Ironman Lake Placid 70.3 2021

Aw come on, we are losing 2021 races now too! Now that the IMLP 70.3 is off the books for 2021 what does that mean?

For starters it seems like the IMLP 140.6 is going to be THE race of the year in the Northeast. With many of the other Northeast WTC races discontinued, and all of the deferred entries carried over, this will be a very desired race with few remaining spots.

Will the 70.3 take place in 2022? Unkonown, but the original contract with the village was for 3 years which would expire in 2021. Considering some of the financial hits WTC will take this year, it is anyones guess if the 70.3 continues. From personal experience though, that time of year is tough in that area. The weather is unpredictable and can cause many second thoughts for followup racers and a sellout is not a guarantee, especially with Mont Tremblant competing for the Canadian crowd as well.

Will the 140.6 happen? It would be very disappointing if it did not. These races are not just something athletes look forward to. The village of Lake Placid, businesses, coaches, gyms…all depend on events like this taking place. Time will tell, fingers crossed.

Are there any alternatives in the area? Well Tupper Lake has Tinman which is a 70.3 held towards the end of June. It wasn’t held this year because of the ‘rona, but if things are safe there is a good chance it will be up for 2021. I have a feeling this will also be very popular as athletes look to get back into the mix of things.

In the meantime we can push with personal challenges on the Placid course, explore new routes, and train like we were racing. Even if the carrot is not there and we don’t have the typical ways to test ourselves, we can sleep later, enjoy the extra beer, and see the family before noon on the weekend. Not the worst scenario.

Simple Zwift Hack

Everyone wants the flashy Tron bike in Zwift. It is one of the fastest bikes available, let’s people know you can spin the wheels. To earn this bike though, you must climb a significant amount. You must complete an Everest summit challenge and continue climbing for over 40,000 meters more, until you’ve reached 50,000 meters total.

The trick I have employed revolves mostly around workouts and fixed wattage rides vs. free rides. When I have a specific workout to do, I will always choose Alpe Du’ Zwift to ride. Because the wattages will be pre-selected by the workout, it will be the same effort on a flat course as it will up the Alpe. This gives you essentially free climbing numbers that you may not have gotten on a flat course for the exact same amount of work.

Faster Triathlon Run Legs

Triathletes will spend thousands on a set of bike wheels to gain a few watts advantage. Most of the time, this equals only seconds over the shorter distance races. Even on long courses the time savings is often minimal with a high financial outlay.

Here we will talk about a technique that runners have used forever, but is rarely discussed with new triathletes. Running the tangents.

What does running the tangents mean? Essentially it means running the shortest distance possible on a course. In order to do this, you must run in the straightest line possible, and on the inside edges of all turns, or from inside edge to inside edge. On a particularly curvey course there is a significant amount of distance to make up by taking the inside edges, and the straightest course possible. To give an idea, on an 8 lane track, the outside lane can be over 50 meters longer than the inside lane per lap. In Ironman Lake Placid, because of the winding River Road out and back, I have measured almost a quarter mile of difference on the marathon by running the tangents. If you run at 8:00/mi pace, that is 2 minutes in the bank and it didn’t even cost you anything.

The difficulty here is staying focused on the path and not the pain. It is doubly difficult because we tend to run in the shoulder while training, and this has become a habit for many people. So when they travel to bigger races and the shoulder is not the only place to run (often times the full road or lane is closed) there is no thought to adjust course. However, the wider the path the bigger the possible gains. As easy as it sounds though, even for those that are focused, when we tire out towards the end of the race we tend to follow an edge of the road instead of keeping our lines straight. We also drift considerably due to aid stations and passing other runners. This zigzagging costs time and energy.

So practice running more efficiently by taking the shortest and straightest route between points and turns, and when that isn’t possible for safety reasons, visualize it during practice. In your mind review the course map and know where the turns are and be ready when they come. Doing this will help running the tangents become second nature and the results will yield better results for your run legs.

Staying Cool In a Triathlon

It always amazed me that even though most longer foot races such as marathons and half marathons are only really done in the Spring and Fall, plenty of triathletes are running the distance during the Summer. On top of that, usually at the peak of the sun and heat for the day.

Heat management and fluid management is a crucial component in successful racing. While so far in my races I have never DNF’ed, there have been a few times that facing the heat on a second lap run leg was making me waver. Here are a few things I have learned to do in order to stay cool and keep the finish streak alive.

