Training for the Ironman race involves 12 months of physical and mental challenges. You also need a balance between personal and family time, and long hours of training. Sustainable meal plans are also part of the equation. That’s why participants are required to sign up a year ahead of the race. We caught up with Ironman triathlete, Wany Halim, who is also an Associate Systems Engineer at Juniper Networks by day, who shared with us about how she’s been preparing for the race, which takes place on Nov 12, over the past year.
STEP #1: Sign up!
To start with, all you need is to be able to bike, run and swim. You will develop your mental and physical capabilities in these activities as you train for it. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try.
STEP #2: Set up goals
Your training plan actually depends on three main things: your goal for the event, what you have going on in your life (career, family, etc) and your fitness level. Set goals on these three areas and work towards those.
STEP #3: Find balance
Recovery is actually a part of training. It is in this phase that your body works to repair all your muscles, and which makes it stronger. It’s important to do the necessary and give the body what it needs (mainly protein) to make way for a smooth recovery after each training session. Balance out training and recovery.
STEP #4: Find your support system
Words of encouragement from family and friends alone aren’t enough. Training for more than 12 hours a week often means you may fall short in other areas of your life. This is where a support system, whether they comprise of family or friends, comes in to help.
STEP #5: Skip the diet
One of the reasons I took up triathlons in the first place is because I can eat a lot without feeling that guilty. My love for food is infinite! This is your chance to load up on food. Consume a lot of proteins and carbs, but less sugar, and oily or spicy foods. Also make sure not to skip the veggies. A great tip is to start the day with a good breakfast!
STEP #6: Make sacrifices
Being an Ironman Racer requires a balanced mindset and good preparation. Your life will revolve around your training schedule and sacrifices will need to be made to fulfil the heavy time commitments required for training. Hence a minimum level of ‘mental toughness’ is required to complete. This aspect of the sport is key to your success.
STEP #7: Keep your head in the game
Harnessing one’s mental skills is crucial in preparing for and completing a triathlon. I focus mostly on three things to stay on tract without distractions:
- How to improve my training (e.g. including staying focused during training and dealing with injuries)
- How to sustain a high level of motivation over an extended period of time (learn to stay positive during training and races)
- How to improve race performance and consistency (practising race visualisation, undergoing pre-race routines, and controlling pre-race anxiety)
STEP #8: Know your weaknesses
Don’t push yourself too hard. If you want to compete in an Ironman race, but have never done a triathlon, then start small. It might take a while, but, ultimately, it’s the drive to fulfill the dream that will take you there. Know your weaknesses, whether they’re mental or physical, and work on those areas to succeed.
STEP #9: Age is not a limit
It’s never too late to start on this life-changing journey. Nothing great ever comes that easily and completing an Ironman requires dedication, commitment and perseverance. With the right mindset, you can push yourself further and achieve greatness whatever age you’re at. Always believe in yourself.