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6 Things I learnt from Ironman - Tim Doyle

An Ironman is a 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike Ride and 42.2km Marathon, and the New Zealand Ironman was held on March 4th 2017 in Taupo. I finished in 11 hours 42 minutes and 53 seconds.1. 

1. Consistency is Undervalued
In October 2016 I had ran for 90 minutes, and my longest bike ride was 90 mins. Six months later in February with small increases each week I ran for 3 hours non-stop (35km) and had rode for 6 hours (180km) three times. This was achieved through being consistent day in day out with only small incremental increases. I never noticed a huge jump from one session to the next; it was gradually built up over a long time period.

2. Do the Hard Stuff
When the alarm went off at 4am on some mornings I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep (especially when it was raining!). But those sessions were always the most rewarding, and built mental toughness. By not delaying the hard stuff, I banked those sessions and stayed on track.

3. Celebrate the small wins along the way
My first half ironman race was 5 hours 15 minutes, and the second was a 30 minute improvement to 4 hours 45 minutes. The training load, intensity and consistency was working, and it felt incredibly rewarding. By celebrating the win, it reinforced that the time, effort and sacrifices was worth it.

4. Don't be afraid to makes changes
Pre-Christmas I swam four times a week for 90 minutes a time. Post Christmas I reduced this to two sessions of only 60 minutes /wk. The result; an extra 3-4 hours' sleep during the week and the two sessions really focused on race specific pace work. I still swam my targeted time with the reduced volume.

5. Surround yourselves with the right people
Throughout my journey I was extremely fortunate that Jane understood what was involved in IM training and supported me. The ups, downs, tiredness and training commitment is beyond normal and without having the backing and flexibility to leave the office at 4pm for training some days would have made life tough! I am extremely grateful. A team camp in Manginko with 15 other like minded athletes created a real bubble of excitement and amazing training vibe that pushed on post camp for the final post to Ironman. The people involved in IM are a special bunch!

6. Enjoy the moment
My Ironman race experience was a bit bitter sweet. A sore stomach on the run lead to walking parts of the marathon and despite being the best physical condition of my life I just couldn't pull it off how I had planned… but that's what makes it an Ironman. Most of the run is still a blur but the moment running down the finish chute when 6 months hard work, sacrifices and commitment pays off; to achieve something that you thought was nearly impossible so far away back at day one; it's very special and something I'll always remember.