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. The big daddy of them all is the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast in September and this year’s participants will have the pleasure of competing on a world championship course.
From Caloundra to Noosa, there are a number of triathlon events that define the coast. We’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 for a full body workout, 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 some of the best surf waves on the Sunshine Coast. 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.
If you want something a little more hard-core, try the 48km round trip from Nambour to Eumundi Markets where you can detour onto picturesque Fairhill Road and ride past the Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School. Stretch your legs with a stroll through the restaurant’s garden, complete with water dragons.
Go further inland and conquer a bitumen course through 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 this list of sweet cycling routes around the Sunshine Coast.
TIP: Refuelling is an important factor for any triathlete while exercising 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.
THE UNCONVENTIONAL TRAINING REGIME
If you’re training regime is flexible, take the opportunity to head into the Sunshine Coast hinterland and give your body a full workout by climbing Mount Ngungun.
Starting with a gentle bush walk, you’ll soon be greeted with a steep scrambling path which is bound to turn your legs into jelly. Stick with it because the views from the top are stunning.
TIP: Pack your camera and aim to do the climb in the late afternoon to catch a sweet sunset over Mount Beerwah and Mount Coonowrin.
Psst! If this doesn’t hit the spot, swap your hiking gear for a paddle and challenge your upper-body with a kayak around the Sunshine Coast’s beautiful waterways.
The Carb-Loading Ritual
Carb loading is arguably the best part of training for any triathlon. So, fuel your energy with a healthy serving of pasta from the authentic menu at Augello’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in Mooloolaba.
Looking for to fill up on rice? Try the risotto at The Loose Goose bar and restaurant in Twin Waters. Their seafood risotto is delicious (and there’s vegetarian options too!).