Last year I completed an Ironman. These are some Ironman reflections I have after crossing the finish line.
Do the race your way
‘They say’ a lot of things: “You need to train 6 days per week. It’s impossible to do the race without training on a real bicycle. You have to do a half Ironman before you do a full Ironman. Don’t drink alcohol in the lead up.”
It’s all bullshit if your only goal is to cross that finish line within the race cut off time and get that piece of metal. I trained once per week for 3 months prior to the race. I did my cycle training on a stationery bike in the gym (thanks Holly for that $$$ saving tip). The first triathlon I ever did was the actual Ironman. I drank all the way up to the day before the race.
Admittedly I’m smug about a lot of this. I also acknowledge that I’m a 25 year old male with the ideal body for endurance events (read: tall and skinny). However, the main point here is that there is no such thing as gospel for what it takes to do an Ironman. I’m a strong believer that anyone can do it. At the end of the day it will come down to willpower more than anything else.
Be prepared for the post finish line
One thing that really shocked me was how my body shut down after I crossed the finish line. My core body temperature plummeted and I was shaking uncontrollably. Emotionally I felt destroyed and wanted to ball my eyes out. It was a weird reaction considering the elation I had felt as I ran that final hundred metres before the finish line.
Have a support crew
That race was 10x easier than it could of been purely because of the support crew that came down on the day to cheer us on.
During the run especially you will be mentally and physically struggling. Hearing and seeing people cheer you on is a massive motivator to get through the marathon.
Pick your race carefully
I chose Busselton, Western Australia as the location for my ironman because of one main reason: it’s flat. Cycling 180km is hard enough without thinking about hills!
Have a new goal picked out for after you finish the race before you finish the race
Lots of people suffer from post Ironman depression because something that consumed their lives for at least 6 months is now finished. I set myself a new physical goal (unrelated to Ironman or triathlon) for 2017 before the big day which I think really helped me avoid that aimless depressed period.
Finishing an Ironman is a gift to your future self
Out of all my Ironman reflections this is the most important. I’ve noticed in the weeks and months since the race that I have retained a new sense of simple determination and willpower that was not there before.
Now, I set long terms goals with a quiet conviction knowing that I will achieve them in the long run through pure willpower and continuous, compounding effort. This comes from overcoming a challenge that requires more will power than you think you have. It forces you to find new depths of what you are capable of.
As friends who have done the Ironman before me can confirm, this has ripple effects across all areas of your life.
Overall my post Ironman reflections make me realise that entering this race was one of the best goals I’ve ever set for myself. If you want to find out what you’re capable of I encourage you to give it a go.
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