10 Things to Ask Yourself Before Tackling 140.6

6) Do I have a "crew" with whom I can train during the year?

If anecdotal evidence isn't enough, a number of scientific studies have shown that it's easier to stick to a schedule if you train with others.  Will friends of yours be training for the same event and can you time your long bike rides or runs so that you have company?

7) Can I afford all costs associated with the event?

The hefty entry fees for IRONMAN events seem daunting for many. Keep in mind, though, that this is only a down payment to claim eventual bragging rights. You will likely need new equipment along the way. Depending on which race you select, you may also need to book several days at a hotel, not just one room the night of the event.

8) Will my family support the effort?

Given the time you will spend on the road and in the pool, not in the living room or backyard, you need to have your family on-board for the entire adventure.

9) Can I maintain my job or career obligations throughout the period?

Simply put, don't forget the day job. Even if there were major companies who sponsored top age-grouper triathletes, a lifetime supply of energy bars won't pay the rent. Make sure that you maintain the appropriate work-life balance.

10) Am I willing to accept that the goal for 95 percent of first timers is simply to finish?

Given the amount of time the endeavor will consume, will you be happy just to say you crossed the finish line? Yes, it would be terrific to qualify for Kona the first time out. However, even age-group slots are getting more competitive each year. 

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Special thanks to Jesse Kropelnicki, Founder and Head Coach of QT2 Systems and elite athletes Steven DeLisi and Mitch West training out of Target Training in Connecticut for contributions to this piece.

Paul Tyler is founder of Triessential.com. Triessential offers an iPhone application that provides training tips and motivation every day throughout the entire year.

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