Couple of Q's about iron distance stuff

...tempted by the dark side...

1 to 20 of 21 messages
18/06/2012 at 18:16

Hi everyone. Yet another of those 'Could I do an ironman?' threads.

I'm mostly a runner, but I had a go at a couple of sprint tris this year - one of them open water in a borrowed too-large wetsuit - and really liked them. Now pondering an ironman but not entirely sure if I can commit enough time to the training OR even actually afford it.


Firstly, how much time do you all spend training in an average week? I already swim 1-1.5m twice a week and run 3-5 times a week including two training evenings with my club and a LSR usually at the weekend. Not sure how much time I'd realistically be looking at for bike training and where to fit it in...

Secondly, the bicycle itself. I did my first sprint tri on a mountain bike then commandeered my dad's old tri bike for the next one. It's a hundred times better than my ratty old mountain bike and luckily seems to be pretty much the right size for me, but it's still 20+ years old and 12kg weight. Am I being daft to think I could use it for a full ironman? I don't care about potentially looking a bit odd but don't like the idea of being majorly disadvantaged. How much do half decent tri bikes usually weigh anyway?

Thirdly, are there any iron distance events where the swim is in fresh water and the run isn't just a whole bunch of loops? I've looked at a few different events here in the UK but they all seem to feature runs that are 3, 4, 5 loops. Obviously that's much easier to marshal/feed/water/clean up after but are there any with single loop run courses? I usually pick my events on maximum scenery potential and really don't fancy 5 loops of a 5 mile course.

Cheers for any/all info and advice!

Rafiki    pirate
18/06/2012 at 18:33


I can only add a comment on the bike front. I have an entry level raoad bike (£900 new) and entry level TT bike (£1500ish). On my 30 mile ride to work, I'm normally about 7 - 8 minutes quicker on the TT. This would equate to half an hour quicker over an IM distance ride?? Other things come into the equation - the legs are slightly less knackered on a TT bike when running afterward. So yes it quicker but for a first IM possibily not worth getting in a hige amount of debt for???

Nurse Ratched    pirate
18/06/2012 at 18:34


Hi r-w-d

Come on over to the Fatman to Ironman thread and meet all the other IM newbies.

I was going to aim for IM in 2014, but my training buddy wanted to do it next year for her 40th.  That and doing whatever it took to get gastank off my case are the reasons  I'm now doing my first IM next year.

I'll be doing my first ever tri next month, so you're ahead of me already.

When the IM training proper kicks in I'll be using Don Fink's "Be Iron Fit".  I work & have small kids, but I can commit the time to the 'just finish' plan - average over the 30 weeks is around 7 hours per week, with a few weeks around 10 hours a week.  Sounds as if you're used to a reasonable volume of training already.

Someone else will be far better qualified than me to give bike advice.

You can do it


MovingAlong    pirate
18/06/2012 at 18:50

RWD - Not fully able to comment, got my first IM in 2 weeks, but I had the same concerns about time commitment for training as yourself. As Nurse says, Don Fink is the book to get. 3 plans depending on what you want to achieve and commit. The Get Round plan averaging about 7 hours per week, and peaking just into the double figures. Truth be told, I've pinched elements from Just Round and the next one up. The Get Round plan is based around 8 sessions per week (2 swim, 3 bike, 3 run)

You're doing 2 swims per week already, you can obviously run, so you'd just need to jig things around with dropping some running for the cycling - something I struggled to get my head round at first, coming from a running background. Ultimately though bike takes priority as thats the greater time during the event.


seren nos    pirate
18/06/2012 at 19:16

did my first one on a £500 road bike and got this body around no problem.........i call my planet x my bling bike but at £1100 its not really bling...........just feels like that to me and the most expensive thing in my house

purpletrilady    pirate
18/06/2012 at 19:19

I got round the double on a £500 road bike 

cougie    pirate
18/06/2012 at 19:51
I think the fastest pirate in Switzerland had a ??400 bike.

Your swimming sounds good but I'd look to drop one session and spend more time on the bike. It's the biggest part of the event and takes up a fair amount of training.
Dustboy    pirate
18/06/2012 at 22:25

Norseman is a straight run.....very picturesque too, and it's a freshwater swim...

I think I am going to get told off.

18/06/2012 at 22:51

Wow! Loads of replies! Thanks guys...

And thanks for the rough price guides. I'm mentally vomiting at the thought of spending £1,000+ on a bike. My car didn't even cost that much! I guess I'll be sticking with my dad's funky retrobike, for now anyway.

I moved up from marathon to ultra distance this year, with the vague long term plan of doing a couple of 40 milers this year, the Highland Fling and the Devil next year, then the full West Highland Way race in 2014. So if I was concentrating on the WHW in 2014, I might have to plan on either 2013 or 2015 for an IM.

