If a 3.86km swim followed by a 180km cycle with a marathon to finish it all off sounds like your idea of fun then we’ve got a great article for you.
Training for an Ironman might just be the hardest thing you ever attempt, even if you’re at peak fitness level, but we lay out some hints and tips on how to train for it so that when they day rolls around you’re at your best:
First things first, if you’re starting from scratch this is a 12 month process. This is good news as you often have to book your place a year in advance so you’ve got more time to prepare.
To prepare your body to actively tackle the 226.27km endurance test, your weeks need to be dominated by training. For the majority of Ironman trainees, a week will typically involve two days devoted to a one hour swim, two days devoted to a one hour cycle, and three days of running for up to an hour. On top of this you need to use your weekends wisely and that means devoting one workout out of those listed above to a long training day.
If that sounds like too much training then turn away now as it’s the bare minimum that needs to be done – Ironman is a second job as much as it is a lifestyle choice. That said, it’s important to let your body recuperate so for every fourth week on your training schedule – this doesn’t mean chill out with a pizza but simply decrease your exercise amount by not doing as many miles or having a lie-in if you're an early trainer, or substitute an exercise by having a go on a rowing machine
or skipping rope
instead of cycling.
As the weeks and months start to accumulate, it’s important to work towards acclimatising your body to the lengths it will have to go to on the day of your Ironman – this could mean competing in half-marathons, full marathons, city rides or other types of fun races.
Feed Your Body
Getting a steady supply of healthy calories and carbs can often be the biggest challenge for any would-be Ironman, and with the constant fuelling of your body you’ll be wondering if you’re entering an eating contest too.
Ensure you’re getting a lot of healthy nutrition with foodstuffs such as peanut butter, fruit, nuts and seeds, cheese, along with a constant and steady intake of water throughout the day. On top of this you want to be eating while you train to prepare yourself for the actual race to ensure you have constant and sufficient energy to burn.
This just covers the bare essentials and absolute basics of what needs to be done - there’s a whole lot more that goes into training for an Ironman event. But don't be put off - it can be an extremely rewarding and life-changing achievment but it does require a strong commitment, stubborn will and some sacrifices.