If you are one of the crazy ones and are tempted to sign yourself up for such an event, here are a few things you should expect and consider before taking the plunge.
- Consider the unexpected, potential, and likely setbacks.This is number one because it is the biggest and most demoralising obstacle. When you begin putting your body under so much stress, there is a good chance that injuries may occur. When you have trained relentlessly for months, the last thing you want to hear is that you can’t run for 4 weeks thanks to an injury - so be aware and prepared to adapt to these possible setbacks. (And have a good physio handy)
- Say goodbye to your weekends for the next 6-9 months. Unfortunately, you can’t cheat the grind when it comes to Ironman training, this is serious business! Most people have a Mon-Friday job,which means the majority of training plans include the big bulk of training hours over a weekend – I’m talking a 6-hour-bike-ride-followed-by-a-run kind of big. Not only will you have limited time for social plans, you will be too tired anyway!
- You are going to be hungry – all the time. When the training hours build up and you start to meet the 18-hour weeks you will feel like the only thing you do as much as training, is eating. It is essential to make sure you give your body enough nourishment to recover properly. Learning to eat during training (bike specifically) is the most important thing in order for you to be able to complete the marathon.
- This is going to be a full-time job. Prioritising your time is absolutely crucial to make this work. Training hours needed amount to a part-time job, so ensuring recovery, planning and fitting in around your actual job and family is also going to feel like another full-time job. It is important to think of it that way in order to help you stay motivated to carry out your training when you are super tired and feel like you don’t want to do anymore – trust me, that will happen.
- Despite all of the above, you are going to love it and probably going to want to do more. Heard of getting the ‘runners bug’? Once you start your Ironman journey you will start to experience just that. It may be the hardest thing you ever put your mind and body through, it will take months and months of dedication and commitment and at times you will hate it, but it is an incredible thing to accomplish and you won't be sorry you did.