Your guide to IRONMAN Cairns 70.3

Heading to Cairns? Courtney Atkinson shares his top tips for getting the most out of your race.

As the winner of the 2013 Cairns IRONMAN 70.3, professional triathlete Courtney Atkinson knows a thing or two about tackling the challenges of the tropical Cairns course. The key, he says, is a balanced approach that includes maintaining hydration, time-saving efficiencies and appreciating the spectacular scenery,

Here. he shares some of his best racing insights…

A head’s up on the course

There’s not much really on the Cairns course that you need to train for specifically. It’s pretty flat, apart from a few small undulations, and very straight forward. Cairns is always going to be humid, so hydration is one of the most important things.

The swim
The swim in Cairns is going to be hot, but because of the stingers up there you need to wear a wetsuit. A long-sleeved wetsuit is quicker and whether you’re a good swimmer or an average swimmer, it gives you free speed. With one of these, it’s more important than usual to make sure you maintain hydration because you dehydrate quicker than you normally would.

The ride
The course is amazing in terms of scenery; it’s a nice day out on the bike. Last year the wind played a big part and kicked up quite strong along the coast. When you have that out and back course structure, pacing into the wind is important. You need to make sure you don’t over pace heading out, only to turn around and find you don’t have the energy to pick up the pace to come home.

The run
The best thing about the run in Cairns is that the first half you’re out on your own, which lets you set your own rhythm and run. Then you get to finish the run with your friends and family. I think it’s a perfect way to run the race because you get the bulk of the distance done on your own and come in and finish with the crowd.

Handling the conditions

The humidity is not going to be extreme enough at that time of year in Cairns that you need to go out of your way to do specific sessions. It’s enough though that people coming up from Victoria and the Southern states will notice the difference. Make sure you’re in a few days earlier to let the body acclimatise but don’t go overboard getting out there and doing too much training. The main thing while you’re racing is to be that little bit more conscious of what you’re drinking and making sure you’re on top of your electrolytes.

Improving efficiency to achieve your best time

Pacing
The less you slow down over an endurance event, the quicker you’ll go.

Transitions
Transitions are a great time to rest, but when you stop, it’s free time. If you’re concerned about having the quickest race possible, the more things you can be doing on the go, the better. Put your run belt and hat on when you’re jogging away from transition, have your shoes already on the bike and have a nutrition boost ready to go – that’s just free seconds.

Segmentation
Break the race down into portions. For me, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you think of the ironman/half ironman distance as a whole, it’s quite daunting. Say to yourself, I’m only going to think about what I’m doing in the swim to the halfway buoy, then I’m going to think about the next half of the swim. Reduce the race down into small parts and trick your mind into thinking in short time all the time. Get to that goal, then set the next goal. When it gets really bad on the run, I break it down into steps – 10 steps on your left leg, 10 steps on the right leg. Make a game out of it.

 

Recommended reading - Delicious soup recipes

Recipes

Butternut pumpkin and parsnip soup recipe

A rich and creamy pumpkin soup, infused with a blend of cumin, paprika and chives.

Read more
Recipes

Broccolini and Cauliflower Soup Recipe

This creamy soup is as filling as it is flavoursome

Read more
Recipes

Coconut roasted pumpkin and apple soup recipe

A hearty, belly-warming soup to rejuvenate and nourish

Read more
Recipes

Fish soup recipe

A surprising blend of flavours makes this Turkish soup a cosy delight

Read more
Recipes

Cauliflower and broccoli soup with sweet potato crisps recipe

Warm up with this creamy, nourishing soup which is packed with nutrients from cruciferous veggies.

Read more
Recipes

Curried cauliflower soup with toasted chickpeas recipe

The nutty goodness of chickpeas takes this creamy soup to delicious new levels

Read more
Recipes

Chicken soup with parmesan, rice, peas and lemon recipe

A soothing soup with rich veggie flavours and a touch of fragrant parsley.

Read more
Recipes

Spicy pumpkin and lentil soup recipe

Spice up your soup ideas this winter with a pumpkin and lentil soup inspired by Indian flavours.

Read more
Recipes

Lentil soup recipe

Lentil-based dishes like this red lentil soup are not only delicious but are packed with goodness.

Read more
Recipes

Lamb shank and vegetable soup recipe

Need a new soup recipe? This hearty lamb soup beckons with bursts of fresh vegies.

Read more
Recipes

Pea and ham soup recipe

Try this take on a classic soup by seasoning with Himalayan pink salt.

Read more
Recipes

Simple kohlrabi soup recipe

A creamy, comforting soup, perfect for the cooler months.

Read more
Recipes

Thai pumpkin soup recipe

Creamy smooth pumpkin soup with a kick of hot chilli, fragrant lemongrass and coriander.

Read more
Recipes

Lean green vegetable soup recipe

Get your green fix with this zucchini and spinach soup, infused with fresh coriander.

Read more
Recipes

Light pumpkin soup recipe

Looking for a lighter alternative to traditionally creamy pumpkin soup?

Read more
Recipes

Minestrone soup recipe

This minestrone by Dani of Fitness, Food and Style is packed full of antioxidants.

Read more
Lifestyle

Pumpkin soup recipe

This simple winter favourite is spicy and fragrant with ginger, nutmeg and cumin

Read more
Recipes

Roasted beetroot soup with macadamia sour cream recipe

Brightly coloured and full of flavour, this rich, warming soup is a deliciously satisfying.

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese pho soup recipe

Fresh, healthy Vietnamese Pho soup recipe you can make at home.

Read more
Recipes

Trippy tie-dye soup recipe

Brighten up your winter with this rich, tasty and oh-so-wholesome soup from My New Roots

Read more
Recipes

Vegetable and lentil soup

A nourishing soup for a cool winter's day

Read more
Recipes

Chipotle sweet potato soup with black bean salsa

This spicy, fragrant sweet potato soup will banish any thought of the winter chills.

Read more
Recipes

Vegetarian laksa recipe

Fill up on colourful winter veggies in a light, creamy laksa

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.