So what can you tell our readers about your new book First Time Iron Man?
This book is not a technical guide on training for an Ironman. It is a story about taking on an unimaginable challenge, enjoying the journey and crossing the finish line. To complete an Ironman you need discipline, determination, and inspiration, because you must fit training around work and family life. What seems impossible can be achieved with the right support team and a great vision.
This book is an insight into the lessons I learnt over 1 year of training. Lessons I have been able to take into other areas of my life to bring success and fulfillment.
The biggest challenge in completing the Ironman is taking the first step. So many times in my life I was afraid to do what I really wanted to do. When I finally did take the first step by entering the Ironman, it opened a whole new world.
For those who are not familiar with the Iron Man Triathalon, what does it involve?
An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.
You trained for a year for this, so what did your routine involve?
I worked with a coach who set my training schedule at the beginning of each week. I could change the schedule depending on what was happening in my life.
The training was 6 days a week and increased in intensity over the year. Training for three different disciplines (swim, bike and run) meant training twice for each discipline in the week. It was exciting to train because there was always lots of variety with three disciplines. There was also less damage to the body compared to training for a marathon, where it is only running.
You worked with a team of experienced professionals, can you expand on this for us, how did each one help you?
In professional sport or in life having coaches is a major advantage when achieving goals. Coaches are like Personal Trainers in the gym. I had 7 coaches for different aspects of training and I was the Physiotherapist myself.
The 7 coaches included Nutritionist, Mental Conditioning Coach, Training Coach, Bike Mechanic, Swim Coach, Pilates and Massage Therapist. Each coach specialized in their respective fields and shared their knowledge and experience with me.
The coaches became friends and they supported me right to the finish line. Having their emotional support was just as important as their specialized skills.
I had a massage once per week to keep my body relaxed. My bike was serviced three times in the year and I did Pilates early in my training to get more stability in my body, and prepare for the arduous months of winter. My swim coach and Training coach were important for technique training and organizing my training plan. The nutritionist set me up for an energizing 12 months with food and my Mental Conditioning Coach gave me the mental game to master my emotions on the day, and make my experience one I will never forget.
You are employed as a physiotherapist, so at what point did you decide that you wanted to do this?
It was a decision I had delayed for 10 years. Something I always said I would do but never believed I could do it. I started working in a gym where there were two Ironman athletes. They were inspirational and one day I took a leap of faith and said yes I would do it. The decision to do it only took one second but it was taking that step which was the most difficult.
When I made the decision I was talking to one of the Ironman athletes in the gym and I made him promise to coach me. When I made the decision, I did not know how I would fit it into my life. I was running my own business and in a relationship at the time. In hindsight, I did not need to know, as it all fell into place once the decision was made.
An enormous weight lifted off my shoulders once I had entered the Ironman. I no longer had the conflict in my mind about entering or not entering the race. The excitement I had for doing the race finally was released and it was a real joy taking every step to the finish line.
You travelled the UK for 2 years and then decided to stay, why was this?
New Zelaand is a beautiful small country. I wanted to see other parts of the world so came over on a 2 year working holiday visa. After 2 years I wanted to see more of the world so stayed. Before I knew it I was eligible for a UK passport. My work was going well so I stayed and now I have a beautiful English wife a little daughter (6 months old). The UK is a special place and should be appreciated for all it offers in terms of culture, travel and arts.
With only a year to train, you thought you could not do it at first, so what changed your mind?
In my life I have great aspirations but in the past they have stayed aspirations because I have not taken action. I hate letting time go by and letting opportunities go past. I believe there is never a right time and actually the best time is right now. I was not getting any younger and with a wedding and family planned it was time to enter the Ironman.
It was a tough decision because it was going to be a busy year with training and work and relationships. It was also exciting because I was realizing a dream, living without fear and exploring my own capabilities.
When I sign my book I write an equation, Dreams + Action = Life. Dare to dream then take action and this will create the quality of your life.
Is it something that you will do again?
After the Ironman I set my next goal and that was to complete a stage of the Tour de France. I really enjoyed the cycling and wanted to test myself on one of the toughest cycling courses in the World. This took me 6 months to train and it was incredible.
I remember one of the greatest moments in training was cycling through the hills of Portugal with a World Duathlon champion and Portuguese triathlete. It was so peaceful and remote, and something I never imagined possible when I was living in New Zealand.
I got married 1 year after the Ironman and then had a child after the stage of the Tour de France. It was now time to commit my energy to my family. I still go for 3-4 hour bike rides but do not train for Ironman any more. Instead I help other first time Ironman athletes train and complete an Ironman in 1 year. I use my entire team to help them train and also provide them with all the resources to make the year fun, exciting and inspirational. If you are interested in making a change in your life, being bold and taking the Ironman step, you can contact us on http://www.physical-edge.com
You had to run, cycle and swim, do you have a preference between any of them?
Yes, I prefer cycling. I can swim and run but I like the freedom of cycling long distances, and there is less impact on the body. There is a big following of cyclists in London and I can go out with friends and banter as we cycle. There are plenty of woman who cycle and they often are better hill climbers than men because they are smaller and have better strength to weight ratio. It can also be done with the entire family and I look forward to putting a carrier on the back of my bike and exploring the world with my daughter.
What went through your head as your were doing the race?
I had worked with my Mental Conditioning Coach on creating a one hour visualisation of the entire race in my head. I decided how I would feel at the start of the race and what I would do during the race. I visualized crossing the finish line and hugging my support team.
The visualization I had created kept me calm and focused during the race and also enabled me to take in what was happening around me. As it turned out the race had a few hiccups but nothing I could not handle, and it was almost exactly as I imagined it would be.
I have been taught what I visualise in my head will be projected into real life. I have tested this theory before and it certainly worked again in the Ironman.
Crossing the finish line was a feeling I will never forget. It was a euphoric moment and the end to an incredible journey.
What advice can you give to those wanting to enter?
When I talk to someone who is interested in doing the Ironman they are full of fear. I remind them the experience will be mind blowing and there are so many lessons to learn about goal setting, nutrition, training, health and discipline. There is also so much joy, friendship and excitement.
There is nothing I could say to overcome their fear, because there is nothing that could, as it is created in the mind. Make a decision to do it now, get a team behind you, and then enter the race on the internet. Once you have entered a true commitment has been made.
To make a real decision in life you must “Cross the bridge and then burn the bridge behind you”, so you cannot turn back. Once the decision has been made everything will fall into place, I promise.