The 4 Rules of Ironman Training

Unless you are a pro, it will take at least 10 hours to complete an Ironman. In that time, it will be impossible for you to take in more calories than you'll burn.

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The human body just isn't designed to take in more than several hundred calories per hour during intense exercise, while at the same time burning four of five times that amount.

The trick is to figure out how your body reacts to prolonged stress and how to best compensate for this intense and long exercise without bonking. A successful Ironman triathlete has spent considerable time honing their nutrition regimen prior to a race.

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And as odd as it may sound, when you step up to the longer distance races be prepared to feel sick. Gastrointestinal discomfort is common in athletes participating in the IM distance.

Avoid Injury

It's the No. 1 secret to moving from shorter triathlons to the half- or full-Ironman distance. That means staying healthy and injury-free throughout your training.

Unfortunately, the long Ironman training hours required to prepare for the event make it difficult to stay injury free.

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It's all too easy and common to blow out a shoulder swimming in the pool, or develop a case of plantar fasciitis while ramping up for the marathon. Bike accidents are always a constant danger.

An amateur triathlete who wants to attempt an Ironman should find a coach or online Ironman training plan and stick with it.

Coaches or training plans help minimize the risk of injury and fatigue. It may cost more in the short term, but when compared to the cost of surgery it is money well spent.

More: A 12-Month Overview of Long-Distance Training

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