Sometimes Ironman hype can be over-whelming if it’s your first time at an Ironman venue and it’s something to be aware of and control.
Here are a few the things that normally take place at pretty well every Ironman.
If you’re heading for your first Ironman you’ll find that there’s a lot of things going on when you get to the venue.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment, but its important that you don’t allow anything to happen that will adversely affect your Ironman experience.
THE IRONMAN EXPO
Your first exposure to all the action might be when the merchandise tent opens and will be full of t-shirts, jackets, sweaters and almost anything you can think of that will have that particular Ironman’s name and year on it.
Usually on Wednesday the Expo tents will open. This is where you really have to be careful not to get carried away with the Ironman hype. You will see numerous booths set up.
Nutritional supplements, footwear, swim goggles, wet suits, bike equipment, bikes and just about everything else that’s triathlon related will be front and center. Many of the products will proclaim to make your Ironman easier or faster.
A few days before the big race is no time to be trying out different nutritional food or sports drink products.
For instance if you have done hours and hours of training and used a specific gel on those long bike rides that has worked really well for you, why fix something that isn’t broken?
Let’s say it’s two or three days before the big day you have trained and prepared for all year. What should your reaction be if you walk up to an expo booth and are told this mango-banana gel is the best on the market and will make you bike faster?
Or perhaps, this new cranberry, apple, kiwi juice electrolyte replacement drink has mystical qualities that will make you faster than a speeding bullet.
Trust me I’ve been there. It was the early years of my Ironman career when I made the mistake of trying a new drink on race morning and half way through the swim I was so sick I was pulled out of the race. A years training, booking holidays, traveling expenses, and all those hopes and dreams gone in a heart beat.
So what should your reaction be when someone tries to convince you to try their product in the Ironman race just a few days away?
If you really like the product, buy it to try when you return home and use it in your next training season should you decide to carry on your Ironman career. Don’t get me wrong. There are many great products introduced and Ironman expos and I’m all for supporting the vendors.
However, most of the suppliers will have websites or addresses where you can also purchase their items at a later date. That would be the smart option to use.
Its always nice to buy some of these nutritional items that are the latest and greatest, but I would suggest waiting until after the race before you try out any of your purchases.
You should adopt the very same strategy if you see a new style of swimming goggle that looks pretty cool, or a super-sleek, fast wet suit that is one-tenth of millimeter thinner under the armpits and will cut 45 seconds off your swim time.
There will be all kinds of Ironman hype that will be tempting you but as long as you’re prepared for it you will not get caught up in it.
Even if you try out those goggles once or twice before the race, they could leak or fog up on race day because they are not adjusted quite right.
Go with the ones you have tried for months and know will work for you. The same goes with a wet suit. If it’s a great price and you really like it, buy it for the next season.
You don’t want to find out that it’s too constricting and uncomfortable 200 meters into your Ironman swim.
IRONMAN “FINISHER” TRI GEAR
Its after the race that the merchandise marked finisher will appear. That’ what you want to be sure and get your hands on. It can be expensive so allow for it in your budget.
Some people tend to go overboard before the race and stock up on merchandise. They don’t seem to realize that when they finish the race, the official finisher merchandise will have a lot of meaning to them.
The Ironman hype is part of the fun, but don’t get too caught up in it and put all your hard work at risk. Mostly it’s common sense but often it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement especially if it’s your first Ironman experience.
I think one of the reasons many novice Ironmen are so willing to try out new tri gear or mess with their triathlon diet is because as the race nears they are beginning to doubt themselves and are looking for that magic bullet.
It’s not there. There is no magic bullet. Be aware of the Ironman hype and have a plan in place and have faith in your preparation and believe in yourself and how far you have come.
Just being part of this great event called “Ironman” is an uplifting experience and it’s the spirit of the Ironman and all the spectators, volunteers, and other participants who will provide the lift and the only edge you will need. Ironman hype is all part of the experience, but do your best to make sound decisions.
Visit Ironman.com for upcoming race information.