An Exciting Roundup Of Gear For The Ironman Triathlete
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First Thoughts: “So You Want To Do An Ironman Triathlon?”
An Ironman Triathlon is a serious endeavor! And you should pat yourself on the back for having done one, currently training for one, or simply entertaining the notion. It is a serious commitment, but don’t let the daunting tasks of 3-5 disciplines stop you. In my opinion, it is not about the day, it’s about the lifestyle you’ve just adopted. An Ironman takes time and commitment, support from loved ones, and a whole heck of a lot of swimming, biking and running. That sounds fairly simple, but triathletes are a serious bunch with a ton of stereotypes floating around.
First thing that comes to mind is that they are A-Type Uber athletes. Triathletes, and in particular, Ironman triathletes are also a group that likes to experiment to push the envelope by finding new ways to save those precious eight seconds on 112 mile bike ride. From speedo suits, narrow pointy aero helmets, aero bars, bike positioning, disc wheels to compression gear, the list can get quite lengthy. Not all have caught on, but some of these innovations managed to stick around. A few have also made their way into other disciplines. The aero bars and disc wheels are very main stream! You will see the pro riders in the Tour de France hunched down getting as streamlined as possible to gain mere seconds during the time trail discipline. Compression socks are now a staple in the running community.
I push myself hard and I do follow the outlines of a plan, but I’m also not too worried about it when I don’t meet every single workout. I have a nice bike, decent gear, the right mindset, and that’s all you really need. Depending on your fitness or your desire to spend some serious cash, one can easily go overboard buying all the stuff you need for an ironman. For starters you really do want a tri specific bike, the basic gear, the right mental approach and excellent time management skills.
All that said, I enjoy the sport and the goal of Ironman, because it mixes things up and helps get me in good shape. I do take it serious, but not to extremes. Like most folks, I also have way to many other obligations to get wrapped up into the micromanagement of a training plan, every weight and aero saving gadget, etc. With a family, a career, friends and other interests, balancing the training for an Ironman is really the battle. The race itself is the cherry on top, so to speak. It will be a long day, but I am always grateful to be lining up (hopefully uninjured), to see what my body can produce.
The Ironman Approach
I always say, “you need to swim, bike and run; a lot!” Yes there are certainly very specific ways to get in great shape and ready for your race, but we all have to be realistic with the aforementioned obligations.
Some of you may have caught my earlier mention that an Ironman is comprised of 3-5 disciplines….? There’s the 3 obvious ones of course. Many will call nutrition the fourth discipline. I have gotten that one right, but also really missed the boat there which can make for a long day. The fifth discipline or whatever you want to call it, is the mental battle you have to get squared away. That one is also a slow build over time, and experience helps. As race day rolls around, all that mental (or toughness) training will be tested as you get pummeled with so many external factors that quitting will likely cross your mind a dozen times.
What I have here is a nice list of gear and accessory items that will help you get started to do well to enjoy the sport and experience. I have trained, raced and put a lot of miles on all of these pieces of equipment, and they’ve been nice additions to my training and racing life. Some worked better than others for me, but each and every athlete is different. So please, try them out for yourself. I will certainly give you my opinion, the pros, the cons and reasons for that. In the end, you have options, but it is up to you if you want to get better. For instance, disc wheels have proven to make one slightly faster, but it’s the athlete pushing those pedals and wheels that will make the difference.
Ironman Triathlon Specific Bicycle
Can you do an Ironman on your road bike? You most certainly can! That said, a triathlon specific bicycle does have many advantages. I started out with shorter triathlons on a very entry level road bike. The tri bike puts you in a position that allows you to be efficient and fast on the bike, as well as preserve your energy and leg muscles for the run. I won’t go into detail as I didn’t really put a new bike to the task. There are plenty of fancy space age bike reviews out there to guide you on the new bike front. My Triathlon bike is from 2008. It’s a Cervelo. It has stood the test of time with a few upgrades here and there.
