1) Consistency, consistency, consistency. So many people like to be a hero for one session and then are nailed for days after. Train hard but consistently, and train to your own zones, not your mates!
2) Train to improve your threshold power and speeds across the three disciplines, as this is the biggest limiting factor in a lot of long-distance athletes.
3) Either get a coach or write your own training plan; having something written down will make a big difference.
4) Record your training data. It’s great to look back on your training to see what you were doing when you were going well, and also to see how you can improve.
5) Some people have mantras while racing; I just tell myself to stop being a pussy and to dig in! At the ITU Long Distance Worlds I got dropped after 8km on the run, gave myself some stern words and ran my way up to third place with the fastest run split. Sometimes your head is your biggest rival, or your best asset!
6) At the swim start, find some swimmers that you know are a bit quicker then you and start next to them with the aim of getting on their feet. They’ll probably drag you round to a faster swim split for less effort! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
7) If you have a power meter, use it to stop yourself going too hard at the start of a long-distance event. A lot of people start off way too hard and you don’t suddenly gain 30watts on your functional threshold power (FTP) on race day. It’ll catch up with you later on in the event and you’ll end up racing much slower.
8) Expect to feel like rubbish at some points in the race. This is perfectly normal and, in every Ironman event I’ve done, I’ve wondered if I’m going to make it to the finish. You have to expect this and have confidence in that; it’s just a phase and you’ll feel better again soon. Just push through and embrace it!
9) If it really hurts, you’re probably going too fast. If it doesn’t hurt at all, you’re either on a great day or not going fast enough.
10) A little post-race pet hate of mine. If you finished fourth in your age-group but were 35th overall don’t tell people you came fourth. You know full well you were 35th. If you’re not happy with your overall position, train harder, train smarter and race harder!