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So, You Want To Do a Full Ironman?????

THERE!! You said it out loud. You’ve cut your teeth doing smaller distances and now you have made the decision to do a full IRONMAN and now what???? Soak that in. You are going to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and THEN GET OFF THE BIKE AND RUN 26.2 miles!! You are all in and yet…… so many questions!! I’m sharing this to let you know what to expect as you lead up to this momentous event, because I assure you – it is MOMENTOUS!! And, once you have pushed yourself to your physical and mental limits, and crossed that finish line, you will likely come back for more!

In my opinion, there are three crucial steps that you should take before committing to the full Ironman distance:


  1. Make the decision (obvious 🙂)

  2. Hire a coach, follow a program and build trust

  3. Get the right equipment for you


Let’s Start from the Beginning

Let’s be clear. You.are.an.athlete.


Triathlon is an inclusive sport and I’ve met the most amazing people in my time as a triathlete. If you are out there doing it, never doubt that you are an athlete. By now, you have built some basic skills with swimming, biking and running. In those three disciplines, narrow down what needs assistance and be ready to focus on those (aka, limiting skills).


Ironman swim start
Ready to swim!

Why Pay for a Coach?

This is hands down the most important purchase you, the athlete, can make. Asking for references is essential and a good coach will be happy to accommodate. If they are not, find someone else.


The primary reasons for investing in a coach are:


  1. A structured plan – taking away all the guesswork. This places your focus on getting fitter and stronger FASTER. Your coach will write a plan that is specific to you, set you up to peak at exactly the right time and will be there for any questions.

  2. A strong learning curve – your coach will have experience and likely know what you are going through. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from their mistakes and believe me, they are more than happy to guide you through the process.

  3. YOU get to focus on nailing the workouts – a structured plan allows you to focus all of your mental and physical energy into your workouts.

  4. Accountability – A coach is a built-in accountability partner. Staying motivated and disciplined is a job in and of itself, but your coach will assist in the process and take that pressure off you.

  5. You will get fitter – 100% - if you follow the plan, trust and communicate with your coach. Your rewards will be concrete.


As a coach with TMT Coaching, I strongly recommend competing in a Half Ironman (70.3) prior to the actual 140.6 Ironman event. With your coach, you can choose one that is anywhere from 5 to 8 weeks ahead of THE BIG ONE! How exactly does this help prepare you? It gives you a break in training, it tests your current fitness and is an opportunity to practice transitions and work out all the kinks. So many things can happen that will help prepare you.


Ironman bike ride
Executing the plan

What is your equipment situation?


Let’s be clear, triathlon CAN be expensive, but it does not need to be! Between coaching, equipment and fees, you can spend a hefty sum. What is most important isn’t how much you spend, but the quality of where your money goes!! Here is my list of MUST HAVE items:


  1. A coach – This is the most important place to invest your money. The coach/athlete relationship is built on trust and communication. A coach will help you when you are overwhelmed, freaking out about missed workouts, and over or under confident.

  2. A wetsuit – Not every race requires a wetsuit, but most do. A proper fitting wetsuit combined with practicing in open water will ensure you know exactly how to react when your face and body hit the water.

  3. A bike – Second to investing in a coach, this will be your biggest purchase. It’s not just the bike, but it is also the helmet, the shoes, the spare tubes and various items to ensure you are safe. The bike is where you spend the majority of your time in the race. Comfort is key!! Think about it, your body will be on this bike anywhere from 3 to 10 hours a week for training, 4.5 to 8 hours during the race, and being comfortable and properly fitted is crucial. Spoiler Alert – while having a nice, pretty and (sometimes) expensive bike is nice - success is about the athlete, not the bike.(And the bike fit)

  4. Excellent running shoes – A MUST!! Running puts the most impact on the body and without proper running shoes, you are putting the body at a higher risk of injury. Find a pair that fits you, is comfortable and know that these will be replaced every three months.


During your training, you will experience a wealth of emotions, including joy, darkness and opportunity. Most of all though, you will learn exactly who you are capable of becoming. While physical fitness and endurance can be measured, the depth of mental endurance you gain cannot. Every person enters triathlon for different reasons, but being fully prepared will help ensure your success. Dig deep and ask yourself exactly WHY you want to go the long haul. Even the most seasoned triathletes will ask themselves this question - and likely OFTEN.




So, are you ready to start your journey for your first Ironman? If you have any questions contact myself (Coach Tanya Parmley) or Coach Megan Tobin – we are here and excited to help you achieve your goals!!


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