Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ironman Lanzarote

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 Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain.




Profile provided by Russ Cox

Travel and Accommodation
There are flights to Arrecife airport in Lanzarote available from many European airports. Most budget carriers fly there and if booked sufficiently in advance prices are generally cheap, but watch for the cost of a bike on top. Arrecife is a 15-minute car journey from Puerto del Carmen, the start of the Ironman, and about 40 minutes from Club La Santa where the race office is based. If you plan to spend a few days sightseeing you can pick up a car from any of the numerous car rental companies available in the airport; otherwise there are taxis at the front of the hotel or you can book a shuttle bus service which should work out cheaper.

Being a major tourist destination, accommodation is plentiful and has something to offer for every budget. The race starts and ends in Puerto del Carmen, but registration, race briefing, pasta party and awards take place on the other side of the island in Club La Santa. If you stay in Club La Santa for the race there is a shuttle service available for swim practice, bike check in and race day morning (they even bring your bikes back after the race). However, I recommend staying in Puerto del Carmen as it’s cheaper and race day itself is much easier; hotels close to the race start are easy to find. You will need to travel to Club La Santa for registration and the briefing, but a shuttle service can be booked in advance.

Using the shuttle services during race week means you don't need to hire a vehicle for the length of your stay, but if you do want to drive the course or see the sights you can easily hire a small car for a day and tour the island.

Pre-Race Workouts
If you're based in Puerto del Carmen then it's easy to practice on the course itself. During race week the buoys will be put out that mark the full swim course and you'll usually find groups of triathletes practicing first thing in the morning. The roads around Puerto del Carmen are busy, but there will be plenty of cyclists about; you can follow the course out of town to find quieter roads. The marathon is along the beachfront, so you can pick up the course at any time of day.

If you're based in Club La Santa you will have access to all their sports facilities and their lagoon for open water swimming. A shuttle bus for swim practice runs on the last few mornings before race start for those who want to practice on the course. You can pick up the bike course at the halfway point which passes by the complex.

Weather
Conditions are likely to be warm, sunny and windy. Lanzarote is known for its winds which typically cut across the island from the north and are a large part of the challenge of this race. Temperatures tend to be mid-20s C (high 70s F) around the race. Heat and sun are major factors in the later half of the race.

Race Morning
Athletes in Puerto del Carmen will have a short trip to transition, while those in Club La Santa can use the morning shuttle service to get to the start. Allow yourself time to set up in transition and get to the beach. The race start is narrow with tightly packed athletes lining up behind it. If you want a good position here you need to be warmed up and in the queue early.

Swim
When the gun fires, the athletes at the front sprint into the water. The first 400m can be quite hectic until you turn left at the first buoy. If you want to avoid the worst of the melee, start over to the right and swim slightly wide before cutting in at the buoy. For the first half of each lap you can follow a line of buoys and not worry about sighting until you turn and return to the beach. There is a short beach run between each lap.

On exit from the water after the second lap it's a short run to the changing tent and up into transition.

Bike
The bike course is a challenging single loop circumnavigating the island. It is hilly, but the wind is the real challenge in Lanzarote as it is in your face for most of the climbs. Pacing this course is vital -- it's very easy to go far too hard early in the race and suffer later. The last 40 miles of the race contain a lot of downhill and flat sections along with a tailwind; if you can reach this stage in good shape you have the potential to claim a lot of places.

None of the climbs are exceptionally steep, but the headwinds make them more difficult. I recommend a 25- or 27-tooth cog on the back for the worst moments. Also consider your wheels carefully as on occasions the high winds can make deeper rims sketchy to handle. My choice has generally been 50mm rims front and back, but there are those who opt for deeper.

Run
After the climbing of the bike, the run is largely flat. It consists of three loops, the first a half marathon and then two more of roughly 10K each. It will still be windy and more than likely hot, there's also plenty of sun exposure so make sure you get topped up with suntan lotion in transition to avoid burning.

Post-race
There's plenty of food and ice-cream in the recovery tent. Once you're done and have removed your kit from transition I'd recommend heading to a bar or restaurant along the beachfront; there are plenty to choose from and you can sit and watch the race as you recover.


Russ Cox has race Ironman Lanzarote three times, he's trained on the island often enough to consider it a second home.

Russ is a full-time triathlete and endurance coach who has raced and trained around the world. His CoachCox blog focuses on endurance triathlon training from an athlete's perspective, covering topics such as nutrition, training, psychological preparation and what to do during taper and recovery.

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