How to get Ironman-ready, as told by an Olympic triathlete
The season of intense sporting competitions has well and truly begun. With Ironman soon to be landing in the USA's Colorado and Bolton, UK, and the London Triathlon just a few weeks away, Sweaty Betty sought the help of two-time Olympian and inspirational triathlete Michelle Dillon to find out her recommendations on kit, taper training and re-fuelling during the race.
What are the key things to look for in terms of kit, when completing a triathlon?
Kit is a very important part of the race. You need to be comfortable, able to move and breathe freely in what you are wearing. Look for pieces that enable good movement, are crafted in quality materials and feel comfortable. Colour and prints will ensure you look great as well!
What are your most memorable triathlon successes?
I have been European Champion at Olympic Distance, World Bronze Medalist at Triathlon Olympic Distance, British Triathlon Champion, Multiple World Cup Triathlon winner, World Duathlon Champion (Run/bike/run) and 6th at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
How do you recommend easing your training for the taper? How would this differ between preparing for an upcoming Ironman or the London Triathlon?
I would recommend easing your full training schedule 10 days to 2 weeks before your big race. This enables you to absorb the work you have previously done and to freshen up. Ironman training will likely mean longer steadier miles during training - in this case, you should ideally cut this right back during the taper. Training for an Olympic-distance triathlon usually includes a mix of fast and slow sessions, so during the taper it's good to cut back on both but still keep some speed. This keeps the muscles firing without overdoing it.
Are you currently in training for any event?
Coaching is more my focus now. I do still swim, cycle and run but not so much competitively anymore - I leave that to my athletes! However, I was recently training for a 10km road race and I do regular park runs over 5km. Fitness is part of my life and I enjoy training every day.
Do you have any tips on re-fuelling during and after race day?It's important to fuel your body before and during the event, and recover well afterwards. On race day, I would recommend using a MaxiNutrition Viper Drink during the bike leg, MaxiNutrition Viper active gels on the bike and run, and have a 250ml MaxiNutrition Protein Milk within 20 minutes of the end of the race to enhance your recovery. Day to day, one of my favourite drinks is Vita Coco (coconut Water) to help keep you hydrated and refreshed.