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9393 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Sep 11, 2007 9:49 PM by Mijohe
RunnerStephanie Amateur 16 posts since
Aug 6, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 6, 2007 9:05 AM

Dreaming of an Ironman...

I have done one triathlon previously, and I am scheduled to do a sprint in October of this year followed by the IronGirl in late Spring next year.  I know I am by no means ready to do a full Ironman, but I am really ambitious to do one.  My goal is to complete 2-3 triathlons a year over the next few years.


I have been a runner my entire life.  I ran cross country in high school and college, and I have completed a few half and full marathons along the way.  I started cycling seriously earlier this year, and I just completed my first century ride yesterday.


I guess my question is how do you know when you are ready for an Ironman?  I would like to do one before 2012.  I have no idea why I chose that year, but 5 years seemed like plenty of time to really get myself ready so I can finish.  I am pretty weak in swimming, but I am working really hard to change that.  I lift three times a week with a trainer.


If anyone has any advice on how to prepare or know when I am ready to conquer the Ironman I would be much appreciative.  I don't know anyone who has ever done one before, so I have no one close to ask these questions.


Thanks in advance!


  • IMVoice Legend 13 posts since
    May 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 6, 2007 10:04 AM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...

    Stephanie keep the dream alive of doing an Ironman.  Your goal of 2012 is well in reach.  I have seen people set their goal and complete an Ironman in 1 to 2 years.  Keep doing the tri's and those long Century rides you are the right track.  I would look at doing a 70.3 next year to see what 1/2 the Ironman distance is all about. Eventually get yourself on a training program with good coaches involved like Gale Bernhardt.  They can guide you to your dream a lot quicker than 5 years. Good Luck!

  • sbr37 Amateur 8 posts since
    Jul 23, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 21, 2007 9:50 PM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    Runner Stephanie:



    Be patient with your Ironman goals.  Like so many of us who tri there is always a fine line between training and having fun and going a bit over the edge and getting too serious.  You will know when you are ready to go for your first Ironman.  One suggestion I have through my own experience is to get a very good coach who will guide you with patience and will listen to your needs.  I have been trained both on-line and locally and have found that the local coach was a far better experience for me.  I was fortunate to have group rides, track workouts and someone I could call and talk with, if needed.  Do your research.  I suggest meeting with anyone local and discussing your time and family commitments.  I have friends who have trained with and and have had a great experience.  I have just been lucky to find a great local coach who is awesome.  If it's available, you might want to join a tri club for community and training.  My club typically has 10-20 members training for an IM distance race which helps and motivates. 



    Your Ironman training will require you to be focused on the goal for at least a year and very serious training for at least 6 months.  Make sure your loved ones understand what will be required of you and them.  I am lucky to have a very supportive wife and child who understand how important IM training and racing is for me.  The experience should involve everyone and be as positive as can be.  I keep family and work first and have to focus my training around that priority system.  I have learned the hard way what will happen if training makes life imbalanced.  It's not worth it and the eventual burnout and resentment for the sport becomes counterproductive.  Even with the IM distance, if you can't have fun training for and racing it, it's not worth it. 



    As sappy as it sounds, the IM journey is about learning and discovering a part of yourself you would not otherwise be able to.  It needs to be challenging but spiritual too. 



    I think you'll know when you're ready to chase an Ironman.  Don't push it as they will always be there for you.  Once you commit to it, the time training for it will be one of the greatest experiences and most challenging of your life and the race itself will be unbelievably tremendous. 



    Great job on making that a goal.  Go for it!



  • Anthony_All3 Legend 237 posts since
    Aug 8, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Aug 23, 2007 2:35 AM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...

    Some good info here for you.  You sound like you are well on your way.  My goal is to complete IM Wisconsin next year.  I have not yet done a full marathon though, so you are way ahead of the game.  I waited until I had done a few half marathons before completing the Whirlpool Steelhead 70.3 this year, it was a great experience, and it has got me excited to do a full.  I trained hard for 6 months for Steelhead, finished and felt great at the end.  Does anyone think its necessary to do a full marathon before begginning training for an IM though?

