No going back....

Just signed up for my first iron distance event, thing is, I had never even heard off IM before Monday but thought f&ck it, I'll think about th technicalities after(my general attitude to most things), I've got two legs, can ride a bike, well I was decent enough when I was in my teens and I always enjoy a swim in the pool when I am on holiday.... Long and short, I am worse than a novice and need HELP? My general fitness is average, I can run 1/2 marathon approx 2 hours, the full never appealed to me but for some reason adding a swim and a cycle beforehand has my tail wagging! What would your three top training tips be anyone? Looking at local Tri clubs, I am guessing that would be a good place to start?.... Oh and I should probably buy a bike, any good suggestions for a first purchase budget would only be about ??500!


  • One of us ... one of us...

    Welcome lornyd!  I've got a Giant Defy 3, cost me just over £500 and it's fine.  You can spend loads more, of course, and get something that's lighter and faster.  Which I might try next year.

    As for training ... run, swim, and bike, lots.  I'd recommend Be Ironfit by Don Fink, great book that sets out some excellent training plans.  

  • ... and hang around the forums, you'll pick up all sorts of gems!

    Which one have you entered by the way?

  • Welcome

    I'd go for bike, swim, run. And more importantly, enjoy

    As to bikes, I think Boardman are releasing a ??500 road bike before Christmas, and if its like all their other bikes, should be worth a look. But whatever you go for, make sure it's the right size.
  • Hi, and welcome, am new here my self and like a lot of people have started from a position like yours. Three peices of advice, hmmm.

    1. Read up a little, threads here are good, Being Iron Fit by Don Fink, Swim Smooth, Chi Running, and Can't Swim, Ride, Run would all be worth a look through.

    2. Get swim coaching, can be 1-2-1 or coaching at your local tri club sessions.

    3. Understand heart rate training, get a Heart Rate Sesnor and bike computer, use this when ever you run or ride, again reading Don Finks book will explain why this is important.

    As for the bike, at that budget second hand may be your best bet, pay £450 and save a little for any minor repairs you choose to make. This can easily stop being a cheap hobby, so always good to budget well.

    Where abouts are you from, sharing this may bring the odd local pirate out of the woodwork which is sometimes a good thing.

  • Sounds like hilly is recruiting hill fodderimage

  • with my forum name saying hill fodder sounds wrong some how

  • I'm far from an expert, but if I had £500 to spend, the Triban 3 from Decathlon is definitely where I would go. Do some online research about it: it seems incredibly good value.


  • Bike Options, i would strongly recommend with that budget that ebay is a good starting point. So i'll list a few bikes that may be worth searching for.

    Specialized Allez - quite a common bike with many going under your budget.
    Planet X or Ribble - good value budget bikes, although they seem to hold their value
    Boardman Road Bikes - These come out quite cheap through ebay
    Giant OCR - Good few options in your budget, solid bikes typically good value
    merida road bike - Tried a few of these out before buying my current bike, again represent good value, some new models in your budget but you get so much more off a second hand one

    It may be worth looking hereand filling out the calculator info, this will give you an idea of the geometry that will best suit you, it can take the guess work out of buying a second hand bike you can't see. I had a frame custom built using this site and it fits perfectly, admittedly the skill of the frame builder was the reason for this, but we never met and the info from this calculator was accurate enough for him to work with, and a far better guide than you are x tall you need y size.
    The reason i suggested saving some budget is you may need to change tyres, cassette and chain with a second hand bike, often you will need pedals, and saddles are again a very personal choice.
    Additionally changing the stem or a few other parts may make the difference between a poor fit and a good fit, so having the money there to make changes if needed is helpful.

    Finally, to go carbon or alloy, carbon bikes may slip into your budget if you find a good deal, but be aware of the risks in buying second hand carbon. Cheap carbon frames are often not as good as a well built metal frame, don't be fooled into thinking its carbon it must be good.

    I'm sure many people here would eb happy to look over anything you were considering buying.

  • Welcome lornyd - just swim, bike and run consistently and more importantly enjoy it.

  • Oh yeah.... Remember you are gonna be training for a 10-16 hr day.

    Its a long time

    You cannot go for that length of time at a hr of 170-180. no one can

    You need to train for endurance first.

    Ie the ability to go at a pace that means you are still moving well after 12, 13,14 hrs.

    I like Gordo`s stuff over at EnduranceCorner on this.....

    You have x months to slowly build up the distance of your key sessions. ie 1 session per week per sport is your key session - gives you 3 key sessions per week. these slowly build to a long run, long bike and a longer swim.

    Its all about base endurance for you so forget / ignore anything about tempo runs etc.