For some solid and more affordable wheels, check out FLO Cycling
Specialized Power Expert Saddle
If you’ve never had a bike fit, you should! It makes a world of difference. For mine, my PT/bike fitter/mechanic extraordinaire started with my bum and my saddle. Sitting correctly and comfortably was something that was never really dialed in for me. That all changed, and we landed on the Specialized power saddle as the perfect option. For some reason, this saddle also really resonates with my local peloton friends, because I see it on many bikes. Anyway, the saddle is slim, clean, fits like a glove, and has allowed me to sit beautifully while cranking away the watts for maximum power output. I am also riding injury free which is great.
Specialized does have a “padding” level, and this saddle is a 2 out of 6. Hence, don’t expect a super cushiony seat. This is for a somewhat more serious rider, I’d say, but anyone can gain the benefits of this simple piece of cycling equipment. The Specialized Power Saddle has a geometry groove that relieves pain and numbness by eliminating pressure on the nerves, arteries and soft tissue. The seat bones align wonderfully for a comfortable ride which is huge especially in the aero position.
I have always been a decent rider, but with that bike fit and this Power Expert Saddle, I am able to play with some of the stronger riders in my local group rides. It’s an amazing feeling! There are a few variations for this saddle and also various widths. Go check one out at your local Specialized dealer.
For more information, please check out Specialized’s website.
Rudy Project Nytron Helmet
Talk about a convergence of bike tribes or disciplines. The Road, MTB, TT, or Triathlon crowd are all worthy of wearing this Rudy Project Nytron helmet. There’s several factors I look for in a helmet. Comfort, ventilation, visibility, and safety. That last one is tricky to test (for me at least) as I’d rather not take a tumble to experience all the safety virtues. There are many technological factors that have made todays helmets much safer than the Styrofoam lids of the past. In reality, the comfort and ventilation aspects are truly what I concern myself with on each and every ride. Hence, this Rudy Project Nytron Aero will be fun to take out as I get myself into base shape, and ultimately Ironman ready.
Back in 2008, I had a Rudy Helmet which I used to train and race in for my first Ironman in Cozumel. I can’t recall the name of that model, but it was a good looking helmet that got the job done. It was a “regular” road helmet, so I’m sure I lost a bit on the Aero side.
The Aero feature is that one aspect I am super excited about, since I plan on wearing this helmet for my 4th ironman this year. I had a very sleek and TT specific helmet, but the comfort was terrible and the ventilation was very minimal. I know there are time savings at play, and helmets can shave off micro seconds per mile. This helmet provided aero benefits, but for 112 miles, I really enjoyed the comfort and cool breeze flowing through more than anything else.
When you look at the front of the helmet, you can see why this helmet provides fantastic ventilation. Two narrow horizontal slots are like air intake valves that sucks up air that then pushes through the internal slots providing excellent airflow. This is key, because with rising temperatures and increased effort, the head and hair factor usually creates lots of sweat as the ride progresses. Have you ever squeezed a helmet after a hot ride, and had the sweat just pour out? I’ve done that with other helmets, and it’s almost as if they are absorbing the sweat like a sponge. That’s not something I want. When I first got this helmet, it was mid-winter, and I had yet to really “test” hot and humid.
My winter rides have usually included a thin headband or skull cap. With monster efforts, I have been drenched in the several layers I’m wearing even in 30 degree temps with 25 mph speeds. I definitely did sweat on my head, and during max efforts I thought about what it would feel like to remove my cap underneath the helmet. The air flow did balance out the fact that I never had an abundance of sweat running down my face. It worked to not get too hot or cold with the wind hitting it. A lot of this does depend on the kind of skull cap or hat you are wearing. Now that it’s summer, I am taking full advantage of the breeze blowing through my curls to keep my head cool.
Cooler temps prevailed for a long time along the Front Range of Denver, but a few warmer rides were had prior to race day. Nothing compared to that day in Iowa with a heat index of 100 plus degrees. I’d like to think I got a real benefit from wearing this helmet as I felt strong and fresh. I found my first mental battle around mile 60-80. In part, because the consistent rollers made me have to work a little harder. It was more of a survival mode at that point, and getting to mile 112 became a real obsession.
Those last 20-30 miles were hot, and I doubt anything but an AC fan right in front of me would have made difference, but I found another gear which guided me to a solid overall bike. Thanks to the Nytron, I felt good coming off the bike. Speed and airflow created for a rather comfortable 5:45 on the bike.
