I will never do an IRONMAN. No, this isn’t a bash on the corporation. I will never do a 140.6 either. It’s not going to happen.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Never say never.”
But I think this is one case where I can safely say never.
Well, I have a few reasons. First off, do you know how long an IRONMAN is? 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run. That is a long freaking time.
I have run two marathons. I loved the sense of accomplishment, but I didn’t love the training. In fact, I hated the training. I’m a slow runner with little hope of getting a whole lot faster thanks to my heart rate issues. So that means that long runs take hours upon hours. I didn’t really love the racing either. I’m glad I did it, but I am a retired marathoner at this point.
Now let’s take that and add on the other two elements of the IRONMAN distance.
A 2.4 mile swim. Okay, that doesn’t sound horrifying. I could probably survive that. Not quickly, but it could get done with training.
112 mile bike. I’m sure over the years, I will do some century rides. Not super fast (see previously mentioned heart rate issues), but I could do it with training.
But did you see the key there? Training. An IRONMAN requires a ridiculous amount of training and as a slower athlete, that’s an even more significant amount of time.
Could I do it? I mean, probably. But the big key? I don’t want to do it. Not at all. Sure, I watch those IRONMAN finish videos and think about how awesome they are. But I don’t have any desire to put my body through that. And I also know that I don’t have the dedication to put in that many hours of training along with long days at work. I would burn out so quickly.
The point I’m making is that I know myself. I know my body, I know my limits, and this is one point where I’m setting a limit. And that’s okay. I don’t have to do an IRONMAN and you don’t either. No triathlete does. It isn’t the end-all-be-all of triathlons. If you want to do one, awesome! I will support you on your way and cheer you on to the finish. But if you don’t want to do one, you don’t have to.
I’ve talked about this before. People think that doing a bigger, longer race is just a natural part of your progression in a sport. But that’s not true at all. It’s about finding what works best for you. Think about it – there are plenty of sprinters who don’t run marathons. Because they’ve found what they are the best at and love the best and they stick to it.
And yes, I’m saying this as a person who is tackling a longer race distance this year. But it’s something that I want and more importantly, something I feel ready for. Do I dread some of the training, sure. But I know what I’m in for and I’m ready.
Don’t feel like you have to jump to the next race level before you’re ready. Just because someone else is doing a marathon or a half marathon or a 140.6 or a 70.3 doesn’t mean that you have to as well. And if you want to do it, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Yes, it can be worth it, but nothing worth achieving comes without hard work.