Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire: Race info, tips and training advice
Want to get the better of this popular 70.3 course? Then take the advice of top age-grouper and coach at Stafford Tri Club, James Jennings
Preparing for Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire in 2023 and want all the help you can get?
Here is our guide to this popular race, including practical details, training advice and tips for race day.
When is Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire?
Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire takes place on Sunday 11 June 2023.
Where does the race take place?
The event begins at Chasewater, a reservoir in Burntwood, Staffordshire, that sits just to north of the M6 (Toll).
The bike leg takes you into the town of Stafford, which is where you’ll undertake the run and cross the finish line.
How long is Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire?
This race is a half-Ironman, which means you’ll need to swim 1.9km, cycle 90km and run 21.2km (the equivalent of a half marathon).
What’s the course like?
It begins with a rolling start in Chasewater reservoir, where you’ll complete a one-lap swim.
That’s followed by the 90km bike. With 850m of elevation gain, it’s not exactly flat, but nor is it a hilly beast. There are, however, a mix of fast sweeping bends and tight turns, which will require good cornering skills.
Once onto the run, you’ll have a 2.5-lap course to tackle, which takes in Stafford Castle, parks and the town centre.
The nature of the course means that it’s great for spectators and there should be consistent support for most of the run.
It has several out-and-back sections and aid stations after every couple of miles.
The finish line is right in the centre of town.
Top tips for racing Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire
The rolling start into Chasewater makes for a superb swim experience.
Hedge your bets by self-seeding correctly; swimming with those of similar ability will save energy expenditure, lower your stress levels and you’ll generally find your space pretty quickly. See session 1 (below).
The exit from T1 can be bumpy, take your time in the first couple of kilometres and ensure your nutrition is secure – it’s a must!
The first 16km of the bike course is fairly technical so pick your lines into the corners and hold them, this is a fast course.
From 16km onwards the course opens up onto wide rolling roads with stunning backdrops, aero all the way. Ensure your bike set-up is dialled in accurately and tested; session 2 is a good way of practising this.
After the loop on Cannock Chase there’s a fast finish to Stafford Town via Tixall.
Once the hill at Tixall is summited you’ll fly into Stafford Town Centre and the new T2 area at Riverway. Session 3 will help assist in tackling the short hills you will encounter.
The run course will see you arrive in the town centre and onto the 2.5-lap course. With the loops passing through the main high street and Victoria Park, it’s a very spectator-friendly course.
Session 4 will assist in training for this type of course – staying on target race pace while attacking the turnaround points will ensure a good time.
In the same vein as previous years, the aid stations will be well stocked throughout the course. Remember, planning your race-day nutrition and training accordingly will go a long way to ensuring a good day out.
The bike is key, concentrate on form and pacing, think ‘to the finish’. Session 5 will help you practise race strategy.
Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire training sessions
Practise mass starts with local club swims or open-water swim races. Swim side by side in a pool lane or swim en-masse in open water.
On a flat route or indoor trainer, do a 15-20min warmup including 5 x 30sec efforts to increase heart rate. Main set: 3-4 x 20min efforts at race pace held in the aero position, with 5mins easy spin between reps. 10min cool-down.
Find a rolling bike route, concentrate on maintaining your normal cadence through gear selection and power output or RPE when climbing. Conserve energy up the hills and work consistently when descending.
Track or treadmill. 10min warm-up then 5-7 x 1km reps at race pace with 90secs recovery – get to race pace quickly and sustain through reps.
Long brick sessions are perfect to experiment with nutrition. Set a timer to alert you every 15-20mins to refuel.
Top image credit: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ironman