5 tips for tackling your first Ironman

Most Ironman training plans start off with a manageable load but the dial gets turned up quickly.

As a certified triathlon coach I have been asked numerous times, “Do I have what it takes to do an Ironman?” If completing an Ironman triathlon competition is on your bucket list and you are pondering this same question, consider these five questions:

Do you have the time to properly train? 
Most ironman training plans start off with a very manageable load but the dial gets turned up relatively quickly. You need to allow a minimum of around 14 hours/week to train adequately. This should include at least three swims, three rides, and three runs per week.

Do you have family support? 
If you have a spouse or are in a dedicated relationship and/or have kids, then they must be on your side with regards to training for such a time-consuming event. If they are time-greedy and are likely to make you feel guilty for logging 5 hour + bike rides and 3 hour runs, then you may have a very tough time getting ironman race ready. On the other hand, if they’re supportive of your endeavour then this is truly a promising sign.

Do you have the finances? 
Ironman racing is not cheap. Factor in the costs of equipment (bike, wetsuit, shoes, clothes, accessories etc), race fees (ironman events typically range from around $400 to $700) plus travel and accommodation costs for race week in addition to miscellaneous items such as coaching, training-specific food and drink, bike tubes, tune-ups etc. It all adds up and makes the sport a rather costly one.

Do you have someone/group to train with? 
Ironman is a lonely sport if you’re doing it completely solo. It makes a huge difference if you have a friend or a network of people on your side to train with, bounce ideas off, learn from, and motivate each other along the way. It truly does make the process of getting to the start line so much easier and more enjoyable if you’re preparing with a team.

Do you have the determination and perseverance to see it through? 
Way more important than natural ability, current level of fitness, body shape, or age is the level of sheer determination to make it happen. Ask yourself if the idea of doing an ironman is a fleeting thought or a serious one, worthy of your dedication and commitment? Because if it is, with some advice and lots of support, almost anyone can do an ironman.If ironman truly is a serious dream of yours, consider discussing the possibility with those close to you; your spouse, partner, family, friends, and possibly children.

Ask them for their thoughts and if they share your vision, and would they be willing to support your wholehearted efforts. If they give the green light, look into local triathlon clubs and/or coaches and see what is on offer in your local area.

There are triathlon clubs right across the length and breadth of the country with knowledgeable and experienced athletes in each. Additionally, there is hordes of useful material online including triathlon forums, websites, YouTube clips, training plans, and tidbits of advice on all kinds of tri-related issues.

Completing an ironman is achievable. You can do it, with a bit of help from your family and friends.

For a list of Ironman competitions in Canada go here.

(Image: Facebook, Ironman)


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Explore Fund Grant-Giving Program

The North Face Announces 2015 Explore Fund Grants Open for Applications

The North Face today announced the 2015 Explore Fund grant-giving program is now open through October 31, 2015 for applications and $30,000 will be awarded to organizations this year. The Explore Fund provides grants to organizations that connect people to the outdoors in meaningful ways, with youth as the primary focus.


“For 2015, we are looking to identify programs that will provide experiences that nurture an enduring appreciation of the outdoors,” said Ann Krcik, Director of Outdoor Exploration, The North Face. “We want these programs to encourage people to explore and appreciate the outdoors in their favorite ways, whether that be hiking, skiing or camping – we want to be the catalyst.”


All grants are evaluated on the clarity of proposal, the projected impact and alignment to the spirit of adventure and exploration. Proposals that leverage collaboration and partnerships within communities are encouraged. The Explore Fund reviews grants by individual merits and as part of a balanced portfolio that includes such factors as geography, type of program funded, target audiences, and more.


To be considered for an Explore Fund grant, applicants must be non-profit organizations or in a formal relationship with a qualified fiscal sponsor. All applicants must fully complete the online submission process and provide the required application information.  Explore Fund grants are for one year and funding in a giving cycle does not guarantee future support.


As part of its mission to start a global movement of Outdoor Exploration, The North Face introduced the Explore Fund ( in 2010 and the program has since provided more than $1.5 million in grants to organizations committed to inspiring the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists.


For more information and to submit an application before October 31, 2015, please visit