First, although this article won’t be about fluid management or intake, it is worth mentioning that cold liquids can help to keep you cool. For any race over an Olympic distance, I have found that grabbing a water AND a sports drink at each aid area is key. Why both? The water is for pouring over your head, the sports drink is for the electrolytes, and carbs. Even if you only sip, take them both because you don’t get that station back.

If the race has ice, I will skip the water and take a cup of ice. I may put a piece in my mouth, but normally I will dump the cup into my hat, and run with it melting and dripping down my body cooling me off. Usually this will last until the next aid station with ice (many times every other), and I can reload. I have done some exceptionally hot (Miami, New Hampshire, Syracuse) half-Iron races that would have been nearly impossible without this approach. The same holds true for full distance racing.

What type of hat? Mountain Hardware makes a fantastic long brimmed, comfortable and easy to wash hat that I will use for races. Some of the race swag hats are also pretty good for keeping cool as they are normally white and thin, but won’t hold as much ice.

At some races sponges are a good alternative to ice, and putting them in a hat or in your jersey will help keep you cool as well. These tend to run out though and may not be there for the second lap or later racers.

Another method I am a growing fond of is the cooling neck gaiter. These also serve to keep the sun off of the neck, which can be a saving grace when you try to sleep that night. In my last Ironman, someone on the run informed me of my ‘beet red’ neck. I thanked him for his concern, let him know it was generations of fair skin in the making, and left him staring at the red blur pulling away in a painfully fatigued gait. So my recommendation on this is a Mission Cooling Gaiter.

A few other things that can help marginally are to unzip your jersey to within the rule limit. Normally this is about to the diaphragm. It doesn’t help much but it is something. Also when it is very hot I will try to pull back slightly on the sections of the course with no shade cover and push the areas that are protected. This may not seem meaningful, but it can help avoid the red line. Sometimes, once you overheat, there is no coming back.

Some things to avoid in the heat. Don’t pour the Gatorade over your head. Sticky. Also consider avoiding the sprinklers and hoses that some people put out. I have made the mistake of running through these to cool off, only to find my shoes soaked, heavy, and blister machines from then on. This is a judgement call though. If the heat is too much, it is better to take the wet shoes on but still finish the race.

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Lake Placid Ironman 2020

We are all very disappointed with the cancellation not only of IMLP and the IMLP 70.3, but the season as a whole. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anyway to still get out and enjoy the Lake Placid area. In fact, taking some time to explore the area without the race pressures may be even better for some people. Here are a few reasons to visit the area, and a few potentially new things to try out.

Trail running on Cobble Hill, Heaven Hill and the Peninsula Trails. All three areas are runable from town although Heaven Hill is pushing 4 miles each way, plus the loops. All three also offer some great views for the work done, and may also be a good option for family hikes. One person runs ahead while the rest enjoy the walk and scenery. Be sure to find the Lake Placid dam on the Peninsula trails and take the Big Field loop for a great vista in Heaven Hill. For a more challenging out and back check out Haystack Mountain just out of town on 86. A large trailhead for parking, hard to get lost, with a tough last mile to the summit. (About 6.6 miles round trip run. Feels like 7)

Stand Up paddleboarding on Mirror Lake. Put in behind the clamshell at Mid’s Park or down at the beach and take your time going up and down the lake with plenty of chances to jump off in the middle. One training cheat we like to do is the family paddles while I swim behind them. This way we all get to spend time together, it is a bit safer if I get into trouble, and everyone gets something out of it. There are rentals at EMS and toward the beach but they fill up fast. Instead of renting we bring our own; here is a link to the SUP we use on the lake. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CX991PJ/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07CX991PJ&linkId=6c7ada6a41439507aa39d262775826dd

Pavement porn on 86 from the top of Papa Bear down to the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway. You might only have to pedal once after you reach Papa Bear now that the road has been repaved. A nice and easy downhill ride. Meet the family at the base of the mountain before you head up for some great views on the top of Whiteface. Either ride back into town or put the bike in the car and take the easy way back.

Check out the waterfalls that the bike course passes. High Falls Gorge is out of town on 86, and is a nice river walk along graded trails with a stairway that takes you down and into the gorge that the falls are in. The kids love this, especially the clear platform that juts out from the cliff. If you follow 86 a bit further than the gorge, over the bridge, where there is a pull over on the right and left sides of the road. The right side has a short hike down to the river with nice views and rock hopping for the kids. Take the other side to hike up the river and towards Whiteface. This is a fun area for mountain biking as well. Don’t forget the water and bug spray.

