Live Better
 
 

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.

 

Latest Articles

Exercise

Making sports accessible for kids of all abilities

AllPlay helps to create more inclusive play spaces.

Read more
Exercise

How to make your workout a game

Recharge your motivation by injecting an element of play.

Read more
Exercise

Physical activity hits a 10-year high

Data reveals Australians are exercising more.

Read more
Exercise

How sport can inspire recovery and connection

Jocelyn takes aim at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Read more
Exercise

The healing power of sport

The Invictus Games celebrate the unconquered spirit.

Read more
Exercise

How to train for a running event

Tips to get you crossing the finish line smiling.

Read more
Exercise

Hiking for beginners: how to get started

The gear you need, staying safe, and where to go.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4