So you signed up for an Ironman? You are undoubtedly feeling a blend of excitement and nervousness.
I hope the feeling of excitement never goes away, but you do have a (wonderful) journey that lies ahead of you. The journey that lies ahead will have its ups and downs. It will have you question yourself and the goal that you signed up for.Do not be scared of that, but do expect it.
What I want to share is what you can potentially expect and prepare for when it comes to your journey to the Ironman finish line.
Plan Your Schedule, Plan for the Unexpected
Any significant endeavor in life starts with a plan, right? Knowing your schedule over the next few months will help you and your training plan. So what do I mean? Look closely at the days, weeks, and months between today and your race. What significant dates is there that will interfere with training? Birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, graduations, holidays, etc.
Do you have any travel for work or family vacations planned? Identify those up front so they’re not a surprise in your schedule. And how do you plan for the unexpected? Did any of the late year holidays or inclement weather interfere with your training in the past? The take away being it looks like you have plenty of time to train, but those life and unexpected events chip-away at how many available days you actually have.
Be Consistent, Be Steady, Be Process Oriented
My first bullet isn’t to give you a false sense of urgency and cause you to rush, because we do not want that. Rome wasn’t built in a day and becoming an Ironman does not happen overnight. Do not get caught up in results or performances. Do not be solely focused on times, training zones, weight, etc. Work on the training becoming a regular part of your schedule.
Consistency and integration into your daily routine will lead to long-term success. Let your goal be planning on completing your training schedule for the week verse trying to hold goal times in your training.
Mitigate the Doubt and Mental Fatigue
Surround yourself with supporters, involve yourself in groups that are training for the same, if not, similar goals. While the day you complete an Ironman is a very lonely day, this does not mean you have to be by yourself in the journey.
You will have the days you will feel fatigued and unmotivated. But having people around you to either train with, support you, or empathize will help you lift your spirits. And on those days which you are feeling great they will elevate you even more so. This is why training groups are a great resource.
That Pressure Is Artificial
Keep it positive! That feeling of pressure is all self-imposed. It’s artificial. You may feel pressure to perform because everyone knows the journey you’re on and the goal you set for yourself. Believe it or not, no one is concerned with your results or times.
They’re all inspired by you no matter the results. You may have that inner monologue that will question you and what you’re doing. Just remember to have fun. You signed up for this to achieve something great. It was borne from a positive place within you, so let’s keep it positive!
Don’t Lose Sight
Don’t lose sight of the goal! The challenge isn’t just on the day of the race, but getting there. To some, the day of the race is the easy day. It’s all the days, weeks, and months leading up to it that are challenging.
But with all the potential challenges that lie ahead, do not forget why you are doing this. You are doing this for yourself, this a great goal you set your sights on. And look at all the positive influence you’ve had along the way.
Your energy is undoubtedly positive and infectious to your friends and family.
You Will be an Ironman!