Doing an Ironman
Why write about the Ironman here, a blog meant for programmers and other technical types? From personal experience I know that people have a misconception about the Ironman. They think it's about swimming, biking and running training followed by a grueling day of racing followed by some bragging, per the Ironman slogan:
Swim 2.4 miles.
Bike 112 miles.
Run 26.2 miles.
Brag for the rest of your life!
(That's 3.8, 180, 42 kilometers.)
For me at least, it was a different experience. The biggest gain is what you carry over to other aspects of your life.
Discipline. In the final months, I trained about 15 hours net per week. That's about 6km swimming, 200km biking and 50km running a week. Integrating this kind of workout into your life forces you to manage your time efficiently. You stop wasting time, and start getting up at 6AM for morning workouts. Maybe you'll even start drinking raw eggs...
Focus. At the beginning of the season, I ordered Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn's excellent Going Long book from Amazon.
This is a great book with lots of good technical help, but here I'd like to point out the advice that applies not just to triathlon (paraphrased):
As in all aspects of life,
focus on fundamentals:
It ain't rocket science.
Focus of fundamentals: these three words, which I read in a triathlon book a year ago, have since changed the way I approach programming, physics, pretty much everything.
Motivation. As you train for the Ironman, you start being very motivated about yourself. You start listening to the Rocky theme song. During workouts you visualize yourself during the race or finishing the race. This motivation drips over to other aspects of your life, too.
Fitness. Anybody who earns his money typing away at a computer needs a workout a day. What's the point of being successful and making lots of money if you're not healthy (or won't be). Note that health is strongly correlated with body weight. I've lost 15 kg (33 pounds) during the training, and since training is now part of my daily routine, it's easy to stay fit.
Recommendation. I can only recommend the Ironman, and triathlon in general. It takes a lot of time and money, but the gain is tremendous. Most people I know who claim that it takes too much time are like me, they could easily convert wasted time to workouts while not taking away much time from other essential activities like work. (The only person I would not recommend it to is a young parent.)
To wrap it up, here are some pics from my race. (Note that I was at the hungarian Ironman, called ExtremeMan.) Some more motivation here (warning: media-engineered). If you think you can't do it, wind this video to 0:50.
Have a great workout!
- Marton Trencseni
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