You only have to spend half an hour on Ironmanlive.com or near a finish chute of an Ironman race before your mind starts to wonder and question the possibility of you doing an Ironman. YES?
Maybe you’ve done a few 70.3 or maybe you’ve raced an Ironman a long time ago, whatever your circumstances, beginner or not, when you decide to register for an endurance event such as an Ironman, it is important to ask yourself a few questions. Some of the questions can be tough, but if you give yourself enough time to process it all you will know if the race is for you or not.
I still have to do this. Every time I watch an event, I want to sign up! It’s like a drug :). After watching Cairns Ironman on the weekend I was definitely racing there next year, but I’ve had to stop and process what my goals are and what my family and I can manage.
Here are a few things for you to consider. Hopefully they’ll make the decision on whether to press the “REGISTER NOW” button a little easier…..
Consider how much TIME you have
When you’re not training, you’re probably thinking about training or doing something to prepare for training. It is crazy! Your Ironman training can take anywhere from 10-19 hours per week. That’s a part time job. Obviously some weeks are less than others.
Yes you will allocate time for the running, riding and swimming but lets not forget the time you will need to invest in your body – the massages, the stretching, core and pilates work and all those NAPS (if and when they’re possible).
If you’re finding yourself rather time poor, I have written three blogs on “Finding time”. They can give you some tips on how to find time for riding, running and swimming. They may help you with your decision?
Consider the financial COSTS
You don’t need to have the best bike, best wetsuit and racing gear to finish an Ironman, but there will be costs (many costs) involved. If you have an idea of what it will cost you to do an Ironman, I say add 20%.
There are the obvious ones – race entry, accommodation, bike, pool entry etc.
And the not so obvious ones – bike maintenance, massages, physio appointments and this list can go on.
It can be expensive, but it is worth it! It is one of the best investments you will ever make. You are investing in a personal goal and a lifetime experience.
Consider your Family (& friends)
This goes hand in hand with the above two. You are going to be a little over-consumed at times, probably cranky, tired and irritable and you might even become slightly obsessed. It happens to all of us. That’s why we have our family and friends, they can yank us straight back to reality and put things back into perspective.
Racing an Ironman is a real team event, and the more you involve your family and friends, the experience will be better for everyone. Once you know you want to do an Ironman, be sure to sit down with those you love to see if they can help and support you.
We can try to be “Wonder Women Ironchicks” but there will be days when we need to crumble. If we have the support and love of those around us, it will be much better.
Can your body physically do an Ironman?
Are you serious? Of course you CAN? “Anything is possible” right? I can clearly remember my first Ironman, I spent so many hours wondering if I would actually make the distances.
However, on a serious note, no one knows this answer of whether you are physically ready for an Ironman more than you (and maybe your Doctor). If you are unsure, you will need to talk it through with your GP.
Ironman is a lot about HEART and wanting to do it, so as long as your heart wants to get you to the finish line, the body will do all it can to get you there.
To achieve this you will need a plan. Your plan might be a little different to others, but ensure you have a coach and maybe a few training buddies and you can aim to get to the finish line.
How will I cope mentally?
Take some time to ask yourself how tough you can be mentally. Training (and racing) for an endurance event will test you.
That is what makes is so FUN. Weird, I know.
You will struggle, learn new things, break barriers, struggle, get back up, do personal bests, be motivated, be un-motivated and then all of those over again quite a few times. You need to be prepared for that. If you have good support networks around you, they will experience these with you and that makes it even more FUN.
You will learn just how tough you can be and it is pretty damn empowering.
You will also learn just how vulnerable you can be and it’s pretty empowering too!
Let’s get a little philosophical
Have you noticed I’ve gone from the practical to the physical and now into the deep and meaningful stuff. That’s because I think it is important.
Why do you want to do an Ironman?
Sit yourself down, alone, and ask yourself exactly WHY you want to do an Ironman. See if what you write is intrinsically motivating or are you just looking to get yourself a finisher’s towel?
Whatever it is, it is right.
There is no wrong.
But it is all worth considering.
Hopefully once you’ve given it a bit of thought, we will see you signing up for a Ironman event soon?!?!
But please, be WARNED, it is addictive!
Happy training Ironchicks,