Monthly Archives: September 2013

Time Spent Training For IMUK

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

Previously I wrote about the monetary cost of doing an Ironman from scratch. The cost of time is also worth noting, but this should be something of a pre requisite when you sign up to do an Ironman. My decision to do IMUK 2013 came when I went to watch IMUK 2012. I wanted that feeling that everyone else was experiencing in Bolton town centre that day. I set aside 10 months of full training. I didn’t join a club of any sort and just trained alone. This really worked for me, but i am in rare position where my working hours mean I can turn my training into almost a second job.


I work 5am to 1pm so have all afternoon / evening to fit my training in. If I joined a club, the training typically begins in the evening so I’d be waiting around all day to go training, and it would finish way passed my 9pm bed time! Training in the afternoon means the pool is relatively quiet and on a nice day, an outdoor ride is sometimes possible.

All together I covered 2001 miles in training, the same distance from my front door to Moscow, or Milan and back. The Pretenders coincidentally had their hit ‘2000 Miles’ shortly after my birthday in 1983, peaking at number 15 in the charts.
I never felt overtrained and managed the load quite well. Time management is very important when it comes to fitting everything around your Ironman training. Like I said, I am lucky with work and also have no kids and with the girlfriend playing hockey on Saturdays means I can always fit in my big ride at a time that works around our lives regardless.


Swim Total: 152 miles or 7 times across the English Channel

Turbo Time: 4 & 1/4 days

Road miles covered: 1600 miles

Total time in the saddle: 7 & 1/2 days

Run Total: 249 miles or 9 1/2 marathons

A total of around 300 hours spent training in 10 months.

That would have earned me £12.9m going by Gareth Bales Real Madrid hourly rate!


Cost of Ironman

An Ironman takes a lot dedication and motivation to go training and maintain that discipline for months leading up to the event. However, it also take a lot of personal time and also ca$h.
Everyone’s budget is different. You could complete an Ironman on a £500 aluminium road bike or you could splash £5, 000+ on a carbon TT machine, but radio producing doesn’t pay that well!
Here’s is an overlook of roughly what it cost me. Kicking off with the £420 entry fee…

BlueSeventy Sprint

I got my wetsuit in the January Sales from Wiggle and it cost me £90. A Blueseventy Sprint. A decent deal for a quality wetsuit so January seems like a good time to buy this gear. I wasn’t to actually wear the suit in the open water until May. Speedo Aqua Socket goggles set me back £12 and I swam in my old running shorts. The running shorts created a bit of drag and as I was keeping a close eye on my progression in the pool, I kept using the running shorts to keep the consistency for my time comparisons.
A silver membership at uSwim Salford Quays will set you back £59. I swam at the Aquatics Centre in Manchester which is a venue of Manchester Sport and Leisure scheme, so I was able to get a membership card making my pool trips £1.90 rather than the full price of £3.10. You need to live within a certain postcode to qualify for the Manchester Sport and Leisure pass.
46 pool sessions at £1.90 = £157

Total Swim Cost: £318


I began my training and had the original intention of doing Ironman on my 2010 Specialized Allez Sport road bike. It was great to train on, being reasonably heavy and robust, but I eventually made the decision to buy a Carbon Fibre TT bike. I was only looking at entry level, which was reasonably future proof and above all – was a good fit.
I went with the Cannondale Slice 105, from Royles in Wilmslow for £1800. I could not be happier with this bike and it was arguably the biggest factor in my race time. If you can literally buy time, spend it on a TT bike.
I already had shoes, pedals and a helmet but I did add some pieces of riding kit for comfort on those long days in the saddle, roughly £80. I toyed with the idea of spending extra on the bike – e.g a Fizik Arione Saddle (£90) – but I kept the bike standard in the end.
There was general maintenance of the bike to keep up including inner tubes (Continental Race 28’s) and CO2, plus the cost of running the bike would amount to around £50. There’s a guide here on CO2 and the top inflators to help you choose.

Total Bike Cost: £1930


It’s just a pair of trainers? Yeah I suppose, but these can creep up in price. I stuck with what I knew from my injury free running, so wore Nike Lunar – £70. You need a decent set of socks, but these can be found in Sports Direct for half the price of a running shop.
I already had elastic laces and a race belt for my number.
The streets and canal paths of Manchester are free so just go for it.

Total Run Cost: £75


Massively important for race day and this means you need to train with what you plan on taking on race day. IMUK was sponsored by Powerbar so they had bars and gels being handed out on the course. I had trained with my SiS bars & didn’t want to try something new on race day just because it was free! 25 SiS Go Bars bars will set you back £25 and I bought two boxes of these. The SiS website has some good advice for Ironman nutrition here. When running, I did train with Powerbar gels, the same ones they would have in the race. I would take the gels every 3 miles on my training runs, trying to mirror the times they would appear on the run course. Holland and Barrett had an offer on these so I filled my boots. Still got some left actually – £12
Eating healthy and buying fresh is great but can get expensive, but you save all that money from not drinking(!) so its fine.

Total Nutrition Cost: £62

Training on the course was handy, but I would get the train up to Buckshaw Village where I could start the loop of the route. This was £10 each time. Coaching and physio is important, to stay on top of niggles and keep a plan in place – £500.

Total Ironman Cost: £3, 526


You can go nuts on spending. I was local to the event so my travel were costs were minimal. I benefited massively from having a coach and found this a good use of money. If you pay for it, you’re more likely to stick the plan! I also saw this as my equivalent of a club membership. My working hours are great for triathlon training – 5am to 1pm – so joining a club would not have been beneficial for me. Waiting around all day for the session when I could have complete my training that afternoon, plus I got to bed at 9pm!
I didn’t work with a power meter or heart rate monitor as I’m just not that passionate about stats and I found riding on feeling was a better judge for my race pace. This tech can get expensive & works very well for some people. I had an £80 Timex sports watch that was perfect for what I needed.