Home Chat General Chat

Complete beginner - need IRONMAN advice pls..!


When I say complete beginner, that's not totally true. I've been involved in fitness full time for the last 10 years, have done a few marathons, and also compete in bodybuilding shows. So general fitness isn't a problem. Discipline and motivation for training aren't a problem either - but knowing what to do in terms of time and intensity are. I also have no stuff.... I don't even own a bike at the minute.

I did go to IMUK this year - which is quite a drive from Leeds! I was there doing my research for next year - working out if I really think I could do it. I've thought about it a lot, and have put some time in swimming and running and now its time to take it a bit more seriously.

[ul][*]I need a bike. Don't know anything about them, and don't want to be ripped off. People I know have told me its cheaper to buy on the internet - but I have no idea what to buy. Looked at a few, and not sure what any of it really means....

[*]I have a couple of wetsuits (long and short) from days of wakeboarding etc - are these ok for an ironman or is there a different type?

[*]Do I need to train each disclipline each day? Swim/bike/run? Do I need to do them in any specific order? Do I need to train proportionate distances?

[*]I have never swam in a lake - easier or harder than a pool? Or just colder?

[*]How many hours training a day do I need to do? [/ul]

I was also thinking of popping along to a tri club - looked a few up and there is one close to me. I'm a bit worried that I'll be the worst there - especially if I turn up in all shiny new stuff..... All the gear, no idea etc etc. Does anyone go to one in Leeds / Bradford / Pugneys? It would be nice to meet a friendly face on my first visit?

So basically that's it. I want to do IMUK this year. I have no plans to become a fully fledged triathlete. I will probably, at best, become one of the people that annoy the rest of you as you have to keep passing me on the course....!! I'd really like to try though.

I loved going to watch this year - everyone there was an inspiration.

Thank you in advance.


  • Options
    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Quite a few points here, but first of all best of luck

    In general get yourself as fit as possible, train and use a good nutrition plan,eat properly and lose any excess weight - you have to be able to haul yourself over 140 mles so you need to be in ggod shape.

    Bike - (Loads of posts about this) buy a good bike 50% of IM is on it. Forget about deals Go to your local bike shops chat to them get measured up and buy the best bike you can afford. Most importantly make sure it fits you. Also avoid internet outlets as the personal service you get from a LBS outweighs any savings. All the tip brands are good but expect to pay a grand - see the cervelo soloist thread on this forum

    2. Training a good programme - given your back ground of 10 -12 hours per week should see you through it

    3. Most IM athletes do the 3 key sessions per week (long swim, long bike, long run) and then fill in the rest of the time as required ie 1 hour swimming, 4 hours bike ride, 2 hours running

    Get going long and adapt to your situation and read the various threads on this forum - lots of good stuff, lots of crap - but ou'll get ideas from it

  • Options
    jon_gjon_g Posts: 318
    hi and welcome!

    for a training plan you wont get a much better one than 'be ironfit' (or something like that!) by Don Fink (or something like that![:)])

    wetsuit? yes, very different! your best bet is to find a tri specific shop near you (there must be one, come on people help out[:)])

    i dont find swimming in a lake much different to a pool except that you dont get to rest or put your feet down! as for a bike, use the search function (if the darn thing is woking) as there have been lots of discusions about best bike/price etc, but the general consensus is to avoid the internet unless you know exactly what you want, otherwise get down to a bike shop and get measured (but try and avoid evans)

    as for a tri club, brilliant idea. and judging from your fitness levels i dont think you'll need to worry about being the worst one there! most of us tri lot are pretty helpful so i wouldnt worry about a thing.

    i did ironman uk this year and the crowd made the event so thank you to you, as you were one of them!
  • Options
    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Follow treefrogs advice on the bike part, bought my previous one on the net, my new one at the Local Bike Shop. If you do fail to follow this advice, be sure to at least get a decent bike fitting!!

    You've never swum in a lake before; prepare to be shocked: first time in a open water is one you'll never forget. Be sure to get the practise in, swim in open water every time you can (if water temp allows of course).

    Even with practice, race day still will be overwhelming first time: crowded, nervous, deep water start after minutes of trying to get a good place while threading water!Lots of fun once you're used to it though.[8D]

    Be sure to do brick trainings! Oh my god,no one told you about 'bricks' yet???[&:]

    Well, take your bike,once you have one, do a ride of an hour followed by immediately a 3k run or so. This is called a brick session, you'll understand why once you've done it! [;)][:D]

    You can alter times or distances as you like (wel, actually you'll have to if you want to complete IM).

