It’s Ironman eve and what are doing on that last day? There’s just one more restless sleep to go until your first Ironman!
What on earth do you do on that last day before? If you are preparing for your first Ironman, you will soon be facing this question or perhaps you are reading this the night before your race.
Here are a few things to try and do and not do on Ironman eve.
AVOID ANY HARD WORKOUTS
Whatever you do, don’t do a hard swim, bike, or run workout of any sort. However pick-ups are a good idea to keep you focused and fresh.
Do a short workout(15-20 minutes)in one or two of the three disciplines the day before the race. You just want to do enough to keep you sharp for your race the next morning.
Its not recommended to take this day completely off. Mark Allen(a Hawaii Ironman champion many times over)suggests 10 second sprints in each event on Ironman eve.
Even if you just do this for the run, it will help you relax you and prepare you for the race the next morning. For instance, I would get up early the day before the race and do a short, easy 5 min. run warm-up and than to the “PICK-UPS” as they are sometimes called.
DO SHORT SPRINTS IN EACH EVENT IF POSSIBLE
I would do a short, fast sprint for just 10 seconds and then run easy for 50 seconds and then repeat it 5 times going “out” on the run and then turn around and do it five times heading “back” to my room.
Then I would do a 5 minutes “cool-down jog and that should take you back to where you started. The total time was just 20 minutes.
If you have not checked your bike in yet, then you can do the exact same sequence on your bike. Most races you check your bike in on the Saturday so if you get up early it should be no problem to do this short 20 minute drill.
It also gives you one last chance to check out things on your bike like the brakes, gears, and computer etc. to make sure everything is working well before you take your bike down to the transition area.
Then do the same quick workout for your swim if you like. I didn’t usually bother with the swim because it’s a bit of a hassle for such a short time in the water.
Even if you just do this for the run it will help you relax and alert your body for what is coming the next day.
I would always did it with the run and it really does seem to get you prepared and relaxed and also gives you a bit of time to reflect of the big race in the morning and just how far you have come.
WHY DO THIS ON IRONMAN EVE?
A short workout the day-before is important. Preferably your last total rest day should be TWO DAYS BEFORE THE RACE AND NOT THE EVE OF THE RACE.
Many people get that backwards.
For one thing you will most likely “sleep” much better two nights before the race as opposed to the night before the race, so it’s the ideal day for a total, relaxing rest from everything.
By doing something active on Ironman eve you are giving your body one last wake up call for the big day. As I said, it will also give you time to reflect and helps get rid of last minute anxieties.
AVOID THE CROWD, HYPE, AND SUN.
It’s not really a good idea to go down to the expo and spend hours on your feet wandering around on Ironman eve in the heat of the day. Visit the expo earlier in the week, not on the eve of the race.
Stay away from crowds if at all possible. This is VERY important!! Stay out of the sun! The last thing you need is to become dehydrated the day-before your big race.
If there is any check-in business to take care of, do it as early in the day as possible.
If there is a compulsory pre-race meeting on the Ironman eve be sure to go, but when its over, it’s best to go back to your room and stay calm and relaxed.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT!
Try and avoid eating anything strange the day before and restaurant food if you can. Hopefully you will have a kitchenette and can make your own meals. The last thing you need is to have digestion issues from eating something you’re not used to.
It’s also a good idea to try not to eat too late on your last evening. Personally, I found that eating my last large meal no later than 4 p.m. on Ironman eve worked the best for me.
BAD FOOD CHOICES
A bad food choice would be to go out to a restaurant and eat something that you are not used to the day before your big race. Spicy food, strong tasting food, or food hard to digest are not great choices.
It’s not really a good time for any sort of junk food high is sugar and simple carbohydrates as this will mess with you sugar balance and energy levels.
A GOOD NUTRITION CHOICE
The best pre-race “last meal” plan would be to have that special complex carbohydrate meal that you are used to and have enjoyed all through your training season.
A meal like pasta or brown rice with a tossed salad are great choices if they are foods you enjoy and have eaten many times in the past.
Take it from the ultimate expert like I did. I ran into Dave Scott after one compulsory pre-race meeting the Saturday before a Sunday race.
I had a conversation with him. I actually asked him about that last day before the race and what the best thing is to the day before the race.
He said most people are so nervous they go to the pre-race meeting, they go to the expo, they wander around in the sun getting themselves tired and dehydrated and even more nervous.
His best advice to men went like this.
“Do what you have to do. Then get away from the crowds. Get out of the sun. Get away from all that nervous energy and pre-race jitters. Go to your room, put your feet up. Rest and relax. Eat early, be sure you’re properly hydrated.”
He was 100% right. I did that and I did it for every ironman race after that. It was exactly the correct thing to do.
I hope this advice helps you with your ironman eve preparation for the big race. It sure helped me.
Need some help finding out what Ironman events are coming up? Visit Ironman.com.