Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ironman Coeur d'Alene

Drawing on Endurance Corner's collective years of experience and access to an extended network of some of the most knowledgeable racers, we wanted to provide our best recommendations for approaching some of the biggest races around the world.

Here, we profile Ironman Coeur d'Alene in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful place to visit and explore -- it’s an even better place to race an Ironman. The city lends itself to triathletes with friendly locals, plenty of options for food and shopping, and a great swim bike run venue.

Travel and Accomodations
Travel to Coeur d’Alene is easy with a flight into Spokane, Washington. From Spokane it’s a 45-minute straight shot east on Highway 90. Accommodations in Coeur d’Alene are plenty with the host hotel for the event being the Coeur d’Alene Resort. This resort fills for the event before the race sells out, but don’t fret because there are plenty of bed and breakfast, motels, camp grounds, and chain hotels to choose from.

Once in town, you will have a nice array of local cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops for dining. There are also a couple well-stocked grocery stores near the event. I recommend Java on Sherman for a sandwich and a great cup of coffee.

Pre-Race Workouts
This event has one of the best practice swim setups in all of Ironman. Be sure to take advantage of the practice swim in the days leading up to the event. If you get in town early, the beach is open for swimming. Ironman CdA has, in some circles, a reputation for being a tough swim. The water can be cold. The website calls for temperatures around 60 degrees. I’ve raced it colder than that. Also, if any wind kicks up over the lake, it can be choppy. The start of the race will be done in a rolling fashion similar to a big marathon race. There will also be numbered buoys, a designated warm up area, and platforms along the course that an athlete can go to for assistance.

The Swim
The swim course is a two-loop course with a short jog on the beach at the halfway point. It’s a rectangular swim that flows counter-clockwise. Be aware that at the first left hand turn at the far end of the course will put you looking right into the sun if it is a clear day.

The Bike
The bike has a short out-and-back from transition that parallels the run course. This will take you back through town before riding out on the first of two loops heading southwest along Highway 95. The course is very straight with a few long, slight incline climbs. Vince Matteo, EC-alumnus, multiple-time Ironman CdA finisher and Kona qualifier summed the course up the best: “The biggest problem is that the hills are long and gradual which can cause you to take them too aggressively.” Set yourself a power cap if racing with a power meter. If not, be aware of your effort as the long gradual climbs can lull you into working above your zone.

The Run
The run course is also two loops. There is a short, but sharp downhill in the first couple miles of the run that you will run up twice, once at the end of the first loop, then again just before the finish. At the farthest end of the run course there is a downhill-uphill combo at the turn around. Other than these two hills, the run course is pancake-flat and mostly right along beautiful Coeur d’Alene Lake. The finishing straight is down Sherman street and slightly downhill. This is great for running fast into the tape, just get on top of your momentum and let the road carry you into the finish!

Harold Wilson has raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene six times.

Harold is the Fitness Director at Impact Performance & Fitness and resides in Dallas, Texas. He has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is currently working towards his Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Coach Harold has credentials from USAT, USAC, NASM, NSCA, and several years’ experience coaching endurance athletes.

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