A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tyler O’Shea, the man behind JokerMag, to discuss what it was like tackling an Ironman in less than a year with little (i.e. no) experience.
You can hear the podcast in it’s entirety below:
Preparing for the interview, I spent some time recapping my experience in my own mind. Reading some of the entries on this site, revisiting the Ironman training plan I had followed for almost a full year, and talking to those who were closest to me on race day.
It was fun to reminisce, but also fun to try to take my own memories and formulate them into a story that could potentially help others looking to take the leap.
An Ironman is only as hard as you make it
Now, there’s some BS to that statement, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. The difficulty though, can be made so much easier with some small, mental tweaks along the way.
For example, waking up at 4am was hard 100% of the time.
I’ve been accused of being a “morning person”, but that doesn’t mean I LOVE getting up before any sunlight has even considered touching the sky.
What I was able to do, repeatedly, was find a way to make getting up for that early morning training session easy. To do that, I had to make every step in the process, from getting out of bed, all the way to jumping in the pool (for example), easy.
I taught myself a trick, that sounds pretty ridiculous… and it goes something like this:
There is a 100% chance of training, if you first, brush your teeth
I told you it sounded ridiculous.
For me, it became true though. I knew, that getting up from bed, walking to the bathroom, and brushing my teeth was an easy thing to do.
Much easier than getting dressed, getting in the car, forgetting my coffee, going back inside, getting coffee, getting back in the car, driving to the pool, changing, and jumping in cold water.
So I forgot all of that, and focused on only the next immediate action: get out of bed, and brush my teeth.
Once I did, it was silly to lay back down, I was already standing, might as well get dressed.
Then when you’re dressed, it’s silly to get undressed, might as well get in the car.
When you’re in the car, it’s silly to get out of the car, get undressed…. etc, etc., you get it.
By making any task (in my case training) so stupid easy to start (brushing my teeth), you began perpetuating a series of small mental victories that snowballed with (in my case jumping in a pool) achieving the desired outcome.
Jedi-mind-tricking yourself is key
There are dozens (hundreds?) of these little tricks you can use to help will yourself to accomplish all you’ve hoped to accomplish. The power to do so comes entirely from convincing that little voice in your head telling you to go back to sleep that it would be silly to do so.
I hope to write about more of these, in more detail in the weeks/months to come.
For now, though, enjoy this recap of race day.
Until next time!