Are You Ready For an Ironman Triathlon?


"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.

More: Does Your Partner Support Your Training? 

"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:

  1. 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.
  2. Someone dared you to.
  3. 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.

More: How to Set Realistic Time Goals

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About the Author

Marty Munson

Marty Munson is a USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. Her writing has appeared in Health, Prevention, Marie Claire, and Find more triathlon tips and strategies from her and other experts in the field at

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