  • MK-strong Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 29, 2007 9:52 PM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    I think 2012 is just too far away. I just completed my first Ironman in Louisville last weekend and it was great fun. My dream of doing one started last summer. In the past I had done adventure racing for a few years and only 1 sprint tri. So I sign up for a half Ironman to do in May of 2007 and Louisville Aug 2007 and started training. I finished the half IM strong but I a little slow in the full, but I finished! I got the bug bad and I'm already planning for the next full and I know now what my weakness is and I can focus on it (FYI its running). So I think you should just go for it.



  • Joe_h1 Community Moderator 1,833 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Aug 30, 2007 7:42 AM (in response to Anthony_All3)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...

    I'm not an ironman or a coach but i've always heard a full marathon is not necessary before your first ironman. they are totally different races and a lot of training plans limit your long runs to under 3/ 3.5 hrs more than that your risk injury for very little return.

    goals for 2011:

    break 19minutes for 5k

    break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic

    break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)

  • Eric_kenney Rookie 3 posts since
    Sep 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 2, 2007 11:50 AM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    sounds like your pretty fit, I bet you could do one next year!



    check out Endurance Nation. lots of good things there.



  • itribrad Rookie 2 posts since
    Sep 4, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Sep 4, 2007 11:08 AM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    You definitely have a good background for it. I agree you dont need to wait that long and would judge more how you feel as you progress in race distances. I would make sure you have atleast one half Ironman you felt good about before progressing. Also, you really need to start looking into a nutrition plan and trial and error it during training. As you do 70.3 and higher you have to go into the race knowing what works for you as far as fluid and nutrition intake. Some good points made already, definitely get a good training plan (I used and really like their approach). Also it really helps to have a training group for those long bike rides. Personally I think it is good you have done a full marathon so you are psychologically ready to be out there on the run that long and will be better able to 'cheer yourself up' during possible rough patches. Keep in mind that just because you are going through a 'bad patch' on the bike, you may feel 'great' once you get on the run. Great goal and good luck, you can definitealy do it!!



  • triguy333 Expert 42 posts since
    Jul 18, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 5, 2007 12:22 PM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    First off great job of dreaming big! I am a certified triathlon coach and 5 years is PLENTY of time. Many people planning to do their first IM have years under their belt, but I have also seen some people do them in as short as 1 year. Sounds like you have a very good running background which is great because you have experienced some of the longer training schedules. I would say to give yourself confidence you could ramp up your races in say 3 years. 1st year a few races with the longest being an international distance, 2nd year a few races with longest 1/2 IM and 3rd year a few races including an IM.



    A few things to note a proper training program for an IM is on average about 6 to 8 months with base builds peaks etc  depending on who you are working with and also when signing up for an IM note you have to sign up 1 full year in advance (day after the previous years race). Also talk with family members, boyfriend, husband so it is cool to have some longer trainging weeks/days, last thing you want is people not supporting your dream.



    Good Luck!



  • Mijohe Amateur 22 posts since
    Sep 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 11, 2007 9:49 PM (in response to RunnerStephanie)
    Re: Dreaming of an Ironman...


    The only difference between a Dream and a Goal, is you write it down, and since you have just written it down in your blog, you are on your way to completing your IM. The hardest part is over, the mental commitment to do it...



    Pick the IM you want to finish, and work backswords on time and get a coach...



    It's what I am doing, I picked the IM, then Picked a 70.3 before that one, then picked an Olympic before that one and then a sprint to start it off, then found a coach and presto, on the way - did the Sprint, placed 3rd in my age group - the Olympic is in 2 weeks, the 70.3 is one month after and then the big IM in April 08.



    Though, the cost for coach and bike and wet suit etc etc, was more than I had thought, but how often do we get to complete our dreams...





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