On Sunday, I participated in my last Half-Ironman of the season. I like to do two halves a year… since adding these two races together allows me to maintain my Ironman social status 🙂
I’ve completed two 70.3’s each year for the last three years or so. While I enjoy these races, training for anything longer than a Half-Ironman is out of the question for me. I thoroughly appreciate race training, as it keeps me motivated and focused towards a goal race, however, for me the time commitment and sacrifice required to be competitive in a full-Ironman distance race far out-weighs the ‘pride’ or calf tattoo gained from completing such an endeavor. Instead, I prefer to integrate training into my daily life, work hard, and not let training requirements take over (read: ruin) my life.
My life is already fulfilled with a few hours of sport each day, and any more will put me over the edge of sanity and satisfaction. Training should be a time to release from your desk chair and computer screen, or wake yourself up to new sights and sounds in the morning. It should be a time to re-connect with your own thoughts and feelings, and not a grudge match between you and your running sneakers. Triathlon training is great in that it allows you to cross-train in different ways which keeps the body fit from head to toe. Triathlon training is bad in that it always leaves you thinking “have I done enough”. I can assure you with three disciplines to master, no you have never done enough!!
Having trained for Half-Ironman distance events over the last 4 years, I’ve finally become ‘comfortable’ RACING the distance. I am comfortable in realizing a 4-5 hour race effort, and I am comfortable in the amount of perceived training that I incorporate into my daily routine. This is very important to me in terms of motivation, and feeling satisfied at the end of the day. I’ve never been one to participate in a ‘Fun Run’ or gallivant through a race course for the experience, for the very reason that it is a RACE COURSE. You’ve paid your entry fee, you slept like shit the night before, you’ve got a boatload of volunteers out there stopping traffic and providing you with everything you need to throw down an all-star performance. Take advantage of that!!
Find your distance, and work to maintain a level of competitiveness at that distance. Each year devise a race calendar, set your goals, and know and respect your limits both mentally & physically. Keep sane, and keep impressing yourself!