ORCA Open Water RS1 Sleeveless Wetsuit
I have been clamoring for a Sleeveless Wetsuit. Most Triathlons (for me at least), are in the heat of summer or early Fall and my full sleeve wetsuit has always been too hot. Water temperatures are at a point where they do allow the wetsuit which is of great assistance in the buoyancy department.
The unrestricted swim stroke of the Orca RS1 is very nice. I’ve had many conversations with my fellow triathletes, and they usually add lots of Vaseline-like substances to help get the suit on. In addition, it is supposed to help with any rubbing that may occur. In my opinion, nothing should be needed! The wetsuit should fit as designed even with thousands of repeat motions during a 2.4 mile swim.
I will take any advantage I can during the swim, and they added 4.5 mm thick material in the legs to aid with buoyancy and stability. Some may say, that’s not fair! If so, then we should also all be riding very similar single speed bikes to “level the playing field”. A wetsuit has many functions like keeping folks warm on colder swims, and buoyancy is one that helps me get streamlined. I swim smoothly, and it helps me get started on the right foot for what’s going to be a long day.
Equipped with100% Certified Yamamoto Neoprene and composite hydro-coating to provide maximum performance
It was hot and muggy race day. The water was deemed wetsuit legal which we all want to hear, of course, but I had to make the decision. Full or sleeveless? It really wasn’t a hard decision. The Orca sleeveless felt great from the start and helped me in attaining one of my best swims to date. I felt strong, smooth, and consistent for the entire hour and 14 minutes I was out there. That’s a really solid time for me as I didn’t zig-zag all over the place. Not sure if the suit played a role, but I’ll take it.
For more information, please visit ORCA
Pearl Izumi Gloves
Gloves are a point of contention for me. They are a must on all of my bike training rides to provide some buffering from the vibrations of the road. The thing with an Ironman triathlon is two-fold. One, it’s another thing to deal with in transition which does take away a little bit of time. Another is that, in theory, I want to be in the Aero position as much as possible. That means, my elbows are holding me up for 95 plus percent of the time, and I really don’t need gloves. Be it as they may, these gloves have absorbed many bumpy road surfaces making me comfortable on each ride. In the end, I did wear them during the race.
Go to Pearl Izumi for all the details and other options.
Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones
Great for training! That’s where I’ll start out with this accessory piece of gear. The thing is that most triathlons do not allow any music or headphones on the course. Trust me, you won’t get bored in a race. That said, I know music or pod casts are a must-have for many, so the Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones are an excellent option.
I’ve always been kind of a minimalist when it comes to running, so I usually just head out the door to enjoy nature and the sound of my breathing. I know I am in the minority on that. Now, I am kind of a convert, and have dialed in my podcasts while going for my long slow runs. Lately, I have been using them more in my recovery practices while taking Epsom Salt baths, on the rollers, thera-gun massages, and the countless recovery treatments at Restore (see below). I’m at peace, and am able to fuel my brain with a diverse array of information, or simply relax me with my favorite tunes.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones comes in a simple and small case for protection and storage. With its 9th generation bone conduction technology, the sound that somehow reverberates through is amazing. Weighing in at a mere 29 grams, it’s so lightweight that I sometimes forget the headphones have been there.
The following are what really sold me on the Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones: water resistant feature and the 10 hour battery life. I sweat a lot, and knowing that I won’t fry these is key. Also, the battery life is way longer than I need even if I’m out on a 4 hour run. On my shorter runs, I don’t bother with head phones, but anything in the 1-2 hour range is now accompanied with my Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones.
For all the deets, check out shokz
Skratch Lab Nutrition
Ding Ding Ding – I think we’ve found a winner!! I have done 3 Ironman using Skratch Lab with 2 overwhelming successes. The one that didn’t go so well, was when I left my Skratch goodies in my fridge on race morning….. Yeah, fourth discipline fail, and boy did I pay for that. I’ll spare you the details. This time around, Skratch Lab has come up with my very new favorite and it’s called: Superfuel. 7 scoops of their special powder formula mixed into one sports drink bottle providing 400 calories of fuel. Again, triathletes are quite specific about dialing in their specific caloric intake. I don’t overthink it too much, but I figured I’d need about 200-300 calories per hour on average. I had 3-4 of these bottles throughout the day which provided hydration, electrolytes, and energy.
