The 70.3 is the Perfect Distance. Obviously people in extraordinary shape and with plenty of time on their hands called it that cause we certainly didn't call it that. But we think we know why it's called, "Perfect" - it is that distance requiring every aspect of training be engaged and allows for the athlete to express the full extent of endurance and power. OK, we're not sure about "power" cause by the end of a 56 mile ride you probably couldn't generate enough power to zap an ant. Still, the 70.3 does not allow an athlete to show up and do the race - you must have a plan.
"If you fail to plan then you plan to have the guys in the Red Cross wagon pick you and your bike up at mile 50 when they close the course." - Coach Vic
Rudimentary Planning - Laying Out Your Race
Most 70.3s and especially those tagged "Ironman" have cut-off times for each stage of the race. One of the reasons for this along with being good community citizens is to make sure their athletes are being diligent (and thereby staying safe.) Or as as one race director put in their literature, "This is not your neighborhood Sprint Triathlon and we are expecting you to perform as a 70.3 athlete would." Luckily few decide to do a 70.3 not responsible enough to prepare or compete properly (apparently whack jobs who are no where near ready to compete sign up for 140.6 - alas not kidding here.)
At a minimum:
Pre-race Meal (1 hour to swim wave):
Swim Wave #:
Swim Positioning: Outside front or Rear Center, etc.
Swim Time Minimum:
Swim Time Maximum:
Swim Cutoff Time and Time of Day:
Total Time Maximum (Swim and T1):
Cycle Time Minimum:
Cycle Time Maximum:
Cycle Hydration Schedule: every 15 minutes, etc.
Cycle Fueling Schedule: every 30 mins, etc.
Cycle Cutoff Time and Time of Day:
T2: Extra - Change of shirt, etc.
Run Time Minimum:
Run Time Maximum:
Race Closure Time and Time of Day:
Post Race Fuel:
Make sure your support crew has a copy.
As you can see this is a rudimentary plan though it may look very complete. The additional aspects that would need to be covered are actually the back-up to each time segment justifying it. If you listed you'd do the 13.1 in 90 minutes and you've never run a half-marathon faster than 2 hours well... A more complete plan would also include contingency planning for hydration and fueling as well as the locations of the nearest tri/bike shop in case you lose gear. It would also include the power profile for your cycle along with the course elevation map.
As you can see you have to be perfect to engage the Perfect Distance.