How tough is it to be an Ironman athlete?

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Do you really know how tough is it to be an Ironman althlete? Find out the answer in this article.
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The compromise for being an Ironman althelete is huge

So you all know that we are not going to talk about how hard is Robert Downy Jr.’s costume. In fact, it is not even made of iron, and of course, it’s not even tough at all. However, being an Ironman athlete is indeed tough, and that’s why they are regarded with such a title. In this article, let’s look at what a typical athlete has to compromise for this competition, what kinds of difficulty and how intense their training workouts are.

What triathletes say about Ironman

Ironman competitions consist of 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike, and 42.2 km run. And just by looking at the number, we seem to have a grasp of how challenging is it to complete the event. However, it’s just what we think we know. In fact, most of Ironman trainees admitted that training for this kind of triathlon put them to a further limit of endurance. And the word “tough” seems to still a lack of power to demonstrate what they’re really going through. Below are the sharing from two infamous Ironman triathletes.

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Stuart Anderson – a five-time Ironman finisher

Stuart Anderson is the first name, and you all may know this name. He is a five-time World Ironman Championship finisher; he is most recognized from his victory in 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. According to Anderson, this event demands both strength and endurance from the starting point to the finish line. And more importantly, by “strength” he meant both physical and mental kind of power. In an Ironman event, you should know and believe that anything is possible. And thus, there is no “enough pain” limit.

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Keith Davids – Navy SEAL operater

The second testimonial is from Keith Davids – an Ironman athlete and also a Navy SEAL operator. With his 22 years of working in SEAL, Davids has experienced both SEAL and Iron training. And amazingly, he said that the two kinds of training somehow share the similarity in the extent of tension and expectation for consistency. “I’m sure you’ve heard the mantra, you know, the body can achieve what the mind can perceive. I think until you test the theory, it’s just a mantra, it’s just a saying”, said Davids. “You have to get the most speed for the least cost, and that’s the sweet spot”.

What is it like being in an Ironman training?

I think there are so enough articles writing about training for Ironman. And thus, to illustrate how demanding is it, I again love to quote from Keith Davids. The ultimate goal of training for the Ironman event is the ideal combination of power and consistency of power. Specifically, you have to have a strong cardiovascular engine staying in a healthy physical body. And he realized from the training that anything is possible with perseverance.

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Training for Ironman is more than the word “intense” can say

Davids stated: “There are parallels in triathlon and training for SEAL missions. The most parallel is that, in both worlds, you are facing an event that seems at first insurmountable. And so what you do in a triathlon event is to look at how to swim, bike, and run at a high level all day long. Also, to complete a SEAL mission, you break that down in its components. The, you figure out how to get it done. Additionally, what is similar in Ironman and SEAL is that the training does not stop at physical workouts. So it’s not all about technical proficiency, much as importantly, it demands commitment and mental capacity.

What are the risks of part taking in an Ironman event?

Risks in training

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Muscle pain is common in the training

The fact is, training for Ironman demands continually extended workout sessions with an enormous amount of energy burnt. And for this reason, trainees are more vulnerable to injuries than other kinds of training. As compared to gym workouts, Ironman training is of course, much challenging. Specifically, the most common injuries are the break of muscles of legs, arms, and stomach. Other worse scenarios are shut down and even permanent disability of using muscles.

Risks during the events

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Bike crash in a triathlon event

You all may be so familiar with news about accidents and injuries during the triathlon events. Whether it is because of subjective or objective reasons, the consequences are usually devastating. However, most accidents reported are on the bike tours. The most recent terrible accident is the fatality of a triathlete in Ironman event in Boulder, Colorado. And the reason is yet to be clear. Other common injuries occur in the Ironman events are the burnout of the athletes, crashing and cramping.

What to consider if you want to be an Ironman?

Training program

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Having an appropriate training program is essential

It is crucial to understand that training for Ironman takes time, not to say, a lot of time. And of course, how you prepare for the event determine how you will perform in the actual event. It’s much better to have a coach design the training program. As they can have a SWOT analysis on your current physical condition, they are more likely to create a schedule of training that fits you. A typical training schedule has 2 days for biking, 2 days of swimming, 2 days for running, and 1 day for resting.

Nutrition plan

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Have a proper nutrition plan to ensure the training quality

In addition to following the training schedule, it’s important to have a proper diet that helps you intake equal amount of energy for the workouts. The fundamentals of a training diet include water, timing, and race-day food. And with healthy eating, you can raise the quality of the workouts. Also, don’t forget to have enough sleep and take care of your heart rate. The average rate is between 60 and 80 bpm. Thus, training for Ironman should keep you within the range and have a stronger cardiovascular engine.

Commitment

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I does not matter how determined you are at the beginning, it’s your commitment along a way that really matters.

Having the determination for Ironman training is easy. However, keeping that decision is an entirely different story. Whether your goal is to become a professional triathlete or to be able to make your time in the event an interest vacation, you have to have enough physical and mental strength. And it’s advisable to have a concrete pathway to the event. Ideally, one will not jump right into an Ironman event. Instead, they need to accumulate and get used to the competitions in smaller scales such as the Sprint or Ironman 70.3.

In a nutshell

Now we all know how tough it is to be an Ironman athlete. However, for the value it brings, it worth the effort and time exerted. And to deserve the title of an Ironman, it takes sweat, tears, and even blood. Strongly hope you enjoy my article. And please note that I am not trying to put you off your desire of being an Ironman candidate. Instead, this article should help you to be more prepared for what you may choose to be.

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My name is Artie, and I am now a writer specializing at triathlon. And what makes me love this writing job is that the stories around triathlon seems to inspire me in many ways. I remember someone saying that “Race day is not the challenging part, it’s the reward for the months of hard works while you were training”. Thus, my articles hopefully brings you useful knowledge of this sports and the people doing this sports – those who don’t understand that one sport is enough. Hope you enjoy my writings.

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