What would it take to become an IRONMAN?
Maybe you’ve thought about it but quickly dismissed the idea.
Too much training.
Too much of a commitment.
Too much that could go wrong before race day.
Too much that could go wrong on race day!
But what if you dared to keep that dream going? What would it take for you to run across that IRONMAN red carpet and to hear those words spoken just for you: You are an IRONMAN.
YOU are an IRONMAN!
Do you dare to dream?
Be sure to consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine or making decisions about your diet.
It all starts with that first step: Commitment to completing an IRONMAN. Go ahead and sign up for that race!
Once it becomes set in stone, take a breath.
The process of change begins now.
Over the next few days and weeks, it’ll become increasingly important to define your “why.”
What are you hoping to accomplish through training? What are you hoping to discover about yourself on the race course? What will keep you moving forward?
Your IRONMAN journey is unique to you. Your story is yours and yours alone, not anyone else’s. That’s what makes your journey to race day so special!
Some want the challenge of finding – and surpassing – what they believe are their limits. Some want to see just how far they can go and set those 140.6 as the ultimate finish line. Some want to be changed through the discipline of training, to see where else they can bring big changes into their lives through living the IRONMAN lifestyle.
Start to think about that finish line and how epic it would feel to run across it. Now’s the time to believe that you can make it, that you have what it takes to get there.
So, what does it actually take to become an IRONMAN?
The key to completing an IRONMAN is a commitment to your goal and consistency to reach it.
You don’t have to train for several hours a day, but you will need to ensure consistency in your training. You may need to re-arrange some commitments to ensure that you hit the majority of workouts on your training plan.
You’ll also need to be disciplined when it comes to everything else outside of training, too. Small choices make huge impacts over time. Things like eating well and sleeping well can be game-changers through the weeks and months leading up to race day.
You do not need to be perfect, though! Nothing ever goes quite the way we plan for it to, so keeping an open mind, having backup plans and being optimistic are also an essential part of training. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a non-alcoholic craft beer.
Prepare to be changed – forever
Team Athletic athlete and ambassador Kent Goodrow remembered visiting Lake Placid when he was 14 to spectate. Since that day, he’s always wanted to go back and cross the finish line himself.
Through the years, as his life progressed and his workouts evolved, he always kept coming back to that dream of being an IRONMAN, even through an injury that sidelined his participation in endurance sports for quite a while.
During the isolation surrounding COVID lockdowns, he started to rekindle his love for cycling through virtual racing. That progressed to participating in sprint and olympic distances, and then he worked his way up to an IRONMAN 70.3 in Maine. “I had no idea what I was doing. However, the journey to that first triathlon finish line made me think that whole IRONMAN thing might be possible after all.”
This year, he made that dream a reality and crossed the finish line of the Athletic Brewing IRONMAN Lake Placid in 13 hours, 10 minutes and 25 seconds.
“That feeling of running down the Ironman finishing carpet and through that arch is something that you’ll never forget,” Kent says of finishing his first IRONMAN.
As far as how to get through the race? Kent’s advice is: “Seek the support of the people in your life who want you to succeed. For me, it was family, friends, co-workers, and the amazing Athletic Brewing community. Surround yourself with those good vibes and you will succeed beyond even your wildest dreams.”
Training through and after pregnancy
When HollyAnn Swann first registered for IRONMAN Lake Placid, she wasn’t sure what the road to the finish line would look like.
She was pregnant with her first child, and the race date fell about 2 months postpartum. “I knew the journey to becoming an IRONMAN would be challenging and that I would have to be patient, give my body grace along the way, and take it one-day-at-a-time, but it was something that I wanted to go for!”
HollyAnn took a similar path through triathlon, starting at local sprint competitions after high school and then completing an IRONMAN 70.3 last year. She also discovered her love for ultra-distance running. But she knew that one day she wanted to mark an IRONMAN off of her bucket list, and that dream became a reality this year!
“Ultimately what pushed me to turn my IRONMAN finisher into a reality were two main reasons: I wanted my daughter to see her mom work hard to accomplish a big goal and have these memories to look back on, and I wanted to be a small part of filling this void of knowledge for other women out there who might be thinking about pursuing their own athletic dreams postpartum,” says HollyAnn.
HollyAnn said that the hardest part of her journey was finding information about how to train, as there’s such little information available for female athletes. Some of the athletes she looked up to included Chelsea Sodaro (2022 IRONMAN World Champion) and Sophie Power (who raced Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 3 months postpartum). These athletes were a huge inspiration to her for her own training.
“The most important part of training through pregnancy is just to listen to your body and let it guide the way. Growing a human is hard work! I would have some days with tons of energy to train and then the following day it felt like I couldn’t get off the couch.”
HollyAnn also had to plan her race around breastfeeding and pumping every 2 to 4 hours, requiring extra considerations for hydration, caloric intake and race logistics. She wore a trail vest for the bike and run portions of the race.
“Pumping was a fun tool to check how well I was hydrating. I felt like I was bonking a little on the first leg of the bike and realized I wasn’t taking in fueling as frequently as I needed. My supply was very scarce when I pumped after that loop. I tried to take in a lot more gels/bars/liquids on lap 2 and started feeling better. I thought it was so cool to use the amount I was pumping as a helpful tool.”
HollyAnn wants to encourage any athletes out there who think they can’t complete an IRONMAN to give it a try, because after all, Anything Is Possible!
“I won’t pretend that physical barriers don’t exist, but more often than not, it’s our mental barriers that can keep us from chasing our scary goals. The one piece of advice I’d give is that you are stronger and more capable than even you probably think you are!”
Want to be inspired?
Throughout the last three years, Athletic Brewing podcast host Mason Gravley has had the honor of interviewing several IRONMAN athletes, both professional and amateur.
Here are a couple of those podcasts. Prepare to be inspired!
- Ambassador and marathoner Maddie Stambaugh reflects on her first IRONMAN in Barcelona.
- Ambassador Lynn Rogers doesn’t let the dream of being an IRONMAN finisher hold her back, even through her battle with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).
- Men’s Health magazine health director Marty Munson shares her journey through IRONMAN Barcelona.