Sunday’s Ironman Arizona is known for its flat, fast course with lots of loops (three on the bike, three on the run) and the potential threat of wind on the exposed bike course. Since the race has moved from April to November as of a few years ago, heat has been less of an issue—this year’s forecast looks to be 78 degrees with no chance of rain, making for a picture-perfect day for competitors.
With the help of three-time IMAZ finisher Jessica Herschberg of FTP Coaching in Nashville, we have some tips for how to best navigate your race. Good luck to those tackling 140.6 this weekend!
Tips for the swim:
• Tempe Town Lake is not known for its crystal-clear waters. The murkiness means limited visibility—as in, you can’t really see your hand in front of you—so be prepared for flying arms or a foot in your face seemingly out of nowhere.
• The good news is that the one-loop course is very calm. The chaos of the mass start usually dissipates by the turnaround.
• Bring a couple goggle options and try them out in the practice swim the day before. In addition to the limited visibility, the swim starts due east, so the sun can be harsh for sighting as you go out. (Thankfully it follows a straight wall, which can help with sighting.)
• It’s a deep water start, so the earlier you enter the water, the longer you’re treading. “Be careful to not spend excess energy before you race,” advises Herschberg. On the flip side, waiting around too long could lead to a panicked last-minute 6:58 jump-in that won’t do much to calm your nerves.