It’s the morning after ironman and how do you think you’ll feel?

Most likely everything will hurt, but if you just finished your first ironman it will be a good hurt.

When you wake up the morning after Ironman you will be overwhelmed by several things.

First of all it will hit you that you have just succeeded in one of the most difficult challenges of your life. You will also ache in almost every fiber of your body. Despite the pain you will be on top of the world. YOU will be an Ironman triathlete.

The pain becomes much more insignificant the morning after the race if you succeed in your quest for the finish line.

As a matter of fact you will welcome the pain at it’s a testament to the effort it required to reach your goal.

The morning after crossing the ironman finish line for the first time will be an exciting moment as you realize that you have really done it.

Chances are there were many times during the race when you really felt like giving up but you didn’t. Perhaps shortly after you crossed the finish line the day before, you swore to yourself you would never, ever put yourself through anything like that again.

You will be amazed how quickly you’ll forget how much you hurt right at that moment. Literally overnight you will be wondering where the registration will be for the next years race.

As for getting out of bed the morning after ironman, that’s another story.

The way you will feel in the morning after finishing an Ironman Triathlon is a unique feeling but you’ll get over it.

When you first get up you would be wise to have some sort of replacement drink because your body was asked to perform above and beyond during the race and must be refueled.

As much as the thought of drinking anything might disgust you it’s a very important step to aid in a speedy recovery.

 morning after ironman   -ironman ID bracelet

Your Ironman I.D. bracelet. Wear it for at least a week after.

Have a nice long shower.

You may have to do some serious scrubbing to get those magic marker numbers to disappear from your arms and legs. However you may not want to make them disappear completely.

It’s not unusual to see faint race numbers all over town worn proudly as a badge of honor until days later when they slowly disappear on their own. Usually your ID bracelet will still be on when you get back home. Some Ironman finishers have even been known to wear their Ironman ID for a week after the race.

O.K. When you get out of the shower it’s time to eat something.

Your digestive system may be in a bit of a mess but don’t worry, this soon goes away and you will be eating everything is sight later in the day.

For breakfast however take it a bit easy. Your digestive system can be a bit of a mess the morning after Ironman. After you have something to eat get out that door and go for a walk!

As hard as that may sound its for the best. Plus you have to find a newspaper anyway. Don’t leave it too long because souvenir newspaper fly off the rack the morning after an Ironman Triathlon.

The local morning paper will most likely have the entire race story front and center and who knows your picture might even be in it. In later years I started going for an easy run the morning after an Ironman. Yes! A run!

Just an easy walk at first and then stretch it out into longer strides. Once you get going try and run really, really easy for a minute or so. Rest for a few minutes and repeat.

You will be amazed how much this will speed up your recovery.

Some Ironmen prefer to go for a swim the day after the race, but I always found the water was the last place I wanted to be. In those early days I found the Ironman swim pretty daunting and had no desire to go back into the water for a long, long time.

A simple easy jog always worked the best for me. I used to love taking that morning after Ironman paper and finding a really great coffee shop and reading through the entire race story.

Often you will run into lots of other Ironmen who will be more than happy to share race stories with you. It’s a really special time and you deserve to make the most of the morning after ironman.


This is important advice when it comes to your finishers t-shirt because you will only ever get one. No matter how many of these amazing races you attempt you will only ever get one first Ironman finisher shirt.

Wear it for a week or so and then clean it well and store it away. This will be really important to you years down the road.

Just looking at mine now–30 years later brings back such a rush of amazing memories of that first time I crossed the finish of my first Ironman in Kona. Sometimes I wonder how many of those t-shirts still remain in Canada where I live. Despite this being a big country there were only around 50 Canadians in Ironman Hawaii in 1984.

Triathlon had not yet gone mainstream and at the time it was go to Kona or stay home as there were very few races to choose from. I could well have one of the few finisher t-shirts left from that race even though it seems to have shrunk. At least I hope that’s why it fits a bit tight.

morning after ironman -Ironman triathlon finisher medals

Cherish your finisher medal

Take a minute to look at the finisher’s medal that was put around your neck when you crossed the finish line. It’s something very special that you may want to frame one day.

Don’t forget, once you are officially recorded as a finisher you can purchase the Ironman Trademark finisher clothes that are on sale for that year. Official Ironman finisher gear usually go on sale the day after the race in most Ironman venues.

Make sure you bring along extra money for this. These are finisher clothes you can wear year round at home after you pack your finish line t-shirt away.


By early afternoon, (after entering for the next year, if I had decided to)I was ready to make the fast food run. As I mentioned on another page, every Ironman town or city has a fast-food street.

I would walk up and down that street and have all those forbidden foods I had passed by during training.

Fried chicken, pizza, french fries, maybe a hamburger, and my all time favorite–ice cream. Treat yourself. You earned it.

morning after ironman  -banana split

Treat yourself. You deserve it.

If you go on to do even more of these incredible races you will develop your own Ironman ritual.

You will find things that you enjoy doing the day after you have crossed the finish line. It soon becomes a part of your total Ironman experience. Regardless how you spend the next day, enjoy it!

You have joined a very special group. You have become part of the Ironman family and that will be yours to cherish forever.

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