I was just wondering if anyone has any insight into comparing the fitness level of a marathoner and an ironman. I've competed in several sprint and olympic tri's in the past and have run half/full marathons. I'll be running a marathon this October and was curious if it is possible to get up to the necessary fitness to complete an ironman with one year's worth of training given that I'm in marathon shape (around 4 hours) now?
In previous threads, it seems 10h/week would be a bit on the low end but do-able with a good work/life balance. Does this sound about right?
Not looking to break any world records. Just finish the distance before the cutoff times.
My two cents is that a year will be plenty of time to train for an Ironman--especially if you already have marathon fitness. My experience training for the Ironman distance is that a year will give you plenty of time to create a solid base of fitness with a strong build period. You should be able to get fit in the pool and on the bike. I'm sure your running base will be well established and will help in your swim/bike training. I think the hard part will be sustaining the intensity for the length of an entire year. Your first Ironman will require you to focus during the entire year from sign up to the race, but I think the real training will begin approximately 6 months out from the race. Most importantly, you should think about getting a good coach to help you plan the year within your lifestyle (work, family, training). I have raced and trained long with and without a coach and have found the guidance and assurances of having a coach far outweighs anything else. With good coaching and a solid training program, you should have a great experience. Great job on the upcoming marathon and good luck with you Ironman. I say go for it!
Like was said the best thing to do is get a coach and plan it out. I came from a similar background. Its not so much a matter of fitness, its more of a different training style from marathoning. You are doing much more controlled endurance training in zones I and II. Ideally you shouldn't be racing an Ironman until the last 6-8 miles of the marathon, so holding back, having patience, and working through your nutrition, is what is going to get you to the finish line, not a superior fitness level over marathoning. Of course having a coach to help hammer this into your head helps, because what happens is too many people hammer the bike and walk a lot of the run. People will go 5 1/2 hours on the bike and then 5 1/2 hours on the run (in great discomfort). But a good coach can help set you straight here.
As far as the 10 hours goes, usually this is a function of the bike because you could be doing anywhere from 4-6 hour bikes on your long ones, followed by a run. So the 10 hours usually creeps up when you are getting nearer the race. Ideally you have a long run, a long swim, and a long bike once a week, but of course what "long" is changes as you train. Good luck. Sign up early as some of the Ironmans sell out quick, and some sell out in minutes.
I would also recommend that you get a Half Ironman under your belt if you havent already. This will give you alot better feel for what is required of you and let you test your nutrition, which is not a big focus at sprint or Olympic. Good luck!
Thanks everyone for all the support. I was just worried that I would be undertaking something that would be too challenging to do within a year. I heard about how crazy the registration (fills up within hours/minutes) so I figured if I was going to put down the $$ a year in advance, I'd better know what I'm getting myself into.
Thanks so much!