My Journey To Ironman

Find out how John, one of our Trainers here at FITISM is preparing for his first Ironman Triathlon

It all started with a “why not?”

My journey to an Ironman.

Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
- Winston Churchill

My name’s John and I’ve set myself a challenge.

The Challenge

Ironman Bolton 2022
Swim - 2.4 mile
Bike - 112 mile
Run - 26.2 Mile

Why - The long version

I’ve known people in the past that have completed Ironmans and alike. Friends have asked me in the past, “why don’t you have a go?” to which my reply was always, “you’ve got to be joking, I can’t even ride one of those road bike things, never mind that madness”.

Fast forward 10 years. A few of my work colleagues, fresh faced from their trip to La Santa, came back with the idea of completing a half distance Ironman. It wasn’t long before the same question was raised “why don’t you have a go, join us?” but this time my response was different, “why not?” I know how to ride a bike so how hard can it be to learn to ride a road bike? I can swim and run, so why not!

And from that point it started.

So a pandemic later, three lockdowns and little understanding, I completed the Nottingham Half Outlaw - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride (minus a seat post - but that’s another story) and a 13.1 mile run. A few days after I finished I remembered my friends from the past, “why don’t you have a go?” and the answer was now simple, why not?!

Why - The short version

To see if I can

My approach

1 stroke - repeat. 1 pedal - repeat. 1 foot in front of the other - repeat. Or, “Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in”.  

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to train hard or without structure, it just means that at the end of the day when my body is fatigued and my muscles are saying NO, hopefully my head will say YES! “Never give in”.

In fact my training is going to be hard, challenging, sometimes tedious and very very time consuming (my partner will testify to that). Basically I’m trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable, trying to put all the hard work in now to hopefully enjoy the day.


Long Term.

Complete Ironman Bolton
Date 03/07/2022

Medium Term.

- Complete the Grindleford Gallop (21 mile fell race + the 5.2 miles I’m going to add on to make it a marathon distance)
  Date 12/03/2022

- Complete a half distance Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run)
  Date 30/4/2022

- More to be added once one has been completed.

Short Term

- Stay healthy
- Train 2 times a week
- Run 2 times a week
- Swim 2 times a week
- Bike 2 times a week
- Continue to follow my program
- Trust in the process
- Try to enjoy the journey
- Learn from my mistakes
- Learn from others that know more than me
- Hold myself accountable
- Never give in!

These goals will keep me accountable, especially on those mornings when the wind is howling and the wet stuff is blowing in sideways. I’ve always found that having a goal is empowering, it’s my little seed that I’ve planted and it’s up to me to nurture it until it’s completed. I’ve always shared my goals with family and friends, reason being for those rare times I struggle to hold myself accountable I know for a fact they will.

“Thought you were supposed to be swimming this morning?” “Your right! I’ll get booked in.”
“Never give in!”

So no matter your challenge or goal(s), whether it’s to; run a sub three hour marathon, run a sub 20 min 5K, cycle, run and kayak the length of Scotland, complete 2000 burpees in one go, complete one pull up, complete your first BURN or BUILD. Never give up and ask yourself the question, why not?

Well enough from me. If you’re interested in how I’m getting on, or want to see what I’m getting up to, then you can follow me on Instagram middle_aged_man_vs_ironman

Equally I’d love to hear about the challenges you’ve set yourself and how your going to tackle them.



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