    Finally its all about the bike. get bike fit, pace it well on race day and then you can run /jog to the finish. If you go too hard on the bike, or dont have the bike fitness then you walk some or all the marathon.... And thats a slow way to get around.

    One of rhe best quotes i read early on was,' you are goong to be traoning for 10-20 hrs a week. you aare gonna do this for 20-30 weeks. go spend some time along the way becoming an expert in what you are doing....

    Read everything you can find - Friel, gordo, endurance corner, purple patch, triathlete europe, slowtwitch, pirate forums.... Going long, don fink etc etc etc., a tri club, blogs etc. some will be relevant, some too advanced and some misleading. use what you find useful

    Oh and dont forget to enjoy the training/journey. The fun bit is turning (slowly) into someone you would jot have recognised before.

  • Wow- Thanks so much for all the feedback and your help, and all the welcomes!

    I’ll probably miss something’s in my feedback but here goes:  So I have been travelling the last week or two but managed to get a hold of the following book to read Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman, before leaving! I already had ‘Chi Running’ a book which had sat, gathering dust since the start of the year, and ‘Born to run’ so I took these along for the journey! Being iron fit didn’t arrive in time but I am looking forward to getting started on that tonight! All really useful, enjoyable reads- I have been ‘cramming’ allot of forum treads in the last few days which really has been invaluable(and emotional!).

    I added my local Tri club on FB, but to me it’s rather intimidating due to my lack of experience so until I can swim a few lengths without drowning any passer bys I think I will cower in the background on that one! They do open water training starting in May which was my main reason for checking them out, so hopefully I will have plucked up the courage by then! I think 1-2-1 coaching is going to be a definite for me, sooner rather than later!

    Bike- Still not purchased, I have been reading up an a few forum threads, measured myself up and been looking online at various sites, and eBay as suggested.. Trying to hold off until xmas hopefully get myself a bargain. Seems to be the ones that are on sale though, never come in the size of frame I need!

    As for HRM, as a runner(albeit a very out of shape one) I am adept to using a HRM and understanding the importance of this during training, nutrition etc, so hey am not a complete novice right?

    Training- I have been running, swimming, cycling (ok a static bikes not the same, but at least its gets my rear end used to a seat I suppose!!) roughly 10 hours a week. I have designed a 20 week training scheduled (hark at me the expert) starting next year leading up to the event. It’s just one I found online trolling through tri-websites and seems the most realistic for me and ‘tweaked a little’. So just now I am mixing it up with interval and endurance sessions not really sticking to any specific days, times, its more about getting used getting out and doing it.

    I am in the central belt of Scotland.... And breathe... I hope I haven’t missed anything! image

    *Still in the nervous stages, of ‘what the hell am I doing here?’*







  • M...eldy wrote (see)

    ... and hang around the forums, you'll pick up all sorts of gems!

    Which one have you entered by the way?


    Sorry missed this! image

    Rat Race City Summit in June 2013..

  • The one that ends with an ascent/descent of Ben Nevis ? And a sea swim in the Firth of Forth ?


    Good luck with that - its not a normal Ironman distance race - its a very extreme one. 

  • image yeah thats the one!

  • p.s. probably should point out, that i will be doing it over two days swim/cycle Sat, the run Sun... not that it makes it any better!

  • Phew ! That's a lot easier to do then ! Ben Nevis isn't to be underestimated by itself - I did it this year with my family and it took us aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages.

  • Initially we were going to do it all on the Sat, after we sobered up decided the two days were more sensible for us! I think I have enough of a challenge on my hands with the lack of swimming ability and being a cycling novice!

    I have conquered Ben Nevis a few times, walking & running so won’t be completely inexperienced, it’s what comes prior to that, that worries me!

    When I say ‘we’ I refer to my cousin who has agreed to do it with me, only problem is she lives on the other side of the country so we won’t have much opportunity to train together!

  • Good Luck with the training, sounds to me that you'll be fine.

  • Hi, I'm doing that race too, but all on the same day!

    I was in a similar situation to you the year before I did IM Switzerland 3 years ago - couldn't swim, hadn't been on a bike for years and was an ok runner. I got through!

    Good luck with the training
  • I recognised that name, loved your book what an inspirational, funny(for all the right reasons) read, Thank you!

    Thanks Nina, I am using this as a stepping stone to an ironman been looking at ones scheduled for next year don’t think I would be fit enough though for any of the UK ones perhaps the AUS one in December.... How long did you train for? I guess it’s all about determination something I have got regardless of my fitness levels!

  • Thanks - glad you enjoyed it image

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