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Last minute tips for Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya

By Vinnie Santana,online triathlon coach, ironguides.net, in Bangkok

Putrajaya Ironman 70.3, now on its third consecutive year, is becoming one of the most popular Ironman 70.3 events in the region due to a combination of a fast swim and bike course, convenient location & logistics and the world class field that always comes to Malaysia, making it a world class event on all fronts.

Like most races in Malaysia, you can expect a very hot and humid day and you should down play your expectations in terms of finish time especially if you are bench marking against races or training in cooler climate weather. For example, in 2015, Craig Alexander who is one of the sports best runners only ran a 1h29′ half marathon, on a ‘fast’ day he is often somewhere around 1h12 to 1h16 – that difference becomes even larger for the average amateur triathlete

The below course review will help you guide through the event and especially avoid the main mistakes athletes make in a race with this profile.

DAYS BEFORE

One common mistake people make when heading to a hot race is staying exposed to the heat and sun with the goal of getting used to it. It will only drain you and tire you out for race day. Stay inside an air-conditioned room as much as possible, leave the heat for the race day only.

When it comes to nutrition, make sure you don’t over hydrate on the days leading to the event.  You can’t “water load” and in fact over-drinking raises your chances of cramping on race day since you will be flushing all your electrolytes out of your body. Drink to thirsty and prefer sports drinks when drinking outside of meal times.

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Considering the above, I would suggest to not get to Putrajaya too early unless you are dealing with a big time zone difference and need to recover from an eventual jet lag, otherwise is better to stick to your routine, diet and pool access

SWIM (1 loop of 1.9km)

The rolling start format is great as provides each swimmer more room to swim, but if you are a fast swimmer, you may want to get there early to avoid getting stuck in traffic. At the same time, if you are a beginner, don’t start too early otherwise you will spend your whole swim with people overtaking you and eventually some form of physical contact.

The 1 loop swim course
The 1 loop swim course

Expect warm waters, but also a fast swim as the lake is relatively shallow (1.5 to 2.5m). Sighting shouldn’t be a problem as there are several landmarks close to the lake shore such as mosques, bridges and the usual transition area. The run to the transition area should be short and fast.

BIKE (90km in 2 loops of 45km)

The bike course is on Putrajaya’s main highway and most rolling hills, expect a climbs up the typical highway/road ramps, and a relatively strong wind is also expected. This combination may offer a very dynamic ride as you will need to be consistently changing gears and holding your desired cadence.

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On the positive side it will provide you an opportunity to get out of your saddle and ride on an upright position several times per loop as opposite to ride in your crunched time trial position. Don’t be afraid to attack the short and steep hills out of your saddle and riding standing, this is a very powerful position that will give your back and legs a break and there is no aerodynamic penalty to ride like that up in a hill.

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RUN (21km in 2×10.5km loops)

Despetie the run being shaded for most of the way, this is where your expectations should be adjusted. After a very fast swim and bike split due to the nature of the race, don’t get frustrated if you see the chance of a PB sliding away on the run, this is normal and expected, study the results of past years and you will see that most athletes struggled to have a fast run split.

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If you are a fast runner in the heat, this is a good day for you to be the “hunter”, just wait for the run, don’t kill the bike so you can let the dogs out and run fast. If you are more of a biker, get your mindset around a difficult run, its ok, “if its hurting me, it may be killing them” comes to mind. The run will be difficult, very difficult to everyone, its up to you to KNOW this and just hang in there, try to stay cool and keep on moving forward. It shouldn’t be a fast ready.

Enjoy your race.

RELATED: Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya: Course Review

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