Here is Alan Lim’s original goals: Use less sugar, include more electrolytes, and use only fruit for flavor. They have hydration mixes, crispy rice cakes, super fuel, energy bars, energy chews, and recovery mixes. I’ve used them all, and they’ve all agreed with my taste buds, but more importantly with my gut and body during extreme exercise.
Skratch Lab is located in Boulder, Colorado. One of its founders is Allen Lim, and you really have to look him up! He takes the approach that what you put in your body should be as close to real food as possible. His background is that he has worked with many professional cycling teams, and takes a real scientific approach to delivering what the body needs. I love this egg video —- take a few minutes if you can!
I’ve been using Skratch Labs for roughly 8 years, since I participated in the 2014 Ironman Boulder. To date that was one of my best executed ironman. I don’t use Skratch on a daily basis, but when I do focus on a training plan it’s been a staple for me. Alan is kind of a mad scientist of food, and I’d say go check out some of his videos. Having been the chef or food provider for numerous elite cyclists and world tour teams, he has really found his niche with this product. The powder is amazing and the bars are fulfilling.
Everything about this is very healthy, but also heavily focused on the energy portion that allows an athlete to reach new levels. You should also check out his cookbook, the Feedzone, which I use to make Rice Waffles that provided additional fuel during my bike ride.
Go to Skratch for all their unique products.
XLAB Torpedo Versa 500 and XLAB Super Wing
XLAB has been a strong player in the bike accessory industry. Triathlon bikes are anything but normal. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and some have built-in hydration systems that are very unique to a particular bike brand. I like to keep it simple for my Ironman races. That said, I do need the peace of mind that I have everything with me as far as equipment goes in case something goes wrong. In addition, nutrition and hydration are critical on the bike leg, so having that stored and accessible is also a key component for success. For example, a flat tire or two will put you in a world of hurt if you can’t actually fix it. Plus, everyone needs the food, and how do you store that properly while also being accessible.
I really enjoy the handle bar hydration system situated nicely between the aero bars. I am able to take a sip without reaching down or doing anything special. Early on during the bike is where you get the calories you need for the rest of the day. That’s the time to get fueled even though you may not feel like it. The food needs a chance to digest, settle in, and give energy to your body before you start bouncing up and down during a marathon. XLAB provides great options based on your bike. They literally asked me the model, age, and specifics of my bike saddle and arrow bar to be able to get the right product on my bike.
The XLAB Torpedo Versa is an absolute beauty of a product that I utilized to the fullest. At most Ironman aid stations I would grab a water bottle which I was quickly able to squirt into the reservoir. Anything I had left over, I would dump over my head, since it was so hot. The Torpedo attaches quite easily and snugly with the provided straps. You can play a little with positioning of the system and straw based on where you will be hovering over it. When not needed, I could tuck it away under these wing-like looking things. And I tell you, the hydration was a really crucial thing on this day, so I would highly recommend picking one of these up.
See more for the Torpedo
The XLAB Super Wing is like a Swiss Army knife. The options for adding all sorts of goodies to hold cages, bottles, saddle bags and whatever else you may want to carry along on a 4-8 hour Ironman journey. Attaching the Super Wing does take a bit of patience and instruction following for the less mechanically inclined. Certainly do-able though, and I took an hour one evening to play with the various options.
I started out with a bottle cage on each side, but in the end went with one on the back. I tucked an XLAB bag into the compartment or reservoir that was held up by one of the included straps (which you also have to screw on to the cage). That bag contained an extra tube, cartridge, inflation tool and tire levers. For me that was the emergency compartment that I hoped I wouldn’t need. Some of these things can also be connected to the outside of the cage with a few additional attachment.
Again, you can get away with using other methods, but I have found this to be the cleanest method around. Things shake loose on a bike and I hate for that to happen at a most inopportune time. This Super Wing is aero and allows you to optimize your storage based what you need for the bike leg.
