Beat Ironman UK

It’s Ironman UK this Sunday. Nervous? Don’t be. Pro Paul Hawkins, who’s looking to beat his seventh at Ironman UK 2011, gives you his tips on taming the Bolton beast…

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1 Have confidence in your training. Don't do any daft last-minute sessions that will hinder the race. Go into it fresh and raring to take it on – don't blow it before the gun goes off.

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2 Prepare yourself psychologically for the race; Ironman is more of a mental battle than a physical one. Learn how to deal with low points. Remember, pain is a sensation and sensations are there to be enjoyed.

3 Don’t get in the water too early – if the race start is delayed you could be left treading water for quite some time.

4 Be prepared for all weathers. So often I’ve gone out riding in glorious sunshine and come back drenched and frozen to the bone. At the bare minimum take arm warmers and a gilet that could be stored easily if not needed.

5 Ensure your gears and brakes work well. There’s a lot of cornering with some tight bends and the terrain is so varied that you’ll definitely need them.

6 Start steady on the bike and see how you feel. Sheep House Lane is the most challenging hill section and you’ll do it three times. Ride within yourself – 1min saved here will cost much more later on. The spectators at the top will really give you a lift. It’s worth saving some legs for the steady drag at Eccleston and Coppull, as you can make big time gains in this section.

7 Have a nutrition plan, but listen to your body. If you feel you need more, have more. If you feel you need less, don’t just force it down.

8 The first section of the run consists of some gentle rolling hills towards Bolton, and then three laps ending at the town centre, where the buzz and atmosphere is awesome and very motivating.

9 Be inspired by those around you. Use energy from the spectators – give them a smile or even a grunt and they’ll help you even more when you’re on your last legs.

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10 Enjoy the race. You've put in the hard work, now enjoy the atmosphere.