It Takes a Team1 of 10
Behind every IRONMAN is a team of people providing support in more ways than one. Sure, they won't be out there racing, but they put up with your post-workout hangries, have picked you up when you were stranded on a bike ride and massage your legs when you're in the dog days of training. These "race sherpas" are often underappreciated simply for their moral support, and all IRONMAN athletes wouldn't be successful without one.
The IRONMAN Diet2 of 10
Let's face it, you'll burn more calories on your Saturday training ride than some people eat in two days. Once you're in the thick of your training block, your post-workout protein smoothie just isn't enough. Thirty minutes later you'll be halfway through a box of Oreos--and that's completely acceptable.
The Little Things3 of 10
Sure it's the longest and slowest of the triathlon distances, but in a race that can take up to 17 hours, the little things truly add up. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance, and really dialing in your race preparation can make or break your race. Finding what works (and what doesn't) is a big part of the chess match that is IRONMAN.
Race-cations4 of 10
Unlike your local race, IRONMAN has events across the globe. Have you ever wanted to visit Europe or Australia? Pack up your family and gear (and your flip flops) and have an extended post-race vacation. Nothing says recovery more than a hammock and a piña colada.
Sacrifice5 of 10
Of course race day is hard, but training on a consistent basis is the toughest part of the process. You'll be waking up at 4 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before work, missing parties with friends on the weekend and living in a state of semi-exhaustion for months at a time. On paper it sounds tough, but working towards the goals is what we live for.
Kona, anyone?6 of 10
The IRONMAN World Championships takes place in--of all places--Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Considered the birthplace of IRONMAN, Kona provides a platform for age-groupers to race alongside the best professional triathletes in the world. It's truly an event to behold, and qualifying for a slot is something many triathletes strive for.
IRONMAN Physique7 of 10
If you've ever wanted to really make a difference in your physical appearance, training for an IRONMAN is the ultimate way to lose weight and transform your body. The countless hours of cardio will help you shed pounds, and the tan from training outside is a bonus.
Gear, Gear, Gear8 of 10
With three sports (and the long distances) to worry about, gear can make or break an IRONMAN. Those oversized goggles, pointy aero helmets, and compression socks were developed to help you race as efficiently as possible. Sure it's a pricy investment, but the right gear can save you precious energy throughout the race--ultimately leading to faster times.
YOU ARE AN IRONMAN9 of 10
These are the words you'll train for six months to hear--and once you cross the finish line, you'll quickly forget about the blood, sweat and tears that went into the entire process. Even if you're not competing, seeing the athletes cross the finish line is truly inspiring. You'll never forget the first time Mike Reilly announces your name.