The Ironman

With every schmuck and his mother running a marathon these days, impressing women with your athletic prowess is only getting harder. The answer? The Ironman, a 3.9-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre bike ride and 42-kilometre run that can take world-class athletes nearly ten hours to finish.

This Saturday’s Kona Ironman is the pinnacle of the discipline, with contenders battling the Hawaiian sun to complete the world’s toughest endurance race. The good news for you? The Ironman is not out of reach, though you’d need to completely rearrange your life – possibly even take time off work.

Barrie Shepley, Canada’s only Hall of Fame triathlon coach, who recently coached a “non-jock” 50-year-old woman to the finish line. “Ironman is really a symbolic representation that anything is possible,”he says. Here’s how to conquer next year’s Kona:

October – February
• Join your local triathlon swimming training group and get your technique down.
• Spin or ride a bike trainer a few times per week and get out once a week for at least 2.5 hours.

February – June

• Run. Like crazy. Do three short runs and one long run each week. Finish a marathon comfortably by June.
• Take at least one 150 km bike ride per week.

June – October
• Do a standard triathlon to smooth out your transitions.
• By September, reduce your training distances to something comfortable. Eat. Sleep. Pray.
• Either enter a qualifying race over the summer, or try the lottery – and hope the past 12 months haven’t been a total waste. Good luck!

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