Saturday, July 9, 2016

Toughman Utah Half: Race Preview

The Toughman Utah Half is fast approaching, taking place July 16th. If you're on the fence, sign up already!

As was done with Echo, we reached out to a few cagey veterans to get their 2 cents on this course. Personally I'm excited to toe the line... haven't done this one in a few years. After doing some research on the matter, it turns out Utah Lake is not the natural artesian source of Fiji bottled water. That said, I think it gets a bad rap... it's mainly just shallow. The swim course seems to change every year in order to maximize depth. However, some states deal with sharks, jellyfish, gators, and poisonous critters during the swim. Come on, Utah!

The bike course is a nice counter to the roller coaster that is SG 70.3. You can tuck in and let it rip. Ditto for the run course, I love those trails.

Here's what others had to say:


My best piece of advice is that it's never all lost in a race this distance. I've had a bike flat, had a crash (twice) early in the bike after realizing I stupidly hadn't mounted my back wheel properly after getting it out of the car that morning, have gotten out of the swim far later than I expected, have taken the wrong turn on the run course, and have been seriously dehydrated on the run. There's time to turn it around if you don't panic. I fixed my bike flat in 8 minutes, got my wheel on properly, and walked for a mile while drinking as much as I could. Just keep going. Do your best to fix the problem and try not to beat yourself up about it!


Toughman is a fast flat race and PR times are attainable. 
-The water level tends to be low in the bay which makes the swim challenging. However, keeping a tight swim stroke helps to refrain from scraping the bottom of the lake. Also, try to stay in the center of the swim courses as the edges get more shallow. As always, the long stretch makes for dangerous collisions, so spot more often to avoid an accident. After turning the last buoy, let it rip to the finish.
- Course is flat but don't let this fool you. There is some elevation once you get closer to the lake. Keep it evenly paced so you're not too tired to keep up your pace for the small hills. Upon the turn around, let the PR times begin. Specialty bags are not needed as you can easily keep the nutrition you need with you on your bike.
- This is the fun part. 2 loops with lots of shade. Lots of support and aide stations. Pacing is the key to success!


It's a great first timer half iron. Fast/flat. If they let you wear water shoes do it: sometimes the lake can have sharp rocks on the bottom. Awesome volunteers! Bring some shade for the run (sunglasses/hat) Beautiful views of the valley. Get there early to set up transition. Pre race speech is the bomb!! Be prepared to make new friends!


Swim: if you can touch the ground and it's altering you stroke, stand up and walk. It's not cheating it's smart. Bike: caution on the corners, some can have debris... Stay in aero the whole ride unless you are coming out or into a corner... Depending on your experience, elite should maintain 85-90% FTP, intermediate 80-85% and beginners 70-75%... Slow down at the aid stations to ensure you get liquid and pack all solids on the bike... Run: first loop stay endurance/low tempo pace second lap tempo and increase pace each mile with the last 3 fastest... Stay wet, it can get hot... Pack your own salt... Enjoy and have fun, say hello to other athletes and good job it never hurts and makes you feel better.


A flat course can be deceiving. Don't be overconfident... with hills, yeah you've got the uphills, but you can also relax on the down. With a flat course, it's constant peddling. Other than that, stay hydrated! It'll probably be hot!

Toughman Utah Half Results: 2015

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