10 Honest truths about Ironman

honest truths about Ironman triathlon

We love the sport of triathlon, particularly Iron-distance races, but I recently felt it was about time we told some of the honest truths about Ironman. Good, bad, ugly and a little light hearted.

Obviously these are just ten things I’ve noticed, feel free to add anything to the comments below…..



1.  Costs shit tins of money

I want you to think about how much racing and training for an Ironman will probably cost.

Good, now double that figure. Seriously, double it.

The costs go beyond the race entry. There are many other expenses  – race accommodation, bike maintenance, body maintenance, coach fees, pool fees, replacing running shoes and many other incidental costs.

The exact amount of money I spend on racing still frightens me.  “But the medal makes it worth it”, yes, as long as you don’t have to sell it on ebay or triathlete marketplace the following week.

Don’t giggle, I’ve seen finisher towels for sale online  {FYI someone bought it for $20}!

Ironman finisher shirts blanket
We have cut up our finisher shirts from 34 Ironman and made 2x blankets. These blankets would have cost us around $25,000 JUST in entry fees!. OUCH.

2.  You will discover your inner mongrel

You might frighten yourself. You might discover you have a bit of animal mongrel in you.  You might find you swear a little more, race the person next to you more often and quite possibly even happily relieve yourself behind a bush during a long bike ride.

Brace yourself!

3.  Bowel movements will become a priority

You will endeavor to ensure that all bowel movements are exhausted before a long training session and DEFINITELY before a race – often several times.

Then when you are training and racing you will endeavor to stop any more bowel movements.

Nerves will introduce the cat poos to your poo repertoire and you will be amazed how many “nerve poops” you will do the morning of a race (I can see you all nodding along with me).

4.  You become a dud friend

To many of your non-ironman friends, you will be the strange, loser, dud friend who doesn’t like to do anything past 7:30pm….

or after a long ride…

or after a long run…

or after a swim.

Let’s face it, you won’t even want to do anything on your rest day either.  As for home maintenance, you will notice after a while you won’t even notice things that need to be done around the house.

homowner neglect

5.  Whole new respect for eating to fuel your body

You will develop a relationship with food unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

This relationship is tiered. The base tier involves eating for survival – when you are starving, you will just need food NOW and anything will do. This could be anything from an apple to $5 worth of hot chips.

As your food relationship develops you will start to notice that nutritionally rich foods help you feel and perform better while you’re training (not to mention help you recover).

As soon as you get your head around the cravings and food you have when you’re not training, you then need to learn and understand how to fuel your body when you are training.

Knowledge about this type of nutrition is paramount because regardless of your miles of training, if you stuff this up, you will come undone on race day. You only need to ask around to hear war stories about nutritional stuff ups.
hungry ironman training6.  You won’t actually feel fast, fit or strong

One day you will feel fast, fit and strong , then the next you’ll feel like crap.

Often as you slowly build the kilometres and the fatigue sets it, it is hard to imagine racing fast.

You will get snippets during your training though so try to be in tune with your body so you can notice and celebrate these moments.

long run reality
This is what long runs look like…. I sat there for around 20 minutes feeling like I was going to be sick. I got it done though.

7.  Your idea of fun will change

Two hour bush trail runs become far more appealing than dawdling around a shopping centre.

Microwave rice topped with veggies becomes more appealing than a dinner at a restaurant.

Watching re-runs of Hawaiian Ironman coverages becomes more appealing than going to an 8pm movie at the cinema.

But what is most frightening about all of these is that you don’t care – you love your current priorities. Your friends might not though.

ironman friends8.  What you thought to be “long” will be readjusted

There will be moments in your training program where you will think “great just a two hour run.”

WHAT?!  Two hours!

You might also catch yourself saying “Great, only a 4.5hr ride this weekend.” Again, that is crazy. As your miles increase, so does your resilience and perception of what is regarded “long”.

9.  Training / recovering / racing will dominate your thoughts and decisions

As soon as you finish a session you’ll start to think about what is next. Whenever you have a spare moment to think about anything, it will be about racing.

All these things can also dominate your ability to make a decision. This is normal, but remember, still live and have a life. Try not to make it all you think about all the time. There are bigger picture things out there.

That is why it is good to have a partner or good friend as your “am I being an Ironman dick” gauge. They become particularly handy when you are trying to decide to train when you are sick or maybe if you’ve just gone a little bit over the top!

10.  You will love race day

You can have the worst day out there, but for some crazy arse reason, you will still love it. I’m never 100% sure that I love that it is over or that I love that finish feeling, but whatever it is, you will love race day and sharing the war stories.

love ironman triathlon

But we love it.

Happy training Ironchicks xx






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3 thoughts on “10 Honest truths about Ironman”

  1. Training for the HerveyBay100 again and can relate to these. Thanks for making it all feel normal.lol! Gave me a giggle!