5 Things You Need To Know Before Racing Ironman Arizona 140.6

Ironman Arizona takes place in Tempe every November and is quite popular, drawing over 3,000 triathletes in 2017. If you’ve never done it before, here’s five things you need to know about this amazing race:

  1. While many race reports say that it feels like a fast course, it actually isn’t all that speedy. The average finishing time in 2017 was just 13:33:16, ranking it just 23 of 28 full Ironman races put on. The average swim time of 1:25:30 ranked 23rd, the average bike of 6:27:24 was 16th, and the average run of 5:23:55 was 23rd.
  2. The temperature will probably be perfect. In 2017 the high for the day was 82℉, but the majority of the late fall day was spent in the 60s and 70s. The record high is 88℉, but that took place more than 100 years ago, and the average high is just 74℉ – perfect racing weather.
  3. The swim isn’t a lot of fun. According to many race reports, Tempe Town Lake is surprisingly chilly, usually in the low 60s. It’s a collection of runoff water from nearby mountains, and the high degree of silt and sediments also renders it murky, with low visibility. The start time of 6:50 is before sunrise, making spotting hard until the sun comes up – at which point you may be staring directly into it over the horizon when you turn your head to breathe. Make sure to throw a few outdoor swims into your training plan and not spend all your time in the pool.
  4. The bike course is relatively easy. It’s three out-and-backs, not a favorite of mine, but this means that any spectators you may bring with you are given ample chances to see you fly by. with just a few hills thrown in. The total elevation gain is 2,577 feet, but the wind is really going to be your nemesis here. Stay low or aero as much as you can, and be sure to adjust your speed to keep a constant effort level.
  5. The run course is two loops, fast, and flat, with a total elevation gain of just 358 feet. There is little or no shade available. Make sure to wear your sunscreen and reapply as needed, and if you’re comfortable wearing a hat or visor, this is the race to do it. Stay hydrated – the low humidity of the desert air may require that you raise your fluid intake.

Don’t take my word for all this. Check out these Ironman Arizona race reports:

The wind started to wear on me about halfway through the second loop. I watched my power slowly start to fall, and no matter how many times I told my legs to move, they just wouldn’t hold the watts my brain was telling them to. Nevertheless, I kept fighting and moving forward toward the turnaround as fast as I could, ready to make up more time on the screaming descent.
http://sweetsweatlife.com/2016/11/25/race-report-ironman-arizona/ (10:19:01, raced in 2016)

It was three out and back loops in which you spent the first part of the loop steadily grinding up. Now this was not a steep uphill however with the wind gusting in your face by the time you got to the turn around it started to feel steep. I felt really strong on the first loop and by the time I got to the turn around I remember making the turn and telling myself alright Kayla lets make up some time. Grind out the downhill, use the gravity and wind to help increase speed without tiring out your legs too much.
https://whereyourfeettakeyou.com/2016/11/27/ironman-arizona-race-report/ (10:15:03, raced in 2016)

It was three out and back loops in which you spent the first part of the loop steadily grinding up. Now this was not a steep uphill however with the wind gusting in your face by the time you got to the turn around it started to feel steep. I felt really strong on the first loop and by the time I got to the turn around I remember making the turn and telling myself alright Kayla lets make up some time. Grind out the downhill, use the gravity and wind to help increase speed without tiring out your legs too much.
https://whereyourfeettakeyou.com/2016/11/27/ironman-arizona-race-report/ (10:15:03, raced in 2016)

We had a great hotel (AC Hotel Marriott) which was 1 block from transition and expo. The run course ran right behind the hotel, and the bike course was right in front of the hotel. In fact, from our hotel room and balcony, you could potentially see me 6 times on the bike during the race. img_4914It was a great spot.
http://markreith.com/2016-ironman-arizona-race-report/ (9:09:31, raced in 2016)

The water was again dark, not even being able to see my wrist in front of me. We also start the swim going into the sun, so that didn’t help.
https://ironvan.com/2017/11/20/why-so-serious-the-2017-ironman-arizona-race-report/ (12:53, raced in 2017)

My least favorite OWS location without hesitation.
https://www.wenzelcoaching.com/blog/ironman-arizona-2017-race-report-for-phil-timothee/ (14:14:11, raced in 2017)

I don’t think there’s any more electric, eclectic, or neurotic place in the world than an IM expo, with hundreds upon hundreds of Type A, amp’ed up people in all shapes and sizes, wearing all things compression, milling about, out of their minds, having trained long and hard for months on end all to reach this one point.
https://runberun.com/2016/11/25/race-report-ironman-arizona-2016/ (14:31:12, raced in 2016)

Have you written a race report or recap for Ironman Arizona? Post its URL in the comments section below and I’ll add it to the list!

Read all of our Ironman race reports here.

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