Ironman is a long distance triathlon that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and a 26.2-mile run. It’s popular with professional triathletes, age-group enthusiasts and general fitness fans.
Participating and finishing an Ironman competition is a great goal to set if you want to see how far your body can go. Can you do it? Well, yes, of course, if you really want to and if you can do the training.
For some inspirational examples of fellow competitors, google: Sister Madonna Buder (the Iron Nun) who completed Ironman Canada in less than the 17-hour cut-off time, at the age of 82. Then there’s Marine Capt. Eric McElvenny, a one-legged Ironman, or David Polanco, who lost 120 pounds training for Ironman Maryland.
But how do you get your body ready to do an Ironman competition? If you’re currently sedentary, then with the green light from your doctor and following the principles of my earlier articles regarding building up slowly, make it a two-year project. If you’re already fit and active, and can swim, make it a one-year project.
If you can’t swim, then make learning to swim your project; swimming in itself is a great way to keep fit and active and learning to swim is an awesome achievement for anyone over 40.
The Cayman Islands is a great place to exercise and train for any non-mountainous triathlon event. We have no breaks for cold winters, the calm waters off Seven Mile Beach and quiet smooth roads in the Eastern districts of Grand Cayman. There’s also a wealth of successful Ironman competitors to glean tips and advice from.
We also have some great on-island triathlons. The Cayman Islands Triathlon Association puts on several beginner-friendly events including the Cayman Islands Triathlon on Nov. 5, which is preceded by three shorter triathlons, ideal for building experience and endurance. When you’re ready to go further we even have Mercuryman, a half-Ironman distance triathlon held every January since 2013.
For your final goal, chose an Ironman that has some similar characteristics to the Cayman Islands — mild weather, flat terrain and clean, warm water. Good options might be Ironman Texas, Maryland or Cozumel. Use the local events to help you build towards that goal.
Ironman is one of the most challenging fitness projects you can undertake. There’s lots to learn along the way, but to start, just keep it simple and get moving.