Triathletes are some of the most inspiring people in the world. They are symbols of perseverance, enduring quality, reliability, and strength. This is why we decided to launch the Ironman Triathlon collection dedicated to them and their values. We are so intrigued with people who train for Ironman that we just had to interview Doug H., who is currently training for his very first Ironman. Browse the new Ironman Triathlon collection here.
What motivated you to start doing triathlons?
I always thought that triathlons, especially Ironman, were a goal for exceptional athletes, people who crave the ultimate physical challenge, or people who are completely out of their minds. I exercise mostly to offset my insatiable yearning for Peanut M&M’s, pizza, and cheese burgers. [At 47], I started training by swimming laps at the YMCA, riding a mountain bike with a baby seat on the back, and running at least one event per day.
When I lined up with my age group to start swimming [my first sprint triathlon] in the Gulf of Mexico, I realized that I had never swum long distance outside the lane lines at the YMCA…The gun went off. I finished somewhere in the middle of the pack in my age group, but had accomplished something that I didn’t know I could do…! Over the next 3 years, I completed about five [sprint triathlons].
After many months of spin class, and officially joining the tri club (which meant being invited to join their Facebook page)…I joined them in their 40 mile rides in the spring, and was completing 100 mile rides by September.
How do you feel after you complete an Ironman?
I’ll let you know in October after I complete my first Ironman in Louisville, KY. However, I did compete in the Boulder Ironman 70.3, which is half Ironman (1.4 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.2 mile run) in June last year. The immediate feeling was that I couldn’t believe that people complete a full Ironman, which is double what I had just finished. I felt grateful for a supportive family and friends…accomplished [and] strong. I felt proud of myself for putting in the work it takes to prepare to complete the event.
What do you do to relax after training and the race are over?
There is always another goal. Sometimes the goal is to run the same type of race, only faster. For me, it is finishing a full Ironman after completing the half.
What are some challenges you face while training?
As I approach my first Ironman, I’ve been training 15-20 hours a week – that’s a part time job! Training to swim 2.4 miles…without drowning, then ride 112 miles, then slip into my running shoes and run a 26 mile marathon. It’s very easy to hit the snooze button at 4:15 am when you have be in the pool [at 4:45 am], in order to start your run by 6:00 am…and get to work by 8:30.
[Ironman training is a challenge for the whole family. My spouse thinks I’m nuts to be training for an Ironman, but gets it and supports it.] The training, especially the long rides, would be beyond brutal without the support of my tri club. The training is already physically draining, but riding alone for 5 hours is mental torture. The group provides support, encouragement, and safety, as technical problems and accidents are bound to happen. The goal for us is to not win the race or win our age groups, but to just finish and become an Ironman.
Do you have any tips for someone training for their first triathlon?
Find a group, either at the gym, online, bike shop, running store, or through a tri club with like-minded people. Set your goal by choosing an event far enough into the future that you have time to get ready. Buy a book or research online to find the training program for you. Start slow, one mile or one lap at a time. Train one event per day until you are ready…Have fun!