Before you sign up for an Ironman or even a half-Ironman, you must realize this is a commitment, so let this serve as a public service announcement.
Ironman registration opens up the day after the race, so you’ll have one full year before you walk up to the start line (9 months for a HIM). A lot of things can change in a year, but one thing is for sure – don’t take on too much or you’ll be in over your head!
Let’s start with one week in the life of Ironman training, and I’ll use my typical week as a break down. One week is 168 hours.
I’m at work for 9 hours every day plus the commute can be about one hour round trip. So for 5 days a week – we’re looking at 50 hours. There are now 118 hours left in a week.
Sleep – everybody does it. I need 7-8 hours to feel good the next day, so that’s about 56 hours of sleep each week. I’m now down to 62 hours left.
Here’s the important part…training. Expect to put in at least 15 hours every week if you’d like to consider yourself prepared (I held about 19 for a few weeks and peaked at 22-1/2). That 15 hours does not count all the hidden time. Hidden time is your commute to training locations, getting prepared, getting changed, etc. That could be up to an extra 10 hours right there!
Between sleep, work and training I am left with about 37 hours of freedom according to that math. It sounds like a lot of time, right? Think again.
That remaining free time doesn’t come in huge chunks other than on your weekends, so when you throw on additional obligations such as a part-time job or an outside activity…it can be too much for you. You’ll become extremely stressed from trying to figure out how to manage all your obligations that eventually you inadvertently start acting like an asshole. Don’t worry – people will gladly point this fact out for you, assuming you keep good company.
Remember, this is an experience and it may be the only one you ever do – so enjoy the journey. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have supporters to enjoy it with you. However, if you’re taking on more than you can handle it is going to sour the moment for you.