    Last: Best of luck, keep reading this forum.
  • Options
    Thank you - you're all so helpful.

    Right then, got the Don Fink - "Be Iron Fit" book on order, so that's a start. I'm gonna look at going to a bike shop during the week and see what advice and help I can get.

    "Brick" training - errrr, no. Not heard of that. Sounds pretty good though. I'm quite excited about it - am I mad already?? Can't wait to get a bike and see how that feels!

    As for swimming in open water whenever I can - so far never have, so I'm not sure of the rules. I'm presuming I can't just turn up to a local lake / reservoir and get in? There must be some rules about things like that? The tri club I looked at had open water swim sessions - is that what you ment?

    Thank you again xx
  • Options
    One of the questions you asked was about wetsuits. My advice is to get, or at least hire a proper swimming wetsuit. You don't really want to try swimming any distance in one that is not fitted for a swimmer. You'll chafe something away otherwise.

    Swimming open water is a lot different to a pool, it's colder and can be choppy, if your in a group it can get physical (obviously all accidental). You really must get some time in open water beforehand. Some people really struggle in openwater for no real reason other than unfamiliarity. To be honest though, I'd leave open water sessions alone until the spring (unless you are somewhere warm this time of year - not leeds)

    Pop along to your local triclub for a chat the first week to scope it out and you'll find out that they are most likely a friendly bunch.
  • Options
    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Leeds Lass wrote:
    As for swimming in open water whenever I can - so far never have, so I'm not sure of the rules. I'm presuming I can't just turn up to a local lake / reservoir and get in? There must be some rules about things like that? The tri club I looked at had open water swim sessions - is that what you ment?

    You can actually go to a lake whenever you like (of course like aztechnology said: if warm enough),

    but might I really, really advise you not to go alone! Try and find some fellow triathletes in your neighbourhood to go with.

    Don't think you can actually legally dive in any lake you want, but by experience I know that authorities let you do your thing when they see you are serious about it and not just some punks having a do or dare trip. Police often pass by the lake when we swim there , never had any problems.
  • Options
    GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    Leeds Lass,

    Brick training is where you practice going from bike to running. Your legs feel like jelly when you come off the bike and start running - so people do "brick" sessions (various suggestions on why its called brick though you'll probably come up with a few suggestions when you've done some) to practice getting used to biking then running.

    Swimming in a lake or the sea if referred to as "open water" swimming. Most open water sessions have stopped now as even in a wetsuit it will be bloody cold.

  • Options
    Hey Guys!

    Thank you for all your help so far...

    Just an update - been to a bike shop that I passed on my travels today. Gotta say, it's a little intimidating when you don't know anything. But the staff were so helpful, and didn't laugh when I said I wanted to do some triathlons, yet don't own a bike...! (failed to mention I want to do an IM for fear of them not believing me...!!) They were handy with a screwdriver, putting parts on and off the bike I was looking at, and talking to me about helmets, lights, special shoes and clips, tri bars, tyres that are puncture proof etc. I came away with nothing, as I was just researching and checking everything out - but I feel like I've entered the world of triathlons with a little more than just my big toe!! They even offered to show me some basic bike maintenence (must have sensed I'm all upon useless!!)

    So here's a few things I need to know before I buy anything...

    [ul][*]How important are the special cycling tops? I have a lot of exercise clothing, none specific to cycling though.

    [*]Clique / Click shoes... The guy in the shop said it comes doen to personal preference which type you choose? Any suggestions? I have never used them before.

    [*]Anything you think I should know about bike and accessory buying in general...?[/ul]

    Again, thank you for your help.

  • Options
    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Leeds Lass wrote:

    [ul][*]How important are the special cycling tops? I have a lot of exercise clothing, none specific to cycling though.


    Go biking in your work shirt, smoking jacket or raincoat: the harder you push, the harder you'll go.

    Buy the important stuff first: bike,helmet and shoes. Work your way up from there. Better to buy the best bike you can afford and buy all trinkets afterwards little by little:

    BIKE IS N°1 PRIORITY![image]http://forum.220magazine.com/micons/m6.gif[/image]
  • Options
    I've built up from nothing to Olympic distance (2:10), UK 70.3 (5:24) to UK Ironman (11:04), based mainly on my own training plan developed from Joe Friel's excellent 'Triathlete's training bible'. But doing an Ironman is so totally different from any other Triathlon that I also sought the advice of a coach, mainly to discuss my specific nutrition problems I experienced in training. If you want to do well, first hand advice from someone who has done well at many of these things is useful.

