Making "Iron" Fit

by - Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today we're in Grand Cayman Island. I'm going swimming with stingrays!

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Wes, from A Code Geek's Tail. Wes is an IronMan and has completed several races of all different lengths in his career. He's also completed all the required training, while working a full time job and making time for his family. If as curious as I am to see how he does it, read below.

A special thanks to Jess for inviting me to guest post on her blog...

Training for any long distance event can seem to be a daunting task. All, and I mean ALL endurance athletes deal every day with balance. They must constantly give and take in order to meet their needs, the significant other's needs, and the needs of their children.
This is my story. Your mileage may vary...

In 2008, I signed up for a May half-ironman and a November full Ironman. I worked a full time job. Dee Dee was running our restaurant. I had a grown daughter, a son in high school, and another son in grade school. Both of my boys played on traveling soccer teams. Finding time to train for these events would be a challenge to say the least.

In my professional life, I had several opportunities of which I took full advantage:

* I worked from home two days a week
* My office was about a mile from the Chattahoochee River Trail and
Columns Drive, a very popular 5 mile cycling loop.
* Another 4 mile out and back trail was right out the front door of
the office building.
* The pool was on the way to the office.
* I live right by a lake.

The first step for me was carving out my "me" time. I made sacrifices to get my training in. I would get up at 6:00 AM on Saturdays and Sundays to get in my long rides and long runs. I would get up 5 AM in the morning to get in that key workout. Since I was going through extra "pains" to minimize the impact of my training on my family, I guarded my training time jealously. I expected my loved ones to give just as much as they got. I was also very consistent in my training. I don't think I missed more than one or two workouts over that entire 9 month period. Not only did consistency help me in my training, but it also set my family's expectations as to what exactly my weeks were going to be like.

The second thing I did was take advantage of my training opportunities. In Georgia, except for tournaments, they don't allow soccer games to start before 1 PM on Sunday. All of my long rides and long runs on Sunday occurred early in the morning. Often, I was home before my sons were even out of bed. I also did a lot of my training runs at the soccer fields during practice. My week day bike rides were either done at lunch, or I would hurry home from work and get that hour ride in before dinner, even though I was the one making dinner.

Eventually, the scales are tipped, and the training becomes more about "me" and less about "them". Ironman training, for most people, maxes out at 15-20 hours a week, and for the average age grouper, that just doesn't leave a lot of time for other things. In looking back, my weekday workouts really didn't increase all that much, but my weekends were maxed out with 6-7 hour rides and hours of swimming and running. I had to work extra hard during this time to make sure my training didn't turn me into a grumpy old man. I kept something extra in the tank for my kids and family.

Crossing the finish line of your first Ironman is the cherry on top of a life changing event. I hope it was special for my family as well, cause I will never ever forget the sacrifices that they made. They helped me achieve my dream. That is not something to ever take lightly, and I do not forget.


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  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing how you managed to fit it all in - training, family, work.

  2. i am always impressed with triathletes & their training - i know i find it hard to 'squeeze' in marathon training, let alone swimming & biking too. it's nice to be reminded that the struggle is not uncommon and that it can be done!