How to prepare for your First Iron Man

Iron manWe’ve all seen the images of the participants completing the Iron Man Wales event at Tenby last weekend.   The athletes who take part in these events are truly inspirational given the difficulty of the event and the amount of training they need to put in to get to this stage.

If seeing these achievements has inspired you to train for an Iron Man event, even if you’ve previously participated in triathlons, taking part in your first Ironman race takes your training to whole new level to prepare for this gruelling race.

To help those inspired by the Iron Man Tenby event, the teat at Sharks Swim Shop and Triathlon Club has come up with some tips to ensure your training and mindset makes you ready for the challenge.

Get your friends and family on board

Training for any extreme sport will most definitely take over your life as you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time and energy to your Iron Man training programme.  So, you need to ensure that your family and friends are behind you.  You won’t just need their support and encouragement, but you they may also have to adapt to your training commitments too.

It’s always a huge advantage to have a training partner too.  Not only will a training partner be able to act as a sounding board for all your plans for training and nutrition but you’re less likely to duck out of a training session if you’ll be letting your mate down (especially during the cold, dark winter months).

 Organise Your Life

There’s a lot you need to have in place to prepare for an Iron Man competition.  As well as your training plan, you will also need in place a nutritional plan and recovery programme; and it can be difficult to balance all these plans around your work and family life.

Start by planning your training around fixed commitments in your normal routine including rest days.  You should also review this programme every six weeks, so you can monitor your progress and adjust your training and nutrition accordingly.

As well as registering for the Iron Man event in advance, make sure all your accommodation and travel is booked in advance too.  There can be hundreds of competitors and you don’t want to be stuck miles away from the event, having to travel any distance on the day.   Get all of these arrangements in place will give you peace of mind and allow you to get on with your training with no extractions.

Clear your Mind

It’s very important when preparing for your first Iron Man competition to have a clear idea of your goals. What are you aiming to achieve a specific time or simply to finish the race?

Write your goals and training achievements down and the pin them up everywhere around you (home and work).  This will help to keep you focussed and to review your training programme when you reach specific targets. 

The importance of recovery

Preparing for and taking part in an Iron Man is a huge challenge so it’s important to look after your body throughout the process.  From the day you start training, you should build in lots of recovery days to enable your body and mind to rest and recover. 

You should also review your nutrition plan to make sure you’re getting all the energy and minerals that your body to support your training programme.

It’s equally important to make sure you have a recovery plan in place for after the main event to avoid any post-race injuries.

Invest in the Correct Kit

Tri suitMake sure you get advice and guidance when it comes to investing in the right kit for your Iron Man race.  For example, ensure that you have a proper fitting wetsuit or tri-suit which doesn’t cause drag during your swim leg.  You should also check which fabrics and styles will help to make you run, cycle or swim faster.

At Sharks Swim Shop, we offer a complete range of top brand triathlete clothing which is perfect for Iron Man events. These include tri suits for men and women, cycling and running gear as well as all the accessories you need to complete the race.  We also offer a wet suit fitting service. 

It’s also important to train in your racing kit so you are confident of the fit and comfort ahead of the race.

This kit and equipment is all available from our shop in Sketty or our online store:

Next Iron Man Event

Planning to take part in an Iron Man is a huge decision and will impact on your lifestyle as you prepare and train for the event.  So although as a beginner you’ll be looking to enter your first Iron Man event next summer, now is the time to start training and to get organised, including ensuring your family and friends are on board and ready to support this change in lifestyle.


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