Anybody think this can be done? I haven't competed in a tri yet but im running a half marathon in dec and the rock and roll marathon next year. I would like to run a full IM next year so I was thinking about signing up for IM Florida when registration opens this weekend. I know that most will tell me to start small and think about doing the NTP instead. Again, can it be done?
Can it be done? Of course.
Is it recommended. No.
Are you looking to just finish the race or are you looking to actually perform well? If it's the latter, I would recommend waiting a year or two to get some experience and endurance under your belt.
It can be done. Triathletes are a bunch of Type A++ people. You won't be the first person to do it in this club, not by a long shot.
Are you planning to do the full as your first triathlon? What is your background? If it ain't swimming then it is advisable that you do some shorter races as prep/training leading up to a full. Open water swimming is a different world than pool swimming. Add on top of that, the full body contact of an IM mass swim and you will be in a world of hurt if you haven't had prior experience.
I've done IMFL twice and trust me when I say that it's a full body contact sport during that swim. I've also done two other IMs and IMFL is the roughest one of them all. A member of DCTri once got kicked in the head that resulted in a black eye during that swim and spent the early part of the bike ... vomiting from the shock.
Don't discount the value of the NTP program as a training mechanism for the full. The fundamentals that you learn in there can be applied to all distances. Don't look at NTP as an "instead of," but rather, look at it as a service to help you prepare for the full ... just like reading training books or taking clinics and seminars.
The DCTri NTP program has produced one Olympic hopeful, a few pros, and a bunch of other elite studs/studdettes. Some of the people that have taken up that program are former D1 swimmers, collegiate runners, or ex-roadie racers. You are going to see a few people at the NTP meeting wearing Boston Marathon shirts. Don't mistake that program as a program for a bunch of 400 lb dudes trying to get back into shape. They may be newbies to triathlon, but not to the world of endurance sport or competitive sport.
The NTP program gives you a mentor. Many of those mentors are IM finishers. That's an excellent resource to use. Take me for example. I was a mentor last year. My mentee, on her first email to me, said she wanted to do an IM. I think that all of my subsequent email conversations with her were IM related. Her first race was this past July. Her Ironman is Lake Placid in July 2013.
Also, the only thing that is shared between a standalone marathon and a IM marathon is the distance. They are two completely different races. Most people who have done one, but not both, make the mistake of thinking they are the similar. People who have done an IM, but not a standalone marathon, think that because they've done an IM marathon that a standalone would be easier. People who have only done a standalone marathon think that they know what they are in for in an IM marathon. In both instances, they are DEAD wrong. It takes me twice as long to recover from a standalone marathon as an IM.
If you are dead set on doing an IM next year, do it smartly. Do a lot of open water swims, preferable with people swimming next to you. Sign up for a few shorter distance races leading up to the IM to get an idea of what you need to work on. Go to clinics and seminars. Ask a lot of questions from people who have done IMs, especially on the course that you are thinking about. Do a lot of reading. Or, get a coach. An IM is a long and expensive event to DNF.
Good luck! It's an incredible experience.
Articulate, well thought out, minimal spelling errors. Who are you and what have you done with Tuan?
I do my best work during billable hours
Yay, that's me Tuan is talking about! I personally found NTP to be an excellent resource. I have made some of my best friends through the program, and learned an immense amount. My first tri was Peasantman, and I would strongly encourage you to do that race if you can - very low key and full of incredibly supportive DC Tri peeps (and if it's like last year, you get Georgetown cupcakes at the end. Done deal!). I do think that I have learned a lot from just getting several races under my belt - lots of things that you can't learn from just training. So if you can, try and get several tris in during the spring, even if they are sprint and Oly distances.
I would echo Ben's sentiments -- unless there's a compelling reason for doing IMFL in 2013, it's not advisable. Will the half-marathon in December be your first race that's been longer than 10 miles? If so, I would not recommend signing up for IMFL -- you have eleven months to get yourself into IM fitness and develop the expertise necessary to complete the race. In my mind, that's not enough time (unless you have very little else on your plate).
If you have a history of doing century bike rides, marathons, backpacking/trekking, and other endurance activities that have developed your knowledge of how to pace, fuel, and hydrate yourself over all-day efforts, then one big hurdle is out of the way. If you're an experienced bicyclist, that's another. If you're a good swimmer, another. However, if you're just coming off of a long run of two hours, and have little swimming or biking experience, I think the odds are against you cramming the training and confidence-gaining experience to train and race safely into eleven months.
I agree that NTP is the best place to start, and doing a late-season half next year is doable (as I did my first season, and several NTP'ers this year did). Then line up an IM in 2014, and enjoy it.
I joined NTP because I wanted to do an IM. I did an oly the first year, a half the second, and then finally the IM the third year. It not just about being in shape to get thru the race. I could have done the oly without the group training. The years leading up to the IM taught me what type of race course and temperature I do best on. I know I don't like to train in gyms or race in hot humid weather, this eliminated many early season races. I also learned I don't like training as the days get shorter and colder, so this eliminated the late season races for me. I found a course that was at the right time, was a fun course for me and I got to train with a bunch of friends that I had made over the two years prior. This made the difference between just finishing the race and enjoying the experience.
I was in no way trying to discount the value of NTP program. I actually still plan on trying to get into the Spring group to learn as much as i can prior to. I don't have a background in anything but the reason I focused on marathons first is because an old injury makes it running pretty miserable. I felt that if I couldn't run then there was no point in pursuing tri's.
Why I want to rush it is a long story but I've decided to take time off from school which will allow me to dedicate myself to training. And I'm def not planning to do it solo so I already reached out to a trainer. Didn't know if I'd get a response in time so I posted on here. Tuan's response was exactly what I was looking for so thank you señor.