Patience – Understand It Or Suffer!

Iron Distance, Ironman, Full Distance, 140.6, call it what you like -- it is the greatest one-day endurance test there is!

If you haven’t done one you want to, if you have finished one you want to do another and if you are a multi-time finisher you are forever dreaming of which one to do next.

We all have different ambitions that have taken us down this path. For some it is just to finish, others it is a family tradition. Some make a living from it and then there are the Kona dream chasers. Whatever your reason, it takes commitment, determination and time — lots of it!

Like most endurance endeavors in sport, proper planning and preparation are the key ingredients to help you achieve the goals and dreams you have for ironman. Before setting these targets it’s important to be honest with yourself when determining possibility from probability. Allocating enough training hours per week and sufficient weeks and months while factoring in initial fitness levels are important aspects to consider. Remember that it takes time for your body to adjust and absorb training load before improvements can be visible. A gradual build will always be the best approach.

Veterans of racing ironman know that patience pays off in a strong finish.

(photo source: Yuli Seperi for Getty Images)

Rest, recovery, and nutrition all complement your ability to improve and ultimately reach your goals and dreams.The greatest gains from training come from being able to perform key sessions at the best of your ability. This is the smart and most effective way to train and most time efficient. Garbage miles on tired legs won’t provide performance returns. Rest and recovery allows you to repair and rebuild from the damage caused by stress and fatigue that endurance training inflicts on the body. Healthy and complete eating prior, during and after training will ensure sufficient and quality fuel is in the tank and ready to be recruited when most needed.

It’s an ironman, not a sprint.

(photo source: Outside Magazine)

Mentality is the final piece of the puzzle. The power of the mind is the single most evident limiter for the iron distance triathlete. Doubt and negativity can pull apart the fittest and strongest of athletes . Confidence can look superficial once it is consumed by the power of doubt. No one ever said it was going to be easy and why should it! Ironman originated from three single sport endurance events and we combined them into the one day. Once you start getting fitter and stronger, recover faster, eat and sleep well, get into a good frame of mind you will kill this thing — piece of cake!

Patience ties all these elements together.

To be successful at the full distance, you must develop and nurture patience. We all have different personalities which contributes to the type of endurance athlete that we can become. Patience doesn’t come naturally to all, but being patient in your training allows you to build properly so you can execute the key sessions, which enables confidence levels to build, and reduces stress and fatigue. Patience while racing ultimately allows you to control your effort regardless of what is going on around you, allowing you to achieve the best performance that you are capable of.

Patience is King in endurance racing, so ensure you work on it as often as possible.

Justin Granger
Justin Granger
Justin has been in the sport of triathlon for over 25 years (16 years as a professional) and has competed in more than 21 countries. With 50 Iron distance finishes and over double that in half’s, he has considerable experience in how to train and prepare for an event. He has trained and raced with some of the sport’s best athletes and coaches and has developed his own opinions on what are the most effective methods to follow. He has also coached his wife Belinda Granger (50 IM Races & 15 Wins) over the last 15 years and has a very strong sense of what works well for women vs. men.