MSRP: $ 114.95
See more for the Super Wing
Roka Maverick X II Wetsuit
As mentioned before, a wetsuit is a really good idea in a triathlon and especially an Ironman. The swim is something that most people fear as it is usually the weakest discipline of the three. And 2.4 miles is quite a long distance. There are occasions when an Ironman will not be wetsuit eligible. And that’s basically due to the temperature of the water as they don’t want people overheating.
A wetsuit will provide you warmth when it’s cold, but in essence it’s a great buoyancy device. The problem I have is that I drag my legs a lot. They tend to sink (core work has helped with that). I’m a very average swimmer and the wetsuit helps with my buoyancy to keep me level while giving me a strong, solid, and clean stroke.
In Denver, we are quite limited with the lack of local lakes. We have a few reservoirs, but you can’t really swim in those until Memorial Day. I happen to know of a few High Alpine lakes, but let me tell you how extremely cold they stay for a long time. It can be well into June before many venture into those.
Anyway, the Roka Maverick wetsuit was safely tucked into my backpack as I took my gravel bike past a gate (closed to vehicles), and climbed up to @ 11000′. There I found myself staring at snow capped peaks, and a crystal clear lake just waiting for me to take a swim. The mental anguish of having to get into that cold water took me a bit, but I finally just went for it. Holy cow. My wetsuit saved the day. My head, toes, and fingers, on the other hand, didn’t like my decision. No matter, as I had come this far, and I was going to make it happen. I finally calmed my breathing, and found a nice rhythm. I stuck to the shoreline somewhat for safety, but before long the pine tree and rock views were gently gliding by with every breath.
The engineering that goes into this wetsuit is incredible. I won’t bore you with all the details (those can be found on their website – see link below), but I’ll cover the highlights. As mentioned, I am a very average swimmer, and my legs tend to dip slightly causing a bit of drag. I’ve been working on that, but with this wetsuit and the 7% increased buoyancy factor, the whole body tends to stay straighter and streamlined. The movement is exceptional. They designed an exoskeleton with various front lateral core panels to help create a stable central spine while allowing the rest of the body to move freely to create strong and solid swim strokes.
Sizing is crucial on this! The sizing guide is pretty extensive to really help you narrow it down to what works for you. Check it out HERE. A wetsuit will feel rather tight when you put it on (especially it you are warm). That said, once you get in the water, the fit should start to feel better. Honestly, if you follow the guide, you should be really good to go. This particular wetsuit is certainly an item I would put in the luxury department. It’s a personal decision to help you get through the training phases and races, and with time, will pay off. I have felt better and seen the improvements as my cumulative training got me an 8 minute P.R.
For further in-depth detail, please check out ROKA
CEP compression socks
Compression for the feet. Compression for the calves. Both are a good thing to help with blood flow. CEP are an industry leader in my fields when it comes to compression. There are many options for sock height, and they are all good options based on personal preference. Compression can be helpful during a race. I especially like them after a big race like an Ironman. Sore legs and swollen feet are a common sights, and these CEP socks provided for a proper squeeze as I put my legs up on the dashboard for the 9 hour drive home.
I really like that these socks are anatomically correct and labeled right and left. That doesn’t always happen with socks. I have worn these socks many times now while running and biking. I really honestly don’t think about it much. But that’s a good thing as they’re doing their job while I’m focused on the task at hand. There are many sizes, options, and colors. For biking I do like the mid calf length and for running I am partial to the ankle length.
MSRP: $ range
Check out CEP for all the good options.
Pearl Izumi Select Pursuit Tri shorts and top
Get yourself a nice tri kit, please. It does make a difference. 112 miles on a bike would certainly be a lot more comfortable in a pair of cycling shorts. If you want to take the time in transition to change that is definitely a viable option. If you are a first timer and not concerned about winning your age group, you may want to consider it. Most triathletes I know are obsessed with any and all time saving measures, so that is not a consideration for many. Tri shorts straddle that fine line of comfort and function. In reality, the chamois padding is very small, but does provide a small amount of cushioning.
The thing is that for the running portion these tri shorts do work really well. They provide perfect compression for the legs and buttocks. In addition, there is a small pocket that allows you to carry a gel or two.
