3 Tips for Competing in Ironman Sacramento, CA

2001: Men ages 30-34 begin the 1.2 mile swim at Lucky Peak Reservoir, the start of the Ironman 70.3 Boise Triathlon.

2001: Men ages 30-34 begin the 1.2 mile swim at Lucky Peak Reservoir, the start of the Ironman 70.3 Boise Triathlon.

Idaho Statesman File

Ironman California is coming to Sacramento this weekend.

Which got us wondering, what does it take to compete in an Ironman triathlon?

The 140.6 mile race pushes athletes’ endurance to extreme levels. A participant must complete a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and then finish with a marathon. It’s safe to say that racing requires dedication and enthusiasm to succeed.

The Bee spoke with Vince Jones, Vice President of the Sacramento Triathlon Club and avid Ironman participant. He will participate in Sunday’s competition.

“It’s the toughest physical challenge I can think of,” Jones said. “For me, once I did one, I was like, ‘Wow, I really really feel like now I can do pretty much anything physically. “”

Vince Jones poses in front of his bike. Courtesy of Vince Jones

What time should I start training?

If you plan to participate in a triathlon, conditioning will be an integral part of the trip. The rule of thumb is usually to start training six months before the race start date. The Ironman website offers a six-month training plan that anyone interested in racing can follow.

For Jones, Ironman California will be the third triathlon he has entered this year. He started the year at the St. George Ironman 70.3 World Championship, then he raced the Alaska Ironman, and now he’s finishing the year in his hometown of Sacramento. Although he hasn’t stopped training, he also suggests starting six months before the start of the race.

“I would say four months is probably pretty hard training, it narrows a bit like a mountain and then comes back down,” Jones said of what his conditioning has been like during the six months of preparation for Ironman. “The last two weeks I put in probably 10-15 hours a week, in the middle of the four months it’s probably 20-25 [hours]sometimes 30 in the optimal two weeks.

This week before Ironman, Jones trained five days a week, but mid-workout he was training six days a week. In fact, earlier this week he did a little triathlon on his own.

Nutrition is also important

Conditioning six days a week can be taxing on the body, so nutrition plays a big role in preparation.

“My diet is completely changing,” Jones said.

He doesn’t eat fast food, he watches his sugar intake and the amount of carbs he eats. Although he says he’s more relaxed than most and still likes to have fun with what he eats.

have a straight mind

Feeling anxious is normal on race day.

“There’s a mental part of this thing that most people kind of overlook, and to me that’s probably more important than the physical part.” said Jones.

In a survey published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, positive self-talk was the most used mental strategy during a triathlon day.

“When I talk to people I try to tell them you’ve covered all the distance, you’ve done all the work, the only difference now is you can do it with a group of people, with a group of friends – and you get free food,” Jones said.

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This story was originally published October 22, 2022 5:30 a.m.

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Jacqueline Pinedo is a reporter with The Bee’s service journalism team. She previously interned at the Los Angeles Times and completed her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.

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