Your first Ironman won’t be your last

“I will become an Ironman.” Yes, you already know, maybe all too well, what I mean with this phrase. It is every triathlete’s hope; you dream about it, train hard for it, you imagine yourself triumphant running across the red carpet. And, surely, you replay in your mind — time and again —  four magic words: “You are an Ironman”. 

Unavoidably, your daily routine has changed dramatically. With two training sessions per day, squeezed between family responsibilities and work duties, things are getting tough. Chances are, your friends and colleagues think you’re crazy, but it doesn’t matter; you know what you are and what you’re striving to achieve 😉.

You’re probably wondering how I read your minds; well, I wish I had mind-reading abilities, however, I speak from my own practical knowledge and understanding. You see, I am both an Ironman finisher, and a coach. In fact, I’ve helped many triathletes participate in long-distance events, and I know firsthand how this experience can transform your life.

Disclaimer: This is not one of my usual blog posts on how to optimize your training using science; this is about sharing my own experience as a coach, and as an athlete, with you.

To be honest, I strongly believe that the most difficult part of becoming an Ironman is not the race itself; yes, you guessed right: it’s the training. Specifically, how you can add a demanding training plan into your — already full — daily life. Make no mistake, the very first thing you’ll learn from your Ironman training is how to optimize your daily routine

So, are you ready to navigate through the necessary steps you need to take to become an Ironman? Let’s go!

Your Ironman journey, step by step

1. The registration

It all starts with you, in front of a PC or Laptop, searching for the right race to sign up. The truth is, there are so many things to consider before you lock in your final choice:

  • Are the terrains flat? That is, for both cycling and running.
  • Will the weather conditions be race-friendly? 
  • Is the race well organized? 
  • How far is the starting line from the airport? 

Finally, you spot the race that suits you best and you fill in the application with your personal info — and, your credit card number too 💸. Just for a minute, you leave the cursor hovering over the registration button; you take a deep breath and — without second thought — you press the button; simple as that, your Ironman journey has just begun! 

2. The training plan

You’re full of motivation and ready to start your training. What’s next? Next, you hire a coach — I cannot stress this enough, especially for such a demanding race like Ironman. Immediately, you try to squeeze everything in your daily routine. The pool is waiting for you, the track too, your bike, the gym, the… oh no, how about your better half? (What? You forgot about them already? 😝)

Should I go on?

  • Workout session early in the morning
  • and in the afternoon
  • weekends with 120+ km on the saddle
  • 20+ km run
  • 3+ km swimming
  • HIIT on weekdays

This is going to be your life for the next few months; did I just say “few months”? OK, what I really meant was, actually, “for the next few years” — because, your first Ironman won’t be your last. Not by a long shot.

3. Traveling to the event’s destination

In the past months, you faithfully stuck to your plan and you’re fitter than ever! Now, the most anticipated week has come. Of course, you’ve already drafted a checklist with what you need to take with you; your bike is clean and lubricated, your luggage is packed, and you are ready for the takeoff. 

When you arrive at the destination, you first check if your bike arrived with you in the right condition. Afterwards, you keep your eyes wide open, desperately searching for other “crazy people”; that is to say, fellow triathletes carrying a huge bike box with an “M dot” tattoo on their calves. 

4. Surrounding area

At last, you arrive before the starting line; a place swarming with 500+ athletes, ready to claim the Ironman status! Gels, bikes, shoes — and whatnot — are everywhere! However, you ignore everything, because the only one thing in your mind is to receive your race bag; along with the chip and your number. For a minute, you’re lit with the realization that you are one step closer to the starting line.

Personally, this moment is one of my favorites! You have some time to buy a few presents for you and your friends; of course, something with the “M dot” on it. And then, time for some rest.

5. Race Day

It’s 03.30 am, and the alarm clock starts sounding. You take your rich-in-carbs breakfast, and mentally prepare for the race. Right before you go, you check on your bike one last time, just  to make sure that everything is ok. 

Before you know it, you find yourself at the transition area. The atmosphere is vibrating with excitement; thousands of bikes on the racks, athletes warming up, music playing aloud. Suddenly, the final announcement drags you back down to earth; it instructs you to leave the transition area and prepare for the race. 

Ironman: The final countdown

Countdown, and the race has started: a 4k swim, 180km bike and 42.2 km run race is waiting for you. This is your moment, this is your chance, the most anticipated day of your last (at least) 6 months; anything is possible, go and claim your dream… 

You are an Ironman!
… And, now what? Now, you just want to register again, that’s what! I warned you, didn’t I? Your first Ironman won’t be your last.

Your first Ironman won’t be your last was last modified: December 3rd, 2020 by Aris Myrkos