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How to Train for Your First Ironman Triathlon

The Ironman triathlon is a rigorous test of your strength, stamina and endurance. There are many ways to build yourself up to make sure that you survive your very first Ironman competition. Not only will you have to train your body to complete all three different physical tests (swimming, bike riding and running), you will also have to make sure that your diet complements your training. Keep in mind that there are many different Ironman triathlon training regimens out there, and some cater to a specific body type and goal. Some are very in-depth and cater more to the hardcore athletes, while there are those geared towards the casual fitness buff. Ideally, before you decide to compete in an Ironman triathlon, you have had experience with high athletic activity such as competitive swimming or long-distance running. Make sure also that your doctor gives you the go signal to join an Ironman competition. If this is your first Ironman triathlon, here are some tips that will help you get through the race.

Month 1

Training for Ironman normally takes 20 to 36 weeks, depending on the physical state you’re already in. The first month of your training should focus on preparing your body for the rigorous physical activity you will be undergoing. Consider this time as a month-long warm-up, wherein you build up your endurance. This is the time to focus more on your techniques, especially in swimming. Keep your sessions at the low-intensity level. Expect to be training for 8 hours every week, and take a week-long rest after one month of training.

Month 2

Here is the time to focus on your strength and endurance for every sport. Each week, concentrate on doing just one aspect of the triathlon, whether running, swimming, or biking. As the training hours increase here, make sure you regularly keep your physical health in check to avoid any injuries. Remember, it’s not recommended that you join a marathon or race at any time during training. The recovery period after that might make you fall behind on your Ironman training. After four weeks, you can give your body rest for one week.

Month 3

By this time, you will be training for an average of 15 hours every week. Keep watch of your mental health at this point, and make sure you don’t overdo it. You can lessen the intensity of your workouts, but do not cut back on the hours. The less you train for the triathlon, the less likely you are to finish the race.

Month 4

Here is where you build up your fitness to the optimum level. By this time you should have a general idea of your overall stamina and endurance level. This is the time to focus more on tweaking your techniques and concentrating on improving each aspect of the race. The key here is consistency. It’s best to go easy on yourself during the first few minutes of each race, otherwise you’ll end up walking the final half hour of the triathlon.

Ironman triathlon training is more than just about your physical health. It also requires hard determination and mental conditioning. Just make sure that you’re dedicated to your training regimen, and you will surely succeed in finishing your first Ironman triathlon.

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