Training for my first full Ironman, as a full-time employee, part-time side hustler and an all in mama of two, this is going to be an adventure! I have been racing triathlons since 2008. When I first started I never dreamed of training for an Ironman, those people were just crazy! My background was swimming, and I had always loved riding my bike, but I hated running. I hated running with a passion. I was that kid who had to walk the mile in middle school PE because of exercises induced asthma. In high school I was on the track and field team, as a thrower, but whenever the sprinting coach tried to get me to run I would walk once around the track, check to see if he was looking, then sneak off to the fields to get back to throwing. You could say running was not my jam.
But my first triathlon changed everything. No, I did not fall in love with running at that point, but I did fall in love with triathlon. Over the years I added more running into my training plan. I decided to try a few half marathons, and somewhere along the way, I fell in love with running. I don’t know if it was losing the excess weight which made running actually feel good. I don’t know if it was just gaining some level of proficiency. Or a combination of the two, but I grew to really enjoy the freedom of running.
My evolution in triathlon took a similar path. I was hooked after my first race, I absolutely loved it, it was also the hardest thing I had ever done in my life! I raced 4 sprint distance triathlons my first year and only one of those races even offered an Olympic distance option. I remember seeing the athletes racing the Olympic distance at that race and thinking, “wow, they are on a whole nother level!” They were so much leaner, and more athletic than the general sprint distance crowded. Their gear was nicer, and they looked like they were there to do business. But by the end of my first season, I wanted to take on the challenge of the next distance. So the next year I signed up for the Olympic distance at that race, and while it wasn’t pretty, I mean seriously did someone mess with my bike while I was in the water? Because I don’t remember it being this hard to peddle! But I finished, and that accomplishment felt amazing!
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea in my head that I wanted to conquer the Half Ironman, the Ironman, and one day Kona! Change doesn’t happen overnight, for most of us at least, it takes years of working on becoming who we want to be, and along the way realizing how much bigger we can dream! I finished my first Half Ironman in 2013, I was undertrained and unprepared, it was an incredibly painful race, but finishing that race is also one of my proudest accomplishments.
It took ten years, but I am finally at a place in my life where I can take on the training necessary to finish a full Ironman. Year after year I asked my husband, “Is this the year?” and he told me I was crazy, we were moving, or changing jobs, or the kids were too little. And he was right. I have this tendency to think I can do all the things, then drive myself to exhaustion trying to fit it all in. And so I listened, and I waited. This year I said “This is the year! This is the year to go for an Ironman.” and to my shock my husband said, “Yes!” Not only was he all onboard for Team Amber, he was even down to take on the race with me! And so our 140.6 or bust adventure begins.
If you are in the same situation that I was in here are a couple of tips on how to get your better half to hop on the Ironman supporter train:
5 Tips To Get Your Family On Board With Ironman Training
- Be Realistic – If you just had a new baby, or got a big time-consuming promotion at work have a real talk with yourself first, do you have the time and energy to commit to a part-time job that doesn’t pay? Because that is what Ironman training is.
- Have A Plan – Show your family how training will work in your lives. Will you get up in the wee hours of the morning to workout before your family even had a chance to miss you? Will you do a loop course by your house for long runs and let your kids play support crew for you on their bikes? Figure out how you will make training work for all of the important people in your life, not ju
- Get Everyone Involved – It is so much more fun when the whole family feels like they are part of the experience. Does your spouse like one of the three disciplines? Maybe they can sign up for their own race and spend date nights together on long bike rides. Try taking your kids with you for the cool down portion of your run and get them signed up for a local kids race. Let them experience some of the glory and accomplishment with you!
- Figure Out The House Work – Do this earlier than later, nothing is going to rain on your Ironman parade harder than a partner who is unhappy about a sink full of dishes or a pile of unwashed laundry when those were originally your responsibilities. Figure out fast and nutritious meal plans and how you will keep the house running. Remember it’s not just finding the time to train, you also have to find a way to get everything done in less time.
- Show Gratitude – This one is the most important of all! Show gratitude for everyone in your family that your Ironman journey will effect. This will be different depending on the person but here are some ideas: are take a nice vacation with your family after the race and focus your time on them. Thank your partner for picking up the slack while you were training by helping out more around the house post-race, take them out for a nice date night, and of course, let them know how much you notice and appreciate them. Take your kids out to the water park for a fun day all about them. You get the idea, tailor it to your loved one and let them know how much you appreciate them and the sacrifices they make for you.
There you have it, I finally got the go-ahead from my hubby to take on the Ironman challenge, and I am so excited to share with you the reality behind Ironman training, for this mama at least. Check in each week for a reality check on Ironman training, I’ll be sharing the highs, the lows, and the downright ugly right here.
I am so excited to share my experience with you and would love to hear all about yours too. Tell me in the comments below, how did you get your family onboard with the training and sacrifice it would take for you to hit a big goal of your own?