Recently, I sat down with Jo Ritson @ritsonjo, accomplished age-group triathlete and professional learning coordinator for ACHPER Victoria who support and educate PE and health educators to deliver high quality PE programs in schools.
Jo found her love for triathlon, when she invested in a road bike to commute to work and then the rest is history - she learnt to swim and transferred her running background to transform into a serious triathlete. Jo stepped up to the 70.3 distance during lockdown, and is now keen to race as much as possible over this distance this year, with the Ironman 70.3 Melbourne first up followed by the Ironman 70.3 Cairns, and Sunshine Coast later in the year.
I asked Jo a few questions about her preparation for the upcoming IRONMAN Melbourne 70.3 including how she will look after her skin during the race.
Randall: How’s the body feeling leading into the half ironman?
Jo: The body is feeling the best it has ever felt and I put this down to a fair few reasons, firstly my training is very personalised and driven by data, so my body is always ready to train and can train. A big thanks to Gerard Donnelly at Trivelo! Secondly, I use the best skincare products to support the body pre and post training, and lastly, a change to flexible working hours with my great employer ACHPER Victoria allows me to have more rest and train to my body's schedule which might be swimming or running at a lunchtime rather than early AM.
Randall: What’s your race plan for the big day?
Jo: The race should be the easiest part - just execute exactly what we've practised and perfected, hopefully! Swim relaxed, find some feet and stay out of any trouble, ride and then run to the data and come home strong with hopefully a big smile on my face.
Randall: Any tips on getting your taper perfect?
Jo: That’s a great question! With only doing a few 70.3 distances before I feel this is very individual specific and likely to be something we continue to change as I get more experienced. For now though, the taper involves reducing the volume whilst keeping the body firing with some shorter sets of higher intensity efforts, which we would have been doing in the race training phase. Combined with extra sleep hours, plenty of electrolyte hydration, good food and light stretching and rolling.
Randall: Tell us about how you get your equipment, gear, nutrition, creams and accessories ready before the race?
Jo: I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by experienced athletes who I can learn so much from. One of my greatest learnings is that this never happens just before the race, again this is practised. “Never try anything new on race day” is a saying I’ve had drilled into me. Gear is trained in, nutrition tested and trained with and Premax products used daily and always one of each stays in my race day bag. In terms of the bigger equipment items like my bike this always involves a pre-race service in the week with enough days to test ride and finish the final taper spins.
Randall: Looking after your skin on race day is important. What are you conscious of with regards to your skin for the Melbourne 70.3?
Jo: It's obvious to state that there's so much happening on race day with full focus and attention on the execution. Premax products prevent any worries about any skin issues for me on race day such as chafing or sunburn. As part of my daily training routine, it's normal to ensure that my face either has sunscreen or the facial defence cream on it, chafing points covered in anti-friction balm and if it's a bit fresh; warm up cream, so race day is no different!
Randall: What Premax products will you use on race day and why?
Jo: My essentials are sunscreen, anti-friction balm and recovery cream. The anti-friction I apply to my neck to prevent wetsuit chafing, and any race suit touch points on the skin. Sunscreen is applied on all skin that is exposed to the sun. The recovery cream I get straight onto my skin post a shower to nourish and assist recovery.
Randall: Any other secret tips for others looking to do a half ironman?
Jo: There are no secrets really, anyone can do anything if you want to! Reflecting on what resonates with me most to this day, here’s my top 5:
- Make sure you have or develop a supportive cheer squad. Training is tough mentally and physically and you need “your people” to pick you up when mental toughness is low or to celebrate the highs. Thanks to the crew at Trivelo!
- Nutrition is essential for training and racing. Find the right nutrition that works for you and practice with it. I use Infinit Nutrition and it’s the best.
- Find the best bike shop for all your needs. A big shout out to Giant Ormond and Giant Australia!
- Make sure you have an indoor bike trainer and treadmill if you can; no barriers to training influenced by the weather.
- Be patient. It takes time to develop endurance, and avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone has a different start and end point.
Randall: What are your favourite Premax products?
Jo: Recovery Cream - muscle soreness is never an issue and my skin always feels amazing after! Chamois Cream for Women - more essential than a spare tyre tube for riding! Weather Defence Facial Cream - I love having something to protect my face even when it's not a sunscreen day!
Header Image Credit: Stef Hanson