"You need a very strong social support system and your spouse needs to be 100 percent committed to this goal for you," says Waterstraat, whose spouse has also done Iron-distance races.
"If they're not entirely behind you, can you get them to support you? Or is this going to put a strain on your relationship?" Walton asks. "I hate to call it a selfish pursuit, but it's a personal pursuit," he says. "It's about you and only you, and it's your goal. If you're going to add 20 hours a week to your life, you're going to be taking some away from someone else."
You're not Expecting to Become Lightning Fast
"People often don't realize that going longer makes them slower. You become more durable and your sustainability improves; But you become slower," Waterstraat says. If you know that going in, it can save you a lot of disappointment.
You Can Hold a Charge
"If you look at yourself like a battery, there's only so much charge you can hold," Waterstraat says. "There are a lot of things that take away the charge, like job stress and life stress. And Ironman is a huge stressor." Go to a doctor and make sure you're healthy before you embark, she says.
More: Sleep-deprived Triathletes Face an Uphill Battle
A corollary to that: Make sure you don't have any injuries that you haven't been able to resolve.
3 Signs You Should Put Off Ironman Training
Just say no to an Ironman, if any of these things sound familiar:
- You're doing it because there's a race in your backyard. Don't let your excitement about the venue become too large of a part of your decision.
- Someone dared you to.
- You feel like you "should" do It.
There's nothing wrong with becoming an expert at the half-iron distance or the Olympic or sprint distances.
Getting faster at the half-iron distance isn't anything to scoff at. Don't let anyone tell you're not a triathlete if you haven't done an Ironman.
Search for your next triathlon.