So you want to try an Ironman?
Is it safe to say that it is every athlete’s dream to participate in an Ironman Triathlon? Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, the world-renown triathlon is a one day sporting event which is actually made up of long-distance races that participants must complete within a set timeframe. It includes a swim, a bicycle ride and a marathon in that order without any breaks. The swimming race is 2.4 miles long, the bicycle race is 112 miles long and the marathon is a long 26.2 mile run. In most of the worldwide Ironman events, participants are limited to a 17 hour timeframe to finish the race.
Beginning at 7 o’clock in the morning, all racers must be able to complete their swim in 2 hours and 20 minutes. They should complete the 112 mile bicycle ride by 5:30 pm. And everyone must be able to complete the marathon on or before midnight. The Ironman world championship event is held each year in Hawaii, beginning in 1978, known as the Kona Ironman. There is a sequence of pre-qualifying events to determine who will compete in the championships.
What made Ironman racing so popular is the combination of the difficult race conditions, the length of the individual disciplines as well as the magnitude of this personal challenge for every racer.
What does it take to participate in an Ironman triathlon, and successfully complete this race?
First, you need to be prepared and conditioned not only physically but more importantly, mentally. Because the mind is the most powerful part of our body, it can tell us to do something or not to do it. Your success in the race will depend on how prepared you are mentally for it. Only the ones with much determination will be able to succeed in the race. As we know, an Ironman Triathlon is the world’s most difficult race that takes place within a day. Plenty of motivation and drive is required to succeed in it.
If it’s your first time to participate in an Ironman, you have to determine whether you already have experience racing shorter distance triathlons. For those who have some experience, you can start extending your training and targeting longer races such as an Ironman 70.3 event. But, if you are not a trained athlete, it is advisable to start off with shorter races such as Sprint and Olympic distance events.
Going in shorter races will also help you determine your endurance and physical capacity, and it will help you get a feel for those races, before you actually try the longer races.
Second, you need to start your training well before the actual event. You cannot just show up for these races without training for it. You need to prepare your body and do your best to ensure that you will be able to successfully complete your race. The best way to do this is to set aside at least 10 hours each week for training. If you are participating in the World Championship event, of course, expect that you need to allot more hours each week for training. The longer and more difficult your race is, the more hours you need to allocate for training each week.
You don’t need a lot of special gear to do the training and to participate in the actual race. All you need is a swimsuit and wetsuit, a bike including bike shoes and a helmet, and a good pair of running shoes. You might also need other non-basic gear but these are the most important. We recommend that you go for high quality gear that is sure to last long and make you comfortable during training and competition.
The official website of the Ironman Triathlon can be found at http://www.ironman.com/. Be sure to check it out because there’s plenty of helpful information and resources there that can help you prepare for your race. Then select one of the many Ironman races worldwide, combine it with a vacation for yourself and your family and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment afterwards.
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