There's an old saying that goes, all roads lead to Rome. In the triathlon world, all roads eventually and hopefully lead to Kona and the Ironman World Championships.
If you've been bitten by the triathlon bug chances are you'll want to go long and race your first half- and full-distance IM.
More: Training Tips for Aspiring Kona Athletes
Here are a few tips for any triathlete who wants to go long and step up to the half and full-IM distance.
Train Every Day
It takes a minimum of 13 hours of training per week to get in shape for an Ironman race. That means you'll be training almost every day of the week.
After all, you not only have to swim, bike and run during the race, but you have to beat the cutoff times.
Participants in competing in the half- or full-Ironman events will be pulled from the course if they're unable to finish each leg of the event in the set amount of time.
More: A Typical Ironman Training Week
So, get ready to spend some serious time in the pool, on the bike and in your running shoes.
Don't Fake It
To some small extent you can fake the training for both an Ironman and half IM race. In other words, you can finish both of these race distances without completely putting in the time to train, but you'll hate the race.
There are few things more miserable in life than spending 17 hours on an Ironman course hating every painful swim stroke, bike pedal and running step. Sure, there are amateur athletes who've finished without putting in the hard work, but they just spent over $500 on the entry for a day of self-inflicted pain.
The Fourth Ironman Segment
You probably know that a triathlon of any length consists of a swim, bike and run, but in order to succeed at the half- and full-Ironman distance you'll have to learn a fourth discipline: nutrition.
Unlike the sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, the half and full IM becomes about how fast you can swim, bike and run, and just as importantly how you can take in enough calories to keep from bonking.
More: Nutrition Tips for Ironman Athletes