I think this is one of the more critical pieces of clothing that you can get for an Ironman triathlon. We’ve all run and there are plenty of running shorts or compression tights that are great for running. Many of us have biking shorts, and they can run the gamut as to how comfortable and how thick the padding is on the Chamois. Tri shorts are a unique and different animal. They allow you to run comfortably because there is minimal padding. My personal experience was great. I had done enough riding to provide the crucial “saddle time”, so these tri shorts were perfect.
They do dry quickly on the bike and provide just enough padding where I can survive some level of discomfort. But they really want to work well on the run. And I do advise that you wear black!
The tri top is also a key piece and the main reason being that there are a couple of pockets. You can buy one piece kits, you can buy separate pieces, but a well fitting tight shirt is probably your best bet. It prevents chafing and you’re able to store some extra essentials in the form of food that you will definitely need in your marathon. I really like the fabric as it is light and airy, which came in very handy with a heat index approaching 100 degrees.
Pirelli P Zero Race Tires
This is the tire that aims to provide speed at minimal weight. The PZero Race tire is the racer in my arsenal of tires. I have made these my regulars on all my peloton training rides as well, because those are intense, punchy, and fast. I picked up another set and put them on my tri bike for many solo miles. I have the benefit of mainly riding on dry roads. These are slick and fast and provide for really good grip when cornering. My Ironman race course was rather smooth and fast, and these worked like magic. The pressure I went with was right around 90 psi, but I’d say play around with that.
All the gripping details can be found at PIRELLI
Restore Hyper Wellness
Recovery is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I would string together numerous hard days of training where my legs feel heavy and the mental exhaustion really take its toll. At my age, it takes longer to feel all fresh and chipper again. Restore is a concept that is catching on. Be it the endurance athlete or MMA fighter, to folks recovering from surgeries or accidents, there is a benefit to these treatments. I’ve had a chance to try all of these over the course of the last couple of months. The first being during my taper phase which was great to help me rest, recover and rejuvenate. Below are a sampling of the treatments I went through.
INFRARED RED LIGHT THERAPY
My initial reaction was that it looked kind of like an old school tanning bed turned vertical. I’m sure they’ve heard that before, but the infrared light helps boost healing, enhance mood and helps with those minor aches and pains. They told me it also improves circulation and heart health, as well as aid in relieving inflammation. You get in naked as a jay-bird. Obviously, I was in a private room, so all good. It would warm you up nicely and this was a bit more on the comfort feel-good side. Usually, I would do this first and then I would immediately jump into the cryotherapy chamber.
This is one that many will be like…”WHAT”? You stand in a special chamber (a fancy walk-in freezer comes to mind) at negative165 degrees for over 3 minutes! Yep, and I loved it. They do give you slippers, ear muffs and a mask, so you don’t breathe in that cold air. That said, I did a little breathing routine that helped me focus on that form of meditation. Before I knew it, my time was up. Think of it as an ice bath without the wetness and being submerged in the ice cold water. Yes, its cold but the feel good body freshness is very unique. Cryotherapy is a good way to relieve minor pain and swelling, boosts mood and energy, and even helps to optimize sleep.
The Compression boots is something that was more familiar to me. I’ve seen them at expos and post race events. The boots act like a massage to help reduce aches and pain. The improvement of circulation, flexibility and mobility are also a key feature. I would usually do this at the end of my session. It gave me a chance to relax while the compression boots did their thing. For me, it really helped to work out the lactic acid from continued hard days.
There are many settings and timers, but your friendly Restore staff will help you figure all that out. Each leg sleeve is connected to the main control and then it goes to town. The “massage” will go up and down as what seems like individual pockets that inflate more and more to provide pressure and compress on the sore muscles.
When the sleeves come off, the legs do look kind of like this, but don’t be worried, it’s supposed to. A great way to relax and get an immediate impact with blood flow for quicker recovery.
MILD HYPERBARIC OXYGON THERAPY
This is apparently what elite athletes sleep in to help with recovery. It’s an impressive looking machine that slowly fills up with pure oxygen. They say you can do whatever in there for the hour long treatment and I guess people bring their laptops. I decided to just relax to take it all in. While is was in there, I took the best nap ever. Its supposed to help recharge, recover and repair. It was amazing. The boost in energy was tremendous immediately following. It is also supposed to help with sleep optimization. I tell you, this was an amazing experience.
