The X Factors
It takes more than a willing body and mind to finish an Ironman. Prepare yourself for these other obstacles before taking the plunge.
One crucial piece of experience that Ironman aspirants often overlook is race travel. Coach Scott Fliegelman prefers to see athletes travel for at last one shorter triathlon before they travel for an Ironman. Every triathlete learns lessons the hard way in his or her first “road game” that can be used to make the next race go more smoothly. Of course, rookie mistakes can spoil a shorter triathlon just as well as they can spoil a longer one, but which one would you rather have spoiled?
The race entry fee is only one of many costs associated with racing Ironman. Travel, accommodations, training costs, etc. add up quickly. Coach Scott Fliegelman suggests setting aside at least $5,000 for the journey assuming you already own a good bike.
“Familial readiness” refers to the time commitment of training for an Ironman, which catches many first-time participants—not to mention their spouses and children—off guard. It’s not hard to wrap one’s head around the idea of having to do a multi-hour bike ride on Saturday and a 90-minute-plus run on Sunday. But families frequently fail to consider what it’s like for one of their members to have to do multi-hour rides every Saturday and 90-plus-minute runs every Sunday for several months on end. It’s not that it can’t be done; the family just has to be truly ready for it, which requires good communication and is helped by learning from families that have already been through the experience.
This article was originally published in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.