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Ironman Triathlons - Body, Mind And Spirit Put To Test
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Ironman Triathlons  -  Body, Mind And Spirit Put to Test

Have you ever wondered why someone would like to take part in a race where you have to swim, ride a bike and run for 17 hours nonstop. Well, I think humans need to push themselves to unimaginable limits. We need to know that there is nothing we can not achieve if we dedicate time and effort to the task.

Well, ironman triathlons are the perfect example of the statement above. You won’t find anything tougher. This is a race where only real men and women can compete. It is a cult to the old motto: “impossible is nothing”. So, if you are planning on competing or if you have already done it, this article is for you.

The basics.

It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The main purpose of the competition is to be the fastest runner to complete the three tasks:

Task 1. Swimming in open water: If you are a skilled swimmer, you might be thinking that this part is a piece of cake. I am afraid to tell you that it is not as simple as it sounds. You have to consider the following:

  • There will be a bunch of fists, elbows and legs in the way
  • Swimming in open water is completely different to swimming in a pool
  • You can’t hold on to anything, which means that you have to make sure you are ready to swim the whole distance.

Task 2. Cycling a lot of miles: You will be dealing with crams, a horrible butt pain and irritation in the unnamed parts. But aside from that, you will be fine as long as you know your bike, have experience with the shifts and the slope changes; and trained well during the process.

Task 3. Running a marathon: This is literal. After the two previous extenuating tests, you have to be ready to run 26.2 miles. Be ready to stop feeling your feet for a while (except for the blisters maybe) and engaging in the biggest personal fight between your body and your mind.

Between this three different tests, there are two transition zones. Experts say that you have to practice your transition technique constantly because reducing time here could be the difference between winning and losing.

Ironman triathlon distance.

The complete ironman distances are:

Swim: 2.4 miles (3.84 km)

Bike: 112 miles (180.25 km)

Marathon: 26.2 miles (42.2 km)

In 2005 the ironman 70.3 was instituted. In this race, runners complete half the distances mentioned above.

The gear.

This is a very delicate subject among ironman triathlons because there are countless products out there telling us they are the best. The most important thing is that you feel well with your equipment and that your performance is good, the rest is just a matter of brands and marketing. The basic equipment you will have to get is:

  1. A wetsuit: You won’t need it in every race but you should always have one. Not everyone is used to this piece of clothing but it is great for cold water.
  2. A race bike: Don’t try to use your mountain bike or the one you used to have when you were a child. Get a decent bike with a light aluminum frame, a good shifting gear, a comfortable hand bar (where you can lean after several miles) and a good set of tires.
  3. A helmet: It doesn’t have to be the latest technology but make sure it is comfortable and it won’t be bothering you through the race.
  4. Sunglasses: Believe it or not, if you forget them you might end up having a lot of trouble because your eyes might start to hurt after being exposed to direct sunlight.
  5. A good pair of running shoes: Never use new shoes to a race. You have to be used to running long distances with them and they have to be comfortable too. You don’t want to deal with a sore toe for 20 miles.

If you want to take part in one of these races but you are not sure where to start, my advice is that you find a good ironman triathlon training program, get well prepared and do it. The experience of being there and crossing the finish line will be something that you will treasure for the rest of your life.


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