A very commonly asked question. And one most people know the answer to. No. Ironmen (Its a Gender neutral term by the way) are Super humans capable of feats, the ordinary public cannot conceive. So most people never really ask themselves the question ” can I complete an ironman ” seriously.
But I know for a fact people with VERY little sporting background CAN INDEED complete an Ironman. I should know as that was Me 7 years ago. The most exercise I got was walking to the pub. The closest to competition was racing to down a pint. But I got round and in quite a decent time.
So the question really should be:
Can Anyone complete an Ironman?
This is more difficult to answer. But the answer is probably not. I’m sure some medical conditions would preclude people from completing an Ironman. Not being a Medical professional I can’t truly say what would be a true inhibiter to success. If you are not fully medically fit I would consult you doctor before attempting any form of intense exercise. But I would caveat that with the fact that MANY people who are not medically fit do indeed complete Ironman races! Both people with Visible and Hidden disabilities, some very Severe, complete and compete at ironman Triathlons.
Ironman Triathlons are 20% physical and 80% mental!
I honestly believe that anyone who has the right frame of mind and is not medically precluded can indeed complete an iron distance Triathlon.
If you are sat there thinking, “surely not me? I’m a 47 year old, overweight exercise-phobe?” Well let me let you in on a little secret.
Iron Distance Triathlons are FULL of 47 year old EX-overweight exercise-phobes!
Really, and just about every other type of person out there. People over 60…70…even 80! People on the larger side. People with fewer Limbs than the rest of us. Just people who stopped believing they couldn’t and went and DID.
So that’s the good news. You now know you can. You might not believe it yet. I’m not sure I was convinced I could until I was heading down the finishing shoot. But the bad news is Like anything worth having its not going to be easy! There is a reason why its 80% mental. Its still a very tough event. And you need every bit of will power and mental toughness to get there.
Both throughout training and during the race you will encounter many “dark places” where you mind tells you it is not possible to keep going. This is where the mental side comes in. If you can ignore the negative side and push on through. The Body, Sometimes begrudgingly, will follow suit. Our bodies are incredible machines. And with the correct training and the correct mind-set they are capable of utterly astounding feats.
Your body may be a long way from being able to complete. and the journey may be long. But its a journey I believe we can all make. The first stage would be to understand where abouts on that journey you are!
See my Advice for Ironman Beginners page for more info.
And I do hope you decide to come on this journey as the feeling at the finish line is truly incredible.