The essential Ironman gear you’ll need if you want to go long next season
Two-piece tri suit
Who doesn’t love a onesie? Loads of Ironman athletes, that’s who! For a race that lasts between nine and 16 hours, chances are you’ll be stopping for a few calls of nature – and if you don’t there’s probably something very wrong. Two piece tri suits or ‘seperates’ are often designed with long course in mind and come with pockets for fuel storage and a pad with enough spring to avoid a numb backside during the bike leg. Orca’s 226 range is one of our favourites.
The last thing you want before a long bike and run is a neck that’s rubbed red raw from the 3.8km Ironman swim. Using products like Sport Luub avoids chafing and can also be used on wrists and ankles to help you get your suit off promptly in T1.
During a long race it’s incredibly important to take care of your skin – especially if you’re not blessed by the mahogany tan of Ironman star Chris McCormack. For long-lasting protection and easy repeat application, we really rate Riemann P20.
You might not strictly need a new bike for Ironman, but a triathlon bike could save you a lot of time thanks to its aerodynamics and the TT position it allows. If you’re going to buy a new bike, make sure you do it with plenty of time to go before your Ironman. Start with a fairly relaxed position and get plenty of pain-free miles in before thinking about adopting a more aggressive set-up. Here are our picks of the best Ironman triathlon bikes.
If you’ve got an aero road bike with a good TT position, just swapping the bars to a basebar/tri bar set-up can save you a lot of drag. Here are some of the best aero road bikes for triathlon.
Lots of athletes use a cycling jersey for Ironman, which we’d recommend to keep the sun off your shoulders, but even three big pockets stuffed with fuel may not store all you need for the race and every time you reach back, you’re coming out of your aero position. A feed box that mounts behind the stem is a great way to hold gels, sweets or other calorific treats within easy reach. The FuelBelt Aero FuelBox is a corker.
Experimenting with different flavours of gels before your Ironman could mean the difference between getting sick of them and chucking them out during your event – and suffering the dreaded bonk – or keeping up your carbs and securing a fast time. Sports nutrition companies are releasing new flavours all the time, which can help to alleviate a bored palette. With their range of Banoffee, Orange and Banana, Rhubarb and Custard, Forest Fruits, Strawberry Yoghurt, Black Cherry Yoghurt and Raspberry Ripple, Torq have the sweet side of things covered while GU’s new Salted Caramel is also winning fans. Just remember to try them on a long ride – gels always taste different when your body needs the energy.
Any pinching or pressure points are going to be magnified in the heat of the race, so make sure that your glasses are comfortable for a full 16-hours before your Ironman. If they’re not, find some that are. Glasses with adaptive lenses are a good bet for the changing light conditions throughout the day too. Check out our review of the best sunglasses for triathlon to give you a starting point.
Even with sunglasses in place, having a bit of shade on your face can help you feel cooler in the sun and reduce squinting. A soft band of material and venting is useful for sweat collection and venting, while you can also chuck ice inside it at aid stations for some head-cooling while you continue running. We like this one from 2XU.
Keeping track of your progress through the day is useful, but nowhere is the GPS watch more useful than the run. Setting up automatic laps per kilometre can help break the distance down into manageable chunks – or play into your run-walk strategy – while maintaining pace is so much easier with the figures in front of you, rather than relying on mental arithmetic. Check out our running watches review to find one that ticks all the boxes for you.
Yes, this is essential too! Unless you’re actually going to wear your Ironman medal every day, there’s no better way to proudly show off your achievement than with these stylish hangers from Runner’s Wall.
Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!
See the rest of our 2013 Ironman World Championship coverage here. We’ll be updating regularly in the run up to Kona.