What 5 Months of Ironman Training Has Taught Me So Far
I was looking for a challenge, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into
What is an Ironman?
An Ironman is a triathlon… on steroids. This swim-bike-run race covers 140.6 miles of total course and takes an average of 12 hours and 35 minutes for the average athlete to complete.
Here is a comparison of the common triathlons:
Sprint: 750-meter (0.46-mile) swim, a 20K (12.4-mile) bike and a 5K (3.1-mile) run.
Olympic: 1.5K (0.93-mile) swim, a 40K (24.8-mile) bike and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.
Half Ironman (70.3): 1.9K (1.2-mile) swim, a 90K (56-mile) bike and a 21.1K (13.1-mile) run. 70.3 refers to the total distance in miles.
Ironman: 3.86K (2.4-mile) swim, a 180K (112-mile) bike and a marathon 42K (26.2-mile) run.
What 5 Months of Training Taught Me About Life
I watched a video once titled “Why People Quit at 40%.” It’s the idea that when our mind is telling us to quit, we have only tapped into 40% of our potential. I’m not saying that we should all subscribe to this philosophy, but being a sucker for adrenaline type stuff I thought, “why not try a half Ironman as a challenge.” It didn’t take long for my friend, Chris, to hop in on this challenge and for us to pause and think, “why not a full distance Ironman?”
Let’s face it… I didn’t fully know what I was getting myself into. But 5months in, I can say it has been a heck of an adventure, and I am happy I began the journey.
10+ hours of training per week… Yet I get more done?
Compared to before I started training for the IM, I now have significantly less time every week available for other things, yet I’ve managed to become increasingly more productive. How so, you may ask?
I’ve compiled a few things I believe were important for my progress and what I’ve learned along the way:
- Commitment. The goal: complete Ironman Maryland September 2021. Putting down the resources to make it happen — buy the ticket, get a coach. All of this based on a strong purpose of why I’m doing it.
- Accountability. I am racing with a friend. We check in on each other at least twice a month. Getting a coach was huge (big thanks to Coach Ted). I am less likely to miss a session and am more likely to work harder as there is already plan I can follow.
- Organization. To make this happen, I focused most of my schedule around training. All training is done in the morning, which helps me wake up and preps me for the day.
- Discipline. This was a result of the combination of the above. I realize now that discipline usually seems hard because 1) solid purpose, a reason why is missing, 2) you haven’t set an an environment that allows you to follow through. The key is to simplify!
- Having fun. Perhaps one of the most overlooked variables — I have only come to realize this now, and it has been super important to me. I had started putting pressure on myself and in my training. I’m not a pro athlete, and it is not my plan to become one, so why demand so much from myself? Enjoy and have some fun while on those 3-hour bike sessions :)
I’m just 2.5 months away from my first Olympic distance and about 6 months from Ironman Maryland. The plan is to simply be consistent and work around when life gets in the way. One training session may not make or break a season, but a season is made from one training session after the other. A mentor once told me that under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.
See you at the finish line!