? No, just use masking tape and mark “Infinit-Orange Flavor” or whatever you have on it. They may want to drink some themselves it tastes so good! Do you put it in a bag? No, it may bust open.
Do you change shorts from the swim to the bike to the run? No, I use my tri shorts under my wetsuit and for the bike and run, same outfit start to finish. Or is it just the same tri shorts like the shorter races and freshwater swims? Same.
If it does rain, how do you keep your shoes dry? I don’t. They won’t be dry anyhow if it is sunny—you’ll be sweating in them.
Should I bring extra shoes, goggles, socks, etc? Are you taking a trip somewhere while doing the Ironman?
Will the temp drop much on the run? Depends on how long you’re out there. If so, will I need warmer clothes in the run special needs bag? It cools down at sundown for sure, but as long as you keep moving, you’ll be surprised at how warm you stay in cooler conditions after exercising all day.
Should I bring anything incase I get blisters on the run? Lube with Vaseline on the toes & crotch area in T2, and under the armpits. They provide it in the transition tent.If so, what? This should prevent blisters. If you get a blister on the run, it could mean trouble. Just try to run through the pain.You may bleed a bit and ruin your shoes with red stain, but this is an Ironman, show your mettle!
Should I be doing a lot of stretching when in Florida?Don’t overstretch, you could pull something.Should I get a light massage? It would help to get 15-20 minutes worth.Is it ok to catch some rays at the beach or will this drain my energy? I would save that for the day after the race, as this may promote dehydration and burning of the skin. Don’t hide from the sun like a hermit, but don’t dilly dally in it either.
Is there anything else that I should be aware of? Yes, you will likely get neck chaffing pretty bad from the salt water, no matter how much Body Glide you use. Salt acts like sand paper between your suit and skin.I’ve seen Mole Skin used and taped necks to act as extra skin to help with this.