Today for Tri Talk Tuesday I’m talking about lessons learned in triathlon and racing… but specifically with Ironman training. I have learned so many lessons throughout this process, and I thought I would highlight some of my favorites for you.
Expressing in words the lessons I’ve learned training for my first Ironman is REALLY hard! It is a POWERFUL, LIFE CHANGING experience. The whole experience has given me goosebumps through out and has taught me so many lessons. I’m going to try and express what all of this training has taught me.. here goes nothing…
Lesson #1 You are ALWAYS stronger than you think you are.
I take this quote to have more meaning when it comes to ‘mental strength’ versus ‘physical strength.’ There have been many days where I did not want to get out of bed for swim practice, many nights where I was tired after work and didn’t want to get on my bike or put on my sneakers, and plenty of days where I had self doubt.. but I convinced myself time and time again that I am finishing this training and I am DOING this for ME. No one else, but me. All of the hours of training taught me that I am mentally and physically stronger than I ever thought I was. I have always been an athlete, and in physically great shape… but nothing has given me more mental strength than Ironman training. I honestly feel like I can take on the world now! This is a feeling I never had before this training experience.
Lesson #2 You need to eat A LOT when training for an Ironman
I have never mentioned this on the blog before, but I have struggled with some distorted eating issues/body images for years now. It has never got to the point where I’ve been completely depriving myself, but there was a point where I could have been considered a starving athlete. There were a few years (not too long ago) where I was exercising a ton and not eating enough to replenish what I using… not good! I was getting by with the bare minimum thinking that it was ok. Even when I was competing in sprint and olympic triathlons, I most definitely was not fueling properly because I was scared of the calories and gaining weight. Ironman training forced me (in a good way) to WAKE the F up when it comes to sports nutrition. You cannot get through Ironman training and racing without eating A LOT of carbs, sugar, calories, etc. You just CAN’T. As someone that has previously battled eating demons, I had a nutritional analysis done for Ironman training. The plan was really scary at first i.e.drinking tons of sports drink instead of water, but once I started to change my ways, I noticed a huge difference in my performance. Who knew?! Suddenly a light bulb went off and I was no longer worried about the calories or the sugar. I was instead, worried about being a rock star with my training and racing! If fueling properly could make me faster, you don’t have to tell me twice what to do;) I I honestly believe Ironman Training has helped me get over my disordered eating thoughts and for that, I am grateful.
#3 Ironman training has given me the confidence I never knew I had.
I feel like Ironman training has changed the way I view myself, for the better. Before embarking on this journey, I never felt good in my own skin. I still have a way to go with negative self thinking, but training for IMMT has given me a HUGE boost of confidence. It’s honestly helped me learn how to love myself and my body. Taking on this huge feat has given me a feeling that I can take on anything if I put my mind to it. Honestly, I would be scared if I were one of my competitors, this girl is on fire. I also feel way better about my body than I ever have before. I am amazed at how my amazing body has endured hundreds of hours and miles over this past year, it’s truly incredible! Now when I look in the mirror I can’t help but see an (almost) Ironman athlete and feel powerful! I might be the same person I was when I started this journey, but I went from basically hating myself to learning how to love myself. Let’s just say I’m officially a beast.