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5 Non-Bike Triathlon Upgrades

The unspoken secret of the successful triathlete is the quality of their equipment, but most athletes focus too much attention on bike upgrades, and forget about some of the other areas that might be in need of attention. Here we talk about some items that will help with both performance improvements and making triathlons more enjoyable. These are as good for the new triathlete as they are for the seasoned ‘Professional Amateur’. Enjoy.

Watches

Let’s face it, the watch is one of the most important pieces of kit we are going to have during a race or training. Heart rate, speed, distance are all captured for instant feedback, and transferred to online applications for tracking and record keeping. Some important features to consider are battery life (especially for Iron distance races), adjustable pool sizes for swimming at home, comfort, and ease of use. This Garmin is a workhorse and will last for years. It has great native integrations with Garmin Connect, and supports safety features such as Live track and incident detection.

Recommendation Garmin Forerunner 945 – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QTVMWVL/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07QTVMWVL&linkId=1d7e4955d9fe89fd09b099a2a67a672f

Goggles

There are few things worse than enduring a poor swim leg of a race. With all of the things that can go wrong and are out of your hands, why chance the few things you can control. Goggles are one of the elements you can control, and there are a few decisions to make with these. After trying out many types, a few features have stood out. The first is an easy adjusting ratchet system to tighten or loosen the straps to keep the water out. This makes last minute tweaks easy and effortless. A soft eye cup that won’t leave you in pain during a long swim, and doesn’t make you look like a racoon at the office after early morning swims. And maybe most important, a light sensitive lens that will darken or lighten based on sun conditions. Because swims often have direction changes there will be different sun exposures throughout. With an adjusting photo chromatic lens, the swimmer won’t have to choose for only one section of the leg.

Recommendation HUUB Aphotic –https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QGC8G78/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07QGC8G78&linkCode=as2&tag=floatspingwal-20&linkId=1be81960141313587143257861a09d9a

Sun Protection

Training and racing have tremendous health benefits, but there are some risks that come with being under the sun in a tank top for hours. Triathletes need to protect themselves from the sun, but this is not an easy task. For starters, many sunscreens are applied before the swim and are largely gone by the time T1 rolls around. Re-applying takes precious time from the finish, and might be the difference between a podium and a participation award. The goal is to use something that works for the whole race with minimal re-application needs. Another consideration is keeping cool on the hottest days. One way to achieve both sun protection and keeping cool is to use a wet neck gaiter. This has the benefit of being reusable, is quick to put on, and the sun protection won’t wear out from sweat.

Recommendation Mission Cooling Gaiter – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UR4HHC8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00UR4HHC8&linkId=3633ca3ee407a2936b880663ae570326

Zealios Sun Barrier – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F48C08S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00F48C08S&linkId=b143de0b012e603652f31ae3bad450a7

Recovery

The often over looked post race and workout recovery is the difference between facing a staircase with confidence the day after a long course, or searching for the wheelchair ramp. There are numerous devices and techniques to consider, some being better depending on the situation and fatigue involved. Compression is a great method, from socks to full leg enclosures. The automated systems don’t require much thought and can be done while relaxing or sitting on the couch. Rollers are also very good, and can be easily packed for a destination or travel race. These do require a bit more diligence but are the best for targeting specific areas.

Recommendation Normatec Boots – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RD6QWZC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07RD6QWZC&linkId=392557aff92c23855929edd2989b2d60

TriggerPoint Foam roller – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0040EGNIU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B0040EGNIU&linkId=078636b9c257bda830e4d521bfc99237

Gear Bag

Triathlon involves a lot of gear. Multiple changes of clothes, shoes, hats, helmets, sunglasses, water bottles, towels, nutrition, lubes, ointments, you get the idea. Carrying all of this in addition to a bike is not always an easy task. Ideally, a bag is easy to carry WHILE riding a bike to accommodate long parking to transition races. It should also have good storage space with plenty of pockets for specific items, as well as wet and dry pockets to keep your swim gear separate from the rest of your equipment after the race.

Recommendation Ogio Endurance 9.0 – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078JDPX1S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=floatspingwal-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B078JDPX1S&linkId=c23c6d3fcd580298cc423f4040849e40

This curated list contains affiliate links, and each linked purchase equals #CommissionsEarned (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.) Thank you for the support.