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Fitness Tips: Training for an Ironman Triathlon

Ironman trainer Kevin Mackinnon gives Men's Fitness his expert advice on how to score a decent race time in the world's toughest triathlon.

BONUS TIPS FROM MACKINNON

1. Get you head in the game. Keep your eye on the prize, but embrace the physical challenge. “There are times you’re convinced you can’t keep up; whether you can pull it off or not,” says Mackinnon. “I tell athletes, you need to get yourself in the mindset that you are looking forward to the pain.”

2. Make it a lifestyle. Completing an Ironman isn’t really a one-off thing. Even if you only do one, you’ll have to stay at the top of your training game, which sometimes requires serious commitment. “Successful Ironman athletes remain remarkably fit almost year-round,” says Mackinnon. “It truly becomes a lifestyle sport.”

3. Less is more. Sure, it’s a beast of a race, but if you put in the time, mileage, and circuit training, you can do it. Just don’t overdo it and get hurt. “While there’s always a lot of training involved to prepare for the Ironman, many athletes over-train for their events,” says Mackinnon. “My motto for athletes I coach is that I’d prefer to see them 85 percent fit, rather than 100 percent fit—and injured or sick by the time they get to the line.” 

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