They say “anything is possible” but can anyone complete an Ironman?
Well I believe….THEY CAN!
Ironman combines the three disciplines of Swim, Bike, Run. They cover distances of 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike and 42.2km of running. They are performed consecutively on one day without stopping and with just a short transition period between each and must be completed within 17 hours to qualify as Ironman status.
Sounds pretty tough doesn’t it? However just in Europe alone you’ll find approx. 36,000 very normal, amateur athletes line up to that start line with the hopes of hitting the magic red carpet & the finish line to the words of “You are an Ironman”.
Having spent many years supporting over hundreds of athletes a year cross finish lines all over Europe with my company Race Force, I can speak from experience when I say Ironman finishers come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and each with a story, a goal and a dream. Many more compete in the Ironman 70.3 (Half Ironman) which is just as big of a life time achievement in itself as well as a fantastic milestone on the road to full distance.
You don’t need a TT bike, your normal road bike will be fine.
Right! Let me just dispel some myths right now:
Ironmen are not always lean, muscular, supple & fit adonis types. I’ve seen every shape possible on those race courses from the Arnold Schwarzenegger’s to the Danny DeVito’s of this world and EVERYTHING in between
They are not particularly young in years. In fact the most competitive ages groups are 35+ and I regularly see a large number of 65+ year old athletes getting stuck in and smiling all the way
They are not always people from athletic or sporty backgrounds, with some being completely dormant until something inspired them to make a change
Some Ironman finishers have never set foot in a pool before they started their Ironman training and certainly didn’t even know how to put a wetsuit on.
They are not all professional cyclists with a wardrobe full of colourful lycra and years of cycling miles under their belts. Some are just learning to ride a bike as part of training for their race.
They’re not a regular at your local park run. Most first timers have never done a marathon before and only do it for the very first time on race day
Not all Ironman finishes train for 20 hours a week. Some can do it in 8, most commit between 10-15 hours per week.
They are generally NOT injury free! Most finishers are carrying injuries they attained through life or through the training itself but that does not stop them.
However there are some common traits of this demographic of people who make the decision to do this:
They’re looking to make a positive change in their lives and see exercise as a key contributor to this.
They take the first step and they make the commitment. They sign up to a race and pay the entry fee. No turning back!
They give themselves some accountability. They broadcast it either socially with their friends & family or to a wider audience or they raise money for charity.
They follow a plan, some recruit a coach to help them through the trials & tribulations of their training, some join a local tri club, some do it alone.
They have very supportive family & friends who understand and are bought into their reasons for doing this.
BUT most importantly… THEY HAVE A REASON and this reason is profound enough to drive them through the hardest of training sessions and gives them the justification they need for the sacrifices they make.
So…. FIND YOUR REASON. Pick your event, push the button and deal with the consequences later.
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