Leadership Lessons From: John ‘Cookie’ Cooke, Perth-based lawyer and committed endurance athlete – 8-time Ironman finisher (5 X IMWA).
IMWA is a great race for the beginner. But like any Ironman, it is an endurance race and it is about preparation. The next six weeks is crucial and, hopefully, they would have had a solid block of training behind them. I think a 4-5 month preparation is necessary. In no particular, order my quick thoughts:
The key suggestions, now, are to do at least 2 long rides of 5-6 hours and some long runs.
Start planning and writing down a nutrition-plan and practise it. Work out how many calories and electrolytes you will need with hydration, and practise it. Be flexible to test it against a very hot day and a very cold day, although for the past few years IMWA has been a warm day.
Do practice some open-water swims. Most triathletes still have issues with the swim leg, and I still need to get a lot of practice in the ocean before I am comfortable.
Basically, the more preparation you have the more you will enjoy the race, and the faster you can go without bonking.
In terms of the mental side, like any problem that needs to be solved, do not focus on the whole problem (race) for it can be daunting for any first-timer. It is a long race, and so just start to think and even visualize the different legs, how you plan to start in the swim, and where you are going to position yourself. In the ride, visualize riding, getting into a routine of eating and drinking, and trying to maintain a pace that is suitable.
Where possible, always drive through the course for the bike leg. Get your bike serviced, before the race and make sure you have all the equipment you need. Make a checklist.
Most of all – enjoy the experience. Too many participate because it is on their bucket list of things to do. Whilst the race is important and finishing is important, it is the training, and the day itself that enlightens us about testing our self. Each race is different, and how we react will be different, too. Have a Goal A, Goal B and Goal C. Set targets that are realistic and achievable. The aim is to finish, and then to get a PB in each leg, if possible.