Today the WTC announced the new Ironman race for North America in 2020 - Ironman Tulsa- and many Evolve athletes will be in attendance as it is one of our two Team events for next year (Augusta 70.3 being the other). There will surely be a good amount of social media buzz, peer pressure and even some FOMO that will drive people to hit the register button and start their journey to the finish line.
But should you?
Here are some considerations that we chat with our athletes about before signing up for their first or 40th 140.6.
Ironman takes time
Logically, you will spend a lot of time training, with the greatest amount of time being spent on your bike. This is something that we all need to consider when we register for an Ironman. Do you have enough time to get in your long bike rides and runs? Our coaches are wonderful about working with their athletes to create a schedule that works with their life - but there are some general time requirements that are necessary to ensure that the athlete gets across the line in a safe manner. While an over trained athlete is never good, a seriously under trained one is also problematic. You need to remember that a solid training plan builds gradually, so while you might only have one weekend where you put in a 6.5 hour ride, all of the weekends leading up to that will also take time.
Ironman takes support
If you want to get to the finish line with the least amount of stress possible, it is important to make sure that you have a strong support team. I would never recommend the surprise Ironman sign-up if you have a partner or family. Instead, sit down with your family and figure out what race makes the most sense for all. I personally have never brought my daughter to a race longer than a sprint. But if you would like your family to attend, do a little course recon to make sure that the course is easy to navigate and that there are some activities for them to attend while you are in race prep mode.
There is never a perfect time
I kinda feel the same way about Ironman as I do about having a kid. Sure, there are times when it is more ideal than others; but any way you slice it, it will upset your life in some way or other - so carpe diem. All you really need to consider is whether or not you are willing to put in the work and do what it takes to get it done. I did my last full Ironman a few weeks after my daughter turned two. It meant a lot of early mornings and taking a lot of naps when she was napping. I put everything in my life in place to be able to get it done even with a toddler. At that point in my life I was really willing to go to the lengths needed to get it all in. The only question you must ask yourself before you sign up is - how bad do I want this? Once you answer that, then get to work on putting in place all the things that will make crossing the finish line a reality.
Training can be lonely - or not
Ask yourself if you are a person who likes to go solo or who needs others to motivate you to train with. For my last full Ironman, I trained exclusively with one other athlete. This worked because we were very close on the bike and had an understanding that we would not wait or hold one another back in our workouts. We worked really well together and it was wonderful to know that I had an accountability partner. While we did not do all of our workouts together, we did have another person to lean on and motivate us when it got hard to get up for one more workout. If you are not wanting to go at it all solo, then it makes the most sense to find your tribe and sign up for a race that they are also doing.
Ironman is hard. If it wasn’t, why would we want to do it? But let’s face it - once you cross an Ironman finish line, all your blood, sweat and tears will be forgotten!
So! Ironman 2020 - who’s in?