Are You An Iron-Man / Woman?

Posted by Beth Hartman

You know you're in pretty good shape, but you’ve had that nagging question in the back of your mind, wondering if you could handle the rigors of taking part in an Ironman competition. Well for starters lets see just what competing in an Ironman competition consists of.

According to Wikipedia: An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It’s widely agreed that this one day race is one of the most difficult races a person can compete in.

Please keep in mind that getting your body in the proper condition to be able to take part in an Ironman Triathlon, takes about a 2- year course of commitment to train for it.  There are many places to search for what it takes to get your body ready to undertake this strenuous challenge,  And its also a great idea to either get the facts and details from someone who has actually participated in such a competition, or go to a reputable trainer to get the specifics on what and how you need to train yourself to be able to handle this grueling event.

Most Ironman events have a limited time of 17 hours to complete the race. The race typically starts at 7:00 a.m.; the mandatory swim cut off for the 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim is 9:20 a.m. (2 hours 20 minutes), the mandatory bike cut off time is 5:30 p.m. (8 hours 10 minutes), and the mandatory marathon cut off is midnight (6 hours 30 minutes). Any participant who manages to complete the triathlon within these time constraints is designated an Ironman.

Now that you know what it consists of, do you think you're up to the challenge? Most trainers will agree that training for this type of competitive event is not a 6-month endeavor. It takes a year at least to get your body in the physical and mental state to be able to complete the race in the allocated time-frame. Most trainers will also agree that in order to be emotionally and physically prepared its better to take part in the training for this event over a two-year period of time. The reason being that in order to train correctly, you need to be able to devote a specific amount of time each day in order to have your body conditioned so that it can stand the strain that you're going to ask of it.

Competitors have a total of 17 hours to accomplish this feat. Top male Ironmen can finish in eight-and-a-half hours, while female winners generally take just more than nine hours. But the Ironman isn't just a race for superhuman beings in the peak of physical health. People with physical disabilities have completed the Ironman, including amputees, people in wheelchairs and one man who carried or pushed his disabled son the entire way. People in their 70s and 80s enter Ironman races (and finish them)! The fact is that there is a vast majority of competitors, Non-Professionals who are amateurs, who fit their training schedules around work and personal life.

Each Ironman event begins with the swimming leg. That's a 2.4-mile swim. The water temperature varies depending on the location of the event. It's actually better for the swimmers if the water is colder because if it's below a certain temperature, the competitors can wear wetsuits. Wetsuits add buoyancy to a swimmer, which makes the swimming leg easier.

Upon completing the swim leg, competitors enter the transition area. This is where they switch from one leg to another. There's usually just one transition area because the cycle course is a loop, but in events where the cycle leg isn't a loop, a separate bike-to-run transition area is required. The swim-to-bike transition is known as T1. Racers must find their bike in rows of racks with hundreds of other bikes, put on whatever clothes and footwear they need for the bike leg, walk their bike to the start of the bike course and start riding. At some point, they also need to put on a helmet, grab a water or sport drink and possibly eat an energy bar.

Both the biking and running legs take place on paved roads. However, some Ironman courses have more hills than others, so the terrain can be an obstacle.

The transition from bike to run (T2) isn't as difficult, but some triathletes experience leg cramps when they start running. Ironman races have support crews along the run leg that provides water, sports drinks and sometimes food. The only thing after the run leg is the finish line and the post-race party. Hopefully, your going to be in good enough shape to be able to stand up for the acknowledgments that come with your crossing the finish line, after all, you’ve just Earned IT!

The above lays out what makes up an Ironman / Woman competition, we are going to go into the specific training detail portion in an upcoming post. For now, know that the above takes a solid commitment by you and possibly your family since a large portion of your time is going to be spent preparing your body to be able to achieve the demands you're going to be asking of it. That being said, you're going to need to track your performance daily, weekly and monthly. From swimming endless laps to biking the same distance in your practice sessions that might have taken you to the top of Everest, if you count miles vs miles. And then there is the running, running until you think your legs just won’t be able to support you anymore. Then you run some more and will continue to do so right up to the day of the Ironman.

In order to track all of these activities properly while also keeping a weathered eye on your heart-rate a functional, accurate smartwatch can monitor your daily stats and provide the necessary data to let you know where you need improvement and what aspect of your training you need to key in on so that you can excel in your chosen sport. One such watch is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smart Activity Tracker  When you head outside, the built-in GPS lets the Vívoactive 3 track the details of your chosen activity, with no phone connection required. From snowboarding to swimming and at least a dozen other options in between, this watch is the perfect training coach, right at your wrist to keep track so YOU keep on track of your training so that you're ready for that important day. You can keep your workout schedule fresh and invigorating, after all, with all the training you're going to be doing you need to change up the routines a bit, so your not bored.

Create your own custom running, cycling, swimming, and cardio or strength workouts, and download them to your watch. Then, your Vívoactive smartwatch will keep track of the exercises, reps, sets and rest time for you. Having a tool like the Vivoactive 3 can provide you with that coach that is always looking over your shoulder, one to make sure you do enough, and with its built-in “Elevate” HeartRate Sensor it can let you know when your doing just a little too much so that you need to dial down the training for a day or so. This is one training device that you just don't want to be without. So, there you have it.

From your Ironmen and Ironwomen buddies here at


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