    In a nutshell, if you just want to complete the thing, you can get away with one session per day. If you want to do well, however, two sessions per day, including weights, are pretty much the norm. Bricks are also very important, especially in the last 3-4 months. Even more important is planning your Rest Days and R&R weeks, as the biggest danger in Ironman is not struggling to finish it, but not even making it to the start, given the volume of training needed.

    Pick up Joe Friel's book and take a look...
  • Options
    was also thinking of popping along to a tri club - looked a few up and there is one close to me. I'm a bit worried that I'll be the worst there - especially if I turn up in all shiny new stuff..... All the gear, no idea etc etc. Does anyone go to one in Leeds / Bradford / Pugneys? It would be nice to meet a friendly face on my first visit?

    Leeds Lass

    I'm a member of Wakey Tri. - suppose which club you choose is down to where you live (LBT, Wakey or White Rose, etc). Where are you?

    We have people travel form all over (Wakey, Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Huddersfield).

    Regards open water swimming. There's no open water swimming at Pugneys till April now (too cold), its run by the council so Health & Safety reasons/liablity etc. Autumn/Winter swimming is at Scissett Baths, the Wakey tri route passes it. Have a gander at the Wakey club site for details.

    There are a few in the club that have done IM's (Austria, Switz., Germany, France, Florida, Hawaii) so somebody is always at hand for advice.

    As for 'worst there'! You might be ... but when I joined the club 2 years ago I was. I could hardly swim but now have done Sprints & Olympic. There's plenty of folk to help out & talk to.

  • Options
    If you want some reasonably priced bike clothes, try Wiggle.co.uk. Their own brand stuff, Dhb, is usually pretty good. I seem to buy something from the site every payday!!!
  • Options
    Hi leeds Lass,

    I,m a member of Wakefield Triathlon Club, Just down the road from you,

    We swim at Pugneys watersport centre in the summer, but to cold at the moment

    The club has top triathletes and beginners like your self and people there, will always give you advice

    Go to our website and contact our coach for further info,

    You will also be able to get some equipment with a club discount, hope this helps
  • Options
    Hi everyone!

    Thankyou all for your amazing help and suggestions. I've just been away for a couple of weeks, but am back now, ready to get on with my mammouth IM personal challenge! While I was away, I read a couple of books by Dean Karnazes - well worth putting on your Christmas list if you haven't already read them. He is an ultra marathon runner, but the books aren't all about running, they are humourous, inspirational, and pure amazing!



    Have a look if you get chance?

    For anyone that is following my progress, I just got back from the Natural World Championships (bodybuilding). It was my goal to qualify (which means winning a British Title) and was an honour to stand on stage among so many pro's... so that's it now, job done, next challenge please...!!

    So there you go. I can tell you - that took a lot of hard work, training, dieting and fake tan! I'm looking forward to having a go at a sport that means I can eat real food (not just protein drinks, egg whites and rice cakes!!

    As far as doing well at the IM - at the moment, I'd just like to finish.... however I'm sure my competitive side will kick in and push me further.

    I've written down all the sites and books you've all suggested, and will check them out when I get home tonight.

    I'm also going to purchase a bike on saturday / sunday and take it for a spin, so I'll let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again!
  • Options

    That's a pic of me at a bodybuilding show - just incase you're interested.

    Well - my technology skills aren't great - it should be a picture, if I've done it right? Otherwise, if it's blank then I'll have another go! xx
  • Options
    fatstufatstu Posts: 46
    Hi Leeds Lass

    Welcome to the crazy world of triathlon. I've dabbled for a couple of years and am now hooked but haven't taken the IM plunge yet (my 1st 70.3 will be in Jan). I used to live in Leeds so hopefully I can help a bit with some local stuff.

    [ul][*]There's a local tri shop in Horsforth - think it's called triangle.

    [*]I know someone who is part of Wakey tri club and he speaks highly of them, he did IMUK in 2007 so that worked out okay

    [*]2 cycle places definitely worth looking at for great advice. Racescene in Barnsley (run by a triathlete and where I got my bike - they measured me up as I had no clue). Also the planet X factory in Doncaster. Their tri bikes get some good reviews on this site but I've never ridden one - they'll also measure you but you have to make an appointment. Treefrog's advice is dead on for the bike too. Buy the best you can afford, but check some other posts before you jump straight to a tri bike for UKIM. I'm told they are uncomfortable for beginners (I've still not upgraded) and the UKIM course is apparently quite hilly so a tri bike may not be your best bet

    [*]Other advice is get into plenty of events as soon as you feel able so you get used to the swim start (a club will help with this too)[/ul]
Sign In or Register to comment.