So you’ve decided to take on the ultimate physical challenge of the IronMan. Training for such an endeavour is no small feat and you need a solid plan to get you ready in the most efficient, effective and healthy way.
We asked our 3 IronMan competitors at International School Bangkok (ISB) what their top 5 training tips are. Daniel Bentley, Andy Vaughan and Dale Jamieson all qualified for the IronMan World Championship in Hawaii in October and join 2000 other athletes from around the world to embark on this courageous test of the body, mind and spirit.
The good news is, they didn’t need to quit their day jobs to achieve this. They work full time and manage their rigorous training schedule outside of that. So how do they do it? They shared some key points with us, that help to make their training successful.
Bentley, who is currently 4th in Canada for his age group in the IronMan rankings and in the top 1% in the world, suggested that before your training even begins, have a conversation with your family and the important people in your life. Your schedule will take a lot of your free time and you’re going to need their support and encouragement throughout. Now that you’ve got your team rallying behind you, here’s what to think of next:
- Training and Recovery is a balancing act. You don’t get fit only from the physical training, fitness comes from balancing training with recovery, therefore following a program that allows for rest into any training schedule is the key to success… if you don’t know how to plan, then get a coach to do this for you.
- Fuel your body well. What you put in effects what you get out. There is no way that the body can work well without good energy going in, so ditch the hollow carbs.
- Consistency is key. Training for a Full Ironman is not a one month venture, it is a slow long build up that allows you to cope with the big weeks as you build to the race.
- Listen to your body. This is essential to make sure that you know when to say no to a workout, when to go to bed earlier and when to back off.
- Be okay with suffering. Let’s be honest, swimming for 3.8km, biking for 180km and running a marathon has an element of suffering, but with it comes an enormous sense of achievement and pride to know what your body can achieve. It is truly incredible what we can do and doing an Ironman allows us a snapshot of our lives in which to test our limits and, as corny as it sounds, to achieve the IronMan slogan… ‘anything is possible’
Keep in mind that you’re one of the few to embark on this challenge and aside from your informed friends and family, not many will understand why you have decided to do this. Finding yourself a training partner or a coach is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Bentley, Jamieson and Vaughan have the benefit of training together in the Nichada Thani Community and the surrounds, in Bangkok, Thailand, where ISB is based. From early in the morning they are in the swimming pool and by early evening they are out on the roads, running together, riding together, enduring together.
Competing in the IronMan requires a combination of courage and commitment, two of ISB’s core values, and a good dose of grit. Cultivating these in the process of your training is a win in its own right and will serve you in many areas in life. Coupled with the training tips above, you’ll be breezing over the IronMan finish line with pride!