A full Ironman involves a solid 3.9km swim, followed by 180km of cycling with a marathon (42.2km) kicker to see you over the finish line. Christensen has one pencilled in for August in Copenhagen, and so far, with the help of an Elite Turbo Trainer, a Zwift account and some new HOKA runners, the training is going well. To get him in the right frame of mind for such a challenge, he spoke to two experts in the field; British triathlete Adam Bowden who is also training for his first full Ironman, and Earl Walton, who has the enviable task of being Ironman’s global director of training and coaching.
For Bowden, as a competitive athlete, the most daunting thing about embarking on his first ever Ironman is ensuring his nutrition is correct. “I think that I’m well and truly capable of the distance, this is why it’s the nutrition that I am most likely focusing on in training.” Having excelled at the 70.3 distance (a half Ironman), it makes sense for Bowden to step up to the full.
“I think for me, I said to myself that when I could regularly podium at the 70.3, I would be ready for the step up to the full Ironman distance, but of course, it depends on each individual’s abilities and what they want from the experience – working to your own goals,” Bowden tells Men’s Health.
One of those goals is being able to overcome the mental side of such a challenge. “I would say lots of stuff fills us with dread at times, but if you can focus on the enjoyment side of the sport then you will surprise yourself. I certainly think that people should bite the bullet and test themselves over the full Ironman distance.”
When it comes to kits, or toys – because, let’s face it, we all love an excuse to invest in new kit — Bowden says that the right pair of trainers is key to him. “A trainer needs to be comfortable, cushioned and responsive. These are my top three must-haves in a pair of trainers and that’s why I use HOKA. When your body starts to get towards the back end of the marathon, you’re going to need those three key components of an awesome pair of trainers. Having an extra supportive trainer will stop your form decreasing during the last 10 miles of the marathon. It is really key for me to ensure I’m as comfortable as possible at this stage so I can give my best performance.”