My wife likes to get the occasional massage, but as an endurance athlete, any of these treatments are right up my alley. Be it a regular scheduled routine, a pre-race boost, or a post race recovery, you simply can’t go wrong. Restore is a franchise concept, so I’m sure there’s one near you. I went to my local store where the people were awesome, the equipment was top notch and the treatments were fantastic.
This is a whole new element to add to my wheelhouse. It’s a membership thing and I’m sure you can find your treatment plan to make you feel like a million bucks.
Check out my local store HERE or look for one close to you.
Smartwool Hudson Trail Sweater
I hear you, it’s the middle of summer and I’m talking about sweaters. I have actually really enjoyed this piece of “recovery” gear, and thought I’d throw it into the mix. Cooler morning temperatures are definitely a thing here in Denver and my Ironman mountain training provides a mixed bag of weather conditions. Post run or ride, a cozy comfy sweater does go a long way to keep me warm. The Smartwool Hudson sweater will certainly pay dividends come fall and winter. In addition, Smartwool has an extensive line of quality athletic apparel that is bound to come in handy.
Check it out HERE
Brooks Hyperion Elite 3
Bring on the comfort patrol. Support is good especially after a long day of swimming and biking. The run on an Ironman is where champions are made or long slow zombie walks can fell even the finest of athletes. The Brooks Hyperion has proven to be a solid performer for me during my final training blocks as well as my first few post race runs.
Made for racing with a ton of support. The Hyperion 3 has an 8mm drop and comes in at a fighting weight of 8.1 oz. The sole has a carbon plate that propels you forward for maximal energy return. By the time I got these, I worked them into the rotation and slowly started running with them for my longer distances.
Nagging little injuries kept me from picking up the pace too much, but I got to several 10-12 mile runs. The shoe fits me well and I was able to adjust the lacing to find my sweet spot. The collar is on the narrow or skinny side. Not a bad thing, but something to be aware of. I do feel the light and airy-ness of the shoe. It is designed to put you into racing mode. Maybe it’s a slight slant forward, or how the soles feel, but I really do want to pick up the pace.
For a variety of reasons, I did not race in these during my Ironman. It was a slower battle given the day’s conditions and I went with another, more familiar to me, Brooks favorite. As mentioned, the first few runs back were rough. Heavy legs and slow to get moving. As I went out running, the blood flow was good, and with the second run, I felt fairly decent in my light and responsive Brooks Hyperion Elite. The neat and interesting thing is that this shoe is made as a unisex shoe, so please try them out.
Find them at Happy Running.
Adidas Sport Sunglasses
Sunglasses are pretty much a must when competing in an Ironman. What I’ve come to appreciate about these is the interchangeable lenses. That is not a new technology by any means, but I usually don’t bother changing them out. For this pair, it has become second nature. I ride real early, and during my spring training, the clear lenses came in super handy. The switch is made quite easy, so a quick glance at the forecast and sunrise time would determine if I swapped out the lenses.
I like the fact that these Adidas Sport Sunglasses wrap completely around my face and really block the airflow from drying out my contacts while riding. The shade gradient on these leans toward the darker side which works great for the intense sun I experience here in Colorado. I ran in these plenty as well, and proper sun protection plus no movement or slippage off of the nose was appreciated. The flexible nose piece molded just right to my nose.
These are meant for competition, and I can vouch for their durability, protection, and comfort.
Check out ADIDAS for more information.
Final Thoughts On My Ironman Gear Roundup Review
An Ironman is a big deal. Most people don’t get what it all involves. “You ride how far? I get tired driving 112 miles” is one you’ll hear. That said, you can really go down a rabbit hole explaining every little detail of an Ironman training plan or the gear involved. They really don’t want to hear it. Hence, you find like-minded triathletes and you can geek out all you want.
An Ironman takes commitment and a lot of gear. Once you have that gear, the task of tackling an Ironman becomes easy. I hope we’ve brought you a nice array of products to guide you in the right direction. Keep in mind, there’s about a thousand ways to train, race and prepare for this journey, and we all have our preferences. I put all of these products to the test, and provided you with an outline of their performance, but in the end, it’s an exploration to see what works best for you.
Happy training and I hope you stick with the triathlon lifestyle.