Ever since I finished my first 70.3 triathlon this summer, I’ve been asked the question… so when are you going to do an Ironman?
An Ironman is the ultimate endurance event. Crossing the finish line after 140.6 miles of swimming, cycling and running is a huge achievement and brings with it a lot of prestige and kudos. I have a lot of admiration for anyone who finishes a long-distance triathlon- it truly is a feat of determination and mental strength.
I witnessed many friends from my triathlon club make that commitment to go long then put in the required training and see it through to race day. Proudly showing off the coveted medal and recapping the highs and lows of their race, it’s easy to swept up in their excitement. I genuinely believe that anyone can complete a long-distance triathlon with the proper training and the right mindset. Anything is possible, as they say. However, I don’t think it is for everyone and right now… it isn’t for me.
A long-distance triathlon is a huge commitment and not to be underestimated. Sacrifices have to be made to fit in the volume of training, often at the expense of a social life or family time. Ironman events are notoriously expensive and not financially viable for everyone. I’m so injury prone, I’m not sure my body could handle the distance.
I think there is a lot to be said for shorter distance triathlons. Sprint and Olympic distance present their own challenges and are endurance events in their own right. You can race more frequently without the recovery time. The race is often done and dusted by mid-morning with the rest of the day to relax and celebrate. Shorter distance triathlons are obviously more affordable, particularly local smaller-scale events.
It’s the time of year when I’m reflecting on my season and planning my races for next summer. I’ve penciled in several local, shorter distance triathlons with goals of improving my time over Sprint and Olympic distance. Running has always been my weakest of the three disciplines, so I’m working hard on improving my 5k and 10k times over the off-season. I’ve also got plans to swim the Solent next summer which is a huge personal challenge.
Never say never, in the future I might consider going long, but for 2017 I’m looking forward to smashing some short distance races. I love this sport and I thoroughly enjoying training and racing. I do triathlon for my own achievement, not to be validated by others.