Essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success

There is a lot of discussion about the essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success.

Is it a state-of-the-art tricked-out tri bike, nutrient-laden energy bar, or super-slick wetsuit that are the keys to Ironman immortality?

Or perhaps it’s compression socks, $200 sunglasses, or the latest flavor-of-the-month replacement drink concocted in the deep, dark depths of a multinational company’s research laboratory.

What is that magic bullet that will get a triathlete to the promise land of the Ironman finish line?


essential tools for ironman success

Is the secret to Ironman success your choice of bike?

With every passing year there is a fresh crop of newly Ironstruck triathletes who hear the clarion call of the Iron gods who haunt the hot swirling winds that sweep across the sweltering Queen K. Highway in Kona, Hawaii.

So you want to be an Ironman!

Come….come show us what you are made of.

They come into the Ironman arena in an era when bike technology, gear design, and nutritional supplement choices are saturating the market-place.

This is the ultra-aerodynamic triathlon bike that will get you through the 112-mile Ironman bike course faster than any bike ever built. This is the slick $1000 wetsuit that will propel you through the 2.4-mile swim course in a personal best time. This is the high carbohydrate/high protein energy replacement bar that will ensure you never hit the mystical wall halfway through the 26.2-mile marathon.

Taking a run at the Ironman Triathlon finish line is a huge commitment and in order to ensure their hard work is not in vain, the novice Ironman is easily lured by relentless advertising that heralds the essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success and often purchase whatever they are convinced will ensure their Ironman dream becomes a reality.

The influx of supposedly new and better products into the market-place on an almost yearly basis ensures that often confused novice triathletes will continue to buy into the latest and greatest triathlon-related products and in doing so will perpetuate the profits realized by suppliers of all things Ironman.

There is nothing at all wrong with experimenting with new nutritional products and treating yourself to the sleekest triathlon bike, and buying all the latest in eye-catching biking and running gear if money is no object.

However, don’t believe for a minute that the latest and greatest is the key to Ironman success.

Don’t ever let it deter you from your Ironman dream if you simply can’t afford to dole out your hard-earned money that some would make you believe you have to spent if you want to reach the Ironman finish line.

Ultimately it’s not the bike, energy bar, or running and biking gear you wear that will determine your Ironman destiny.

It wasn’t true a quarter of a century ago, it’s not true today, and it won’t be true twenty years from now.


Just this past weekend the first five pro men had great swims in Ironman Texas 2013 and were all finished in the 49-minute range with Andres Castillo Latorre finishing first with a time of 49:14.

Rachel Joyce of Great Britain had an amazing race and was first out of the water for the pro women with a great swim time of 54:02.

Lets take it a step further…

In Ironman Hawaii 2012, Andy Potts was first out of the water with a time of 50:32.

For the pro women it was super-swimmer Amanda Stevens edging out Meredith Kessler and Gina Crawford with a 55:09 clocking.

In 1984 on the same swim course in Ironman Hawaii in Kona, Djan Madruga was first in the swim with a time of 47:48. Jeff Thorton was second in 49:04. As a matter of fact, the first seven pro men had faster swim times in 1984 than Andy Potts did in 2012.

In Ironman Hawaii 1984 Jennifer Hinshaw was first in the swim with a time of 50:31 and Leslie Landreth was second in 52:31. Jennifer Hinshaw was almost five minutes faster in 1984 than swimming great Amanda Stevens was in 2012.

So despite all the hype about the perfect diet, perfect nutrition, perfect training programs, and perfect gear, the swim times from 29 years ago were as fast or faster than they are today.

In the Ironwar of 1989 between Dave Scott and Mark Allen the marathon time for Mark Allen was 02:40:04 and for Dave Scott it was 02:41:03.

It is an enduring mystery how over all these years nobody has been able to better the time set down by Mark Allen. It was also a much tougher, hillier course in 1984.

Back then the bike/run transition times were factored into the marathon times. Mark Allen was in transition for 1:13 and Dave Scott for 1:15 which in essence made their marathon times around 02:38:00 and 02:39.

How is it that with all the advances in nutrition and training methods over the past 23 years the times set down by Allen and Scott in Kona have never been beaten?

Essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success

For all the magical nutritional supplements on the market today, nobody has ever run a fast Ironman Hawaii marathon than the record set in 1989 on a tougher course.

You also have to factor in that their bikes were simply not as aerodynamic compared to the state-of-the-art triathlon bikes of today and you would think this would translate into a more challenging marathon.

I guess not.

For all the advertising hype and smoke and mirrors when it comes to what really comprises the essential tools for Ironman Triathlon success it really boils down to the basics we all have within us.


Ultimately, these are the true essential tools for Ironman success.

Of course you need a sound bike and reliable, basic equipment to get you through the day but it’s not necessary to have the best of everything.

Success or failure in the Ironman in not decided by the size of your bank account.

If you believe in yourself and the ability you have within to become more than you ever thought possible…if you desire something with all your heart and never lose sight of your goal, you have found the true key to success.

It is the key to Ironman success whether you have a used road bike, a tattered wetsuit, or a nine dollar pair of sunglasses.

As a matter of fact desire, heart, and self-belief are the keys to achieving any worthwhile goal in this world.

So don’t ever be led astray or disheartened about your chances of ever reaching the Ironman Triathlon finish line because it’s too expensive for you to gear up.

You have all the essential tools you need and maybe you just didn’t realize it until now.


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