Should I go for some intermediate distance tris before then or just bash away at the training and jump straight in at the full distance come next year? Have just ordered myself a secondhand copy of 'Be Iron Fit' so will soon have a better idea of what sort of training I should be thinking of.

I'd be happy swimming 2.5 miles tomorrow but the thought of 100+ miles on a bike gives my, um, nether bits the utter heebie jeebies. I shall try to upload a pic of my bike so you all can see what I'm dealing with. I think a new saddle will be one expense I'll be glad to fork out for...

And what's a reasonable price for a decent wetsuit? The one I swam in was a size too big and had ludicrous plastic shinguards on it - I think it was maybe a wakeboarding one. I'd be fine with a secondhand suit, that wouldn't bother me at all. Just not sure where to look for one I could try on before I bought it. Also not even sure how to tell whether they're a good fit or not...


Edited: 18/06/2012 at 22:52
cougie    pirate
18/06/2012 at 23:23

Glad you have the swim sorted anyway. If you're pushed for time - then just maintain the swim. You have over 2 hours for the swim ? Is that comfortable for you ?

Retrobike will be fine technically if its mechanically sound. The important thing is that it fits you. You'll be on it for 6 hours plus - so it has to be fairly comfy.

I'm still wearing my basic Orca wetsuit I bought in 2005. OK so it doesnt get that many outings a year - but its done Ironman every year since then. Well apart from the 2 years it was too hot for it.   I dont think a top of the range wetty would help you that much, The fit is the important thing again. Get to a shop that has several makes and try them on for fit, Different makes have different fits. The assistant should be able to help you with this.

Ooh yes bike pics are always welcome. 


19/06/2012 at 12:36

Okay, here's the funky retrobike. It's a 1990ish Kirk magnesium oddity:

Not sure about swim times - I'm just over 15 mins for 750m in sprint events but that's a fairly mad unsustainable thrash. Swimming long I just go slow and keep plugging away. Off to the pool later so shall keep an eye on the clock today and report back later...


seren nos    pirate
19/06/2012 at 12:57

that bike looks good enough to me...........but i know nothing about bikes.........just know that a good bike fit is worth so much........

looks like you are sorted to go

(Ps my bike was bought on a cycle to work scheme or otherwise i wouldn't have had it,,,so glad I did because i love it)

cougie    pirate
19/06/2012 at 13:33

Fantastic bike !

I dont think theres many of them around now - they used to have a pro team on them too.

You may be better off selling it to a collector though -  they had a history of cracking - which isnt ideal.....

Anyone know what a Kirk frame is worth these days ? 

19/06/2012 at 18:00

TBH I don't think they're worth all that much. Seen a few complete bikes on eBay recently going for £100-£350. In any case it's my dad's, not mine - I'm just borrowing it. Might turn out to be a permanent borrow but still it's not mine to sell. Plus I quite like the idea of using the same bike he did. I already run wearing his old 1980s Casio digital watch as backup for when my Garmin's battery dies mid-race. That watch and this bike are probably the closest things we've got to family heirlooms!

Timed my swim today but not sure I've worked out the distances right. I don't know why but I had it in my head that 2.4 miles was 160 laps of a 25m pool, so that's what I did. Now I've actually worked it out, I seem to have overestimated a bit. Looks like it's actually only 153 and a bit. Oh well...

Anyhoo... 1 mile: 38 mins, 2 miles: 75 mins, 2.5 miles: 92 mins. Of course that's in a nice tidy pool with stripes on the bottom keeping me in a straight line. My one and only OW swim so far involved swimming straight off the course and into the riverbank. Multiple times. Then swimming straight past the marker buoy and forgetting to turn...


21/06/2012 at 12:33
Volume of training time varies from 8 hrs a week for some who just want to get around, up to a peak of 20 hrs a week for those trying to go a wee bit faster.....

Using commute time makes getting run/ bike sessions in easy, but that depends on where you live/ work.

Bike - you need something that wont fall apart. ??500 new, less second hand but sizing is important
Wetsuite - ?? 100 starting cost, but look for some deals.
Challenge henley next looks a good target, with a half or 2 along the way
seren nos    pirate
21/06/2012 at 14:38
If you ate looking for scenery a new one in snowdonia might be worth looking at
seren nos    pirate
21/06/2012 at 14:42
Called the brutal and in Sept. The run goes up mount snowdon
20/07/2012 at 10:49

The Brutal? LOL! Just the name makes me want to do it...

WildWill    pirate
20/07/2012 at 11:01

I also did my first IM on an a £500 entry level bike

The amount of training it takes varies ...

 ... last year a train often and consitanly and got a PB (by over 40 mins)

 ... This year due to 'life' getting in the way, I only averaged 3 training sessions per week and was considerably slower  (I actually only got ou on my bike 3 times and you could count my anual swim session on your fingers) 

WildWill    pirate
20/07/2012 at 11:03

PS ... looped run routes are a big bonus in IM as it is quite often the crowds and team mates that keep you going

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