My coach sent this to me, so I’m sending it to you.   

With Ironman Louisville and Wisconsin in the rear view mirror it’s time to turn our attention to Ironman Maryland and Chattanooga. Both races take place this month with each making their debut on the WTC Ironman circuit. Last night I had dinner with an athlete who is about to take his first crack at the Ironman distance later this month in Chattanooga. We talked a lot about the upcoming race and pelted each other with questions for about 2 hours over pizza. I know the majority of athletes doing IMCHATT are first timers so in the spirit of state wide preparation here are the top 10 tips I deep dished out:
1. Paper or Plastic?
You’ll likely be dealing with some cooler temps as you hop on the bike soaking wet on race morning. Instead of throwing on winter cycling gear go with plastic garbage or grocery bags. Take about 3-4 of them, fold them up into a “chest size” vest. In T1, place them underneath your tri top before heading out. The bags will keep your core warm and also serve as a wind breaker for the downhills and winds on the flats. It will keep you warm. Save you time in T1 and no aero penalty. When you get warm enough ditch them at an aid station. Problem solved.
2. Cut it out! 
Do yourself a favor and find room in your suitcase to pack scissors. Take your bike number and cut it in 2. Trim ALL of the fat from your bike. Place one number on each side of your downtube. You likely spent a lot of money to make things “aero.” Dont negate it with a number flapping in the wind. Or worse, place it on your seat post and risk some nasty papercuts on your hamstrings. Regardless, it just looks clean.
3. No peaking
The majority of you will be following some sort of HR or power guidelines for pacing. Keep the “home” screen of your bike computer focused only on those. NO mph. Follow your plan and ride smart. Obsessing over your average MPH for 116 miles will just lead to your ego taking over and over cooking the bike.  Work your plan and let the day fall where it may. Bike for show. Run for doe.
4. Drugs are bad. Coke on the other hand…
Their is nothing sweeter on the run than flat coke. Carbs, sugar, calories and caffeine. Hit it at mile 1 then make sure you keep going back to the well at least every other mile. Besides the “energy” boost you will likely start to face some mental fatigue on the run. You have been up since 4am. Swam 2.4 miles are biked 116. Its been a long day already so the caffeine will help keep you in the game.
5. Get your roll on
If you plan on rocking arm wamers/coolers dont leave them strung out in your T1 bag. I have seen some people take longer putting on their arm warmers than it took them to get into their wetsuit. Put on your arm warmers. Then fold them down, over, and over. About 3-4x. Leaving 3-4 inches unrolled and pack them. In T1 put them on each wrist (think old school sweatbands for your wrist). Get on your way and then roll them up during the first few miles of the bike. Get to warm. Roll them back down.
6. Your current stroke
The swim will be with the current. Keep your strokes long and strong. The current will be pushing you and with a full stroke you will be able to grab all of the water below that will be pushing against your forearm. Enjoy the swim and likely a new PR.
7. No nutrition left behind
Simple but often over looked. If you drop your main nutrition, either your concentrated bottle or your gel, capsule, bar bag, go back and get it. It might cost you a minute or two but a botched nutrition plan could cost you and hour or 2. Just go get it.
8.  Back it down
Run your first couple miles at least 2 min/per mile slower than you “hope” to settle into.  You’re hotter than you think off the bike and driving your heart rate and core temperature up too fast could ruin your run.
9. Conserve on the Hills
By all accounts Chattanooga run course has some unwelcome hills and the last thing you want to do is increase effort to get up them.  The time you lose climbing hills using the same effort level you do for flats will be well worth the energy saved in your legs.
10.  Keep moving
If there is any doubt about your hydration or core temperature it’s probably a good idea to walk the aid stations while fueling.  But other than that, running, no matter how slow, will be the key to finishing in your hopeful time.  The run is going to hurt, but unless you have a walk/run strategy, fight with all your might to keep from walking.  Once you give in, it keeps getting easier.


10 Solid Strategies for Ironman Chattanooga (Maryland)