Race-Day Guide for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Photo: Larry Rosa/EnduraPix.com

The 70.3 World Championships in Henderson, Nevada offers you a variety of unique challenges that go way above and beyond the casino odds at nearby Las Vegas. With a floating water start, an undulating bike course and a hilly and hot run course, you can get a definite advantage if you play your pacing and fueling cards right. This article will teach you how.

Swim Fueling

Proteins and fats take several hours to digest and clear your gut, which means that if they're in your pre-race meal, you could risk increased blood flow to your gut and less blood available for your exercising muscles.

If you've experimented with things like protein shakes or high-fat meals and they work for you, then great. But otherwise, stick to a simple meal of healthy, natural carbohydrates, and consume it 2 to 3 hours prior to the race.

My favorite stand-by items are a couple of sweet potatoes or yams, with some almond butter, raw honey and sea salt -- and then one caffeinated gel or a sip of sport drink just 5 to 10 minutes prior to the swim start.

More: How to Avoid a Nutrition Meltdown on Race Day

Swim Pacing

The single loop Vegas swim consists of wave starts, with each wave beginning by treading water in Lake Las Vegas. This means you'll have a limited warmup, and you also won't have a chance to run down a beach, or push yourself off the ground for extra momentum.

A dry land warmup will help you start the swim as hard as you should, and you can perform arm swings, leg swings, jumping jacks, hops, shoulder shrugs—and if you have an elastic band—elastic band pulls and pushes as you wait for your wave to begin.

Once you're in the water, if you want to get a little extra bit of speed before the starting gun, get your body completely horizontal with one arm in front and one arm behind. When it's time to go, use one forceful "frog kick" with your legs as you pull your front arm down and swing your behind arm into the first stroke of the race.

More: 4 Swimming Drills to Perfect Your Stroke

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