It has been over 6 years since I started running, over 5 years since my first marathon, just over a year since I started swimming and cycling and exactly one year since my first triathlon. In just over a week, I shall be competing in my very first Ironman.

Thinking back on my first marathon, I remember devising a plan to help from a psychological perspective; counting the miles backwards (26, 25, 24, 23…), giving myself treats throughout like a gel when I make it to mile 10 or listening to music for bursts of time. Other inspirations include raising money for a good cause and most importantly, having moral support along the way.

Never underestimate the power of supporters. Write your name on your t-shirt, have a random person scream it out, get yourself a second wind. For me, having friends cheer you on has been invaluable, and this time, my family will be joining me as well. Reflecting back on my inexperience, at the start line of my first marathon and my first triathlon, I find myself in the exact same situation all over again. Nerves up to my throat and a thumping heartbeat whenever anyone reminds me how close the race is. You’ve done all the hard work, now just enjoy it.

But how does one prepare for an Ironman? Training for starters. In the last six months, I have dedicated 364 hours to training, this is how it breaks down:

1. 150 hours of biking (2,250 miles or 3,600 km).
2. 62 hours of swimming (97 miles or 155 km).
3. 75 hours of running (600 miles or 960 km).
4. 37 hours of strength exercises (gym work).
5. 40 hours of other forms of training (racing, brick sessions, stretching etc.).

That’s an average of 15 hours a week, with the peak being 23 hours.

So, why the worry? Well, this is my first Ironman. So the uncertainty is there more than ever. It’s not about finishing at a great time, it’s not about winning, it’s not about breaking a personal best in any of the disciplines, it is about survival and making it to the finish line. As I keep being reminded, an Ironman is not like doubling a 70.3, it’s an altogether different endurance race. If you’ve done the physical training, it’s about the mental endurance, being in a positive frame of mind and making sure you can overcome your negative thinking.

So, this is my last blog until the big day, I do hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences. I promise to write a race review afterwards but until then, please give me all the support you can muster. This can be in the form of likes on Facebook, messages, wall posts, texts, emails, calls, physical presence and donations to Keep a Child Alive.

Thanks to all those who have had to endure my rants, with me being missing during peak training season and my general unsocial exhaustion! You all mean so much to me, look forward to a beer together soon.