Where to train like an IRONMAN on the Sunshine Coast
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be keen to put that Fitbit to good use with a training session or two as the Queensland triathlon season kicks into gear. Don’t let the festive belly bulge hold you back, there’s always time to prepare for any number of triathlon and IRONMAN events that define the coast.
From Caloundra to Noosa, I’ve hand-picked a few favourite training locations to get you in the mood and help you train like a pro.
BYO bikes and budgie smugglers.
THE SALTWATER TREATMENT
If you’re looking at the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival in March, then make your way to The Spit at the south-eastern end of Mooloolaba to test out the sea legs. An ocean swim is a must for any major Sunshine Coast triathlon, so dive headfirst into your preparations with a session past the breakers. Hit the beach from Mooloolaba Esplanade and swim just over a kilometre towards the Beacon Lighthouse, before turning back to shore.
For those further north, try the calmer waters of Laguna Bay at Noosa’s Main Beach, a popular training location and home to the Noosa Festival of Surfing in March and the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival in October. Swim out from the Noosa Beach Club and north towards the mouth of the Noosa River. If you decide to come back, that’s a 3km hit-out!
TIP: Take a break from the long distance swims with some interval training – short sprint swims with rest periods in between. The University of Sunshine Coast has an awesome Olympic-standard swimming pool if you need a break from the waves.
THE TWO-WHEELED WORKOUT
For the scenic riders out there, you’ll find no better place to suck in the fresh sea breeze than a coastal ride from Mudjimba in the south to Sunrise Beach in the north. You skirt the ocean for much of the 25km ride through Marcoola, Coolum and Peregian, so we’ll forgive you for stopping off once or twice to check out the surrounds.
There’s also bitumen to be conquered further inland throughout the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. A deep burn awaits on one of my favourite cycles up Bald Knob, a gruelling ascent that’s truly worth the panoramic countryside views. Oh, and the downhill ride is pretty cool too.
Want to keep burning rubber? Check out the team at Bike On for more course maps and bike tours around the Sunshine Coast.
TIP: Refuelling is an important factor for any triathlete while exercise for long periods of time. The ride offers a great opportunity to test out the body’s capacity to handle a nutritional boost on the go. Keep that spark with an electrolyte drink or energy gel during training.
THE COASTAL RUN
Lace up the joggers and hit the road from Alexandra Headland to explore the heart of the Sunshine Coast. I like to start this 20km journey from Nelson Park near the beach and head north, passing alongside the beautiful Maroochy River. Make your way into the inland town of Bli Bli along David Low Way before turning back enjoying the sights all over again.
If it’s an adventure through a Sunshine Coast national treasure that motivates you, then Noosa National Park is a must for an incredible change of scenery. With a slew of tracks to choose from, check out the trail map to plan your adventure. Located close to Noosa’s Main Beach, cool off with a swim before enjoying a feed at one of the many cafes and restaurants along the fashionable Hastings Street. The guys at Noosa Running Tours are also on hand to help personalise your training routes if you’re keen to explore everything Noosa has to offer.
TIP: Transitions are one of the toughest parts of a triathlon, and well worth some training consideration. Break up your run with some brick training, a transition training method between two triathlon disciplines. Try a ride-run-ride-run combo to condition the legs for the big day.