For all the experienced 140.6 folks... if I am planning/training for a November 2010 Ironman... can/should I do Nation's or will that be a 'wasted' training weekend... clearly with the race selling out so quickly, I need to decide ASAP.
Do it. Olympics are perfect tune-ups for IMs.
There are two schools of thoughts. One says that in order to maximize your training you should just concentrate on the training and do the other distance races for the periods outside of your official training program. There aren't too many weekends during the official training period if you consider a taper period and a weekend or two where life situations may prevent you from training (i.e.,weather, scheduling conflicts, work, etc).
The other school of thought is that the training season can seem to be quite long and can be mentally taxing. A race thrown in here or there might be a good mental break. You can plan it so that Nations occur during one of your stepback weekends so that you don't feel too guilty about missing out on the long weekend training sessions.
From my personal experience, I always feel guilty when there is a potential for me to miss a training weekend when that weekend falls during the heavier training weekend that I had planned but I have no guilt whatsoever if I have to miss or cut a training session short during my stepback weekends. The most important thing is try to have fun during your training. If an oly race is that morsel that is the reward for all of your hard IM training then go for it.
Unless you are trying to podium or go to Kona, I don't think that you can go wrong with either paths. In the grand scheme of things, one weekend outside of the normal training program won't make or break you. I did, afterall, do an IM 7 weeks after breaking a clavicle. How hard can it be ? .. ;)
honestly, if its a mid november race just work backwards, you have basically a 2 week taper so that puts you at the end of october as your last long bike/run weekend, then you have the month of october to be the last big push of mileage if you want to put that in, so its possibly a 3x1 training block, so then you work back to sept, where if you want to be sure you can have another 3x1 training block of mileage to put in.
that assumes that everything goes perfectly to plan, question for you, are you willing to "sorta" put in a training/race weekend in sept when you may/may not need that mileage only really 8 weeks before the race? personally i think that the training you do 10-5 weeks before the race are actually the most important taht you do, but hey i could be wrong..
personally, here is what i would do.
if your trainig is ramping up to some good workouts and mileage in late july to late august and you feel your form coming around well, then take the weekend to do nations tri to get a mental break and do it, even that 1 extra weekend of maybe/easier workouts will be good recharge for you for the final 6-8 weeks. however, if your workouts are behind schedule for any reason, then i would bag the nations tri and put in the mileage then so that you will at the very least have the endurance to finish the race, 6-8 weeks is enough time to get the endurance you need if you are slightly behind to finish an IM race.
you see the catch right? you won't know any of this till mid august at the earliest, so yes you might have to eat the money of the nations tri 1 month before the race or you might not, you have to decide tomorrow.
sign up for the race tommorrow, worst case scenario is that you lose 230$ or so, in the grand scheme of things compared tohow much you are spending next year its not much. it sucks but that is IM training for you.
you can always use the Nation's for the swim race portion, or to perfect some bike issue in a live race. no saying you have to finish it, and you can always go for a long ride afterwards.
PS, AZ? I need a long ride biking partner so keep me posted on rides
I did IM AZ this year and did Nations. It actually fit well into my schedule. It's good to get in some smaller races if they fit properly in your schedule to get your body used to the transitions.
I did IM AZ 9 days ago and did nations and IM Augusta 70.3
The Augusta race gave a lot of confidence in preparation for the IM. October was a High milage month for me as 2 100+ plus bike rides and I enter that month with a lot confidence that I was training properly. So at least racing was confidence buider for me and showed me my training progress.
That said is up to you to decide
+1 on what everyone has said about races being good tune ups, and measures of your training progress. After doing Nations and Bassman Half this year I was feeling really confident going into IMFL.
Just be cautious about how you plan your recovery. I failed in this regard and while training for IMFL (Nov 7), I decided to do Nations one weekend and a half marathon the following weekend. I thought I was taking enough rest in between, but my next long run felt horrible! I ended up having to take an entire week of doing nothing in order for my body to recover.
That said, I signed up for Nations again in 2010. It is a lot of fun! Even if you get to it and find racing it hard just doesn't fit in your training schedule, back off a little, keep you heart rate under control and it is a nice supported brick.
Nations can be an awsome brick workout. You don't have to necessarly hit it hard. Specailly since it ends at haines point. I was suppose to use it for the swim, bike and then long run. I was going to tack on an extra 10K at the end, but I was actually sick that weekend. I did IMFL in Nov this year and had no problems with it. I did however drop out of Savageman, but I am going back this year to go and get my Brick!!!!!
Personally, I feel that racing keeps you sharp. I did IM-CDA this year and included as part of my training several road races and a century ride. I think I made a mistake of not doing at least one triathlon 6-8 weeks out of an IM. The only reason I train is to compete because it helps with goal setting.