Six things NOT to ask a tapering Ironchick

what not to ask an ironman athlete

Maybe it’s the rest, impending race or the extra “free” time during a peak and taper period, but I always tend to get a little sensitive. Actually that’s a lie. I become VERY sensitive.

Actually I’m cranky when I am training and then sensitive during peak and taper – maybe I’m just always on edge!

Nevertheless, there are certain things that people REALLY should never ask an Ironchick the few weeks before her race.

I know many of you would have been asked a few of these questions, so I hope you can relate and giggle along with me.

Here are some I’ve had lately (in no particular order)…..

what not to say to an ironman





No, I’ve put my body through 26 weeks of training just for the fun of it.

See these BAGS under my eyes?

See how I walk around with a drink bottle ALL the time?

See how I get really annoyed with your questions when really you’re just making conversation and being nice?


In actual fact, yes I am training for something, an Ironman and at the moment I am tapering and a little on edge. There are many reasons for my edginess – nerves, excess energy, nerves, feeling like I should be training and then some more nerves, so excuse my blank stares and scrunched up face when you asked me that question. I AM training for something….. an Ironman.

To which I love/hate getting these type responses (I’m sure you’ll understand why) ……

  1. Ohhh yes, my uncle has done an Ironman. The Noosa Triathlon.
  2. Do you get nervous that the surf will break your ski?

Don’t even get me started. Not in tapering week!

what not to say to an ironman athlete





Please don’t ask. We don’t really know if we are READY. When we are not training or thinking about training we are thinking about whether we SHOULD be training or SHOULD be thinking about training. Even that sentence alone explains that I’m ready to race – scatter brain.

Ready? Let’s hope so!

If not, too late, so I guess I’m ready for that too.

not to say to an Ironman





Am I going to do a personal best? Usually I can only answer that one about 1km out from the finish line and in actual fact, sometimes the Maths is too hard that far into the race that I don’t really realize I have (or have not) done a PB until the next day.   Ideally we’d all like to say that, yes, we are going to do a PB, but we are also realistic!   So don’t bother asking (unless it is my first Ironman, because YES I will be doing a PB).

not to say to an ironman





I am a teacher and the kid’s love asking this question. I respond with a holistic, philosophical approach …..“everyone is a winner when they finish an Ironman” to which I normally get blank stares, awkward pauses and then “ok, so will you win?”

I love kids!

not to ask an ironman tapering






What is race weight? For me, it’s what I weigh race morning. So yes, I guess I’m always at race weight.     🙂

tapering ironman





I get this at work all the time. Normally I can cope with my standard response – “No, I’m just stuffed because I ran 32km this morning.” That normally stops them in their tracks, but when you’re tapering you get a little nervous!  Those “Geezzz, I hope I’m not limping. Am I ok? I need to stretch more. Damn calf” type thoughts start to take over.



Of course, on a more positive note, I am lucky to be surrounded by lovely, supportive people who have made the whole Ironman preparation and tapering an absolute blast.

I’m sure you have positive things around you too. Make sure you focus on those. All those lovely things people say.

Take them in.

Giggle these above questions off and enjoy the craziness of what you are doing.

And if you’re looking for a little PUMP ME UP you have to watch this Youtube clip.    This is why we do it …….


Happy training, racing and tapering Ironchicks!

cath 2





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