Becoming an Ironman
“Accept no limits. Just do it.” – Nike
So, you’ve done all the races and pushed your limits as far as you think you can. You’ve decided that one sport just isn’t challenging enough and you’re ready to begin training to become an Ironman! While most of us won’t become the Iron Cowboy, James Lawrence, there’s a lot to be said about simply initiating the plan and beginning the training to become part of the elite 0.01% of the world’s population that can call themselves an Ironman.
In the world of endurance sports, there are several key rules, nay laws, that every athlete must abide by if they wish to succeed, and are universally accepted throughout the endurance sports community.
- You have to train. Train hard and train when it’s uncomfortable, but never, ever let your ego run a race that your body has not trained for.
- Run when you can, walk if you must, crawl if you have to, but never give up.
- Endurance racing is a mental sport even more so than a physical sport.
- Respect the distance because it does not respect you.
- There are no shortcuts. Invest in yourself, invest in your equipment, and log those miles.
In today’s post, we’ll help you compile a list of the things you need to begin your Ironman training to make it to the race startline.
Simply stating time is a severe understatement, but you should allow yourself plenty of time for training and recovery, from now until the race starts. For instance, even if you can currently run a full marathon or have recently completed your first 70.3, you’ll need to allow at least 24-30 weeks of adequate training and even more if you are just completing your first 30k bike race. Unlike other endurance sports, when you elect to complete an Ironman, the training cannot be a side hobby. You should plan to train for eight-10 hours a week initially, intensifying as you near race day — think about it as a part-time job!
If you’ve got a family, you’ll need their support. As we said, the time you dedicate to the sport is similar to a part-time job, and if your family is not on board, your training or your relationships are sure to struggle.
An Ironman does not survive on grit alone. You’ll need a diet that fuels your workouts and allows you to recover. There are many different training diet plans to choose from, so you can easily find one that works for you. Be sure to hydrate and only use supplements that help.
Your body — and mind, for that matter — can only recover while you are asleep. Not resting, not vegging, but sleeping! Allow plenty of time for adequate sleep. For most athletes, it is recommended to get as close to eight hours a night as possible, with six being the bare minimum. If you are up before the sun to train, make sure you are going to bed shortly after it! Sleep is almost as important to your training as exercising is, so even if you have to skip a workout every now and then, sleep should be included in your training plan.
All athletes will tell you that you should train for your sport, but also train outside your sport. Your Ironman training plan should include strength training and cross-cardio training in addition to your swimming, cycling, and running. This helps you be a better, more well-rounded athlete and prevents injury. If you are a runner who hasn’t implemented strength training, you’ll be amazed at the immediate difference you see when you incorporate it into your training plan.
Triathletes of any skill level can agree that high-quality footwear is something you can not skimp on when training for or participating in a triathlon. While good footwear is important during a casual sprint-distance triathlon, they are vital to successfully finishing an Ironman. You’ll pedal 112 miles on your bike and run 26.2 miles on the course, and thousands more over the course of your training. At Americule, we each have our own favorite shoes and won’t play brand ambassador here, but we can offer shock-absorbing insoles that can supplement any cycling and running shoe you choose as your race partner.
JMAC polymer insoles have superior product memory and moisture-wicking antimicrobial material, which means they are sure to outlast your training shoes and support you the entirety of race day. The JMAC insoles work with, or can replace, any shoe insole and have a tapered fit for long-lasting, heel-to-toe comfort. Absorbing 92% of shock, your knees and hips are spared the brunt of impact force. Learn more about the product features online, and discover how we support the feet of athletes everywhere. We are honored to grace the shoes of all sorts of endurance athletes and would love for you to try us out in your Iron-training shoes!
Whatever your motivation, Ironman training is sure to challenge you, change your life, and show you what you’re capable of.