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Member Fitness Stories

Ben’s Ironman Story 

What inspired you to do the Ironman? 

The Ironman 70.3 or 1/2 Ironman was a big undertaking for me. I had been listening to a few podcasts on running and ultra-runners who had completed very long distance marathons (50+ miles) and was amazed at what the human body is capable of. I wanted to complete something like that for myself but was very out of shape. I started running and working out again at the Y and in 2021 I saw a sign for the Tri at the Y and decided to give it a go. It was a short race but a lot of fun. I was 37 at the time, now 38 and wasn’t getting any younger. The Ironman was always in my mind as a life goal and I decided to stop making excuses and sign up for the Wisconsin Ironman 70.3 in September of 2022. This gave me just over a year to train. 

What is the length of each swim, bike, run? 
The Ironman 70.3 is a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride and then ending with 13.1 mile run.  

What has your training plan been like? Describe your protocol? Or a typical day? 

I bought a book recommended by many triathletes called “IronFit Secrets”. This book contained a training program for the 1/2 iron distance triathlon. I used this book as my training bible for over a year now. I used its competitive training guide which has a building phase, training phase and a taper phase just before the race. In the peak of training, I was doing around 15 hours a week of swimming, biking and running. It was very difficult to adhere to with a full-time job and a family of 3. It meant a lot of mornings of 5 a.m. swims or runs, along with biking before or after school and kid’s sports. 

A typical week of training during the heavy phase of workouts was as follows.

  • Monday: an “off day” or a makeup day for any workouts missed in the previous week. 

  • Tuesday: 1 hour to 1 hour and 15-minute run, which was around 6-8 miles. 

  • Wednesday: a brick day of 45 minutes on the bike and immediately jumping off and running for 30 minutes. 

  • Thursday: 1 hour and 15 minutes on the bike. 

  • Fridays: 1 hour and 15-minute run. 

  • Saturdays: long bricks of 3–4-hour bike ride immediately followed by a 20 - 30 minute run. 

  • Sundays: 1.5 hour - 2 hour run and later in the day doing a high rpm 1 hour bike ride. 

  • Swim days were usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays either in the morning or the afternoon depending on my work and life schedule on top of the normal workouts as well. The swim workout usually was around 30 minutes to 1 hour and were from distances of 1500 yards to 2800 yards depending on the work out.

Have you done any races prior? 

Prior to this race I’ve only done a mini sprint (Tri-At-The-Y 2021) and 1 sprint triathlon for preparation. I also had to do as many open water swims to become more comfortable in swimming in a lake instead of a pool. The differences between the two can be very intimidating. 

How long have you been a member of the YMCA? 

I’ve been a member at the Dodge County YMCA for 2 years or more and it was a vital tool in getting swims and runs in on bad weather days. 

I am very excited and nervous about this undertaking, but I know I’ll be proud of myself no matter the outcome. Fingers crossed all will go well on Saturday.  

Your Y Family couldn’t be prouder of you, Ben! Mind over matter on Saturday! You got this and we believe in you. We’ll see you on Monday to use the hot tub! wink